Have you ever wondered where on earth that symbol cam from? And why am I drawing it? Is it keeping you up at night? Or just a shower thought?
Well…Swedish YouTuber, David Wangstedt spent FIVE YEARS researching to find out the origin of this weird thing us humans draw.
Yes. Five years.
He started off being just as clueless as the rest of us but his curiosity hit new levels and he kept digging until he found out that it is, in fact, not just a random piece of graffiti, but a ‘global fad’.
Wangstedt uploaded a video about it on his YouTube channel, LEMMiNO, where he discusses that people in Greece, Australia, Japan, Wisconsin, Ontario, France, South Africa and Germany all recognise the famous ‘S’.
The Swedish YouTuber goes on to say:
“Many have tried and failed where I now stand, but in my delusions of grandeur, I brushed it off as the failings of lesser men, and into the abyss I went.”
Very dramatic I must say.
He goes on to admit that he’s come across many different meanings and theories regarding the ‘S’ but none managed to get down to its true origin. Until he found that it had been associated with the US clothing brand, Stussy, that was founded in the 80s.
However, this theory fell through as he couldn’t find any evidence to suggest it was printed on clothing. Unlucky Wangstedt.
But, he didn’t give up, and went on to a theory that discusses the ‘S’ coming from the Suzuki logo. Meaning it was a simplified version of the car brand logo, and has proliferated overtime…
David went through a staggering 27,000 comments and was left with 1,215 comments that mentioned the country in which the symbol is most associated with. He filtered through the remaining comments to find some common denominators and discovered dates ranging from the 1940s through to the 2000s that had seen the symbol, which makes it an inter-generational symbol.
Once he sifted through many photos, David came across an art piece by Jean-Michel Basquiat from New York in 1982.
Basquiat described the piece as ‘The classic S of graf’ (‘graf’ being hip for graffiti).
As Wangstedt was re-reading his research, he came across a book titled ‘Mechanical Graphics’, which included an illustration featuring the universal ‘S’, even though the book was published in 1890.
So that symbol we’ve all been sketching, relays back to the 1890s!!!!
What a crazy world we live in eh?