RWK - © Martha Cooper

Veng, Kev & Chris of RWK – © Martha Cooper

In 2000, when Kevin and I started talking about launching a website we really only had a loose outline of what we were thinking. Our goal was clear though- we wanted people to see the artwork that was overlooked by many. At the time there weren’t too many websites focused on what we were thinking.  We wanted artists to know about graffiti artists and vice versa.

When I was a kid my brother got into graffiti, so naturally I started to pay attention to it too. I was already into comics and the graff world was heavily influenced by comics so it was a no-brainer why I took to it. From graff I started to learn more and more about fine art. Everyone went to museums when they were a kid but to really pay attention to art was rare. So I always loved how one led me into the other and I wanted others to hopefully experience that as well.

We launched in March of 2001 and sat back and watched. We had mostly graff pics and a few artists.

Within a week we had 13 visitors a day. We were so excited to see this. Next thing we knew- we started getting link exchanges, graff pics, artist submissions from all over the world. The visitor numbers raised and raised, quicker and quicker. Between the link exchanges, stickers and word of mouth we were getting tons of graff submissions a day. Kevin knew we had to change the submission process. He made the self upload feature for the graff section and that changed everything. We were getting at least 200 pics a day. Now not all of them were amazing pics (whether it was size, pic quality or content), so we did need an editing process.

We really loved the response we were getting. I loved that some kid who did something on Staten Island could be seen by a kid in Australia.
I was designing a lot of merch for the site also. From hand painted items to  printed shirts, hats, stickers etc. All the money made off this stuff just went back into the site and helping promote it.

RWK - © Joe Russo Photography

RWK – © Joe Russo Photography

As time went on, technology would change and to be honest our priorities did too. Things like Flickr, blogs, Instagram, etc became more and more popular and we each focused more on our individual art work and projects. We never lost the love for doing the site so I’d still post new things here and there and keep the graff section updated, but a change in platform was definitely needed.

With that- Kevin and I started talking about a redesign and really a resurfacing. I told him I really wanted to bring the focus back on artists who should be getting attention. Whether it’s painting, video, music etc. I just wanted people to be seen and heard.  We decided to continue the graff section into the new site, migrating about 70,000 images we’ve collected over the years!  The site has been re-designed, re-programmed, with a tighter focus on featuring the stories and images of people whose work we admire.

It’s over a decade later and I still stick to what I said back in 2001, “they wouldn’t give us a space, so we built one”.

Not Done Yet, Not By Far