All posts tagged: Ghost

Happy New Year 2015 – BSA Readers Choice Top 10

Happy New Year 2015 – BSA Readers Choice Top 10

Happy New Year to All! Thank you for inspiring us to do our best and to those of you who continue to support our personal art project / cultural examination, we extend our gratitude more than ever.

BSA-READERS-CHOICE-TOP-10

Begun as an enthusiastic discovery of what was happening in a few neighborhoods in New York, we continued to expand our view into more cities around the world last year and into the history and future of the scene. We also aimed to provide you with a critical platform for examination of the street art/ graffiti / public art/ contemporary art continuum with interviews with artists, curators, collectors, organizers, observers and thinkers in the street, studio, gallery, and museum – trouble makers and taste makers alike.

In the end, it’s your observations and the conversations on the street that are most important. As we begin the year with over 300K fans, friends, and followers on social media platforms and 225 articles on the Huffington Post (thanks HuffPost team!), we feel like we get a valuable good survey of current opinions heading our way daily.

With in-depth interviews, investigative articles, opinion infused examinations, plain celebratory reverie, occasionally silly non-sequitors, and public appearances where we get to meet you, we get a good analytical look at an ever-evolving movement, glittery polish and warts and all.

As the new year begins we take a look back at the top stories chosen by BSA Readers in the last 12 months. Among them are two takeover pop-up shows in soon-to-be demolished buildings, a story about commercial abuse of artist copyrights and the effort to fight back, a street art community’s response to the sudden death of an activist street artist, a Street Art tourist trip, and a few inspirational women, men, and Mexican muralists.  Even though we published at least once a day for the last 365 days, these are the most popular pieces, as chosen by you, Dear BSA Reader.

10. Exploring Lisbon as a Street Art Tourist

brooklyn-street-art-os-gemeos-blu-stephen-kelley-lisbon-04-14-web-4

Os Gemeos / Blu (photo © Stephen Kelley)

9. Kara Walker and Her Sugar Sphinx at the Old Domino Factory

brooklyn-street-art-kara-walker-jaime-rojo-creative-time-domino-sugar-05-14-web-9

Kara Walker. The artist portrait in profile with her sugary sphinx in the background. (photo via iPhone © Jaime Rojo)

8. Women Rock Wynwood Walls at Miami Art Basel 2013

brooklyn-street-art-fafi-martha-cooper-wynwood-walls-2013-miami-web-2

Fafi (photo © Martha Cooper for Wynwood Walls)

7. A Sudden Secret Street Art House Party in Manhattan

brooklyn-street-art-icy-sot-jaime-rojo-01-10-14-web-4

Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

6. Niels Shoe Meulman Balancing “Unearthly” Paintings

brooklyn-street-art-niels-shoe-meulman-brock-brake-white-walls-gallery-web-2

Niels “Shoe” Meulman. Process shot. (photo © Adele Renault)

5. It’s All the Rage, Street Artists Filing Lawsuits Left and Right

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-msk-copyright-cavelli-graffiti-artists-revok-reyes-steel-suing-roberto-cavalli-for-copyright-infringement-01-960x640

4. Shok-1 Street Art X-Rays Reveal a Unique Hand at the Can

brooklyn-street-art-shok1-jaime-rojo-03-14-web-1

Shok-1 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

3. 12 Mexican Street Artists Stray Far from Muralism Tradition In NYC

brooklyn-street-art-sego-jaime-rojo-dorian-grey-gallery-05-14-web-9

Sego (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2. Army Of One, Inspiration To Many : Jef Campion

brooklyn-street-art-army-of-one-jc2-jaime-rojo-01-14-web-3

Army Of One AKA JC2 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1. Graffiti and Street Art Lock Up “21st Precinct” in New York

brooklyn-street-art-pixote-jaime-rojo-08-14-web

Pixote in action. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA
 
Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA
 
Please follow and like us:
Read more
Graffiti and Street Art Lock Up “21st Precinct” in New York

Graffiti and Street Art Lock Up “21st Precinct” in New York

This weekend the NYPD police precinct is hosting a graffiti and street art show, and the public is welcome to see every floor completely swimming in aerosol and plastered in wheat-paste.

