North Wales Graffiti
This year, arguably the most important publication in Graffiti history (Subway Art) celebrates it's 25th anniversary. North Wales street artist Callum Humphreys takes a closer look.
Early this year I had the privilege of meeting a true die hard Welsh Graffiti artist Andy ' DIMEONE ' Birch. A writer of 20+ years who has been a predominant figure in reviving the North Wales Graffiti scene Andy showed me a piece in Old Colwyn which inspired him over 20 years ago. I was amazed to see the piece still intact 20 years after it was originally painted by an artists 'System' and 'Stormie' who have become house-hold names amongst North Wales writers. Stormie went on to paint with some of the big names in Graffiti based over in the USA.
Throughout the 90's the scene went underground, writers had now left school, were holding down full-time jobs and had major commitments. The risk of getting caught had become much greater. Writers had alter egos, upstanding members of the community by day, fame addicted artists by night. The consequences of being caught were now much greater but this did not deter the artists, although their art was less public, the scene was still much alive. You just needed to know where to look. There was one artist who showed old habits die hard, a writer by the name of 'Roel'. Regular trackside pieces were popping up all along the train lines along the coast, a couple survived the buff and can still be seen today.
Public opinion started to change, finally writers were beginning to become known as talented artists. The local authorities began to commission writers to paint murals and hold community workshops inspiring a new wave of writer; kids who were never interested in traditional art were inspired by the vibrant colours, shapes and the whole culture that surrounds the Graffiti scene. The new Millennium and the era of social networking websites give the writers a new platform to showcase their work, swap stories and give advice to new writers. No website has done this better than www.urbnfabrik.com brain child of another amazing oldskool writer 'TOXIC'. With new members joining weekly and Welsh artists on their writers team UrbnFabrik is playing a key role in the revival of the North Wales scene.
Anyone who has a real interest in painting Graffiti and is in the North Wales area you can get in touch with 'Andy DIMEONE Birch' through the Urbnfabrik website. Andy has a spot which he takes care of, it is worked by invite only for anyone who seriously thinking of painting and needs a legal spot to do so. Any level of skill is welcome, just another way that Andy is helping to promote the scene so hats off to him again.
'Gofod' a welsh language programme on the S4C channel recently did a piece on Street art in Wales, profiling some of the pioneers in modern welsh Graffiti. If you missed it you can catch it here for the next month.
is a designer, illustrator and street artist based in North Wales. Working as a Graphic designer under the name ANSR Design Callum is always trying to promote the graffiti scene as a positive art form.
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posted: 29th November 2009