LOGAN SQUARE — In recent years, Project Logan and other vibrant graffiti walls in the Logan Square area have become hot destinations for tour companies.
Now, a pair of graffiti artists who cultivated the local scene have launched their own graffiti tour in an effort to reclaim the spaces as their own.
Longtime graffiti artists BboyB ABC and Flash ABC are hosting their first-ever “Graffiti & Gears” tour noon-2 p.m. Saturday.
The bike tour will take people to different graffiti walls and murals across the Northwest Side, from Logan Square and West Town. Flash will guide the group, telling stories about the artists, the art form and the history of the local scene along the way. Tickets cost $30, and can be bought online.
“It’s actually led by people who know the culture,” BboyB said of the tour. “A lot of these tours and touring companies, they put out a call, like, ‘Hey, we’ll pay you to put on a tour.’ …. and that’s kind of what we don’t like — it’s the watering down of the culture.”
BboyB and Flash are members of one of the city’s oldest graffiti squads, Artistic Bombing Crew, or ABC, a group that started as friends hanging out at the Logan Square Monument in the early ’80s.
The two have become major players in the local street art scene, launching permission walls — walls where street art is permitted — all over the Northwest Side and across the city. About a decade ago, they launched a four-sided permission wall in Logan Square called Project Logan, which has become one of their most well-known creations, and is now in danger of being wiped out by a large apartment complex.
The pair recently launched Project Congress, a graffiti project covering the long-vacant Congress Theater, also in Logan Square.
With their own tour, BboyB and Flash hope to shine a light on the artists behind the bold public art, as well as the different techniques artists use. Tour companies can’t offer the same breadth of knowledge, they said.
“We’re going to talk about the difference between graffiti, graffiti writing, street art and murals. Everyone just calls it street art because you can see it from the street, but there’s huge nuances that make it different,” BboyB said.
If the first event is a success, the duo plan to host similar events every couple of weeks to showcase all of the rotating graffiti art in the area. Ticket proceeds will help fund the artists’ annual “Battle for the Eagle” event Aug. 8, a competition between artists, dancers and rappers. Sales will also help BboyB and Flash give the next crop of young graffiti artists a leg up.
“Every time you see a new piece, bare bones minimum you’re spending $150 on spray paint,” BboyB said. “We try to at least accommodate some of the younger cats and give them some background paint.”
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