#MeetAndGraff is a short interview series where we meet graffiti artists working on Leake Street and learn more about their style.
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What age did you get into graffiti? I started sketching letters after reading “spraycan art” at secondary school. I had seen graffiti being painted at my local skatepark but had never seen proper wildstyle productions. It blew my mind, and as a result I very selfishly took the book on permanent loan from the school library. I sketched letters and characters, and dropped a few tags for years but only started painting on a regular basis when I moved to London and met east London legends “ Jaf” and “Crane “ by chance.
Who is your favourite street artist? My favourite street artist? I guess it would have to be Sweet Tooth. Just because he seems to have the mentality of a graffiti writer. He is up in some of the hardest spots to paint. And I see him up all over the world. There’s nothing better than getting off a plane in some far flung place in Europe on your way to work and seeing a Sweet Tooth. It makes me feel at home.
How would you describe your style? I’m not really sure how I would describe my style. But I will try my best. My letters are not great in my opinion, I would describe them as “toy”, but my characters are “old school b boy style” even when I’m not painting bboys! All my characters are inspired by letters.
What do you want people to feel when they look at your work? If the viewer is a graffiti writer looking at my work, I want them to see all the influences from letters and graffiti in my characters. If they’re a punter, then I would hope that seeing a piece of my graffiti would give them a feeling that they can do anything they want to do, and they don’t just have to walk around watching the world through their phone or laptop. Living vicariously through a digital representation of someone else’s life (which is more often than not, completely false) is dangerous. I would want my work to remind them they can get involved in the real world and do something different. They can do something for themselves and meet new people. Take one step off the beaten track and the whole world looks new and exciting!
What do you think about London’s graffiti scene? I am very lucky to live in London, it has one of the best graff scenes in the world. I spend around half my time travelling around the UK and the other half around the world and I still haven’t found a place where the scene is so big and so vibrant as London. We are dead lucky here. We have so many legal walls. And yet there is still no shortage of hardcore illegal writers to inspire people like me.
What do you think about legal walls such as Leake Street Tunnel? Legal walls, like Leake Street, are important, as they give people a chance to push their styles and skills to the next level. Also they act as a good meeting place for like minded people. Think of it as Sunday football five a side but with red stripe and spray cans. I love seeing a great production on a legal wall. Almost as much as seeing a tidy dub on a trackside or rooftop spot. Both legal and illegal graffiti are beautiful to me. The general public often say to me “I love these characters but I hate all this scribble (tags)”. Which is funny because without legal walls, illegal graffiti would still exist and thrive. But without illegal graffiti we wouldn’t have any legal graffiti. Everything I do has roots in those “scribbles”! Legal walls, like the ones at Leake Street or Stockwell, are a good gateway for the general public into the world of graffiti. A place where they can go and appreciate the art but also meet the artists and form more educated opinions on how they feel about graffiti and the people who paint it.