New York-based author Freddy Alva grew up in the 1980s submersed in hardcore music and graffiti art. He became a regular during the CBGB Sunday matinees and befriended fellow scenester Chaka Malik and the two launched the fanzine New Breed. Working his way up the hardcore ladder, Alva started booking local DIY shows and worked at Wardance Records. Today, The Queens native is still deeply involved in the hardcore underground scene writing about it as a freelance writer and trying to preserve its history.
Alva’s latest venture is his first book – “Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore” published by DiWulf Publishing House. The 350-page book dives deep into the resolute subculture scene in which Alva fell in love with as a youth.
Filled with over 180 vibrant photos where you see bright artistic graffiti art in an empty street lot or touching tributes painted on the side of a building, and thought-provoking imagery in gritty train yards, Alva captures the beauty in which graffiti art brings to the overlooked, sometimes left behind parts of the city. In addition to these timeless works of art, Alva has taken the time to get other opinions and a behind the scenes look at the merging of street art and hardcore music by interviewing bands, “graff crews,” and other writers about this movement.
The stories and pictures capture a time gone by, more specifically the Reagan-era, but with a lackluster racist in office now, these stories, this movement, these works of art in “Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore” could have happened within the last year.