Table of contents for Street world : urban culture and art from five continents / by Roger Gastman, Caleb Neelon, and Anthony Smyrski.

Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog.

Note: Contents data are machine generated based on pre-publication provided by the publisher. Contents may have variations from the printed book or be incomplete or contain other coding.


Counter
Contents
Introduction 
Looking Good 
Getting Around 
Getting Up 
Inspiration 
Coming Together 
FAQ 
Further Reading 
Contributors
About the Authors 
Acknowledgments 
Introduction
Within the past fifteen years, many urban subcultures have joined together to become something larger, more powerful, and more pervasive than ever before. This new street culture encompasses juggernauts like hip-hop and punk as well as much smaller but equally inspiring subcultures endemic to the streets of the Brazilian mega-cities, South African townships, and the crowds of Mumbai. Sharing the streets, the subcultures of the world¿both old and new¿merge into something ever more powerful. 
From the skateboarders projecting themselves off every corner and surface to the graffiti and street artists risking arrest to put their work on them, the frenetic evolution of fashion rising from punk¿s and hip-hop¿s many subcultures to the constant backdrop of music, cityscapes, and travel, this book encapsulates the most inspirational and visually creative moments of today. Our new global urban culture¿street culture at its broadest¿is its focus.
The more than 1,000 photographs featured here together form a journey, a record, and an inspiration. The world¿s streets are its most vibrant sites of visual creativity, and amid their crush and jumble are photographers, documenting, creating, and collectively bringing this book to you. They come from near and far, from dozens of countries and from all of the habitable continents. They range from photographers at the top of their fields to people whose jobs are far from creatively based, but who just happen to capture great images when they do pick up a camera. For some of our contributors, photography is a vocation; for others, something else: a pastime, a reflex, or a part of their greater creative whole as designers, skateboarders, artists, writers, or publishers. They are a diverse group, as diverse as the many street cultures that they record, preserve, and share. Their stories are the stories of the interconnectedness of global street culture.
Street culture is a traveler, whether it¿s a ubiquitous global force such as hip-hop or a small phenomenon endemic to a particular region, such as South Africa¿s tricked-out tombstones for those who die young. Spreading by visitors to cultural hotspots who come from afar or residents of those hotspots fanning out around the globe, street cultures never stay entirely localized. Just as every street leads to another until all roads meet, street cultures eventually collide, whether in person or in print, as you see before you now.
Some of the most pervasive and popular street cultures, such as hip-hop and skateboarding, began in particular cities and at identifiable points in time. At the same time, when looked at more broadly, their roots are as old as any in recorded history. Looking at hip-hop through the narrow lens, for instance, we can see it starting in the late 1960s into the 1970s with neighborhood block parties and James Brown¿s famous rap-speak. But through a broader lens, as extensions of visual art, dance, music, and poetry, hip-hop is a far older creature. The idea of riding a plank held up by wheels must be nearly as old as the wheel itself, but skateboards in name themselves date to California in the 1950s, when surfers took to the streets and fused their sport with roller-skating. 
These are hardly the only examples. Tattooing has been around as a part of various tribal cultures for thousands of years, yet was only introduced to the West in the 1800s, when Westerners began traveling to the Far East and brought pieces of that culture home with them. Tattooing only exploded in popularity out of subcultural status in more recent years, and only then because it became widely accepted as an art form and not strictly reserved for sailors, bikers, punks, and the like. Covering oneself in bling jewelry is a modern trend but certainly not a new practice¿just one that¿s no longer reserved for royalty. The mass-produced street art poster campaigns of visionaries such as Shepard Fairey may be a recent explosion, but the person perhaps more responsible for the movement was printing pioneer Johannes Gutenberg. There is at the same time nothing, and everything, new under the sun. 
More than mere activities or fashions, street cultures are lifestyles, and the commonalities shared by their members extend to their tastes in music, clothing, transportation, and even drugs. Oftentimes, new cultures arise when people with different lifestyles share tastes in the most transcendent medium: music. The lightest travelers, after all, are ideas, and there is no better way to transmit them than through lyrics. A culture¿s worth of ideas can travel in a pocket as a fourth-generation mixtape or as a stream of ones and zeros from computer to computer, spreading the buzzwords, anthems, slang, and rallying cries of one group of people to another, all in the most effortlessly infectious way.
Street culture is everywhere, and spreads whenever it finds new kindred spirits, often regardless of their nationality or political history. Over the past fifteen years, subcultures previously limited only to pockets of the Western world have made their ways to places that only a few years before would have seemed unthinkable. Graffiti blossomed out of the New York subways around the world, but in the 1990s it exploded into new territory in the former Soviet Bloc states of Eastern Europe. It made perfect sense, since graffiti had been knocking on Communism¿s very door¿the Berlin Wall¿for decades. Of course, it was just one of many cultural juggernauts making their way around the world, vying for space, finding new arenas, and bringing generations of young people with fresh ideas and techniques into play. In return, the tiny street cultures of the world¿s hidden cities creep their way into the most attentively watched.
The power and visibility of the street¿s stage has brought the world¿s diverse subcultures together to share the same space. Within that, the cultural bridge-builders are those astute people whose vision extends beyond their own niche, finding the global phenomena that are family members who have not yet met. The individuals responsible are often the urban travelers: bike messengers whose routes sometimes take them away from city downtowns; skateboarders looking for a new spot; graffiti writers on all-city missions; and DJs and fashionistas scouring every small neighborhood store for rare finds. Often, street cultures are old-meets-new phenomena, and their originators are the individuals who manage to find inspiration from both the relics that linger in cities and the innovations that spring forth from those communities.
