NYC Graffiti Tour and Workshop Review
*I did not receive anything for doing this review. My friend and I paid in full for the graffiti tour & workshop for our families.* This article contains 1 affiliate link. If you make a purchase using the link, I will get a commission at no additional cost to you.
It’s fascinating how many layers, unspoken rules, and terminology are part of Graffiti culture and art. I can’t even begin to understand it. However, if you are ever in New York City and want to do something truly unique and fun, I’d HIGHLY recommend supporting the artists and tour guides at Graff Tours, an NYC Graffiti Tour, and Workshop located in Brooklyn, NY. We booked our tour using one of my favorite travel tour websites; Viator.com It has become my go-to for tour bookings. I don’t think I would have found Graff Tours otherwise!
Why go on a graffiti tour and workshop?
Graff tours fulfill a unique opportunity to learn about an art form many people know very little about or even understand what they are seeing when they see it. They are the only tour company in New York City that does this!
What makes it so great?
Throughout the tour, Graff offers a hands-on experience, with boots-on-the-ground examples of artwork with a knowledgeable guide. The tour guide will give insight into what you are seeing, who the artists are, and what type of Graffiti we are looking at. Unlike most walking tours, Graff tours also offer a unique opportunity to upgrade your experience to include a workshop, where you can create your own artwork – working hands-on with a Graffiti artist.
What, if any, are some cons?
Due to space, there is not much room for more than three people to work on individual pieces of art simultaneously. Not realizing this, when we booked the tour, all four of our kids would be doing one piece of art together. While it wasn’t the end of the world and was more about the overall experience, it made it tricky to figure out who would get what. We decided to cut the artwork in 1/2, which was not ideal, but no one complained! If I could do it again, I would have insisted on creating two pieces of artwork – one for each set of sisters.
Who is the ideal person for a Graffiti tour?
This tour is perfect for anyone interested in art, in street art specifically, and can stand and walk for a total of 3hrs. Age-wise, 7-8 years would be the youngest I’d recommend. Any younger and their attention span or interest level might be lost and the experience over their head. If you have a young child you are just bringing along while you enjoy the experience, it might be fine if they are in a stroller and can entertain themselves or sleep while you want the tour guide’s information.
How and Where do I sign up and go for a tour?
Simple! You can go to their website – GRAFFTOURS.COM. The tour itself will take place in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. They do have a downtown Manhattan tour, but we did not take that one, but it might be fun to do that and see what the difference is between the two! After the tour itself, if you are also doing the workshop, the guide will bring you up to the art studio, and the workshop will begin!
Final tour thoughts
Overall, I would 100% recommend this to family and friends. It was an enjoyable way to spend the day. We learned something new and did something we might not have ever thought to have done, and it was interesting too. My girls loved it so much they want to do another workshop! In addition, if you’re ever in New York City and struggling to find fun things to do with your kids, here is my list of 25 Best things to do with kids in NYC.
A Teeny-Tiny Graffiti history lesson
The history of modern-day graffiti is an interesting one. Contemporary (or “hip-hop”) graffiti dates to the late 1960s, generally said to have arisen from urban neighborhoods of New York City, Philadelphia, Paris, and Baltimore, to name a few. Graffiti grew alongside the creation of hip-hop music and street subcultures. The advent of the aerosol spray can catapult, making this art form into what it is.
Here are some fun Graffiti terms to have in your back pocket to know next time you see some on an Urban street building.
General Graffiti Terms
- Bubble Letters – Type of graffiti letters, usually considered an older and sometimes outdated style. They are often used for throw-up letters because of their rounded shape, allowing quick formation.
- Piece – more complex, featuring at least three different colors and requiring a high level of work to complete
- Wildstyle – This term refers to a tagging style of interlocking letters and symbols; it is elaborate and complicated, and usually, only other taggers can read the actual word.
- Stencil – is a form of street art creation whereby a design is cut into paper or cardboard, then spray painted onto the canvas (wall). The style was founded by street artist Blek le Rat in Paris in the 1980s, and today its most famous artist is arguable Banksy.
- Wheat Paste – is an adhesive medium made from flour and water in equal parts. The art created with it is created in three phases.
- Tag – Stylized signature done quickly, in many areas, and on many surfaces. The most basic form of graffiti is a writer’s signature with marker or spray paint. It is the writer’s logo—their stylized personal signature. If a tag is long, it is sometimes abbreviated to the first two letters.
- Bite, to – To copy or rip off another’s style.
- Bomb, to – To cover in graffiti. Most often, to cover with tags.
- Buff, to clean off graffiti using chemicals or by painting over.
- Cans – Spray-paint cans.
- Cap, to – To cross out or deface another writer’s work. Also known as ‘to line out’ or ‘to cross out.’
- Throw Up – An outline of a name or a few letters usually outlined in one color and roughly filled in with another.