In conversation with Billy

Smile. Photo by HookedBlog.

For the last 6 months, alongside partner in crime Malarky, Billy has been producing some of my favourite street art in London (and Madrid). I was lucky enough to catch up with her literally two hours before the duo’s show, Summer Breeze, opened at High Roller Society. Despite her distinct lack of sleep, Billy remained her bubbly self and her passion for giraffes, bright colours, and warm weather quickly became apparent…

“I just like painting stuff and making things look colourful. It livens up the street. And being able to paint your artwork in a large scale is great; I get a real buzz out of that. But I want to ensure that I don’t come across like a badass writer because I’m not, I just like adding colour to dull streets and making my work available to all.”

Malarky x Billy - Wiped Out. Photo by Billy.

But when questioned about street art, Billy was reluctant to be labelled a ‘street artist’ due to her background, and believes the label can often be misinterpreted.

“I have an illustration background, I studied graphic design. But I have been doing a lot of artwork on the streets recently, so I suppose if that defines a street artist then I am, but I don’t come from a graffiti based background and didn’t start with traditional illegal tagging. All the work I’ve produced on the street is legal. I just like making my artwork visible to lots of people, in a space that is so accessible. But then again a lot of people prefer to do it illegally for that adrenaline rush.

Plus I think the term street art can be massively misinterpreted by some people. People say the words ‘street art’ and automatically presume you come from a graffiti background but that’s not true. You don’t need to come from that kind of background to be a street artist. Anyone can be one and do something smart on the street.

In fact, me and Malarky have done a couple of pieces for the show, doing a bit of a piss take, mainly out of ourselves but also the scene. One piece is called “Street Life” which came about when we were just listening to some hip hop and taking the piss, saying “Oh we’re so street!””

Make Me Wanna Holler. Photo by HookedBlog.

Billy, certainly raised an interesting subject with regard to the necessary qualities you need possess to be considered a ‘street artist’. Having recently read the book Abstract Graffiti by Cedar Lewisohn, I took a quote that stood out to me – “Some artists now seem to be more interested in such things as craftsmanship and drawing… It’s almost a shift from graphic art to fine art on the street” – and asked if she agreed.

“Oh yeah, I definitely think some artists are. But due to background, for me it’s just about drawing, always. That’s how I’ve developed my style; I’ve just always been really into drawing. And then just being able to take and make it big is the way I’ve come across street art.

I think there are definitely shifts and trends, and things coming out of fashion, or maybe just people jumping on bandwagons. Or they are more interested in just developing their style and technique.

And of course, there is nothing wrong with being influenced by other people and what they’re doing, when you see someone doing something really cool. Like in Madrid, 3TT Man was plastering concrete onto walls and engraving into them. And that’s just a sick idea. Obviously if you went and did that you would be biting his idea but there is nothing wrong with drawing on his, and other people’s ideas, and doing things in your own way.”

Billy, Malarky and Mr Penfold hit Madrid. Photo by Billy.

Much of Billy’s street work has been completed in collaboration with other artists; Mr Penfold, Sweet Toof, Mighty Mo, 45RPM, Richt, and of course Malarky. Having asked a bit about their working relationships and how they prepare for a colab piece, I found out it often comes down to alcohol intake…

“It’s all about our mutual love of just going out and painting, our work ties in really well together and people just get good vibes off it. Working with people like Sweet Toof and Monkey has been wicked, you learn new things, it’s got me more exposure and this show has actually come off the back of contacts through them. It’s just nice to vary it up and when you work with them it kind of opens your eyes to how other people paint.

The work we produce, kind of depends on what we’re doing and how many beers we have drunk. Sometimes we sit down and do a little sketch. I think we always have some kind of idea but it does sometimes get a bit silly and it ends up changing into someone else. When we collaborate with other people we always know what each other draws, like Mr Penfold and his characters with their weird noses, it kinds of just works. I’ve never been like “This is your part of the wall, this is mine”, its quite fluid, we mix it up a bit. And I’m learning about working with people all the time.”

Billy, Malarky and Monkey in Brixton. Photo by Billy.
Billy in Berlin. Photo by Billy.

