Piece By Piece – San Francisco Graffiti Culture

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Piece By Piece documents San Francisco’s graffiti culture from the early 1980s to 2004. It is narrated by San Francisco graffiti artist Senor One, better known as Renos. The San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Cheryl Eddy singled the film out as the highlight of the 2006 Hi/Lo film festival, calling it “an educational experience” and “a thoughtful document”. In a full review for that same paper, Johnny Ray Huston said it was “a thorough history that still makes time … for abstract, lyrical flowing passages”. Huston complained that sections such as those featuring Tie One or Reminisce could make movies in themselves, and wished to see more detailing of artists’ entries into the legitimate art world. He concluded that the film and director “succeeded at a mighty task” and were interested in displaying “a deep but entertaining understanding of the city as both a historical site and a nexus for contemporary change”. Rory L. Aronsky in Film Threat wrote that the documentary “gets this graffiti culture completely right” while for Dennis Harvey in Variety it was “an excellent overview of two decades’ graffiti in San Francisco”.

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