About us: What we're doing and why

Last updated: September 2013


Welcome to Art Crimes, a gallery of graffiti art from the US, Europe, and cities around the world. This project was started with a handful of photos from Atlanta and Prague by Susan Farrell in May 1994, and the site went public that September. Susan teamed up with photographer Brett Webb in September 1994, who also worked in support of the site in various ways until 2005.

Art Crimes has won many awards for excellence, including Cool Site of the Day (1994) and top-10 nominee for Best of the Web (1995). This site has also been featured in Flashbacks, Twelve Ounce Prophet, Blitzkreig, Scientific American, Newsweek, Wired, Village Voice, Discovery Channel, Radio France, ZDTV's Internet Tonight, New York Times, USA Today, and many other fine publications.

By July 2004, Art Crimes had thousands of images from 445 cities around the world. Art Crimes was the first graffiti site on the net, and we're still one of the biggest, although many other interesting and useful sites have since sprung up.


In many places, painting graffiti is illegal. We don't advocate breaking the law, but we think art belongs in public spaces and that more legal walls should be made available for this fascinating art form. Because it is so hard to get books published and to keep photos and blackbooks from being seized and destroyed, the Internet may be the best way to publish and preserve this information. Please get involved in the effort to preserve your local graffiti history.

Our main goals are to provide cultural and scholarly information and resources and to help preserve and document the constantly disappearing paintings. We also want to spread the truth that this kind of graffiti, called "writing" is being done by artists who call themselves "writers," not by gangs.

Get Involved

Art Crimes is a collaborative, ongoing, volunteer project. Special thanks to all the people who have supported and encouraged us.

Please email us if you find any dead links or wrong captions. You may find some language or images offend you -- but graffiti is risky stuff -- you're on your own. Click on a small picture to see a larger version.

Writers: We have great respect for you and your work. If you want to get involved, we welcome you. Protect your history by making it digital. Tell your story, express your opinions and publish them. Make your own site and send us your Web address. Make the Internet work for you. Fight media with media. Be careful in forums and chatrooms online, since those are very public places and words once spoken have a life of their own.

Many writers object to the terms "graffiti," "artist," "spraycan art," "graff," and other common terms used to describe the images we show at Art Crimes and those who make them. Although these terms are weak or have undesirable connotations, we think the currently preferred term, "writer," does not adequately set graffiti writers apart from book authors or journalists, which causes some confusion outside the community. Phase 2 prefers "style writing," which is a better but lesser-known term. This site uses "graffiti," because we think this word still has the most recognition and precision and using it makes Art Crimes more findable with search engines.

Copyright Notices

Photos belong to the photographers and artists. Artists have the ultimate legal rights to their own artwork and images of it. Some photographers are protecting their particular photographs, not claiming any ownership over the art itself.

The photos are shown with copyright notices on this site to protect the artists. Because the photographers have made the art portable, it is their responsibility to control their images of it, to prevent its abuse by commercial interests.

No images on Art Crimes can be used for anything (except your personal enjoyment) without permission. This means you can't scoop up a bunch of them and put them on your home page without asking. These images are not for sale, but the artists may wish to sell some original art and many do designs and murals on commission or for licensing.

Photographers' email contact information, when available, is on the pages where their pictures appear. If you want artwork for a commercial purpose, you need to get permission from the artist as well, or get something new done just for you. Feel free to contact us if you need professional work done and we'll try to find just the right people to do the job.

Supporting Art Crimes

For many years, Art Crimes has been supported out of pocket and through the sales of graffiti media and merchandise. Because the site attracts more than 50,000 visitors per day, we must sell advertising space and look for other opportunities that can help keep the site online.

More Information, Contact

Write to us with any news, ideas, corrections, problems, events information, or questions about this site, but please read the Frequently Asked Questions first to see if your answer is there. Please understand that we have severe email overload, and although we very much enjoy reading every message that people send us, it is not always possible to reply quickly or sometimes even at all.

We hope you enjoy your visit, and thanks for stopping by! Purchases from our online store help pay for Art Crimes' hosting and bandwidth costs. Thanks for your support.

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