As the conversation progresses, Billy explains that she has been lucky with regard to the increasing levels of buffing in London prior to the Olympics. In her words it’s been “so good, so far” and she hasn’t had any of her pieces removed. Although she admits it’s certainly going to happen one day and so taking photos and documenting her work is important.

Much of this street work has been in the form of shutters and vans, I asked about her choice of surface, which she prefers, and asked who chooses the brilliantly bright colours they use.

“I think the response we have been getting from doing shutters has been quite funny because it’s so easy; all you need to do is go into the shop and say “Can we paint your shutters?” And there are so many to paint, tonnes and tonnes in London. In certain areas every single shop has shutters. They are just easy to paint and walls and roof tops are harder to come by, it’s hard to get permission.

Malarky got into vans in Barcelona because you can’t paint shutters there anymore legally. Even if the shop lets you, there has been a law passed where the council no longer allows it. And there are tonnes of trucks there, they all park up on the side of the road and they are usually covered in tags already. It’s much harder to find a truck here that you can paint. I’ve only painted a couple but the wicked thing is about painting them is that they move around the city during the day.

The thing about shutters is they are wicked too but people don’t really see them unless its night time or Sunday. And a lot of the ones we do paint open to silly o’clock too, off licences and stuff, and so people don’t really see them. We have got lots of exposure but if they were down all the time more people could see our work.

In terms of the surface, painting a truck is just so much better. It’s so much flatter. When I first started painting a really appreciated the shutters because I could be really loose with my style. I’m really getting into doing shapes and stuff but it’s hard to get a really crisp line on a corrugated shutter. When you use a shutter it’s a bit more about doing pieces with a bit more impact with bold outlines.

Originally the colours I use come from when Malarky and I went to paint together. We used to go buy paint together and use the same colours. And then we based it on the Posca Paint Pallet. All 94 colours are quite bright and nice to work with. From there it kind of just developed where we would just get the same sort of colours each time. But I quite like mixing it up a bit – the work I’ve got in the show is toned down a bit, still bright, but not quite as in your face.”

Reach for the Sky. Photo by HookedBlog.

Having popped into the gallery prior to the conversation and seen how the duo’s street work had progressed when moved inside, I was eager to ask Billy about what influences her style. And before she had to return to finish hanging her work I managed to quickly ask a bit about the show and to why it’s called Summer Breeze.

“A lot of my work is influenced from South Africa, where I used to live when I was younger, and consequently I’m really inspired by tribal and caveman paintings. I’ve got some really good African books about old artists and sand paintings that I enjoy.

But then also it’s influenced by other places I’ve visited, other art, and just all sorts of things really – song lyrics, animals, anything. To be honest this necklace I’m wearing is a massive influence. It’s got all sorts of animals in it, especially giraffes. And then there are the patterns and the animal prints, they inspire me too, and drop shadows, they are cool.

The show has sort of evolved from the time I met Malarky. When we first met it was really cold and snowing, but as we have painted more and more shutters the weather has been getting better. We even went to Madrid where it was really sunny, and here it’s just been getting progressively nicer since we met.

When you paint outside and its freezing cold that’s probably the worst situation to paint in, it’s so horrible. Your hands freeze around the can. It’s kind of just a progression into the summer. And then it also relates to the song ‘Summer Breeze’ by Seals and Crofts which I think was later covered by the Isley Brothers. It’s really just about those things and our artistic styles.”

Summer Breeze. Photo by HookedBlog.

Summer Breeze continues at High Roller Society until 3rd July, if you like Billy and Malarky’s street work then I urge you to check it out!

And if you like cakes get following Billy’s sister, Rosie. Forget Delia Smith, Jamie Oliver, and Gordon Ramsey, this girl can cook! Her little cherryade, coke and lemonade cakes went down a treat with everyone who attended the opening night. I was a sucker for the cherry ones… amazing.

Photos by Billy and HookedBlog

Words with Malarky

Malarky. Photo by RJ Rushmore

Note from RJ: This is the first guest post from Ben, a young street art fan from Newcastle. Also, thanks to HookedBlog for documenting Malarky’s work so well. Most of the photos in this post are by him.

