I remember distinctly that moment when I finally walked into Leake Street underneath Waterloo Station for the first time. I stood in the north end of the tunnel and was immediately immersed in a sensory overload with spray paint fumes filling my lungs and an eclectic assault of images demanding my attention as they jostled for space on the walls. I was in heaven and even before I got my hand on a spray can I fell in love with the energy that was contained in this unique space.
For an artist who had spent some time feeling oddly isolated in London it was a joy and relief to be able to express on such a grand scale and connect with like-minded artists. To me street art (and more so graffiti) embodies that maverick nature that so many creatives strive to organically tap into to make their art. Street art is free, unconventional, unpredictable, impermanent, engaging, thought-provoking and most importantly accessible to the masses. It covers so many genres and has certainly influenced many at the same time. It is a global phenomena that has a profound historical lineage. Once you embrace it you feel like you are part of something immense.
The spray can is a forgiving tool, but it takes a while to master it. I soon realised that you could cover a large expanse of wall quite quickly and so the murals got bigger. Leake Street offers the luxury of these vast expanses of wall space. And whilst some artists lamented the quick rotation of the artworks created I loved how my work was appreciated in one moment and then disappeared the next. The shortest time a mural survived, 1 glorious hour!
Covered by layers and layers of artistic freedom, Leake Street walls are a testament to this passing of time. Everyday the walls are repainted. Everyday a new exhibition for the many people who use Leake Street as a way to get to somewhere. And still people are discovering it for the first time. People would come up to me and ask if I had permission to paint on the walls and if I was an artist. There is an innate wonder at being able to be so up close and personal to these mysterious figures called artists. Equally the artists are able to speak directly to the public and so numerous opportunities were made possible.
Between 2014 and 2019 just as the Covid pandemic began to spread across the globe I embraced this dynamic world completely. Below are just a series of some of the murals produced in that time including many from Leake Street and also Berlin, Manchester, USA/Connecticut and Kosovo (as part of Meeting Of Styles). As the world comes back online and I start a new chapter of visual adventures I am reminded that it was Leake Street that gave me the impetus to be the artist I am today, and for that I am very grateful.