Here I have a copy of the Altered Egos documentary which has been put together and directed by Telio Vellacott for TwoTwelve Films and features graf and interviews from some north London writers and features background music from the likes of Farma G, Louis Slippaz and Dag Nabbit etc.
The whole film is really a look into what drives graffers to do what they do and take the risks they do. Interviews with the practitioners (identities mostly hidden) firstly describe how they first found out about the artform and how they got into it.
The topics move on to perfecting your tags and the immense amount of practice it takes. The difference between tags, throw ups, and dubs is explored. The progression an artist takes from being a toy to a master is detailed and it is explained how earning respect is something everyone has to do.
As one progresses, painting missions have to be planned as military operations in order to not get caught, but this adrenaline rush of the danger is one thing that motivates the artists. Stories of chases and nearly getting caught are exciting, but also part of what a writer has to endure to get up.
All throughout there are some incredible photographs and live action footage of works being completed and finished pieces on walls and on trains. Visually the film is very rich and well edited with the cuts from shot to shot and the fades well placed and timed.
As the intensity of the buff escalates this is perhaps one of the few ways that most people will get to see this artwork. The transient nature of the artform is discussed and as such I feel that it is of utmost importance that this work is documented for future generations.
The documentary is 30 minutes in length and this time passes really quickly. Although the delivery of the interviewees can be a bit downbeat I enjoyed watching this and got quite hyped to see this much maligned sub-culture represented in a more realistic way to that we are usually treated to.
For the uninitiated this film should give them a good insight into the minds of writers and also shows some top notch graffiti. For those involved in the scene I would like to think that they would appreciate this film, but they are notorious for not caring what anyone thinks of what they do, nor are they craving acceptance from more mainstream society. Essential viewing.