Street Artists Spruce up Street Vendors’ Stable in Baltimore

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 6 months, 1 week, 3 days, 3 hours, 58 minutes ago.

My documentation of Baltimore traditions merged with my interest in street art last month as Gaia, LNY, Mata Ruda, Nanook and Sorta brought their skills and supplies to one of the last of the A-rabber stables in Baltimore. A-rabbing, the practice of selling fruit and vegetables from horse drawn carts, has existed since the 1800’s but is in danger of dying out. The impracticalities of keeping horses in the inner city combined with the difficulty of getting fresh produce to sell has taken its toll on this enterprise. At present there are only two A-rabber stables still operating.

Gaia and friends used a quickly funded Kickstarter campaign to pay for paint and immediately set to work. Their hope is to continue the project in connection with the Arabber Preservation Society, making repairs to the buildings and even starting a visitor’s center. Meanwhile the Fremont stable has been transformed into a veritable mural mecca, a showcase for some of Baltimore’s best street artists.

Exterior of stable at Fremont & Laurens with portraits of A-rabbers by Gaia.

LNY at work.

Gaia working on his wall.

Mata Ruda painting.


LNY painting Baltimore Oriole.

Arabber on Baltimore Street in SoWeBo.

© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Sunday June 09, 2013

Liu Bolin Disappears at 5 Pointz - 5 Pointz May Disappear Too - Meeting Tonight

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 6 months, 1 week, 6 days, 7 hours, 58 minutes ago.

Chinese Artist Liu Bolin aka The Invisible Man had himself painted into an intricate graffiti mural at 5 Pointz yesterday.  After touring a few graffiti sites, Liu selected a rich jungle scene by Meres and Zeso as the perfect backdrop for his unique disappearing act. It was a timely choice because 5 Pointz itself is in danger of disappearing. Legal walls are scarce in New York City and 5 Pointz has long been the place for national and international writers to paint.

TONIGHT at 7:00 there will be a community board meeting at Sunnyside Community Services 43-31 39th Street. Hope you can make it.

Liu Bolin: Mask opening at Eli Klein Gallery tonight 462 West Broadway.

Colors must match perfectly.

Liu Bolin with Meres.


© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Thursday June 06, 2013

City Glyphs - Robert Janz at Work

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 9 months, 2 weeks, 2 days, 16 hours, 15 minutes ago.

“Variations on ancestral glyphic art, echoes of our origins : active meditations on transience, exercises on emptiness” - Robert Janz

At 80, Robert Janz has been around longer than most of us but I only recently became aware of his work. I was able to meet him with a little help from Stikman who happened to bump into him a couple of months ago as they were both out and about doing their thing.

Janz has traveled and exhibited widely in both Europe and the US. He counts painting illegally on the Berlin Wall before it came down as an important highlight in his long career. His work is ephemeral. One series was created with just water on rocks, meant to be erased by evaporation. He maintains a collection of blogs at Janzwork explaining each project. On one he describes his painting as ” Variations on ancestral glyphic art, echoes of our origins: active meditations on transience, exercises on emptiness”

I’d been particularly struck by Robert’s “Glyffiti”, a series of bold, simply drawn animals around Soho. Painted over existing graffiti or torn posters in black and white the fierce little figures demanded attention even as they blended into their backgrounds. I’m always interested in process and materials so it was a special treat to have an opportunity to meet the artist and watch him in action.

Robert’s materials are basic: a couple of jars of paint, a few brushes, and rags carried in a shopping bag. He’s cautious about cops but paints in broad daylight. Once, when confronted by no less than three officers, he diffused the situation by simply wetting a rag and wiping off his freshly applied water-based paint.  Robert is not an active participant in either graffiti culture or the streetart movement. He’s a completely original artist taking risks to share his work and enliven the city. Big up to Robert Janz!!

Mountains, glyffiti and howl heal in Soho.

"HOWLINGS and HEALINGS: RAGE over inflicted injustice and abuse in the world."

