Did you know an artist from Atlanta was one of the first to photograph subway graffiti in New York City? Jack Stewart—the artist—started documenting graffiti in 1970, a year after it emerged, and, over the next few years, he captured the appearance of bubble letters, 3D letters, Wild Style, and whole-train pieces.
This exhibition features prints of photographs from the Jack Stewart papers housed at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University.
At the time he took these images, graffiti was considered vandalism, a crime, but Stewart realized quickly this new art form reached back all the way to the origins of drawing and it represented the first style of Western art created by children and teenagers. Fired by these insights, Stewart photographed subway trains every weekend for three years. He continued to shoot pictures of trains, although with less frequency, until 1979.
275 of Stewart’s photographs appeared in the 2009 book "Graffiti Kings: New York City Mass Transit Art of the 1970s," a work based on his Ph.D. Dissertation. There are approximately 900 other unpublished images in the collection.