7 years ago


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For us at MONTANA-CANS, it is immeasurably important to have a close connection to our friends and partners who use our tools. This need for a close correlation has led us to support and sponsor an amazing amount of incredible events and projects, and helped us to establish collaborations with numerous artists, brands and partners. We are grateful to be in a position to be able to provide this kind of support, and thankful for the abundance of inspirations and ideas that artists and collaboration partners from all across the world share with us. We make it a point to feature these projects and collaborations on our blog and and social media channels, but because of the fast-paced hustle and bustle of the internet, we have decided it was time to create a printed collection which contains merely a small fraction of the creative work we have been involved in over the past years. WWW.MONTANA-CANS.COM


Montana-Cans Iconic Series MARTHA COOPER EDITION One day in 1981, Martha Cooper was riding on the subway of New York holding a camera, which considering the crime rate at that time, was not a recommended move. The low ISO of her Kodachrome 64 film was going to make it impossible to take any pictures while the car was underground anyhow. But, when the subway hit daylight, the motif of the police men standing in a frame of graffiti tags was irresistible. Was she going to dare to ask the officers for a photograph? Since taking pictures on the subway was illegal, that wasn’t advisable, so, she’d just go for it. But she would have to stand up to take it. „Luckily I got the shot. Mission accomplished.“ says Martha Cooper today. The photo-journalist is best known for her investment in the documentation of the explosion of the New York graffiti culture scene, beginning in the late 70’s. Cooper gathered and compiled her experiences and encounters to create a collaborative book that has become something like the holy writ of graffiti writing, titled, „Subway Art“. Which in turn inspired young artists all over the world to spread this urban art movement. In the course of the cultural insurgencies of the 1960s, Cooper earned an art degree from Grinell College Iowa, taught English as a volunteer for the Peace Corps in Thailand and traveled from Bangkok to London by motorcycle to receive a diploma at Oxford. Upon her return to New York she secured a position at the New York Post in 1977 using her commute to scout for pictures. Longing for adventure, she’d explore the neighborhoods, taking pictures of kids playing makeshift games on the streets. This was when she came across graffiti and some members of it’s community. Foremost a young kid, who showed her to some art around the neighborhood, explained a few pieces, their artistic values and some lingo, finally asking her if she wanted to meet „the King“. Soon after, she was introduced to world class sprayer Dondi, the first artist Cooper decided to shadow, taking pictures of him tagging New York. Cooper quickly understood that she had stumbled upon a vivid street culture and became an eager student of the writers she befriended. After many early mornings of waiting for hours to get the right shot of moving trains, and many more acquaintances with graffiti legends such as Zephyr, Seen, Kase2 and Lady Pink, Cooper and fellow photographer Henry Chalfant published „Subway Art“ in 1984. Many have claimed on numerous occasions that this book has changed the course of art history in our world. Following this book, Cooper has authored several more collections documenting the urban art developments in New York including „Hip Hop Files: Photographs 1979-1984“ and „New York State of Mind“. Keeping up with the tags, walls and trains of New York and the street art scene all around the world still continues to be her endeavor, whether she is documenting the Wynwood Walls project in Miami as their official photographer, working with graffiti artists in collaborational exhibitions or just plain instagraming her daily encounters with this passion. The times have changed and street art is ever-evolving. Many artists all around the world are now taking parts of Coopers photographs and basing their art on them. Sections of different shots are being cut out and incorporated into other pieces of art. This kind of synergy has led to many successful exhibitions including the „Martha Cooper:Remix“ exhibition in the Carmichael Gallery in Los Angeles. The Wynwood Walls project in Miami has been a treat for Cooper since it began in 2009. Documenting the metamorphosis of this warehouse district is what she refers to as a „dream assignment“. Her pictures provide an invaluable view behind the scenes of the making of urban graffiti murals. Martha Cooper has been inseparable from the street art scenes of the world for more than thirty years and her work has been seminal to the development in urban art. She has seen it grow from an underground burgeoning movement, to the largest art movement in the world - always taking shots along the way. 57

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