"Glyffiti: echoes of the earliest human glyphic drawings surface briefly into the hysteric urban graffiti landscape."

Blue moon signifies "HOPE for respect and responsibility, for universal generosity of spirit at least once in a blue moon."

Mountain + glyffiti

Graffiti 'W' transformed into glyffiti horns.

Political paste-ups.

How Heal

Serpent Bank

Aiko and Janz--fab colab!

Me n' Robert with my wonderful glyffiti present straight fro the street.


© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Sunday March 03, 2013

Freights n’ Ravens

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 10 months, 1 week, 4 days, 5 hours, 29 minutes ago.

Yesterday I went to the Ravens Super Bowl celebration. The football stadium is a short distance from Sowebo, the neighborhood I’ve been documenting since 2006. So I just walked over and joined the100,000+ screaming fans who turned out for the event. The Super Bowl championship really lifted the spirits of Baltimoreans and the city went wild.

Since the players were parading slowly towards the stadium from City Hall, I climbed up to the top deck and waited outside the seating area for an hour or so to see if I could catch a glimpse of them as they arrived. Just as they were coming into the stadium, a freight with graffiti passed by and really made my day. What a great combo!

Ray Lewis rode in his own Humvee.

The stadium was a sea of purple. I tried out the panorama option on my iPhone for the first time--pretty good.

© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Wednesday February 06, 2013

R.I.P. Ed Koch - 1924-2013

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 10 months, 2 weeks, 2 days, 10 hours, 36 minutes ago.

Ed Koch enjoyed many successes during his 3 years as NYC’s mayor but, luckily, eradicating graffiti wasn’t one of them.

Big up to Spin for this 1982 piece painted in reaction to Koch's harsh anti-graff measures.

When will he learn the art will never die!

© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Friday February 01, 2013

Double Trouble - Twins in the City

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 10 months, 3 weeks, 1 hour, 47 minutes ago.

How & Nosm have a big show opening on February 1 at Jonathan Levine’s Pop-Up Gallery at 557 West 23rd Street in Chelsea. The show is called Late Confessions and the centerpiece is a fabulous three dimensional cardboard surprise.

By chance, Os Gemeos is in town so there could be a rare double twin photo-op at the opening. I was lucky to catch them together in Miami during Art Basel. See you Friday.

How & Nosm with Niko as they finish preparing for their show.

Don't ask me who is who.

© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Sunday January 27, 2013

Stikman’s Ten Year Tribal/Insect/Primordial Cycle

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 11 months, 1 week, 1 hour, 47 minutes ago.

While driving to Baltimore for New Year’s with a friend I was lucky to be able to stop off in Philly and catch the end of Stikman’s show at Stupid Easy Gallery. Stikman himself gave me a tour of the neighborhood and showed me his first stick figure launched for 2013. This lil guy is part of a ten year project he started in 2007 called the Ten Year Tribal/Insect/Primordial Cycle.

Every year Stikman makes a couple hundred stick figures of identical design and puts them up throughout the year. The color may vary a bit but the form is the same. So keep your eyes peeled for 2013 ones and previous years as seen in the photo below. Last year’s Stikman had two heads! Lots more Stikman here and on Instagram #stikman

First 2013 stick figure launched

Keep an eye out for this guy

photos ©Stikman

© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Friday January 11, 2013

marthacoopergram I Am

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 11 months, 2 weeks, 4 hours, 22 minutes ago.

People are always asking me how graffiti has changed over the years but a better question, for me at least, is how photography has changed.  My dad had a camera store in Baltimore and gave me my first camera in 1946 when I was in nursery school. I’ve been taking pictures ever since—for 67 years! George Eastman put photography into the hands of ordinary people in 1888 with the first Kodak camera. So I’ve been shooting for over half the history of modern photography.

Last week I finally joined the 21st Century and traded in my old flip phone for an iPhone5. It wasn’t an easy decision or an even trade as I’d been using a prepaid card. Now it costs me about the same for one month as I used to pay for the whole year. It’s expensive to keep up with Generation Z.

