There were bricks long before Banksy .... despite a worldwide echo every time a new work of his is revealed, there can be no denying that his art career began like many before him .... somewhere on a now long forgotten wall .... was it a cry for attention? Maybe? A taunt to a perceived rival? Possibly? At the time was it viewed as another piece of public vandalism ... definitely!
"Don't Forget to Eat Your Lunch", Bansky
Some might say that Street Art has its origins amongst the lost, downtrodden youth of cities all over the world. Why it might even have been born in the Maltravieso Caves in Spain over sixty thousand years ago. The simple truth is that Street Art has been on a redemptive journey from vandalism to graffiti, to its current incarnation as Street Art. What was once viewed as a public eye sore, has now become a ubiquitous city centre walking tour all over the world.
American photojournalist, Martha Cooper, was one of the first people to start documenting the work of graffiti artists long before it was accepted as anything more than vandalism.
American photojournalist, Martha Cooper
Cooper spent her time documenting the Street Art of New York City. By building bonds with disenchanted youth, she was pointed in the direction of Graffiti Artists and their latest works. As she grew to know the artists and their neighbourhoods, she began to recognise that the graffiti that was tagged all over the cities walls and transport system was an art form, as much self expression, as a communication tool that moved across the city on the side of subway trains, a rolling art exhibition with no charge.
Cooper would later compile the works she captured into a book called 'Street Play'. Interested in reading more? -Street Play by Martha Cooper
In the interview below, Martha Cooper speaks about her initial introduction to Graffiti / Street Art and very much comes across as an advocate for Graffiti Artists and the sub-culture they created and sought to understand the messages they were conveying at the time.
If you are a collector of Street Art inspired work, please take the time to visit the online gallery of Chinese Street Artist & Painter Dake Wong at -