Before Charlie Ahearn directed the classic hip-hop film Wild Style, which first screened in 1982, he was shooting slides and kung-fu movies on Super 8mm film. He’d often scratch names and phrases into the emulsion of rejected slides, projecting them as backdrop at the Ecstasy Garage while MCs rocked the house. His current series of mixed-media “scratch paintings” canonize those times, referencing hip-hop party flyers and maps of favorite subway-hitting spots, hangouts and other secret locations. Ahearn has taught university classes on hip-hop, art and design and is recognized as a voice and documentarian of the culture. Ahearn still resides in New York City.
BEYOND THE STREETS New York, 2019. Photo by Martha Cooper.