Street Art - "Yeah Man"
Street Art started in New York in the 1960's and peaked in the 80's with the subway train murals in the Bronx. Graffiti, urban art, spray paint graffiti, guerrilla art whatever you want to call it, has moved away from the being an act of vandalism to a way of bringing beauty and messages to the world. It's perfectly acceptable and pretty cool to have street art in your home.
As an Dalstonite, I'm surrounded by street art (in fact, this morning I saw a cool cat, I'll go back later and photograph it). I walk the streets looking at the murals. Lisbon, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Miami, and Milan are a few of my favourite street art cities. I feel lucky to have had the pleasure of seeing such beautiful work in the fresh air. Blue skies and a great cup of coffee in hand, what's not to love?
I met Will Barras and Steff Plaetz at Bournville Art College in Birmingham. They are the two nicest guys I know. Talented, gentle souls. (God knows why I didn't marry one of them. I couldn't see nice guys at the time) When we left art college they went off to Bristol to study art and I went into the world of advertising. They introduced me to street art in 1987. It's fair to say my knowledge of street art as a middle-aged, middle-class, yummy mummy type is pretty hot and it's thanks to them.
Will and Steff were responsible for the original "Hip Hop Don't Stop" album covers. I think that was their first big break. They have painted walls all over the world ever since. Will has earned international attention for his work and has made a full transition from street art into the mainstream art world.
Talking of "Hip Hop" (said with a middle-class accent) I took the boys to NYC and found a Hip Hop walking tour of the Bronx. The boys woke in the morning and announced: "We don't want to go on one of your out of date music tours" One thing I do know about "Hip Hop" is it is a major influence on Grime. The boys love Grime. My response "Boys, would you prefer to go back to London and go to the John Lewis cafe for lunch or something just as bland?"
Anyway, it turned out to be a high-speed tour of the Bronx in a van with blacked out windows, rather than a walking tour. I remember looking at the guy on the MC thinking "You're not the average tour guide." He clearly was a "Hip-Hop" artist, the energy and passion that guy had for the music completely captivated the boys and me.
Grandmaster Caz, "hip-hopped" us at high speed back to Manhattan at the end of the tour. He’s the one that wrote: "I said a hip hop. Hippie to the hippie. The hip, hip a hop, and you don't stop, a rock it out. Bubba to the bang bang boogie, boobie to the boogie. To the rhythm of the boogie the beat." Someone stole those lyrics from him, if you know your music you'll know what I'm talking about.
The boys stepped out of that van rocking to the rhythm alright. They now pretend they didn't enjoy it. I know they did and I'm so happy we didn't go to John Lewis that day. I've always surrounded the boys with inspiration. Steff lived with us for a while, the boys never did get their heads around how cool their school run was when Steff used to pick them up.
When we collaborated to create a gallery wall for Helene's son Tom, you can imagine how pleased I was. Every 17 year old needs street art in their lives.
Helene is an interior designer with exquisite taste and gave us a colour palette to work to. We worked around Will’s commissioned "Surround Sound" canvas. We filled the wall with prints from East London galleries. There is a second commissioned piece painted by Steff and the vinyl is a real hit with Tom.
The day we hung Tom's wall, we all worked together in harmony. A meeting of creative minds and gentle souls. Helene's a keeper. I’m honoured to be still meeting inspiring, open-minded and free thinking people. I know she's going to be a friend.
Will and Steff, you'll never know how much I love you. Thirty years of friendship and we're still going strong. Woody now says "Yeah man" just like Will and Steff and every time he does my heart skips a beat. The “next gen” of cool. That’s Will up the ladder by the way.
If you would like a street art inspired wall, prices start at £5000 using original pieces of art or £1500 using limited edition prints. You can also ask about our "Quick Fix" service if you're on a budget.