A friend I met in NY a couple years ago, August Tarantino, just dropped his 3rd book showcasing the Street art/graffiti scene in Seattle. It wasn’t until later that I discovered his photography and his really dope books. Personally I love flipping through books like this, a glimpse into the heart of the city.
All 3 volumes are available: http://seattlestreetart.com/ Digital Verisions only $4.99!
Support your local Artists!
- How did you first began to recognize graff/street art and why
I grew up in New England and visited Boston when I was in high school. Around 1990 I started to notice street art including graffiti and obey giant stickers by the now iconic Shepard Fairey who went to RISD not far away in Providence RI. I began to notice public non-commercial images and messages that communicated how I felt. That’s when I started paying attention and began looking at street art from a worldwide perspective, participating occasionally. As is true in all cities, these personal public expressions touch on the struggles and triumphs of the current culture. In many cases, more can be gleaned from street art than from what is covered in the mainstream media. After high school I traveled to Guatemala and saw my first street art outside the US depicting real struggles in Guatemala City. After Guatemala I backpacked around Europe for a year and was able to see some of the work over there covering different themes.
- What motivates you to photograph all these pieces?
When I moved to Seattle in 2005 I started taking photos in the downtown area out of personal interest. In time, I was encouraged by many to document Seattle street art/graffiti by publishing my original photos. I realized that I had a responsibility to do so because the medium is so temporary and I was in a position to make it happen. At that time there were no books about Seattle street art that existed in print. My Seattle Street Art Book Series (http://www.seattlestreetart.com/) and website is a creative project to help document the aesthetic of street art in Seattle. Each book contains 100 color photos. Some of the work in my photos only existed for a day before they were written over by other artists or removed by the city. The city is a temporary chaotic canvas that is constantly being revised in a flux of new symbols. The series website has a map and a list of locations in Seattle where you can see a concentration of street art.
A portion of the book proceeds benefits SOS Outreach, an international nonprofit building character in youth through outdoor adventure that operates in the Northwest. (http://www.SOSOutreach.org/)
- Do you photograph in Seattle only? Or is it more of an on-going thing wherever you travel?
It’s ongoing. I’m based in Seattle and have strong connections to the artist community here. I do photograph street art whenever I travel. I love seeing interesting pieces with meaning among all of the signage and advertisement visual clutter. Each photo in the book series shows public art in its surroundings. Elements within the photos convey ideas not expressed in the individual art being photographed. This combination is intended in my photos and I take it seriously.
While traveling in South Korea I explored it’s 2000-year-old capital, Seoul. I’m currently doing a Kickstarter book project for my Seoul street art photos (http://www.seoulstreetart.com/).
-Do you shoot other types photography as well?
Not really in the same way that I see my Seattle Street Art Book project work. I don’t consider myself a photographer but I enjoy it immensely. When I take a great shot that resonates with me it feels like creative expression and connects me to my surroundings in a new way.
- Shout outs for your book?
So many people have helped and inspired this project, they are all thanked on the website.
Disclaimer: I advocate legal street art. Sometimes definitions get blurred between tagging, graffiti, street art, murals and urban art. Not all tagging is graffiti for example. The book project is not meant to represent the artists in any way or encourage illegal activity.
Congratulations on your 3rd Book! It’s was really fun to flip through all your photography, August also has posted all photos from his books on his FLICKR free for the viewing, that’s how its done folks!
Another really great interview with August.