Malarky’s colourful characters have begun to adorn the walls and shutters of East London and Barcelona in recent years. His instantly recognisable style soon got him known and he has recently exhibited alongside fellow street artist ‘Billy’ at High Roller Society. As the dust settled from an extremely successful opening night, I caught up with Malarky to ask a few questions.

Ben: Tell us a little bit about yourself – when did you first start painting and why?

Malarky: My name is Malarky; I live sometimes in London and sometimes in Barcelona. Things I like to do include:
• Painting outside
• Painting inside
• Drinking Beers in the Sunshine
• Eating Sandwiches in the Park

I got into alternative art through skateboarding just all the mad deck graphics and stickers and real low brow illustration stuff. I started doing hand drawn stickers and just putting up as many as I could, that sort of pushed me into the graff scene. I have always lived in the centre of whatever city I was in so I never really got trains anywhere, I always enjoyed metro and trackside missions, but it sucks not seeing your piece again, so that sort of pushed me to start painting shutters because people at street level see them every day.

Certain characters seem to reoccur in your work such as your fox – what the story behind them?

I used to see foxes on my way home in the small hours and just loved how they run the streets in the night-time, when no one else is around, just chilling on the corners. Then when I started drawing them, I just loved the colours – the orange and white together and how instantly recognisable an animal it is from just that. Then when I started painting shutters it all fell into place, they both stay hidden in the day then just chill on road though the night.

Malarky and Billy. Photo by HookedBlog

Tell us about your new show with Billy entitled summer breeze?

Just a crazy medley of mad colours and characters crammed into this cool space, it’s been super fun to do I don’t know what to say, go and see it!

Malarky at High Roller Society. Photo by HookedBlog

Are your methods and techniques of painting on the street the same as when creating pieces for your show?

Well my colours are definitely influenced by the paint I use on the street; I mix up the paints or inks to match my cans. On the street I like keeping some of the background texture like brick or metal shutters, I use a similar vibe with my paintings on wood so my paintings are like little miniature Japanese versions of my street stuff.

If you could use one medium for the rest of your life what would it be?

MTN 94 all day every day

Recently your street work has involved collaborations with other artists such as Sweet Toof, and What Collective, do you prefer to collaborate with others or work alone?

It’s strange, I love to do both and obviously it’s more fun to paint with someone so I just take it as it comes. Collabs can work well because of all the ideas flying about, but then sometimes you have a big piece planned for a truck or whatever and it has to be a solo piece to work. I guess it’s more satisfying to paint a big piece on your own, but more fun to do a collab and I love the fun times!

Sweet Toof and Malarky. Photo by HookedBlog

On your website it says you live in a ‘magic place between South-London and Barcelona’. You seem to do a lot of painting in Barcelona, what is it that attracts you there?

Barcelona is just a magic dream land of shutters, trucks, sunshine and beers. I just can’t stay away from it, the energy, the people – everything is chilling. Sun and beers all day, paint and beers all night. You could paint a shutter every day and it would take 20 years to finish them all, I can’t speak highly enough of it.

Malarky. Photo by Malarky

Are there any of your street pieces that you are particularly proud of?

I love the rooftop on roman road with Billy, it’s so prominent on that street and the colours and pieces worked well together. Sometimes everything just comes together nicely, that’s was one of those times!

What is the strangest/most unusual thing that’s happened to you when you’ve been out painting?

There’s been crazy Policia that have bounced me off shutters, and all the classic ‘nearly fell 50ft to my death’ times. My favourite time was when I was painting at this abandoned civil war bunker in middle of nowhere up a mountain overlooking Barca. A band appeared out of inside the bunker and started playing songs and handing out beer, then more and more people started appearing and it turned into a crazy block party up a mountain, it was sweet!

Billy and Malarky. Photo by HookedBlog

Do you collect art and if so, what art do you have on your walls?

I don’t really collect but I have some prints/paintings up on the wall – some Mr Penfold prints, a Nylon painting, a Sweet Toof print, some sick Hedof prints and a Cloud Commission print.

Any plans for the future we should hear about?

A couple of top secret projects but aside from that, paint more streets colourful, hit some other countries and I think maybe make a small comic.

