Decoding Graffiti Slang

From burning to tagging, the most commonly used words and phrases.

September 8, 2008, 8:29 PM

Sept. 12, 2008— -- Street art has its own vocabulary and graffiti is no exception. Check out the slang words below and see if you can guess what each definition is.

Bomber -- A type of graffiti writer who specializes in writing their name in as many places as possible. The aim is to gain as much notoriety as possible for one's moniker, or tag. In the early '70s, The New York Times wrote about a bomber named TAKI 183 who tagged city subways.

That guy doesn't have any style; he's just a bomber.

Tag -- The name of a graffiti writer, also known as a moniker. Tags are used to hide the artist from potential prosecution while still identifying them to others in the community.

Did you see the tag on that billboard? Who is that?

Spanish Montana, or, Montana -- A specialized brand of spray paint widely considered to be the best among artists. Though most companies tend to avoid association with graffiti writers, Spanish Montana makes easy-to-conceal cans and hoodies with hidden pouches. Montana is only offered in specialty art stores. Do you know where to find Montana?

Krylon -- Commonly used among artists, this type of spray paint can be found in the drugstore. Krylon's high-pressure can requires artists to work quickly to minimize drips.

Wow, can you believe they did all that with Krylon?

Safe Wall -- A wall where the owner has given permission for graffiti/guerrilla artists to work.

We'd better find a safe wall tonight; I'm still on probation.

Banana Narrows -- A type of spray nozzle that allows for better control and more precise lines.

Buffing -- The most common form of graffiti removal. It's often used as a punishment for guerrilla artists that have been arrested. The most common method is to simply paint over the offending graffiti.

The owner said if I buffed out my tag, he wouldn't press charges.

Burning (or Burners) -- Exceptionally well-done works of art.

With that much paint, he'd better be working on a burner.

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