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«LEGACY*»: Who and why published a book about Ukrainian graffiti

«Legacy*» is a photo book with three hundred works by Ukrainian graffiti artists created during 2018—2019. The book came out in March.

Boris Bios is the publisher of the book and a Ukrainian graffiti writer, and he told DTF Magazine why it is important and why it only covers graffiti that has been done in recent years

«Even though the Internet remembers everything you put in there, no one is going to leaf through it and look up what went on there before. And the book is a fact of what was in the past and what is now. We wanted to cement the existence of a strong, diverse and sufficiently active graffiti scene for new generations», Boris explains.

Boris (we told you more about him here) teamed up with designer Zhenya Ayokid to work on the project. The title of the book, «Legacy*», refers to the brand of the same name founded by Boris.

The book contains about 300 works by more than 100 Ukrainian graffiti writers. The authors of the book did not expect such a number: they wanted to make 50 spreads initially, but got about 3,500 photos in the end.

The idea for the book originated in the summer of 2019. According to Boris, a record number of graffiti festivals took place in Ukraine, including not the most typical cities such as Sumy, Lutsk and Cherkasy.

«I also noticed in my store that young kids were coming in more often for graffiti products, sometimes it was children with their moms, and I saw on Telegram chats that there was a lot of life going on in the yards and schools. In addition, there was a new wave of activity on the Internet from different writers, both young and adults. All of that literally led me to the conclusion that graffiti got a new round of development and it is time to consolidate what has been done before. So I decided to create a book»

All works in «Legacy*» are dated 2018—2019. Bios considers it a period of graffiti revival in Ukraine. «The new wave of graffiti and its return can be imagined as something big, which consists of many small facts such as “visa-free regime” and murals in Kyiv and all over Ukraine. And it took time to assimilate and shape it all», Boris says.

According to him, the Ukrainian graffiti scene was actively developing until 2014 due to the stable economic situation in the country and the low price of paint. But the situation has changed due to rising prices: graffiti is no longer a priority for many writers.

«Graffiti stopped being a priority for many people when paint became three times more expensive, when wages remained the same but got a completely different value and there was a need for an “or-or” choice. Some put it aside for a long time, some started painting once every couple of months, and some stopped doing it altogether», Bios recalls.

He adds that statements about the disappearance of Ukrainian graffiti in 2014—2018 may seem like an exaggeration, «but in fact it was. We lost a lot of people from the culture, although, on the other hand, we can say that there was a process of its natural filtering».

Now a new generation of graffiti has grown up and lives quietly in a reality where paint costs 142 hryvnia and not 42 as it used to, Bios is convinced. And some people did not stop and continued painting in 2014 and they optimized their lives even earlier.

Boris Bios and his partner in Legacy, designer Zhenya Ayokid, spent two months gathering material.

«It was very difficult to collect material, we had to call some people personally, asking, reminding, explaining the concept of the book and almost promising that it would be cool and not some sh*t», Bios recalls.

You can buy the album on the Legacy website.

Design partner —
Development — Mixis