‘Summer Breeze’ is a must see and runs from the 11th June until the 3rd July at High Roller Society.

Photos by RJ Rushmore, HookedBlog and Malarky

Malarky and Billy at High Roller Society


Last week, Billy and Malarky opened their first show together, Summer Breeze, at East London’s High Roller Society. Their colorful and cartoonish styles are anything but standard for Londoners doing street art. Maybe they fit in with some of the present and former Burning Candy crew members (they have collaborated with Sweet Toof outdoors), but there’s definitely a lot less of a graffiti vibe from these two. Summer Breeze is the first time I’ve seen either Malarky or Billy’s indoor work, and I really enjoyed it, particuarly Malarky’s paintings. The whole show looks like something I’d expect to see in California, rather than London.

Malarky and Billy

Summer Breeze is open now at High Roller Society through July 3rd.

Photos by RJ Rushmore

Billy and Malarky at High Roller Society

Billy and Malarky, whose collaborations have recently been ending up on roll-down gates around London and Barcelona, have a two-man show opening on Friday June 10th at High Roller Society in London. Summer Breeze is sure to be a fun show, so stop by the opening from 7-10pm on Friday or check it out by July 3rd.

Photo courtesy of High Roller Society

Skewville’s Fame, Fortune & Desire – When Ad met Butterfly

I feel I’ve gone rather Skewville crazy recently since Ad landed in London about 3 weeks ago. But personally I believe this is justified, as amongst the increasing flood of street art, the twins are still producing work that is not only unique but is constantly evolving, adapting and pushing boundaries.

Before his show at High Roller Society, Butterfly caught up with Ad, sat him down in front of some rather hot gallery lights and grilled him about his art. The video she has produced is great and well worth watching!

SKEWVILLE – SLOW YOUR ROLL from Butterfly on Vimeo.

Today’s Special – Skewville Flavor

Skewville’s first solo show in London, entitled Slow Your Roll, opened at High Roller Society on Friday 18th March. Setting out to reclaim the gallery in much the same way as the streets, the show is not only an exhibition of Skewville’s unique style, but is a fantastic experience and example of what can be achieved when street art meets a gallery setting. This is certainly my favourite show High Roller have hosted and is one that should certainly not be missed.  Here are some pictures of the opening night…

YO YO. Photo by S.Butterfly
No Sponsor. Photo by SeveredFrequencies
Slow your roll. Photo by SeveredFrequencies
Hype. Photo by ClutterGeoff
Today's Special, Brooklyn Flavor. Photo by ClutterGeoff
Hopes and Dreams. Photo by S.Butterfly
Love or Envy. Photo by S.Butterfly
Slow that beat. Photo by SeveredFrequencies

And before Ad left London he wrote a little message for RJ, who states that Skewville are “his second favourite street art twin duo” with Os Gemeos taking the cake in that category…

Yo Yo Yo... Suck it RJ! Photo by Shower

However after this show, Skewville take the biscuit for me… Suck it RJ!

For all those that could not make the opening night, Slow Your Roll runs until 24th April at High Roller Society.

Photos by Butterfly, ClutterGeoff, SeveredFrequencies and Shower

Check your neck – Skewville rolls into London

Skewville - 'IXNY-A'. Photo by Skewville

During the build up to his upcoming solo show at London’s High Roller Society, I caught up with Ad, twin brother of Droo, and half of Brooklyn based Skewville who have been pushing the boundaries of street art for well over a decade with their iconic sneaker art.

After learning that his favourite colour is Vermillion Orange and that he doesn’t care if you buy his art because his mum likes it and will always give it a home, we sat down and had a chat…

Shower: Hey Ad, welcome to London.

Ad: Yo, Yo!

So your new show is titled Slow Your Roll – can you explain a little about its meaning?

I wanted to play off the gallery name. High Rollers is kind of a pun off of actually doing painting, but the truth is that everyone in street art thinks they’re a gangster or a big shot after just doing something for a year or two. So, kind of the idea was sort of to tell everyone to check their neck and to slow your roll, as a lot of people haven’t put the time in on the streets or even in an art career. Going back to that whole Mr Brainwash thing, you shouldn’t just be able to pop up on the scene and become big time. For me and for Skewville it’s just a way we have developed our style, kind of seeing what everyone else has done too, and soaking it all in. It should take your whole lifetime to develop what you’re doing.