Admit it, it is not often you receive an invite like that.

brooklyn-street-art-pesu-pixote-bill-claps-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Pesu (center), Pixote (left) and Bill Claps Morse code writing the history of the building on the walls. (right) (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When this precinct was built it was a very bad, very poor neighborhood. When the cops came in there was a lot of brutality and there was a lot of corruption,” says curator Robert Aloia of this building architected for the NYPD in 1863 and closed down fifty years later. A quick search on the web shows a history of thuggery born of Dickens. Records at the time of closure indicated there were 9,500 arrests annually and this tiny slice of Manhattan alone had 37 brothels.

So why not have a graffiti show here before tearing it down, right?.

brooklyn-street-art-Saviorelmundo-ben-angotti-depor-esteban-del-valle-chris-dorian-jaime-rojo-08-14-web-2

Savior, El Mundo, Ben Angotti, Depoe, Esteban Del Valle and Chris Soria. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: So you literally could hit every wall here and it wouldn’t matter because it is coming down at the end of the month?
Robert Aloia: Yeah the inside walls. The outside walls they don’t want us to touch.

In a twist of events pulled from a satire, one of the artists on display this weekend was arrested this month in Brooklyn and spent the night in jail before seeing a judge. The following day he came to this precinct and hit up some walls with impunity.

brooklyn-street-art-Saviorelmundo-ben-angotti-depor-esteban-del-valle-chris-dorian-jaime-rojo-08-14-web-1

Savior, El Mundo, Ben Angotti, Depoe, Esteban Del Valle and Chris Soria. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“It’s just amazing that these artists can put their time, their money, and their talent into something that is just coming down,” says Aloia while touring us through rooms and stairways during one of the four visits we made for these exclusive first images, “ and it is only going to be seen for a certain amount of time.”

Hellbent has his own room. So does Rambo. Cash4 and Matt Siren are sharing one together, as are Sheryo and the Yok. Elle spent an entire night in hers watching her black wax sculpture melting away with the candles she planted in it. An unconfirmed story says it is a sculpture cast of the elusive Judith Supine.

“She painted it black, melted it and filmed it,” says Aloia.

brooklyn-street-art-faust-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-2brooklyn-street-art-faust-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-1

Faust (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you thought of the irony behind the fact that this is a former police precinct and many of the artists would have been running away from this place instead of trying to get into it?
Robert Aloia: That is true, I didn’t think of that aspect of it really, but the gallery area was the actual holding cell.

Brooklyn Street Art: So how did you draw these people together?
Robert Aloia: Every show I’ve done I start with my friends, and then it’s friends of friends, and that’s it. It’s just about one degree of separation.

In the last three years the New York native has curated a number of shows heavily weighted with graffiti artists and Street Artists, primarily on Manhattan’s Lower East Side at bars, event spaces, and venues with downtown history like Fuse, White Box, and La Mama.

brooklyn-street-art-vexta-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-1

Vexta (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A bartender and DJ who has mixed with a lot of New York nightlife and street life without becoming hardened, Aloia and co-curators like Erik Foss and Ricky Powell have been doing sometimes star-studded yet unassuming one-off shows the past few years with Street Art names like Bast, Supine, and Aiko and some of the newer kids like N’DA and Icy & Sot.

“I am from New York and I always knew a lot of graffiti artists, that’s how I ended up getting into it. I was just lucky enough to have access to some venues to do stuff.”

Brooklyn born, Aloia’s been on the LES since the 80s, which explains his devotion to the memory of “outlaw parties” where people would set up an illegal bar and a pumping sound system in improvised celebrations at unsanctioned locations. Outlaw parties and pop-up speakeasies still exist of course, but more often they are in Brooklyn now as Manhattan is shoving artists out by the truckload.

brooklyn-street-art-vexta-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-2

Vexta (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For “21st Precinct” he’s called in nearly 50 artists from as far away as Japan, Australia, California, and nearby New Jersey. The mix of artists is eclectic and sometimes quite powerful like the tribute to SAMO (Basquiat) in the gallery by his co-conspirator Al Diaz, and the dark room built by Swedish photographer Jesper Haynes which features images from the downtown New York in the Reagan era.

