The undeniable link between graffiti and hip-hop is marked by the culture that was conceived in the Bronx in the 1970s. Since then hip-hop has matured into a prominent artistic culture in America that is arguably something completely different from how it began. Originally consisting of music, graffiti and breakdancing, hip-hop culture has created a platform for urban city dwellers to express themselves and voice their concerns about societal issues. Doze Green, graffiti artist and social commentator, is known as a legend of culture’s uprising.

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Lately, it has become nearly impossible to remain inside our own little bubbles. You can be transported to places you’ve never seen or heard of by just turning your TV on or logging onto social media. I wake up on a typical Monday morning, get dressed, have some coffee and turn on the news to realize that I was lucky to have a boring peaceful weekend. There are so many things happening every day around the world; innocent people dying, violations of human rights; corruption; drugs; diseases; hunger, you name it. The saddest thing is that we all know about it, we condemn and complain about it, but we don’t do anything to change it, we only rely on someone else’s good deeds.

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The self-taught artist, J.D. Hillberry, has been a professional artist for almost 20 years. Over this time, he has become the most respected and well known artist in his field. His charcoal and pencil drawings are praised for being life-like and his style interests viewers because it plays with their perception of reality and tells a story. His book, Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil, has sold over 50,000 copies to date and it is now considered a classic drawing instruction book that is used by student all over the world. However, although Hillberry always enjoyed art when he was younger, he never thought he was going to be an artist.

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As the images pop up, there’s a lot to process. Bright colors, large eyes and words all come together in one piece. When these types of works show up, art is no longer a spectator sport. We are involved and become a part of this world. Joseph “Sentrock” Perez has created a graffiti-based work of art that screams at you in both pictures and words.

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At 15 years old, Melissa Alexander (aka Phyllis.Iller) was convinced she was going to be a DJ. She had the passion, the love for music and the rhythm to make it happen. All she needed was the equipment. So when her father asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she made sure to ask for two turntables and a mixer. To her surprise, she received a small digital camera instead. “I was slightly disappointed,” she recalls, “but, little did I know, this would be the beginning of a love affair documenting the life I saw before me.”

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After a pilgrimage tracing a transatlantic slave trade route ended in South Africa, Artist Xaviera Simmons traveled throughout the African continent before she had to ask herself, ‘Who am I here in this country? Who are my people?’ Simmons recalled to Elysian magazine, “[African-Americans] don’t have a motherland. Africa is 54 different countries. There is no place in Africa that I could ever go that would be my home. I’ve been all over Africa. Where can I go, and it’s like home for me?”

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Over the past several years, photography has taken place at the forefront of artistic vision. Whether due to the rise of Instagram, which glorifies effortless, gorgeous photos, the rise of a new generation of supermodels, who embody the ever-enviable wispiness and softness of ethereal beings, or the desire to tell stories in visual ways, photography has really taken hold and captivated the novel sensibilities and aesthetics of a modern era. Australian photographer Bec Parsons is the epitome of this contemporary conversion on still film.

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