Street Art Goes Global
Award winning photographer Lee Bofkin has taken and collected over 50,000 photographs of Street Art in over 20 countries. Him and partner Daniel Morris have created and are preparing to launch a fantastic new website called Global Street Art. Until the site is complete, they are releasing daily examples of what is to become a massive online archive of the world’s most creative graffiti, wall murals, and other inspiring underground artwork at http://globalstreetart.com/.
My Project started when I was b-boying (break dancing) for the UK years ago- I used to travel internationally for b-boy competitions. I started taking photos of the graffiti near me- theirs was often a lot near the jams where I was dancing. A number of my b-boy friends were graffiti writers too and it’s easy to appreciate one element of hip-hop when you’re engrossed in another!
I was also a scientist. My doctorate is in an obscure combination of math and evolution. When I finished that, I made the mistake of working in finance for a few years. I kept taking pictures when I was traveling and I started applying my science background to the photo archive. I wanted to create the best classified street art and graffiti database ever…”
In the long term I want to build a permanent museum dedicated to street art and graffiti. Although there are major differences between street art and graffiti cultures, they disappear quickly in the real world and both are worth preserving!
Lee and Dan say their current archive of 60,000 photos is just the beginning. Once established they plan on inviting other artists and working with them to classify their collections and add them to the Global Street Art database. Instead of being just another online photo gallery, Lee wants to articulate an intricate classification system similar to that of other modern art disciplines.
Every photo we have is classified in over 10 different ways, including the artist, the technique, country/city, surface and content. There are about 100 categories for the characters (ranging from animals like monkeys to cultural themes like smoking and drugs). You can see a lot by combining categories like looking only at stencils in Argentina or stickers in Philadelphia. Its a lot of fun – I have about 15 different smoking monkeys.
Only a few weeks online and the early offerings already look fantastic. I asked Lee why street art is such good fodder for photography, he said: “I think it’s worth preserving. Photography is the permanent record of graffiti and street art!” Well said Lee, Good luck to you and Dan. We look forward to following the progress of Global Street Art. Follow them on twitter (@streetartglobal), like them on facebook, or bookmark their site here.