The truth is though, we have been doing this a long time, me and my brother, and in the beginning when we did shows with our sneaker art and that kind of stuff no one actually gave a shit. And then later on street art became popular and then everyone wanted it, so then it came like I’m not just giving you stuff if you only want it now because it’s popular.

That certainly makes sense. With regard to London, is this your first solo show in the city?

In London? Yeah.

And how do you view the street art scene over here? Does it differ to Brooklyn?

When I was here in 2004, I thought that the street art that was here was pretty amazing. But I guess that’s because I was pretty new to the scene back then. ‘Cos in New York there was just a load of tags and you get a couple of good pieces, but when I came to Shoreditch I thought “Wow,” I was amazed at how bombed the streets were. But now the problem is that’s it’s all that same kind of style and not much has changed.

YO... Skewville introduces himself to the locals. Photo by High Roller Society

Currently London is witness to an ever increasing level of buffing thanks to the upcoming Olympics in 2012. How does your street work fair when it comes to graffiti removal teams?

That was the whole thing why we first started putting up sneakers. We were doing graffiti in the 80s when it was actually cool but then it kind of died out. Then in ’99 when we first started, it was actually Shepard Fairey’s 10 year anniversary, and I think there was only WK, Bast and a few people out on the street. There were a lot of posters and stickers, and the streets were already cluttered with a lot of stuff, so it was just about coming up with this new media space and new outlet to put stuff up. And it was also just mimicking that New York style of throwing up sneakers. The beauty of our stuff is that it’s kind of untouchable; you can only get it if you climb a pole or you have to just wait ’til they fall.

Are you still throwing your sneakers up now?

Yeah, but after 10 years and over 6000 pairs I’ve kind of slowed down a little bit, but its still something I do everywhere I go no matter what.

Do you have any for this visit?

I only bought a couple of pairs here because I know there aren’t a lot of wires and I always pack my luggage with as much weight as possible. So this trip is more about the show than the sneakers. And it was mostly because I knew people only cared about the sneakers so I wasn’t going to just give it to them!

When London Dogs Fly. Photo by Shower

You mentioned that you have been throwing up for sneakers for over 10 years, but how long have you been producing work for indoor shows like this one?

We started back in 2002. My girlfriend wanted me to move in with her and I was like, “I’m not moving to the city unless I have a space that we can do something with.” So my girl found this spot and we moved in there and had our first show. ‘Cos before that I did try to approach different spaces to do art shows and I just got rejected. So that was the whole point, we just started our own space to show our own shit stuff and not have to deal with any of the politics. And then from having that show the response was “Oh you’ve done your own art show, oh cool, now I’ll do an art show with you.”

So it’s really all about making a name for yourself. Once you have done that everyone wants in.

Yeah, which is what I can’t stand about this whole scene. ‘Cos there are a lot of talented people but because no one knows them they don’t get the respect they deserve, it’s often a vicious cycle. That’s what sucks about the commercial side.

Studio comforts. Photo by Skewville.

A lot of your work is quite sculptural, for example your iconic Blah Blah Radio pieces. Was this a bi-product of the move into producing more work for a gallery setting or has style always been a part of Skewville alongside your sneakers?

It’s unfortunate that Droo can’t be here because he kind of developed that 3D style. I think we were just doing sneakers on the street from about ’99 until 2004 and then when we were doing more shows people were just calling us ‘The Sneaker Guys’. And I’m friends with Mike De Feo who’s ‘The Flower Guy’ and he hates being called that, and we do too because we’re artists that do twenty different other things.

So my brother started pushing towards the sculptural stuff. I went to school for advertising and design, and my brother went for architecture, so when we started getting to do more stuff he started branching out into doing sculpture, 3D letters and all that other stuff.

Do you find yourself viewing exhibition spaces such as the street and the gallery in different ways? Does your work differ depending on which it is to be exhibited in? Do you even feel that your sneakers sit well in a gallery setting?

