Zack Gingrich-Gaylord

Community Business Advancement/ Graffiti commentator

Zack Gingrich-Gaylord is a lifelong listener to public radio in general, and KMUW in particular. He was born and grew up in Wichita, and has lived in Lawrence and Newton.

After working for 15 years in the restaurant industry, he changed career paths and began working for KMUW in corporate support. He enjoys bringing the community of public radio listeners to the broader Wichita community.

Hope that’s good enough. I was raised not to talk about myself. Well, not really. But I heard that line on TV the other day, thought I’d try it out.

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Commentary
11:47 am
Mon December 8, 2014

The Wild Edges Of Our Humanity

Credit erikjacobs / Flickr / Creative Commons

In a small, largely abandoned village along the coast in Belgium, the walls are covered in graffiti. What began as an effort by the few remaining locals to turn the town of Doel from a neglected company town into an artists’ colony has become something else entirely. The town now receives several thousand tourists annually, gawking at the bizarre setting. But they also take in many more vandals who are eager to exploit the obvious lack of regulations and absence of police.

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Commentary
12:36 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Our Edifice Complex

Credit ivva / Flickr / Creative Commons

When it comes to our cities, we all have an edifice complex.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

The Corporatization of Graffiti

Credit Fletcher Powell / KMUW

I’ve spent a lot of time practicing the art of seeing graffiti. After a few years, my eye is now automatically able to seek out those sweet spots on buildings or signs where graffiti ought to be—and in the right parts of town, it usually is. I’m good, but there are still times that graffiti, or something pretending to be graffiti, will surprise me.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Into The Great Wide Open

Credit StrongArmSteady-> (themebereal) / Flickr / Creative Commons

The railroad as a part of Frontier Mythology has long since been surpassed by more modern versions of the story, but the truth is, it almost functions better as nostalgia.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Writing Your Name Where It Doesn't Belong

RETNA creates a mural in Las Vegas
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas / Flickr / Creative Commons

At its most basic, "tagging" is the act of writing your name on a wall, on a newspaper stand, on a lamp post, or, let’s be honest, anything else that doesn’t belong to you.

The medium doesn’t particularly matter: marker or spray paint will do. In a pinch, and on the right surface, maybe even a ballpoint pen. The point is to put your mark where it wasn’t before, and to put it in a place where other people will see it.

And, like everything else in graffiti, the most important point is to do it with style.

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Commentary
4:23 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

The Tool of the Trade

Credit Charles Henry (amarilloposters) / Flickr / Creative Commons

In the late 1940s, a Midwestern salesman named Edward Seymour was looking for a better way to demonstrate his line of aluminum radiator paint to prospective buyers. Seymour and his wife hit upon the idea of combining the paint with a can of propellant, so they could spray the paint quickly onto a radiator’s surface and not have to spend the time using more tedious methods.

The idea of putting a propellant and something else into a can wasn’t new. Bug bombs specifically targeting malaria-infected mosquitoes were used in the Pacific during World War II.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

The Drab Utility of Gangland Graffiti

Credit jimkster / Flickr / Creative Commons

Gangs have been writing graffiti since at least the early 20th century, and the reasons have remained remarkably stable: identifying turf boundaries, roll calls to identify gang members, and enacting conflict with rival gangs.

This type of graffiti differs dramatically from the general kind of graffiti we’ve talked about so far, most notably in the distinct lack of style, which is much to the chagrin of many dedicated graffiti writers.

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Commentary
11:36 am
Mon August 18, 2014

The Graffiti We Deserve?

Credit Denis Bocquet / Flickr / Creative Commons

Graffiti is always a political act, whether overtly or accidentally. The very nature of vandalism requires some kind of confrontation between a disruptive actor and established structures of the status quo.

While throwing a brick through a window is also vandalism, it differs from graffiti in that it is a subtractive form of vandalism—that window is no longer there—while graffiti is inherently additive: structures become augmented with new political or social meaning.

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Commentary
1:21 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

What We're Talking About When We Talk About Graffiti

A piece at Hope Gallery in Austin, Texas
Zack Gingrich-Gaylord KMUW

In order of increasing intensity: Graffiti can be tags, throwies, burners or pieces.

Tags are those quick stylized signatures, a note left behind or a harbinger of bigger graffiti to come.

Throwies can also be called fill-ins—these are often two-color works, solid letters with an outline and shading, often closely resembling the tag, only larger.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Finding The City Under The City

Credit Tiffany Bailey / Flickr / Creative Commons

What do skateboarders, graffiti artists and French post-structuralists have in common?

Let’s start with the skateboarder. The sport that essentially began as a land-based substitute for surfing in the late 1940s has moved from empty pools and the sidewalks of Venice Beach, to enclosed parks built by cities, to huge stadiums where corporations plaster their names on every fun box, half-pipe and hand-rail available.

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