I grew up in Kent so spent my weekends as a teenager getting the train to London, As a lost kid with an imagination seeing all the tags and color fly by as I stared out the window got me totally hooked on graffiti. From about 16 it fully took over most of my thinking, I attempted my first piece in 2000, and I’ve been painting ever since. That’s a lot of years but it only feels like it’s clicked the last few. And I’ve always seemed to be drawn more to the characters and backgrounds, I always wanted to have my own recognizable style and be able to paint characters in an old vintage advertising way. I’m a huge collector of vinyl, toys anything vintage so it’s just bringing this inspiration into graffiti. I’ve never clicked with letters, and I’ve reverted to pushing them more the last few years as don’t want to just be the character guy.
With favorite artists, I think the all-time list in my head all have a similar pattern, I need the full package, all the artists below are not following the traditional path they all wander off and make their own path. The best graffiti artists, in my opinion, get influenced by art outside of graffiti and bring it to their style. All the artists below are still pushing themselves year after year, reinventing themselves. They smash it in all elements, which inspires me and pushes me to work harder. There are some more popular writers whose work I love but here are the ones in my top ten I want more people to be inspired by.
Colours, style, letters etc etc too much to mention. With most people, they do a certain amount and you could make a book on their work, with Renks you could never finish the book as every time he updated you on what he has done that week you know you would need to put it in the book, writers who don’t slow down like this are who you should use to light the fire in yourself.
To me, Eko is right up there, I think the artist that inspires me the most. The most slept-on writer ever, but luckily those who know his work know just how good he is. Some people’s brains just think differently and the way he talks about his drawings and style is my version of genius. I’ve got his work on my walls at home and id never get bored of looking at it. Genuinely think he is a paint wizard.
There must be something in the water in Kent as so many writers have come from there with styles that make my eyes melt. Petro was one of the first writers whose pieces I saw in the flesh and he has made me think outside the box ever since. His letters are on another level and where he is taking his art is a pleasure to watch. He is one of those artists that is his artwork, there is nothing fake he lives and breathes his work.
What can I say about Roids, such an incredible artist. He could have paused and stuck with about fifty styles and just kept knocking them out and would still be on this list. Maybe one of the most bitten writers, but just moves on and smashes out another style that makes your jaw drop to the ground. He is one of the only writers that I can show mates that are just designers and you see smoke come out of their ears. I’m genuinely excited to see what he paints in the future.
The whole package, when he paints the style is bonkers and 100% him. The colors are off the charts, the spot is a spot that makes your third leg tingle, and the photograph is always book-worthy. He does that week after week and year after year around the world. I need people around me like this as it makes me jealous but not in a bad way in a get up of my arse and go do something way. Also writers like this I call a tip of the iceberg writer as you know your only seeing 10% of what they are doing which means they’re smashing it.
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Check out the artists mentioned in this feature