THE PRESENT - Take a walk down any city street and you will undoubtedly see art in one form or another. Whether it's a sticker, a poster, some random tag, or a beautifully shaded stencil, it's there, existing on the fringes of our daily awareness. Street art surrounds and envelops us, and unbeknownst to many, transforms the cityscape we plod through everyday into a museum of colossal proportions.
Over the past few years I have spent countless hours searching the streets of New York City for street art and graffiti. And in that time I have collected nearly 2000 images, primarily from the east village, lower east side, soho, and brooklyn.
THE PAST - One late night not so long ago I tried to organize them all. Only thing though was that I couldn't recall where I had taken them. Which led me to think, "Hmmm. That's a problem."
So I asked Google and it told me that iPhones - and just about every other smartphone on the planet - embed GPS coordinates in the photos they take. And as fortune would have it, I took a lot of the pictures with my iPhone at the time.
As the dots connected and the moon rose higher in the sky, I fired up textmate and started coding. A few hours later, my website was finished and I started uploading images to be mapped. You can find it here:
As you can see it is simple and functional though a bit rough around the edges.
THE FUTURE - The project that I'm working on now is to polish it up, add some simple twitter and facebook integration, and let anyone contribute. I would also like to map as much of Manhattan below 14th St as I personally can. That's my plan for this summer.
Over time, my vision is to crowdsource the collection and curation of street art from around the world. To bring the gallery of the streets online. To make it searchable, by medium, by artist. As the database of images grows, all sorts of wonderfully cool things become possible. Photosynths of locations. Google/Bing Maps & Street Views. Walking tours. Time scrubbing. iPhone/Android apps. Ordering Prints. Etc. Etc.
As the streets evolve and art springs into existence and fades away every day, much is lost to the vagaries of memory and time. The goal of this project is to capture that evolution. To make street art permanent and accessible to all. All of the images will be published with a Creative Commons license allowing anyone to make derivative works and/or prints for their personal use.
I don't need much to get this rolling. Site functionality is largely built and needs to be moved to a more scalable infrastructure. Other than that, the following would greatly help.
1.) Camera and Equipment
I am currently using a Nikon D70s that i purchased 5 years ago. Maximum print size for the resolution of this camera is 24 inches. Upgrading the camera will permit prints up to 5 feet wide. I also need to get a GPS unit that geotags the photos as they're taken.
2.) Site Design & Hosting
I've put together some wireframes for how the site will be structured. With a little bit of design love and your pics of street art, they could look amazing. Also will need to cover hosting and bandwidth expenses for Amazon Web Services.
The most efficient way of getting around New York City is on a bike. Last fall I shredded the ball bearings and hubs of the wheels on my bike from too much dirt and grit. I'd like to replace them with sealed bearings to avoid this problem in the future.
4.) Cash for Rewards & Kickstarter Fee
I'm offering prints as rewards and need to raise some money to cover the cost of printing and shipping them.
5.) Site name and domain registration.
Need to find a good url for the site. Open to suggestions.
The more people we can get involved, the more interesting it will be.
I'd like to raise $5000 to kick this off. The more I raise, the more resources I can bring to bear on the project.
Thanks for your time and (hopefully) support!
Have a question?
If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.