MN: How did the site get started?
SB: I got into street art in about 2001/2 because I saw lots of Banksy stencils around the southbank of London, where I lived, so I’ve always been on the lookout. Then when I moved to LA in 2007 I saw a lot of artists I’d never seen before it got me thinking about creating a site to unearth a lot of great street art from around the world. I eventually started it in 2008.
MN: Are you an artist?
SB: I’m not an artist; I grew up in a family steeped in photography, so that probably has something to do with it.
MN: Who sends the submissions in? Do you have contact with the artists?
SB: It started with photos I’d taken, and now it’s mostly images that the artists or photographers send me, or things I find online. Finding (or being sent) fresh stuff is really the joy of doing it – it’s all about the discovery.
MN: Most sites that feature street art don’t include the artists’ names. Hell, some books don’t even bother with that. Is giving credit to the artists important to you? What are your views about publishing artists’ work without crediting them?
SB: Yes, I’m determined to link to the artist for each post I do, wherever it’s possible. It’s obviously only right that the artists get credit, but also as a user, I want to be able to discover things and dig further on the things I like. When sites don’t link to the artists, you have to wonder what the motivation is.
To call someone out on it, and to illustrate the point: The Cool Hunter did a post called ‘Why Street Art Matters’, but didn’t give credit to the artist, photographer or group that organized the walls, and they didn’t respond to requests to remedy it (you can see the original work here). What’s the motivation? Sadly, the post is touting ‘a creative ideas agency’, and not real street art.