Dithers Reid Van Renesse

Dithers Reid Van Renesse
When the explosion of graffiti writers in the early '80s were forced to give up their street-bombing ways, some found other outlets to express their artistic talents via different mediums and canvases instead of subway cars and alleys. When writers were being snatched up by NYC galleries to transfer their murals from the street to a stretched canvas, the contemporary artists spawned from hip-hop were slowly taking shape. Dithers is a compilation of 30 artists, designers and photographers that all tend to tie in with the Wild Style era, and most are current or former street writers, but they've all tapped on mediums and outlets that go beyond tagging bus shelters. This crop of unbelievably talented individuals are more graphic artists, such as the brilliant Dave Kinsey or Sam Flores, who actually decorate their public property images with characters and objects, as opposed to simply writing their name. Most of these graphic artists work in various areas of design, such as model building, animation and skate deck graphics, making for a very compelling watch, as each artist has something new to bring to the table and no one duplicates another's style. The DVD breaks each artist into their own segment, so Dithers isn't quite a documentary, which is a shame, for these documents could have easily been laced together. We should be able to witness the relationships between the artists and how their work affects one another, showing the community aspect to design. All of the special features are lumped onto a disc that has been dedicated strictly to legendary NYC photographer Ricky Powell. The Rickster arms himself with a handheld camera and attempts to interview the likes of Dalek and Revolt, often in a very sloppy manner that strays from the task at hand and to the hot female across the street. If you find Ricky's crude charm amusing, then you will surely get a kick out of these interviews, which tend to really go nowhere but are highly enjoyable from start to finish. It's probably safe to say that Dithers could have been a Style Wars for the 21st century, focusing on the new breed of hip-hop artists that are taking over the world, but it's more of a collage of segments that you pick and choose yourself. Still, the amount of talent, and drive, these cats possess simply has to be seen to be believed, and many of these artists have never been photographed at work or have had a chance to explain their pieces, so that in itself is well worth your attention. (Upper Playground, www.upperplayground.com)