#MeetAndGraff is a short interview series where we meet graffiti artists working on Leake Street and learn more about their style.
Name Kayleigh Marshall
Graffiti Name Marshall Art Life
What age did you get into graffiti? My Art Life only began 2 years ago when I quit my corporate job at 23 to go full time as an artist. And only as recently as one year ago did I pick up my first spray paint can and start making a mess. I work with a lot of mediums but spray paint is by far my favourite tool – it totally represents me as an artist and as a person because of the speed at which you can create a piece of work. You can express your style in a matter of minutes with spray paint, which is ideal for me as I have no patience when it comes to creativity.
Who is your favourite street artist? Hands down Mr. Cenz. He is prolific in his street art production and I am always going back to his work to study his techniques and colour combinations. There is a large-scale piece of his just round the corner from my studio in Brixton and every time I get up close to it I notice a different technique or colour combination and I am constantly asking myself ‘how the hell did he do that?’. I see creating a design as solving a series of problems, of which I solve using a large range of mediums and techniques; Mr. Cenz answers all those questions with just a spray paint can; it’s literally unbelievable.
How would you describe your style?
Forever evolving! I literally cannot settle on one ‘style’ and it develops with every piece I produce. People and more specifically human behaviour inspires me the most and so I think that’s why I work across a huge range of styles and techniques to reflect that diversity in the population. Every person is unique and my interaction with people is my own unique experience and so my source of inspiration is ever evolving, making it almost impossible for me to settle on ‘one style’ to represent that.
What do you want people to feel when they look at your work? I would consider it a huge success if when people looked at my work they felt something positive. My work is how I translate everything about my life that makes me happy, and so if that could make others feel happy too I would consider that pretty dope.
What do you think about London’s graffiti scene? I have literally only scratched the surface of this underworld but one thing that for me defines London’s graffiti scene is the wave of pride in a local area that comes when a new street art piece pops up. Locals cannot wait to show you who has been and left their mark, photographers want to be the first to spot a fresh graff and I think it’s Londoners openness to public art is what fuels the street art scene and makes people feel proud to hail from their borough.
What do you think about legal walls such as Leake Street Tunnel? I have been visiting Leake Street Tunnel ever since a Londoner friend showed me around a few years ago and it still makes the hairs on my arms stand on edge. It’s one of the dopest spots in London and it moves me every time I walk through. Everything from the dank smell and eerie spotlighting to the echo of the voices of those walking through makes this one of the things about London that makes me so proud to call this place home. Street art is the highest form of creative expression – it’s quite literally a public art gallery where anyone can go and express themselves and leave their mark amongst some of the worlds greatest street artists. Art typically is displayed in a stark white gallery where a ‘view by appointment’ signs sits on the front door like a big ‘f*!k off unless you’re rich sign’ – legal graffiti walls are the antithesis of that and their importance lies in their ability to open up art and creative expression to EVERYONE.