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Dr. Ivor Miller

Aerosol Kingdom back in print, 2012

Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City, 11/02

Photo Gallery from Aerosol Kingdom book launching party

Contacting Dr. Miller

Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City
Dr. Ivor L. Miller

Forward by Robert Ferris Thompson, Yale University

"I salute you. You did the job I should have done with the Faith of Graffiti but did not know how."  -- Normal Mailer


Back Cover


Back in print:

How hip-hop and spray-can art exploded from the subways of Gotham into global chic 6/4/2012 University Press of Mississippi: "As the artists wielded their spray cans, they expressed their acute social consciousness. Aerosol Kingdom documents their careers and records the reflections of key figures in the movement. It examines converging forces that made aerosol art possible--the immigration of Caribbean peoples, the reinforcing presence of black American working-class styles and fashions, the effects of advertising on children, the mass marketing of spray cans, and the popular protests of the 1960s and '70s against racism, sexism, classism, and war. "


Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City, 11/02top

Dr. Miller's research on the early Hip Hop movement and its relationship to Caribbean migration to NYC was published with color photographs:

Doze Green. "Ghetto Resilient," 1998. Triptych. Acrylic on canvas. 
3'x1'. Courtesy of the artist.

A Tools Of War press release from publicist: Christie Z-Pabon at

Was subway graffiti art a propellant for the Hip Hop explosion? 

Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City, a new book from Ivor L. Miller says "YES!" 

Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City 
by Ivor L. Miller 
Foreword by Robert Farris Thompson 
University Press of Mississippi 

Click here to order online  paperback ==>   hardcover ==>

New York's graffiti "problem" ignited a worldwide, Hip Hop art explosion! When New York City youths started spray painting subway cars, their markings were acts of rebellion and defiant communications between neighborhoods. Ivor L. Miller, author of the new book Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City (University Press of Mississippi), says the impact on the art world was immediate. Miller writes, "The illegal and rebellious nature of this form caused it to be, on the one hand, attacked by the city administration and on the other celebrated by artists who recognized its aesthetic value." 

From a vast array of inherited traditions and gritty urban lifestyles, talented and renegade young New Yorkers spawned a culture of their own, a balloon-lettered shout heralding the coming of Hip Hop. "Through their activities the subway painters remapped the city," Miller writes. "By visually communicating via the trains, they drew attention to the city's marginal neighborhoods and the nature of life on the streets." By the 1980s spray-paint art had hit the mainstream, and subway painters became art world darlings. 

Aerosol Kingdom documents the careers of the graffiteros and records the reflections of many key figures in the movement. The creative period of the movement has lasted for over twenty years, but most of the original works have vanished. Official cleanup of public sites erased great pieces of the heyday. They exist now only in photographs and in the artists' sketchbooks. These are the sources Miller used to illustrate his book. 

In a foreword to Aerosol Kingdom, Robert Farris Thompson writes, "The best graffiteros--all in this book--are also strong artists, setting off shock waves of mimesis and enthusiasm. The intelligence and the heart behind these calligrapher-writers will change many minds. The maturity of the idiom and the seriousness of the writers come through in this book like no other I know. It's aerosol gold." 

Illustrations, pieces, photos and/or interviews of artists include: AMRL/BAMA, BLADE, BUTCH 2, CASE 2, CEY, COCO 144, CRACHEE, CRASH, DASH 167, DAZE, DEATH, DERO, DOC, DOME, DOZE, DURO, EZO, FREEDOM, FUTURA, FUZZ 1, IZ the WIZ, James TOP, JAY-ONE, JONONE,  KOOR, KYLE 156, LADY PINK, LEE, LSD OM, MARE 139, MICO, NIC-ONE, NOC 167, PHASE 2, RAMM:ELL:ZEE, SHARP, SHY, SLAVE, 
SKEME, SPAR, SPON, STAY HIGH 149, TULL-13, VAMM, VULCAN, WANE ONE C.O.D., WEST ONE, ZEPHYR and more! Ivor Miller also interviews many documentarians 
including Charlie Ahearn (Wild Style), Henry Chalfant (Style Wars/Subway Art) 
and Martha Cooper (Subway Art/ Hip Hop Files). 

Archives from research for Aerosol Kingdom, including tape recorded interviews with the artists, are deposited in the Amherst College Library, and available to the public.


From Jeff Chang's review of Aerosol Kingdom in the Village Voice (Sept. 11, 02) 
"Unlike academics who study rap, a serious graf scholar can't simply flip on BET for raw material. Ivor L. Miller's Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City is the product of a 15 year journey through the New York scene, capturing his sense of awe and admiration for the risk, skill, and ambition of the graf-writers on every lavishly illustrated page." 

Chang adds: 
"..the book appears like a freshly painted 5 roaring out of the tunnel onto a Bronx el, a Flash of the Spirit for the hip-hop gen. Soon after embarking on the study, Miller tossed out his theories and decided his job was to act as interpreter and disseminator. The result is an unprecedented record of grafs subway years, told in interviews with artists like BLADE, James TOP, DOZE, the IZ and the WIZ- writers whose names have become myth but whose stories have not." 

Aerosol Kingdom Book Party 

November 22 -23, 2002: The New York University Institute of African American Affairs saluted Ivor Miller and his book: Aerosol Kingdom! 

Day 1: Discussion, Q&A, Panel and Book Signing. Ivor Miller moderated a panel featuring: LEE, DAZE, DURO, FUTURA, PHASE TOO, VULCAN and LADY PINK.

Day 2: Slide presentations from Schmidlapp, VULCAN, and Charlie Ahearn.. 



Back Cover



Contacting Ivor Millertop

Research Fellow
African Studies Center
Boston University
Boston, MA


Contacting AfroCubaWeb

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