“I definitely always have a mix with fine art, photography, installation, but you know I always have old-school graffiti artists and street artists,” he says as he looks over the four floors of thickly gritty splendor by renowned and unknown.

For those lucky enough to see the show in this venue this weekend or next, “21st Precinct” is a quintessential New York minute, a steamy grimy melting pot of authentic attitude that begs to differ and perhaps stick a finger in your chest just before the wrecking ball hits. Thank Aloia while you’re there. Not surprisingly, the new building that replaces this one will be for…..wait for it…. luxury residences.

brooklyn-street-art-Jesper-Haynes-jaime-rojo-08-14-web-1brooklyn-street-art-Jesper-Haynes-jaime-rojo-08-14-web-2

Jesper Haynes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-ket-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-1brooklyn-street-art-ket-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-2

KET (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-n-carlos-j-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-1

N Carlos J (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-li-hill-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-1

Li-Hill (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-li-hill-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-2

Li-Hill (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-rambo-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-2

Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-rambo-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-1

Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-ur-new-york-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-2

URNew Yrok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-rae-jaime-rojo-08-14-web-1

Rae (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-shiro-jaime-rojo-08-14-web

Shiro (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-bunnym-jaime-rojo-08-14-web

bunny M (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-ASVP-jaime-rojo-08-14-web

ASVP (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-chris-rwk-ur-new-york-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Chris RWK (center) URNew York (left) ASVP (right). (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-nepo-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

NEPO (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-mr-toll-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Mr. Toll (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-never-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Never (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-matt-siren-ufo-cash4-jaime-rojo-08-14-web-2

Matt Siren . Cash4 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-al-diaz-samo-jaime-rojo-08-14-web

Al Diaz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-amanda-marie-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Amanda Marie (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-Nick-Tengri-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Nick Tengri (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-joseph-meloy-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Joseph Meloy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-hellbent-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Hellbent (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-bishop203-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Bishop203 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-the-yok-sheryo-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web-1

The Yok and Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-iena-cruz-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Iena Cruz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-xox-jaime-rojo-08-14-web-4

X-O (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-pixote-jaime-rojo-08-14-web

Pixote in action. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-justin-carty-jaime-rojo-08-14-web-1

Justin Carty (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-curb-your-ego-jaime-rojo-21-precinct-08-14-web

Curb Your Ego (photo © Jaime Rojo)

************************

OUTLAW ARTS Presents: “The 21st Precinct”
Curated by Robert Aloia & VNA Mag

The show will be in the old 21st Precinct located on 327 East 22nd Street. More information HERE.

Contributing Artists:

Adam Dare, Al Diaz, Amanda Marie, ASVP, Bad Pedestrian, Ben Angotti , Bill Claps, Bishop203, Bunny M., Cash4, Chris RWK, Chris Soria, Coby Kennedy, Curtis Kulig, D. Gaja, Danielle Mastrion, Dasic, Dizmology, Duel, ELLE, Erasmo, Esteban del Valle, Faust, Ghost, GIZ, Hellbent, Hue, Icy & Sot, Iena Cruz, Jesper Haynes, Justin Carty, Ket, Lexi Bella, Li-Hall, Lorenzo Masnah, Matt Siren, Mr. Toll, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Nick Tengri, Pesu, Phil, Pixote, RAE, Rambo, Ricardo Cabret, SAE, Savior Elmundo, Shery-o & The Yok, Shiro, Tone Tank, URNY, Vexta, X-O.

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA
 
Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more

BOO! Monstrous BSA Halloween Photo Essay

Happy Halloween to all you good boys and ghouls lurking behind heavy closed doors with frogs in your pockets and bats in your hair. Do you dare venture out this All Hallows Eve? What will you see tonight in the cold black air?

“What beckoning ghost along the moonlight shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?”

Alexander Pope: To the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady
 

We know that BSA fans dig Halloween more than many holidays. Almost more than your birthday, but not quite, but almost. From his year round collecting of images, here’s a monstrous 39 photo essay from photographer Jaime Rojo of werewolves and vixens and frankenfreaks and zombies and ghosts just for you today.

