I thought that as a reference book and an X-ray shot into a counter culture that generally is inclined to shun publicity, Subway Art could not be bettered. Sitting with the 30cm x 43cm 25th anniversary addition on my knees (the book – not me) I conclude that as a photograph album this new edition just blows your socks off.
When I looked at the picture above I wondered if it was just the irregular lighting in my irregular kitchen that made the colour of the old book photos look a bit richer but a close comparison reveals the truth. At the larger scale the over-saturation of some of the colours is reduced and you can see more of the detail of the graff archaeology seeping through from the pieces underneath that have been gone over. Obviously, you can only really prove that with the Mk I eyeball, the pics you look at here have been distorted by being captured on the camera, buggered about with the flickr resolution compromises and then knackered by displaying on whatever device you use to read this. This picture is a detail of the L in a BLADE piece, old edition above, anniversary edition below.
The launch and signing graced by the presence of Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant and Blade drew a legendary attendance of current graffiti writers and London Ol Skool (HAN – “Court and Social” page on this blog?).
Interestingly, along with pages from the book being displayed on the wall, some huge canvasses painted by members of the Burning Candy crew provided their own stylistic and lyrical interpretation of a few of the historic and renowned images from Subway Art. Gorgeous stuff. And the Burning Candy guys had to queue like the rest to get their new books signed.