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Coffee with the first lady of graffiti

Subway Art – photos by Cooper and Chalfant

Lady Pink, born Sandra Fabara in 1964, was nicknamed the “first lady of graffiti” as one of the first women active in the early 1980s New York City subway graffiti subculture. The bright and energetic work of those days was captured by photographers Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant.

This work has been published in “Subway Art“. It was first published in 1984, but has since been updated with 70 new photographs and more words by the photographers. I was lucky enough to get to a talk by Lady Pink and Martha Cooper last year – fascinating – and bought the book, of course. It gives a great look at the early days of street art, with brave photography of moving trains and some wonderful foldout views of what they captured.

Highly recommended – with our without coffee.

And if you’re wondering why the Helvetica espresso cup, it’s because that is the font now used for signage in the subway – although it wasn’t the official signage typeface until December 1989.
I just didn’t have a mug to match any of the previous typefaces used on the subway!



Copyright Debbie Smyth, 15 April 2020

Posted as part of #acoffeeandabook series

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