Judith Supine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

D*Face (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Skullphone (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dust Lust (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sweet Toof (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kid Zoom (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ghost (photo © Jaime Rojo)

General Howe (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tristan Eaton (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steiner (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ludo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Charm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cfer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

WK Interact (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jennier Catron and Paul Outlaw (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled from a David Barton Ad (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Royce Bannon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lichiban  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ms. Klu (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cake (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kid Zoom (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Krisna (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Flower Face Killa (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Miss Bugs (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mark Jenkins (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kriest (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Casper (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Haculla (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:
Read more

The Simple Street Art Stencil: Cut To the Truth

“All I want is the truth. Just give me some truth” – John Lennon

John Lennon, a guy who lived in the eye of a hurricane of hype for a major portion of his adult life once screamed at the top of his lungs for something called truth. At a time when we are condescendingly shouted at to give up our previous conceptions of personal privacy for security and cookies, naked air travelers and torture victims and spillcams and spreadsheets and state secrets are now streaming live via the world wide buffet and everybody is seeing more truth than they were ready for.

Amidst the data storm, something about the simple, uncluttered straight-forward real deal is straight-up appealing. Maybe that is why the one layer stencil, however ornate it can be sometimes, is an enduring favorite of street art fans and artists. Effective visual communication doesn’t have to be fussy, filigreed, or high-falutin’, and some would argue that it takes real courage to let one stencil do the simple truth-telling.

brooklyn-street-art-c215-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

C215 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-care-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Care (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-$howta-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

$howta (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-carry-on-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Nothing To See Here Sir Carry On (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-bishop-203-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Bishop 203 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-american-family-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

American Family With Red Son (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-ghost-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

The Ghost of tax cuts past. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-gilf-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

GILF does Betty White? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-joe--crest-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Joe Franquinha Peace and Sport (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-silver-silouette-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Silver Ghost (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-olympia-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Um, nice socks.  Olympia (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-sunset-boulevard-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Look who’s on the TeeVee. Sunset Boulevard (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-skull-rabit-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Poison Rabbit (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-three-cats-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Walt Whiskers Alley Cats (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-tree-of-life-jaime-rojo-12-10-web

Reading under the learning T. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death in NYC… We love you John and Yoko.

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Martha Cooper’s Influence: Inspiration, Imitation, and Flattery

Martha Cooper’s Influence: Inspiration, Imitation, and Flattery

For the silly folks who consider themselves ordained to be critics, the prodigious street art scene in New York just bubbles with possibilities.

One of the favorite criticisms of a street artists’ piece today is its’ lack of originality, whether because it closely resembles the style of anothers’ work already on the street, or because it seems like an outright appropriation.  Imitation is not always interpreted as flattery.

It’s a fine line to tread for any creative person – dancer, singer, fashion designer, or stencil artist – when they decide to “pay homage” to the work of another, or merely to love it so much that is serves as an “influence”.   One recent discovery on the street by New York street art photographer Jaime Rojo included this wheat-paste of a pretty famous image from the New York photographer, Diane Arbus, smacked onto a bed of tropical flowers by Shin Shin:

Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, New York City (1962), by Diane Arbus. On the right

Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, New York City (1962), by Diane Arbus. On the right street artist JC2 colors the grenade red. (photo Jaime Rojo)

A quick search of the Arbus image reveals that it has served as inspiration for other street artists here,  and here, and here, and here, and even in Spokane!  Diane Arbus passed away in 1971 and this is one of her images that has passed through the years into the popular conscience.  A case could be made that the image somehow belongs to the people to do with it as they wish, invoking new meanings or recall old ones.  Maybe.  Ask Che Guevara.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-WEB-copyright-jazirock-Martha-Cooper

Ready for Anything! Martha Cooper as shot by Jazi Rock

Martha Cooper has been taking pictures for more than fifty years. Yes, you read it right. With a continuously curious mind and sharp eye, Martha Cooper takes photos wherever she goes (including  Japan, Afghanistan, Guatemala and Surinam, to name a few), and it is a rare day you will see her without her camera draped around her neck.

