You know I have been a fan of your photography for some time now. How did your passion for street art photography develop?
Thank you, Sian. I love photography because it’s instant gratification and quickly quenches my need to create art. I’ve been photographing street art in NYC for the last four years and it’s turned into one of the great loves of my life. I’ll never forget the first piece that stopped me dead in my tracks. I was tooling around in Soho one evening and out of the blue, I noticed an incredible sight in an alcove, Dain’s red circle dripping around a white-lashed eye. It was ripped, wrinkled, dirty, and love at first sight. In that moment I saw the city with new eyes and never looked back.
Your photography captures the beautiful destruction of the urban graffitied streets of New York. You capture small details within pieces that may go unnoticed. Can you please tell me more about your mindful creative process?
Thank you! Art on the streets tells the secrets and truths of today’s society. It’s fueled by emotions as the work represents anarchic inspiration, music, poetry, politics and religion. Everything we love and hate is represented on our streets: random thoughts, hopes and dreams, fear, love and hate, fame, chaos and rage. It’s funny and sad, brilliant and dumb, and beautiful and ugly just like our lives.
NYC street art provides an amazing cast of characters. My Instagram gallery includes interpretations of icons David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Andy Warhol, John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe along with politicians, actors, models, superheroes, beloved comic/storybook favorites and porn stars. The list is never ending.
Although I appreciate every aspect of street art, I’m naturally drawn toward obscure and chaotic images. I have a knack for seeing things most others don’t notice and isolate what I feel is the most interesting part of the piece whether it’s a large mural or a tiny sticker. This method also applies to vandalized street signs and ripped up advertisements.
The temporary nature of street art breaks my heart because I know it won’t last. The element of decay fascinates me and plays a major role in my photography. It’s like watching a person age and slowly fade away with their multitudes of layers peeking through as time passes by. I’m compelled to go back to see them again and again, until they eventually vanish or morph into something entirely new. Each time, I take another photo to document the evolution of the piece and the chronological aging process of the image.
Do you go graffiti hunting on a daily basis? Are your discoveries meditated or do you just randomly find the pieces you photograph? How does it feel when you discover a new piece for the first time?
My eyes always make me camera ready but I’m also a methodical weekend hunter. I like to start my jaunts at dawn while the city is still quiet. I love the morning light and watching the city slowly wake up. I pick a neighbourhood and start walking. It’s a precious and cathartic process. When I find a new piece I’m filled with satisfaction and thrilled to add it to my collection.
Do you have any street art muses? Do you find yourself photographing one artist’s work more than others?
Right now I’m obsessed with @janzwork His unique vision drives him to manipulate advertisements on the streets by creating stunning new images and meaningful messages of his hopes to save our world. His work is outstanding.
@whatwillyouleavebehind is one of the most interesting artists I’ve ever encountered and he’s also an amazing human being. I commissioned a large piece from him last year and it’s out of sight…based on symbols of my life so far. His work on the streets is so detailed and refined as he typically pastes hand cut collages in lieu of prints.
What artists seem to inspire your work the most?
Too many to list! All street artists are my heroes as they have talent, courage, and take huge risks to share their messages and beliefs with the world. Every piece on the streets adds an extra layer of visual and mental stimuli. I’m quite fond of D7606, Sacsix, Dee Dee Was Here, Russell King, Drsc0, Phoebe New York, Elsol, and Boris Bernard
Do you have one photo that you took that stands out in your mind as a favorite that you continue to share?
I don’t typically duplicate the same exact images on Instagram, however, I do have several series of work showing the ever changing decay/morphing process: Curtis Kulig’s “Love Me” stickers, Dylan Egan’s “Quanah” at long lost 190 Bowery, and Emerson Cooper’s”Unknown Soldier” to name a few.
Curtis Kulig “Love Me” Stickers
Dylan Egan’s “Quanah” at 190 Bowery
Emerson Cooper’s “Unknown Soldier” Series