Artist Makes Graffiti Legible By Translating the Scribbled Tags for You

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People have used graffiti as a form of social, political, and artistic expression since ancient times. The rise of hip-hop culture and use of culture-jamming stencils helped bring graffiti into the mainstream, lending a legitimacy to the art form. Now, street artists converge at Art Basel to show off their skills in the form of massive murals in the city’s former garment district. But what about that graffiti that is simply a scrawl or tag? Mathieu Tremblin, who we first learned about on My Modern Met, has made his own art out of the already existing graffiti on walls along the streets of Rennes, France. He recreates the colorful scribbles, mimicking the size and shade, painting over them with neat typographic translations of the tags — words like “Nozer,” “Flexo,” and “Zoob.” It’s humorous, and the work’s logo-esque appearance references the way graffiti has become commercialized by corporations looking to co-opt the culture for cred.

Image credit: Mathieu Tremblin

Image credit: Mathieu Tremblin

Image credit: Mathieu Tremblin

Image credit: Mathieu Tremblin

Image credit: Mathieu Tremblin

Image credit: Mathieu Tremblin

Image credit: Mathieu Tremblin