Free Underground Art & Graffiti: Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper & BLADE at Drexel University

making viagra work compare

Style Wars film screening and Book Signing of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Subway Art

Well known author, photographer and filmmaker Henry Chalfant, along with author and photographer Martha Cooper and graffiti legend BLADE (Steven Ogburn) will visit Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design to discuss the underground art world of graffiti during its premier era of the late 1970s and 1980s.  Chalfant and Cooper have documented the urban subculture of graffiti and hip-hop life in books such as Subway Art, which recently reissued a 25th Anniversary edition and Spray Can Art. Chalfant also wrote, produced and directed the PBS award-winning film Style Wars (1984) with Tony Silver.

On Thursday, April 22nd in the Bossone Auditorium (3128 Market St.) a film screening of Style Wars followed by a discussion and book signing of the 25th Anniversary edition of Subway Way Art will begin at 7 PM.  Following the screening Chalfant, Cooper and BLADE will take questions from the audience and discuss not only the photography and filmmaking of their projects but also the artistic and cultural importance of the era. The evening will conclude with the book signing in Bossone’s lobby

During the 1970’s and 1980’s, New York City, especially its subway cars, were canvases for talented and very daring graffiti artists, whose work was not appreciated by all.  Chalfant, Cooper and BLADE lived through this very creative and intrepid period of New York history and during their time at Drexel will provide first hand stories on many of the images seen in film and print.

This event is sponsored by the Film & Video Program, the Photography Program, the Office of Equality and Diversity, the Office of Multicultural Education and Outreach and the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. This event is FREE and open to the public. For more information please call: 215-895-1029 or visit

Event Facts:

What: Underground Art

Where: Bossone Auditorium, (3128 Market St.)

Who: Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper & BLADE

When: Thursday, April 22, 7 PM

Cost: FREE and open to the public

More Information: 215-895-1029 or visit

Biographical Information:

Henry Chalfant: Chalfant is on the foremost authorities on New York subway art, he has published articles and lectured extensively on this and other aspects of urban youth culture.  His photographs record hundreds of ephemeral, original art works that have long since vanished.  Henry was born in 1940 in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.  He studied at Stanford University, where he majored in classical Greek.  Later he pursued a career as a sculptor, exhibiting his work in New York and Europe.  In the 1980’s he turned to photo and film documentation in order to do an in-depth study of hip-hop culture and graffiti art.  Exhibits of his photos include the O.K. Harris Gallery and the landmark New York-New Wave show at P.S. l, and important galleries and museums in Europe.  His photos are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh.

Martha Cooper: Cooper is a documentary photographer who has specialized in documenting urban vernacular art and architecture for over thirty years. From 1977-1980, Martha worked as a staff photographer on the NY Post. During that time she began to shoot graffiti and break dancing, subjects which led to her extensive coverage of early Hip Hop as it emerged from the Bronx.  Martha’s first book Subway Art (with Henry Chalfant), has been in print since 1984 and is affectionately called the “Bible” by graffiti artists worldwide. It was reprinted in 2009 as a 25th anniversary edition. Her next book, R.I.P.: Memorial Wall Art looked at memorial murals in NYC.  Hip Hop Files 1980-1984 contains hundreds of rare, early Hip Hop photos and We B*Girlz is an intensive look at girls who break dance worldwide. Street Play and New York State of Mind are collections of her NYC photos from the late 70’s. Tag Town shows the evolution of graffiti style from early tags to complicated pieces while Going Postal contains hundreds of images of graffiti and street art on postal stickers. Martha’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and published in numerous magazines from National Geographic to Vibe. She lives in Manhattan where she is the Director of Photography at City Lore, the New York Center for Urban Folk Culture.

BLADE (AKA Steven Ogburn): King, master, visionary: BLADE is more than a graffiti artist. A remarkably pivotal figure in the history of graffiti, BLADE’s successes as a graffiti artist are myriad.  BLADE’s artwork has been extensively collected and exhibited for over twenty years and he has participated in over 60 select solo and group gallery exhibitions throughout the world.  BLADE has also been involved in numerous symposiums and appeared in hundreds of articles, television features, magazine and journal publications and catalogs.  At the forefront of the subway graffiti movement in the 1970s, BLADE’s work is not only recognized as significantly influential, but his lengthily career as a professional artists has warranted his worldwide notoriety and fame. Painting over 5,000 trains and evolving to new levels of subway and canvas graffiti, BLADE has had exhibition at the Whitney Museum (2000), Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2000), a 1991 show at the Musee National Des Monuments Francais (Paris, France), numerous shows at the Groninger Museum and dozens of shows in Europe and Asia.  On October 28, 1994, BLADE was invited to the Groninger Museum to meet Queen Elizabeth II of England, as she was attending the prestigious institutions re-opening.  His work is highly collectable.

About the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design:

Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers fourteen undergraduate and five graduate programs in media, design and the performing arts. The College empowers students with the knowledge, skills and techniques to succeed in highly competitive creative fields. Programs are taught in small studio settings, featuring hands-on learning and a faculty of industry practitioners who emphasize the use of the latest technologies. Westphal College is home to the Mandell Theater, the Pearlstein Gallery, Drexel’s television (DUTV) and radio (WKDU) stations, the Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies, MAD Dragon Records and Drexel’s Historic Costume Collection.

In January 2009, the Westphal College received the largest philanthropic gift ever recorded at Drexel University, $25 million.  The gift is being used for the development and expansion of the college, purchasing a 130,000 sq ft. Robert Venturi Building on Market St.  The Venturi building is one of two buildings that will serve as new home for the design programs of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design beginning in fall 2010.

Drexel University is the premier co-op school in the United States and is a top ranked comprehensive university. Allen Sabinson is the dean of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. For more information about the College, go to:


Comments are closed.