Well known in the New York City graffiti and Street Art scene, she’s seen her images in National Geographic, Smithsonian and Natural History Magazines as well as several dozen books and journals.  Her photographs of New York’s streets and people are also burned into the minds of thousands; particularly the minds of young artists worldwide who examined their own creative skills after laying their eyes on “Subway Art”, the book she and Henry Chalfant published a quarter century ago.  Many have since used Martha’s work as inspiration for their own.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Dondi-by-Martha-Cooper-and-Grotesk

Cooper’s now iconic image of graffiti writer Dondi was the inspiration for the work by Grotesk on the right.

Ms. Cooper is no diva, but she is direct. Well traveled and warm, she smiles and laughs easily when talking with most people, and when the subject is photography, she easily shares her knowledge and opinion with you. In the past few years, a number of artists have been inspired by her work, and while humble, she is proud of the ongoing influence it has had.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-WEB-Easy173-does-Dondi-by-Martha-Cooper

Easy173 did a mural (left) based on her photo of Dondi (right) (photos Martha Cooper)

Brooklyn Street Art: How do you feel when your work is appropriated and re-purposed by another artist?

Martha Cooper: I’m flattered the artists are actually looking at my work and liking it well enough to create something new based on it.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Martha-Cooper-Fire-hydrant-Nazza-LP

This image from “Street Play” by Martha was reinterpreted by Nazza on an LP vinyl. (photo Martha Cooper)

 

Street artist Chris Stain credits the photography of Ms. Cooper for shaping his own view of art and culture, and her impact can not be overestimated in his view.  He has poured over the pages of her books for years and internalized the imagery as well as the messages they convey about urban culture, the hip hop movement, and people.

“Martha’s influence on my work began back in 1984 when I first stole a copy of ‘Subway Art’. Graffiti hadn’t been documented so intimately (except by writers) in my opinion up until this point. I sat for hours day after day studying the photos, turning the book sideways and upside down trying to come up with my own styles.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Chris-Stain-incorporates-Martha-Cooper

“Urban Harmony” (upper right) by Chris Stain incorporates 3 of Martha Coopers images into one of his pieces (2 shown here)


 

 

Had it not been for her initial documentation I don’t think graffiti or hip hop would be the world wide phenomenon it is today. With the release of ‘Hip Hop Files’ a few years ago I got more of an insight into her photo journalistic work; Once again she was capturing the essence of the birth of a movement.

When I look at those photos today at 37 I feel like I’m 11 years old again.  I am met with the same excitement as when I first witnessed them. But more importantly I have the same hope that people can build their dreams out of seemingly nothing.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Chris-Stain-Amsrock-Copyright-Martha-Cooper

Chris Stain and Armsrock pose for Martha Cooper in front of some of Chris’s work that was influenced by Martha’s photographs. (photo © Martha Cooper)

 

 

 

I came across ‘Street Play’ and immediately connected with the photographs of kids playing in their neighborhoods. This time I contacted Martha and asked permission to work from some of the pictures. She kindly obliged. Since then I have worked from a number of her photographs.

Her work speaks to me directly not only because she is from Baltimore but because she goes to the “heart” of the matter.  Whether its Dondi hanging on and painting in-between subway cars, Ken Swift floor rockin’ at Common Ground, or a child holding his pigeon to the sky on a rooftop, Martha’s work is undeniably not only the most prolific but some of the most important documentation of organic cultures and city life to have grown out of New York and America as a whole.” – Chris Stain

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Martha-Cooper-and-Burning-Candy

“Among the artists who have ‘re-interpreted’ my photos include the Burning Candy Crew in London.  Henry Chalfant and I were recently there for the London release of ‘Subway Art’ at Black Rat Gallery and Burning Candy painted a lot of canvases from Subway Art.”

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Train-Writers-SweetToof-and-the-original-Martha-Cooper

Whistling while they work, these goulish Sweet Toof train writers influenced by photos by Martha Cooper in “Subway Art”

Brooklyn Street Art: Did you think that eventually your work would be influential to a generation of artists and photographers?