No, I don’t think that the sneakers work inside and that’s my whole problem with street art. Street art is art on the street. And the point of the sneakers was to make something that kind of blends in the urban setting. So you kind of do a double take. I love it when people say “Oh I see your sneakers and they go sideways, then I realise they are fake.” It’s kind of like a shock to see that but if you saw that in a gallery it wouldn’t have the same effect, plus you will never see some real sneakers just hanging in a gallery.

I think as we’re doing more shows we’re trying to keep the inside art completely different from the outside. So many artists will just do a silkscreen run, plaster it on the street and then put that same image straight into a show. This was street art, and in fact Shepard Fairey’s mission statement in the beginning – the whole point of putting stuff on the street was to counteract the advertising because the streets were cluttered. So you put up your art to counteract it but what’s happening now is that everyone is using their art as advertising so they have pretty much shot their own revolution in the foot.

This all made me want to do what I do on the street less and less, and kind of develop my style. All the stuff you will see in the show I started to develop way before I was putting up sneakers. So when people see this and say, “I really like your new work,” I say, “No, this work is way older, you just never gave a shit about it back then.”

I suppose it comes back to that whole ‘once you’ve had a show you can have another with us’ mentality.

Yeah exactly. But I was going to say before, that if everyone loved the first show I did and it sold out, I would probably be an asshole and just be doing the same stuff. So it’s kind of just my reaction to how New York treats New Yorkers.

Just a reaction... 'Whatever' by Skewville. Photo by Skewville.

Do you think that that mentality consequently impacts on style?

Basically back in the day if you did letters and you kind of copied someone else’s style you would get your ass kicked. So back in those days, even though we were still in the graffiti realm, it was more about trying to be original and kind of trying to branch off. But today, everyone is just cutting stencils, everyone has that same kind of look, and everyone bites Swoon.

With regard to your own unique style, what and who are you inspired by?

I always hate to give people credit for stuff, but I guess I’m always influenced by others. In the beginning I used to do a lot of graphic design stuff like my posters for the sneakers. They were very graphic and someone said that they looked like Shepard Fairey, so literally the next day I stopped doing that style. For me, it’s more like if I feel I’m too influenced by something and someone sees that in my style it kind of makes me not want to do it. So I think I’m more influenced by the anti-influence of style and what not to do. ‘Cos someone might think that that’s a compliment to me, that I look like Shepard Fairey, but that’s not a compliment, that’s more for me to kind of check my style.

But just growing up, in 1984, me and my brother got Subway Art and that was the day when we started doing graffiti. So obviously as kids being about 10 or 12 years old you copied everything, but that’s how you were taught in school, to just learn how to do stuff. So I was definitely influenced by Subway Art and then also I was hugely influenced by Espo, Cost and Revs and even Shepard Fairey. Just seeing that stuff on the streets and thinking “Wow, this is actually really cool.” And what was good at that point was that it was kind of really underground and that’s what really influenced me.

Skewville's unmistakable style - 'IXNY-B'. Photo by Skewville

But I think if I was a kid now I wouldn’t really want to be a street artist today as its just way too saturated and everyone does it. I would probably really shy away from it which is actually what I’m sort of trying now, to get away from it. But you can’t ever do a show in a street art type of gallery and not say that you’re a street artist. So it’s this kind of catch-22 thing where you are labeled a street artist but what the fuck is a street artist?

You certainly know the revolution is dead when your mum starts telling her friends “Oh yeah, my son is a street artist.” And you’re like “Fuck, that’s not the whole point of this.” The whole point of being in graffiti scene is to go against the grain and that’s what street art should have been. And now it’s all about making money, flying to London, doing swanky shows and sipping tea!

Within this unique style certain words such as; Hype, Yo, Fresh, Beef and obviously Brooklyn, crop up on a regular basis. To me they almost become a modern take on the traditional tag but how do you view their use?

