The Faith of Graffiti is a 1974 essay by American novelist and journalist Norman Mailer about New York City's graffiti artists. Mailer's essay appeared in a shorter form in Esquire and as a book with 81 photographs by Jon Naar and design by Mervyn Kurlansky. Through interviews, exploration, and analyses, the essay explored the political and artistic implications of graffiti. The essay was controversial at the time of publication because it attempts to validate graffiti as an art form by linking it with great artists of the past. Mailer, too, was criticized for using the essay as a platform for own political grievances. Faith grows out of Mailer's existential philosophy of the hip, in which a Hipster is guided by his instincts regardless of consequences or perception, and upholds graffiti as a subversive and healthy check on the status quo. Like several of his other non-fiction narratives, Mailer continues his use of new journalism: he adopts a persona, the A-I or "Aesthetic Investigator", to provide both an objective distance from the topic and to engender the text with the creative and critical eye of the novelist.
Documented by Mervyn Kurlansky and Jon Naar by Norman Mailer