by Iuri Salles & Henrique Santana and photos from Henrique Santana
The Batman’s Alley is at Gonçalo Afonso Street in the neighborhood of Vila Madalena in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It’s a narrow street, which is known for its several graffiti artworks, it’s like an open-air street art gallery. The video also shows the graffiti artist TCHE completing one of his works.
Camera | Editing
Covering buildings throughout São Paulo, pixação is a style of graffiti native to Brazil and known for its simple, angular lines.
Cool street artwork in Sao Paolo taken from wooster collective blog.
I find pixo next to it at least equally impressive!
The master´s research ‘Os tipos gráficos da Pichação: Desdobramentos Visuais’ (The graphic types of Pichação: Visual Extensions), a thesis defended by Gustavo Lassala at Mackenzie University in 2007, had the studies of the font Adrenalina as its basis.
Adrenalina was a prior unfinished project of this same author which started to be produced in 2003. It could not be considered a digital font because to be considered so it must comprise all set of characters (uppercase, lowercase, special characters and punctuation marks). This way it can be typed and used by any user without any feeling of frustration for not finding a specific character.
figure1.1 – Digital font Adrenalina-sp in 2003.
The process of Adrenalina’s construction took place by adding new characters to those already developed. A constant and exhausted research over the 800 photos taken in field study was necessary in order to finish the set of Adrenalina’s family.
figure 1.2 – Some of the collected photos.
It is important to notice that these photographed types are those classified as straight tag (types created by crews).
WHAT IS STRAIGHT TAG?
Tag is a term used by graffiti writers. It had its origin in the city of NY and means signature. Straight tag was created and spread out by São Paulo’s writers. Far from being just a simple signature, it has already become a type style. It first appeared as a distinctive element used by those groups of ‘pichadores’ who later started to find their own way to paint these types. According to Lara (1996), they were influenced by punk and rock disc covers of that time with “breakness that reminded the gothic style”. This type style is recognized for its straight, long and sharp letters that usually cover most part of the surface. The peculiarity of this type style from São Paulo is unique in the world.
It is one that most appears on the city walls and this can be proved by looking all those pictures captured in the field study. The constant visualization of these photos allowed to perceive the research itself and the whole process of pichação. Consequently, each character was “caught” just from its natural environment and had to be technically manipulated so that it could be transformed into a digital font. It is important to have in mind that every process of digitalization implies a lack in resolution and quality of image.
Figure 1.3 – Photos where characters came from
It is known that the types do not have the same texture as they have on the wall. Their design had to suffer tiny modifications in serifs, height and width so that they could be as close as possible from their originals.
This process aimed to give the family type a stylistic unity making letters and words with visual harmony. Chosen characters were not based only in the words created by one crew. It was an alleatory process. For instance, the letter “y” and “r” were taken from different crews, but they maintain a visual unity when put side by side. All the numbers and letters (uppercase and lowercase) from A to Z were based on the pictures. Some special punctuation marks were not found and had to be created taking the whole visual harmony in consideration or had even to be based on other characters, for example:
Figure 1.4 – Some characters that had to be created
Figure 1.4 – Some characters that had to be created
The entire lowercase family was taken from 2003 first font generation. This happened because all the characters had formed a single complete unity for being neither much adorned, dripped nor full of texture.
Figure 1.5 – Lowercase family
On the other hand, in the uppercase family’s construction, it had been chosen a more refined letter design with an attempt to preserve drips and textures as much as possible. Therefore, uppercase family is a more aggressive style that contrasts with lowercase but no matter the user types one or another, they will be both typed in capitals.
Figure 1.6 -Uppercase family
There is a possibility to create words by mixing uppercase and lowercase. In this case, they would be all in capitals, nevertheless a difference in style and variation of design could be noticed. So a digital font allows the constructions of organic and interchangeable texts.
Figure 1.7 -words composed by interchangeable characters (see letters ‘a’, ‘i’, ‘s’, ‘c’, ‘t’ and ‘r’)
In professional font maker softwares, grammatical accent is normally designed together with its respective letter. Following this principle, new variations in letter design were inserted to complete the whole family.
Figure 1.8 – Characters with grammatical accents
The complete set of characters finished in January 2007 below.
Taken from gustavolassala.com