13 from 2013 : Jessica Stewart “The Roman Nun and the Spray Can”


Happy Holidays to all you stupendous and talented and charming BSA readers! We thank you from the bottom of our socks for your support this year. The best way we can think of to celebrate and commemorate the year as we finish it is to bring you 13 FROM 2013 – Just one favorite image from a Street Art or graffiti photographer that brings a story, a remembrance, an insight or a bit of inspiration to the person who took it. For the last 13 days they will share a gem with all of us as we collectively say goodbye and thank you to ’13.

If anyone knows Rome’s Street Art scene, it is photographer Jessica Stewart, who has been capturing a side of the city not typically seen since 2008, publishing Street Art, urban decay and more from the Eternal City on her RomePhotoBlog.

With a love of Renaissance and Baroque art as a baseline her eye is trained to see lighting and angles like a painter, and in this heart of Roman Catholicism, she is familiar with the iconic. In 2013, Jessica says she knew the exact moment when she had captured just such an image with her camera.


Skeme. Rome, Italy 2013. (photo © Jessica Stewart)

The Roman Nun and the Spraycan

~Jessica Stewart

So it’s of course incredibly difficult to think of just one photo, but when it really comes down to it, this image is the one that for me was a stand out moment of 2013.  It’s one of those times that as it’s happening, you are internally jumping for joy at the fact that you’re on hand to capture it.

Plus, I really think to myself “in no place but Rome could this happen.”

I think with the whole street art and graffiti movement becoming more commercialized and organized, you can almost forget some of the original joy behind what made you get involved in the first place.  In this case, GraffDream, one of two graffiti shops in the city, was holding it’s 6th anniversary jam in May.  Skeme was in town from NYC for the occasion and already they day was special seeing him get swarmed by young Roman kids dying for an autograph.

As is the norm here, many of the wall spaces are owned by the church and in this case, the wall used for the jam was the side of a Catholic school who agreed for the usage in exchange for a lesson in graffiti for its young students.  We were getting toward the end of the day when two of the sisters came out to collect the ladders and lock up items in the school.

I’m not sure if they were just swept up in the congenial atmosphere of the day or what, but before I know it one of the sisters takes a can and starts to pretend to work on Skeme’s piece!  The look on everyone’s faces was priceless and Skeme lit up like a Christmas tree at the sight of it all.

To capture that moment was priceless and I love this shot for how happy the sister looks with her spray paint.  Only in Rome! You don’t know how many people have asked me, “Is this photo for real?”

Yes, it is, and it is a time like this that makes you fall in love with photographing all over again.


Artist: Skeme

Location: Rome, Italy. 2013




Check out our Brooklyn Street Art 2013 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo here.


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