From its beginnings on the streets as rebellious communication to its acceptance in private collections and galleries to its influence on marketing and consumerism, graffiti as a style, as an influence, and as an art form cannot be denied. Documented forms of graffiti date back to ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Then as now, it was a form of communication and illegal. The modern form of graffiti made its way to New York City in the late 1960s and exploded on subway trains and buildings. Urban youth, from all racial and economic groups, used metal and brick as their canvases, tagging stylized versions of their names or their group names. Style wars escalated with calligraphic feats growing from plain lettering to unique scripts and styles, followed by scale wars as writers tried to out do each other by painting subway cars from top to bottom and large murals on buildings. Competition created increasingly intricate lettering: block letters, leaning letters and bubble letters were the earliest forms and the foundation of many styles. Soon twisted lines, curls, arrows, and maze like constructions adorned letters; these additions became increasingly complex, and the basis for wild style lettering. As the transit authority made access increasingly difficult and with the rise of guns and drug trafficking, graffiti street culture changed. Eventually, writers began looking for other opportunities and began painting on paper and canvas, attracting the attention of the art world.
From Gutter to Gallery explores the styles of a new generation of writers and artists: Cynic, Sone 2, Slow, Typoe, Enve, This, Deps, BlackBooks, and Cliffton Chandler. Co-curator and writer Cynic shares an inherent love of calligraphy and reveals the intricacies, influences, and undercurrents of graffiti culture.
Photographs by John Sluder, Casey Decotis and James and Karla Murray (of the book Miami Graffiti, www.urbanimagephotography.com) will also be featured.
Co-curated by Jeff Noble aka Cynic and Jackie Borsanyi
I am preparing for a museum show in May. I met up with graffiti artists Slow and Deps to get some video and stills for the show.
Shoots with graffiti artist is very different that shooting models. I interact a great deal with models. With a model I would instruct them were to stand, how to pose. When shooting a street artist I stand in the shadows and let them work. We speak very little, they slip into their zone and I try to show them working.
I have been asked to document a wall mural being paint by the graffiti artist Slow. He just open a new store (http://www.slowinc.com/) in downtown Melbourne. I really need a place to get some new clothes, I am very fashion “stunted” to state it politely. I shot video all yesterday and will contine to shoot to day.
This is a shoot I did while watching Cynic paint a piece. He invited me to participate with his crew in a museum show that will be in May. This series is in preparation for that show.
I wanted to approach the shoot with the idea of showing the painter in the urban element. Simply snapping a few pictures of someone in front of a wall has been done. I want to show relation of the painter, wall and enviroment. The first shots I was just not feeling, there where at best I would call bland. As the sun began to set the light was fading and decided to drag out my portable strobes (Hensel Porty) to throw some more light on the wall.
With the strobes set up I started to get closer to the look I wanted, I placed the strobes close to the wall to “skip” the light off the texture of the wall. I placed a small second strobe on the ground behind the paint can crate. The allowed me to control the light and focus it on the area of interest. There is no photoshoping in the light, there is some minor tweaking done in Apple Aperture.
I have been tagging along with a local crew of graffiti artist. I accompanied Cynic to a local secret location. He was working on a quick piece and I was along to shoot the painting process. This was an interesting shoot for me. At first the images I was getting was just not hitting the mark for me. I was just not feeling I was really capturing the feeling of the moment. I wanted to capture the lone artist quickly working in this environment. When I shoot an artist I do very little interaction as to setting up a shot. I try to remove myself from their space to allow them to work naturally. I want my presences to minimally effect there work.
I was honored with a request to shoot some murals (graffiti) by a local artist Cynic. The location is no longer public accessible, so it will remain a secret. Jeff was able to secure legal permission for me to be on site to shoot some amazing work.