At the beginning of 2015 I would never have thought I would be lucky enough to be part of a street art collective called Psychodoodlz helping curate a memory mural at Tate Britain or painting live at the Flux exhibition at The Royal College of Art, but as 2015 came to a close and I sifted through numerous photos to help create this website I realised that it had indeed been an amazing year. Amazing mainly due to the wonderful generous community of people that make up the various creatives attracted to Leake Street. This humble tunnel made famous by Bansky's exhibition in 2008 is I feel one the most dynamically creative places to visit in London. From the fiercely talented ladies of Femme Fierce to the never ending majestic murals of numerous collectives, individuals, amateurs and even curious tourists to the constant recording of these creations by the Instagram and Flickr folk, Leake Street is indeed very unique. I think I have a soft spot for it because it is where I learnt (and gladly continue to learn!) my skills. I smile at the memories of that tentative first mural to now painting large spaces with complete abandon. And if you want a masterclass then you can sit a watch talent that redefines what can be achieved with a spray can, or a paint brush or images on paper. And it is constantly changing and evolving and changing again. I have lost count how many times people have expressed dismay that my work was covered within moments of it being completed but that is the energy I feel that gave me so much drive to create. I see it as the ironic twist in that the moment you walk away and let go of needing to be protective you move to the next piece. Thank goodness though for mobile phones and social media which records this daily changing show of glorious raw talent.
So as I start 2016 and consider new creative adventures and missions in London and beyond I will still visit Leake Street often. It's a great place to call your office! We are still in the process of completing the new mural pieces on the ceiling and I can't thank enough the staff from The Vault (thanks Kieron) and The Vans (thanks Mike) who have been infinitely patient with us constantly asking to have access to the scaffolding and barriers. I would also like to thank the great team of Chrom Art www.chrom-art.org who made so many magical moments possible for myself (such as painting with the hugely inspiring Amara Por Dios at Tribe 15) and Psychodoodlz (helping with the funding for paints to decorate the ceiling at Leake Street). Thanks also to the team at www.londoncallingblog.net who unsurprisingly has had a wonderful successful first year with his generous energy in recording and sharing London's vibrant street art and graffiti scene. Thanks to Lisa Gray for allowing me the chance to paint in the prestigious Flux Exhibition at RCA, Gaylene Gould for the 'Gold Ticket' that was the Tate Britain gig and Lee Button for his limitless energy in supporting emerging artists through The Underdog Gallery. Lastly of course my gratitude for the crew of Psychodoodlz past and present who made it seem so easy to cover 100ft sections of wall in glorious doodles and who did a great job of creating the Psychodoodlz Shuffle Dance at Tate Britain!
This website is going to be a wonderful new resource in 2016 to broaden the creative net further and experience new connections with artists and crews local and international. I am a huge advocate for collaboration because the possibilities are truly endless. Already I am working on writing a book showcasing the past and present history of Leake Street (those of you on Instagram and Flickr who regular walk through the tunnel please do get in touch!) and now it would seem there is potential for a documentary. All it takes is those seeds of ideas. And please don't think this is limited to just painting. If you are a regular in Leake Street you will know it is a haven for film, dance, fashion, acting and even occasionally fire juggling! If you have a suggestion of an idea I would love to hear it.
I look forward to seeing you in Leake Street and other street art/graffiti hot spots and I will endevour to keep you updated here with any news that comes my way. And to my fellow creatives, onwards, upwards, always.