This year the photographer Vincent Cornelli celebrates that 15 years has passed since he abandoned his home in New York to begin the adventure of shooting urban art. And now Vinny has decided to share some of his experiences with us through his own stories. Ladies and gentlemen, we welcome you to “Vincent Cornelli’s Diary”.
Post 1 – Photo: Faile, et al (NYC)
Hi. I am Vinny (@streetlayers). From time to time, you’ll likely hear from me…right here. So who am I? Over the next few posts, it’s my hope we’ll fill in a few of those gaps. However, at the base of it – I document urban art.
In fact, this year I will have crossed my 15th year doing just that. In 2005, I began photographing the urban art movement from my former home of New York City. What started as a hobby has since transitioned into leaving my career and home, with a camera and backpack. On July 4, 2014, I kicked off my journey to just that, but worldwide. Since then, I have lived on the road. Having not stopped since, in over 5.5 years time, I have documented in 325+ cities across 6 continents, in 65+ countries. I have split my energy into documenting existing walls, while also linking up with ~500 artists in process on the street, in the studio, or in random, unique and/or abandoned spaces.
It’s my hope to share some of my experiences with you here.
It seems fitting to start with this photo of the famed 11 Spring Street, taken back in 2006. For me, 11 Spring was where everything kicked off – in terms of defining my focal point, and eventually coming out the other side to now be writing y’all.
“The building itself, at 11 Spring Street, is a legend in it’s own right. Throughout the years, artists from various parts of the city, and world, would come here to paint.”
On the odd Saturday morning, I’d leave my Lower East Side flat with a smoke, my iPod, and my camera over the shoulder. Securing a double-espresso nearby, Id stand across the street, light my smoke, listen to my music, drink my coffee and simply study the wall. I found it cathartic. After my coffee, I’d walk right up to the wall, and again stare. There was more than one occasion where passerby’s would stop and ask me what I was doing. Looking back, I think it was partly due to the fact that I had no idea how to use a camera. While that’s another story for another day, this was the wall where I first really experimented.
The building itself, at 11 Spring Street, is a legend in it’s own right. Throughout the years, artists from various parts of the city, and world, would come here to paint. Given the recent commodification of mural art festivals, etc., by today’s standard, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal…but at the time? It was incredible.
“I can’t remember exactly how many blocks long the line to enter was”
To wrap this story up, at the close of 2006, Wooster Collective (run by the lovely Sara Schiller and Marc Schiller), in conjunction with the new owners of the building, put on an exceptional indoor exhibition with many of the greats you see today, and some that have since moved on. I can’t remember exactly how many blocks long the line to enter was, but I remember it being the first time in my life I ever saw a real NYC queue.