I bought an iPhone5 because I heard it had the best camera phone and I wanted to play around with Instagram. Until now I haven’t been into photo sharing. I was more into hoarding and archiving and have been ridiculously slow to post anything.  By the time I manage to edit, adjust and upload to this blog, my photos are invariably stale news. For example—Art Basel photos—still planning to post them.

Because I was slow to join Instagram, I had trouble getting a name I wanted:  MarthaCooper—already taken, Kodakgirl—taken, SnapZ (my B-Girl name)—taken. Coopergram—taken. Damn! Felt like identity theft! So marthacoopergram I am. I plan to shoot and post whatever I see as I go about my daily life and any photo I post on Instagram will be taken with my phone. You will not see old skool photos there. Please don’t be disappointed if the photos aren’t all of graf and street art. I’m primarily a street shooter and I plan to post whatever I see that interests me.

My Instagram profile photo is from the beautiful portrait Os Gemeos painted. Of course it’s cropped square so you can’t see that I’m sitting on a subway car but that’s Instagram—square but hip. See you @marthacoopergram.

Instagram profile photo

Os Gemeos with their painting uncropped.

Me at Baltimore harbor c.1947 with my first camera, a Kodak Baby Brownie Special. Photo by my dad, Ben Cooper, coat sewn by my mom, Sarah.


© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Friday January 04, 2013

HAPPY 2013!

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 11 months, 2 weeks, 6 days, 16 hours, 46 minutes ago.

My 2013 New Year’s resolution was to buy an iphone, learn how to take photos with it and use Instagram. Coming soon… Meanwhile best wished for a happy, healthy, creative, productive and exciting year!

© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Friday December 28, 2012

MoMA Profits from Faux Subway Graffiti

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 1 Year, 11 months, 3 weeks, 3 days, 15 hours, 3 minutes ago.

The most surprising card I received this year was from   Jetsonorama, a doctor/photographer/artist who lives and works on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. He sent me a beautifully produced foil stamped, die cut card, published by MoMA. It’s a clever 3D pop up showing reindeer taking the subway presumably because New York’s airspace is too crowded for them to fly. The subway car is decorated with a red and green pseudo graff Santa piece.
The designer of the card, Mary Beth Cryan, is an illustrator and “paper engineer” who lives in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Her card was available in many shops throughout the US and is listed as sold out in some of them. It’s now on sale at the MoMA Store—$8.98 reduced from $17.95 plus shipping and tax. There’s one four star review of the card on the MoMA site from a customer in—Kansas!

According to the back of the card, proceeds support MoMA’s exhibitions and programs. I hope that one of the supported programs is the upcoming one on January 8th with José Parlá, Alan Ket, and Adam Mansbach called Writers and Writers: Narrative on the Page and in the Street.  Maybe MoMA is ready to contemplate some authentic graffiti.

Cute card but would have been nicer if they'd asked a real writer to design it.

Back of card

© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Monday December 24, 2012

Articulate Baltimore Wraps Up Despite Sandy

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 2 years, 3 weeks, 2 days, 14 hours, 5 minutes ago.

Stefan Hauswald and Jesse James, curators of  Articulate Baltimore, weren’t planning on a hurricane when they invited artists to paint in October.  Luckily Sandy only interrupted the action and everyone managed to finish as planned—more or less.

Articulate Baltimore took place along Howard Street, a formerly thriving but now mostly boarded up inner city shopping district.  Baltimore’s venerable department stores, Hutzler’s, Hochschild’s and Stewart’s were formerly located there. I grew up in Baltimore and fondly remember shopping for ribbons for my pony tail in these elegant stores. After Mondawmin, the first of many Baltimore malls, was built in 1956, shoppers headed out to the suburbs and downtown never recovered.

Howard Street now has a light rail running along it and many of Articulate’s walls are clearly visible from the windows of its cars. The area is just south of Station North where Open Walls Baltimore took place last spring so if you’re planning a street art tour, be sure to check out both neighborhoods. Maps are available on their respective websites.