Martha Cooper: Not at all. I would say that my work is pretty much unknown to artists and photographers of my own generation so it’s especially gratifying to connect with younger artists and photogs.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Martha-Cooper-Boy-Armsrock-Grenade-Jaime-Rojo

An image by Martha Cooper on the left was interpreted in a large mural street artist Armsrock did with Chris Stain in Brooklyn at the end of July. Says Martha, “I took that photo on the Lower East Side (of Manhattan) in 1978. Don’t know who the boy is or anything more about his drawing. The photo is part of a series published in my book ‘Street Play’.” (photo on right by Jaime Rojo)

 

see a video of the mural above being created here

Brooklyn Street Art: What’s your impression of the current state of street art in New York?
Martha Cooper: Well I’m definitely not an expert or any kind of art historian so I can’t give you a definitive evaluation. However  I love walking around and being surprised by all the fresh stuff going up all over the place. If it weren’t for street art, NYC would be turning into a bland and boring city.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Defiant Youth-Martha-Cooper-and-Shepard-Fairey

“Shepard Fairey has also worked with two of the images from ‘Street Play’, says Martha. Fairey selected five of the troops from this group of toughs when creating this poster called “Defiant Youth” this year. (photo Martha Cooper, poster Shepard Fairey)

 

Brooklyn Street Art: Why aren’t there more female street artists?
Martha Cooper: I have no idea. I wish there were more. I’m working on another little sticker book, this one about the smaller name badges. I couldn’t find even one active “Hello My Name Is” female stickerer. Do you know any?

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Cooper-Fairey-Skateboard

Shepard Fairey only slightly changed this image of kids jumping off a fire escape onto a pile of mattresses when he converted it into a stencil. This spring and summer a version of the image was made by Obey’s clothing line into skateboards, caps, t-shirts, and bags along with others of Martha’s “Street Play” photos.  (photo on left Martha Cooper)

Brooklyn Street Art: When you hit the street, camera in hand, do you consider yourself more of a photo-journalist, or an artist?
Martha Cooper: Neither–an ethnographer.

Brooklyn Street Art: Do you have a word of advice to a street art photographer starting today in New York?
Martha Cooper: Back-up!

– Good advice from a person who has catalogued perhaps hundreds of thousands of images of graffiti and street art over the last 30 years. We continued our dialogue about the use of Martha’s images over the years, and she added this clarification, I’m pretty much a purist when it comes to my own photography. I absolutely hate when designers want to mess with my photos. I want my photos to be used as I took them. However, when an artist wants to take one of my photos and turn it into a completely different piece of art, I don’t mind at all.

To paraphrase Martha and the critics, the guidance one would offer to a street artist (and any artist) is “Be original”.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Special thanks to Jazi Rock, who at 12 years old “was infected by the graffiti bug when he saw Martha Cooper’s infamous book circulate around his neighborhood” of Baltimore.  See more at his website.

Photo of Martha above by JaziRock – his website JaziRock.com is HERE

 

See Martha Cooper this weekend with her newest book "Going Postal"

See Martha Cooper this weekend with her newest book “Going Postal”

 

Martha Cooper will be at the MBP Urban Arts Festival this Saturday October 3rd in Bushwick Brooklyn. A multitude of street artists, musical acts, skaters, vendors, and live painting events will be there. You can learn more about the festival HERE.

<><><><><>><><><<<>><><

The day before that on October 2nd, Martha Cooper will be at The New York Art Book Fair.  Stop by the SCB booth (Z-01).

Friday, Oct 2nd
2pm – 4pm: Daze, Ghost and Papermonster (with dirtypilot.com online gallery)
4pm-6pm: Martha Cooper (photojournalist/NY graffiti scene documentarian), author of Tag Town, Hip Hop Files, and Street Play

Saturday, Oct 3rd
11am – 1pm: Alain “KET” Maridueña (hip hop artist/activist)
2pm – 4pm: Ron English (contemporary pop artist)

You can learn more about the Book Fair HERE.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Read Martha Cooper’s Blog on Juxtapoz

Read Martha Cooper on 120z.Prophet

“Subway Art” 25th Anniversary Edition

Please follow and like us:
Read more