Two years ago, Brooklyn and Baltimore-based street artist Gaia began a mural program, called Open Walls Baltimore, that would make the city an essential part of the global discussion about mural art. While the street art world just began to take notice, writers had been working in the city for decades.

Baltimore provides the perfect storm for graffiti writers: seclusion, abandoned spaces, and cops who have bigger problems than vandalism, all which contribute to the development of the vibrant graffiti culture. Freights play an additional role, bringing monikers (people who write on trains) to the area, as well as providing a route out for Baltimore locals to escape.  Read on.