Frequently, this exploration comes from the search for a new urban neighborhood in which artists and creative professions are not yet priced out: places that are invariably collections of old and new and collections of cultures and spaces. Urban finders search their cities and often find themselves a part of many seemingly distinct scenes at once. As they do so, the walls between individual pockets of activity sometimes disappear, as formerly separate subcultures merge, while others remain independent and apart.
Street culture today is crowded with influences from subcultures the world over. The spread of user-controlled media has made the transmission of messages, styles, and art of all kinds easier than ever. The fashions and styles of skaters, gangsters, b-boys, and punks are everywhere. The artwork of graffiti and street artists covers everything from walls and trains to legitimately commissioned advertisements and T-shirt logos. The travelers of the world spread street cultures like viruses, leaving a little of their own and bringing new strains back to their hometown. The streets of the world¿s cities are the mixing ground, a place where subcultural boundaries are blurred, and sometimes dissolved. 
New cultures have radiated out of media-saturated cities such as New York, London, Tokyo, and Los Angeles and gone on to be among the most vital global phenomena in the world. Other recent cultural phenomena have stayed largely endemic to one particular city, perhaps Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, or Johannesburg, only emerging as the travelers of the world spread their ideas. 
Oftentimes, a subculture will be introduced to a new city but cannot map on exactly, with its residents freely changing and adapting it rather than adopting it with precision. Hip-hop gave rise to London grime¿but in turn, grime turned hip-hop on its head by delving deeply into the accents of Londoners rather than New Yorkers. Similarly, Japanese youth have embraced America¿s biker gang culture, but rather than riding Harley-Davidsons and brandishing pistols, the bosozoku, as they¿re called, ride Yamahas and Suzukis and carry swords. Similar forms of assimilation and adaptation have been repeated around the world countless times. Even when a subculture appears identical in different locations, there is always a local flair to it beneath the surface. 
The constant in all of these ever-evolving cultures is the urban street, the place of collision and coexistence among so many disparate people living together in one place. In the most densely populated cities, street culture is simply everywhere, due to small living spaces. In more spread-out cities, street culture clusters around gathering points such as beaches or markets. In many senses, these locations are the arbiters of urban culture as much as the people who populate them: if a certain street culture doesn¿t function well in the streets of a certain city, it won¿t do well there. It could be as simple as a means of transportation: the flat terrain of Miami and Los Angeles loved the low-rider car; the hills of San Francisco proved a perfect challenge for the track bike. But it¿s more than that, of course. The streets of the world let the truly revolutionary ideas, styles, and movements rise to the top and spread around the globe.
Travel and exploration are near the essence of street cultures, and the travelers who have used their passions to cross the boundaries of nations are at the heart of the process of cultural exchange. Each passion has some ideal site, ideal experience¿the equivalent of the surfer¿s perfect wave¿and the chase after it is enough to impel people around the world. At the same time, each culture has its own Mecca, and to the initiated, it¿s perfectly reasonable to save money for a year to finance a trip to skateboard in Los Angeles or to risk deportation by painting a subway train in the tunnels of New York City. The expense and possible risk are no match for any serious passion, of course. Most importantly for these travelers, there are waiting communities of like-minded participants¿future friends¿for them in every city, often with a bed and food to share. These networks of young people have only grown stronger and broader in recent years. 
What has enabled these global communities to flourish and connect? Between cities, countries, and continents, the street¿s stage expands even further, as travelers, commerce, and media all converge to make the world¿s cultures all the more accessible. Computers have made publishing small-scale niche magazines and books easier than ever. Specially targeted businesses have emerged, with products ranging from designer cases for portable music players to specialty spray paint catering to the technical needs of graffiti artists. In the mid-1990s, the Internet and email quickly became vital networking and information-sharing tools, and right after that came major commerce, as everything from cellular phone companies to shoes to automobiles realized that street culture was the biggest thing going.
Once a particular subculture reaches the mass media, it spreads almost instantaneously across the far reaches of its originating country, and before long it becomes a global phenomenon. Somewhere along the line, a universal code of coolness is informally established, as people realize that the popularity of a subculture evolves from its unique and interesting perspective on urban life, from the respect-through-violence mindset of biker gangs to the prettification philosophy of guerrilla gardeners who illegally plant flowers amid the concrete jungle of the city.
Of course, nothing stays popular and interesting forever. Sooner or later, most subcultures become a bit too popular for the tastes of their most creative participants, who inevitably strike out on their own to create the newest addition to the swirling, astonishingly creative world that we call street culture. The attention to the newest developments and mutations of street culture, however, hasn¿t slowed, but only intensified. The result is a broader global reach than ever. When a subculture from São Paulo, Kingston, or Berlin is independently able to capture the attention of a young person on the other side of the planet, we know that we are onto something powerful. 
This book is a celebration of that power. In it, you will find things that you have no doubt been a part of, to which you have contributed in one way or another. You¿ll also find many of the other roots and branches of the tree of the world¿s street culture.
Explore, enjoy, inspire, and be inspired.
Whether you¿re gathering your bearings in the heart of a city or staring at its skyline from miles away, you can usually tell where you are by looking at the unique landscape of any city. The common threads that run through so many urban environments¿tall buildings, crowded sidewalks, street vendors¿are always interwoven with the distinct features that come with a city¿s geography, architecture, and, most importantly, its residents. Cities become epicenters of culture when their hippest citizens get together and create grass-roots movements which eventually become the trends that spread to their suburbs and beyond. Eventually, the efforts of those people all come together to give each city its unique character. After all, what is a city, if not a manmade creation?

Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:

Street life.
Street art.
City and town life.
Streets -- Social aspects.
Counterculture.