LIght Rail on Howard Street passes by as Articulate curator, Stefan Ways, paints.

Stefan Ways

Jesse James aka J.Digital stenciling in collaboration with Ways

Ways and J.Digital

Light Rail passing Ways and J.Digital mural on Howard Stree.

Indigo, Canadian artist based South Africa painted a wall based on a vintage black & white family photo of her with her mom and sister.



Indigo's wall was adjacent to a parking garage.

Indigo left the faded signage from a defunct Chinese restaurant


HKS181 from Washington D.C.


HKS181 painted a portrait of his girlfriend.



2501 from Italy

2501 painted all night trying to beat arrival of Sandy



Chris Stain, Baltimore native, now lives in NYC.

Chris Stain & Billy Mode colab

Baltimore artist Billy Mode working on colab with Chris Stain

Go Orioles!

Chris Stain & Billy Mode

Chris Stain & Billy Mode

Local BMXers touring the murals

Baltimore based Jessie Unterhalter & Katey Truhn

Jessie & Katie

Attaching mirrors

Jessie & Katie

Jessie & Katie

Jessie & Katie used recycled materials such as plastic bags...

...and bottle caps.

Jessie & Katie

Pixel Pancho from Italy

Pixel used mostly house paint and rollers for his mural.

Pixel Pancho

Pixel painted the demise of super-hero Flash

Pixel Pancho

Pixel Pancho

Pixel Pancho

Pixel Pancho's second wall, a dying Roinald MacDonald.

Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake supported the Articulate mural project

Articulate curators Stefan & Jesse giving Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake a walking tour of the murals

Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake touring the murals



© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Sunday November 25, 2012

How & Nosm’s Houston Street Tribute to Tony Goldman

This article was posted by Martha Cooper 2 years, 1 Month, 1 week, 5 days, 5 hours, 29 minutes ago.

Identical twins How & Nosm, were born in Spain, raised in Germany and permanently moved to NYC in 1999. After joining the legendary TATS CRU in the Bronx,  they honed their spray painting skills on a wide variety of surfaces all over the city. For the past few years, they’ve experimented with a limited palette of black, white and shades of red,  adding brushes and stencils to their repertoire. 

The twins are upbeat but their intricate compositions often depict death and destruction with accents of blood throughout. They began painting their mural on Houston Street just two days after Hurricane Sandy hit NY.  The neighborhood around the wall was without electricity, shops were shuttered and even the traffic lights were off.  Unfazed, the twins finished the mural in record time. They titled their piece, “The Day After”.

Watching them paint was fascinating. Working from a rough sketch, they started at opposite ends of the long wall outlining complicated figures within figures in black with tiny brushes and spray paint. They rarely spoke to each other or even looked at each other’s work but it was impossible for me to distinguish a difference in style. Their combined style is original and instantly identifiable and somehow they both can paint in exactly the same way. Must be a twin thing.

The Houston Street wall has become the most prestigious and famous street art site in the world. In 2008 Jeffrey Deitch teamed up with the owner of the wall, Tony Goldman to recreate a mural Keith Haring painted in 1982 for what would have been Keith’s 50th birthday. Tony decided to continue the project by inviting prominent street artists to put work there. Since 2009 the wall has been painted or wheat pasted by Os Gemeos, OBEY, Barry McGee, Kenny Scharf, JR, Faile, Retna and Aiko. In the process, Tony became one of street arts’ biggest fans and supporters. Sadly he did not live to see How & Nosm’s wall but I’m pretty sure he would have loved it. It is a spectacular mural and a fine tribute to his legacy.

Bye Bye Aiko on November 1

November 2, 2012 Nosm added some red as he went along but How preferred to paint the entire outline first and then add color later.

November 3, 2012

November 4, stencils cut from cereal boxes

November 5, finished wall!

© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Tuesday November 06, 2012