Sivan Askayo is a photographer and freelance writer based in New York City. She has been published in the Huffington Post, Design Sponge and Fathom. We are excited to announce Sivan’s new column for Untapped, Urban Camera.
New York City is home to a great amount of museums–whether they are art museums, historical museums, design or cultural ones, this city has them all. But as much as it is blessed with great variety and unparalleled quality, I believe that the real museums are not among the four walls, but outside, on the streets.
As a photographer based in New York, the streets of this city have always been a great inspiration for my photography: whether it’s the architecture, the city reflections on windows, the stream of energy in the streets, the people walking in it, the titanic billboards and advertising ads, the colorful murals and the graffiti on the walls. It all inspires me.
Before I continue, I have a confession to make. I have a ‘thing’ for documenting graffiti and street art. It all started a few years ago when I wandered the streets of Soho and came across a painted purple corky image on a door. Intrigued, I took a picture of that character.
The next day, when I came back to take more pictures, someone has already posted and painted something else next to it, which turned it completely to something else. Something different. Something new.
I then realized that the feeling of “Here today, gone tomorrow” is not only relevant for the world of photography, but even more so to street art and graffiti. Furthermore, photography and street art are inexplicably linked because the only documentation street art has is through a picture (or video).
Sometimes all it takes is taking a wrong turn in one of the streets of New York to discover something new on one of the walls. The more I started to search for street art, the more I learned about its culture and the artists behind it, even though most keep an anonymous identity or are known by their pseudonyms.
What I love about street art is its accessibility but at the same time, you needs to know more about the culture of a place to decipher its message. With time, my curiosity about street art has taken me beyond the streets of New York to those of major cities such as Berlin, Buenos Aires, Paris, London, Tel Aviv and many more cities to come. I am really excited to join the Untapped Cities community and share with you some of my thoughts, experience and images of the street art and graffiti I have come across in my travels.
In my new column ‘Urban Camera’ I will interview graffiti artists, I will shoot in different cities, and I will keep exploring the New York scene. Stay tuned for more to come.