See this Q & A about Bloomingdale resident Steve Cummings.
What is the deal with the black-and-white photos of a young African-American man in a kind of steampunk outfit (retro round glasses, stovepipe hat, overcoat, maybe with an ascot or fur collar) that are pasted on street-corner utility boxes around town? They’ve been there for years, and there are no words or anything to indicate the deal. Was this a street art project, or a bygone promotion, or what?
Around 2010, local artist Steven M. Cummings began putting these artworks around the city. Cummings is the man in the portrait and pasted his mug around town as an act of self-promotion. It’s paid off: His photography has been exhibited at the Anacostia Community Museum multiple times. “If you want to be able to survive as an artist, you have to create some sort of image,” Cummings told Smithsonian Magazine in 2012. “They’re buying into you, what you produce. So once you build that image, then you can produce almost anything.” —Kayla Randall