Subway Cypher Art Installation

Friends of Waterfront Seattle and Vivid Matter Collective have come together to celebrate Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary through a vibrant, mobile art installation that celebrates the genre’s impact and legacy. Read on to learn more about Subway Cypher, its contributing artists, and where you can find it next!

Subway Cypher is at Occidental Park August 11 through September 29

Artist Statement

Subway Cypher is an immersive installation created by the Vivid Matter Collective (VMC) that pays homage to the origins of hip hop culture. Composed of a shipping container enveloped in a vibrant mural, handcrafted by legendary graffiti artist SnekeOne, this interactive artwork transports viewers to the vibrant streets of New York City where the rhythmic beats and expressive artistry of hip hop were born.

Drawing inspiration from the iconic boombox and subway cars, Subway Cypher symbolizes the raw energy and urban creativity that characterized the early days of hip hop. It serves as a tangible embodiment of the movement, encapsulating the spirit of a bygone era while offering a contemporary lens through which to explore its legacy. The surface of the shipping container becomes a vibrant canvas for Sneke One’s mural, a living testament to his mastery of graffiti art. Bold colors, intricate patterns, and dynamic imagery intertwine to tell a visual story that reverberates with the rhythm of the streets. This mural becomes a gateway, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in a world where art and music converge, and where the power of self-expression resonates through every brushstroke…

Subway Cypher showing in Occidental Square.

Subway Cypher showing in Occidental Square.

However, Subway Cypher holds a hidden surprise: it opens completely to reveal a hidden gallery space within.

As the container’s doors swing open, a sensory journey unfolds, welcoming audiences to step inside and fully engage with the art. Within this intimate space, the walls become an extension of the mural, showcasing an eclectic array of works curated by VMC. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, and multimedia installations come together to explore the multifaceted facets of hip hop culture and its impact on society.

Through this fusion of visual and immersive experiences, Subway Cypher invites viewers to reflect on the evolution of hip hop as a transformative force. It sparks conversations about cultural identity, artistic expression, and the ways in which art can serve as a catalyst for change. By creating an environment that encourages exploration and engagement, VMC aims to bridge the gap between the audience and the artwork, fostering a dialogue that extends beyond the confines of the gallery. Subway Cypher is a celebration of hip hop’s origins, a testament to its enduring influence, and an invitation for viewers to delve into the vibrant world that birthed a global movement. It captures the essence of a bygone era while inspiring a new generation to embrace their creativity, express their individuality, and use art as a powerful means of storytelling and connection. Through this installation, VMC hopes to ignite a spark within each viewer, encouraging them to embrace their unique voice and contribute to the ongoing narrative of hip hop culture.

Vivid Matter Collective est. 2020 Seattle, WA.

Subway Cypher Ribbon-Cutting & Artist Reception

Subway Cypher Ribbon-Cutting 2023, photo by Berhanu Wells

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About Vivid Matter Collective

We are a group of individuals who came together to spread truth through art. In that effort we created a space for ourselves that provides support, opportunity and amplification of our individuality. We are every intersection converged. We are every color of the palette and every tool in the box. We are fresh and seasoned. We are trained and talented. We are you. We are VMC.

This Project Was Made Possible Thanks To