York Town Square

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York County graffiti artists today, masters worthy of study tomorrow


William Wagner captures York’s Centre Square market in 1830.

The York Daily Record’s story on legal graffiti writers offers insight into the world of unconventional artists.
The Writer’s Block program at Crossroads Youth Center in Red Lion gives graffiti artists the opportunity to come off the streets and into the mainstream art world.
Many artists might not think much of these street writers’ work.
But one wonders what their 19-century contemporaries thought of noted artist William Wagner’s and Lewis Miller’s work. Their drawings were not exactly pleasing to the eye either… .

Today, Wagner and Miller (sample of his work leads off Civil War video at ydr.com/history) make York one of the most highly depicted American communities of the early-19th century.
Miller, a carpenter, drew people and events. Wagner drew architecture. Wagner went on to engrave 50 state, municipal and organizational seals. (A book of his work “Views In The Borough of York & Vicinity” is available at www.yorkheritage.org.)
Even if their aethestics are lacking, the accuracy of both has been touted and studied.
Perhaps, too, will be the work of these graffiti artists, which might give clues to the life and minds of young people in the early 21st century.
Photo courtesy of York County Heritage Trust