In the beginning was the tag, or at least that’s what history tells us. Since its origins and up until now, despite the passing of time and the updates that occur within graffiti, writing your name continues to be the foundation of the pyramid.
Perhaps for that reason it surprises us to discover a particular and distinct way of writing within the tagging discipline of graffiti, that comes from a specific geographical area and possesses its own characteristics, much like in the case of the “pixaçaos” of Brazil.
On this occasion, the compass takes us all the way to Monterrey, Mexico, to what writers there have given the name “apañes” and “ganchos”.
Both of them appeared in the 90s through groups like Fox Power, Críticos de la Colonia, and Wolf in the Night, to name a few. Los “apañes” are territorial meter long tags of an angular and aggressive nature. “Ganchos” are tags done in one color line work, with two or three stylized letters that can be as big as 1-1.6 meters long. One of its ends usually has an arrow, “harpoon”, or hook (hence the name).
Both are a refection of graffiti in Monterrey and of the battles and alliances amongst writers and crews. Visually, they are chaotic and it’s difficult to decode them, especially when several of them are overlapping in the same space. In groupings they make the walls of the city look extreme and to the expert eye they can almost feel violent, but for the writer community they still function as a way of staying up in their city.
Thanks to the Callegenera Festival organization and to the book, “Trazos en el concreto” Conarte.