I guess it is kind of that, like a tag without trying to use the same word all the time. It’s great that when someone sees a “Yo” they be like, “Oh that’s Skewville.” And I didn’t invent the word “Yo,” and I didn’t even invent that typestyle, but it’s just so funny that someone’s like “That’s a Skewville font.” I think, “Ok, you obviously weren’t around 20 years ago when everyone was doing block letters.” So, I think it’s just our whole mentality of just changing stuff up and actually getting excited that now my tag is “Yo,” “Fresh,” “Beef” and all that stuff.

BEEF!! Photo by High Roller Society

Can you explain a little bit about the use of materials in your work?

My brother uses a lot of metal, but I think I have always just stuck with wood as the whole sneaker project just started with wood and it’s just a nice material to work with. Not too many people use it, but I think if a lot more people started to use it and if more start to screenprint straight to wood I think I will probably not to use it.

Which piece are you most proud of, inside or out?

The one I’m going to do tomorrow, but I don’t know what that is yet. I dunno, it’s hard ‘cos every time I’m finished with something I hate it. Like the Beef piece, once I finished I was like “Ahhh I should have done the X’s in white” or changed it up a bit. I think any artist that falls in love with their art is dead.

Skewville beefs up London. Photo by Shower

But I think the sickest thing I ever did was put up a set of sneakers in front of the Hollywood sign ‘cos that took 3 days to actually find the road that goes up there. And when we finally found it, there was a telephone wire at the bottom of the hill and from it the only word you could see was “Wood.” And that was of kind of perfect.

But actually the best one was in Dublin in front of a castle. It was just crazy to find a telephone wire in front something like that. It was my friend from Dublin that just drove us round to show us the neighbourhood and I saw the wire and I said “Just STOP,” and he said “There is no way you’re throwing sneakers here.” In my mind I wrote down what the street was and where it was, as it was about an hour out of Dublin. So he took us back into the city, and then I knew he went on vacation, so me and my girl took the train back out there just to take that shot. And then he saw the photo and was so pissed at me, that I had disgraced his castle. But I was never going to find that again. That’s kind of the problem with this project though: There needs to be a wire; it’s kind of a random thing.

Skewville sneakers in Hollywood and Dublin. Photos by Skewville

I would be surprised if you had passed up a spot like that! Finally, what do you see as the future for Skewville?

Wow… the future. I think I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and see what happens. I just hope I don’t get rich and famous ‘cos then I’m going to be an asshole and probably wouldn’t be doing an interview for Vandalog!


Slow Your Roll opens at High Roller Society on Friday, March 18th at 7pm and runs until April 24th.

Photos by Skewville, High Roller Society and Shower

Safewalls from Cirque du Soleil at High Roller Society

Attempting to walk that tightrope which keeps corporate sponsorship of art cool and not simply corny, Cirque de Soleil has recently gotten interested in street art. Their Safewalls project begins this week in London with a launch even at High Roller Society. At each stop on the Safewalls tour, artists from that city will be designing alternative posters for Cique de Soleil shows. In London, Jon Burgerman, Glenn Anderson and Sweet Toof (see above) have designed the posters for a show called Totem. I love what Sweet Toof has done for this project.

The posters and prints will be for sale online today and there will also be a launch even on the 17th at High Roller Society. The posters will be limited to 300 copies and screenprints of the same designs will be limited to an edition of 50. I’ve got to say that I love the idea of posters. As far as I can tell, posters are basically the same printing technique at giclée prints, but they are on a material that is better suited to the ink instead of some archival heavy paper that makes so many giclée prints look terrible. Plus, I’m guessing the posters will be more affordable that a similar giclée print would be.

A series of videos have been made interviewing the artists involved in the event. The first one is below, and here are links to the next two:

SAFEWALLS | LONDON 2011 (1/3) from SAFEWALLS on Vimeo.

Photo courtesy of Safewalls

Rising Stars in Bethnal Green

Yet another group show for the holiday season, High Roller Society will play host to their roster (and some special guest artists) for a festive group show. Opening December 4, the exhibit features the likes of Filthy Luker, Pufferella, Run and a few others. Personally, I always love the outdoor conceptual/sculptural pieces by Luker, so he should be a highlight of the show.

Printing Process Workshops Presented by High Roller Society

High Roller Society will be offering free workshops over the next three weekends in monoprinting, linocutting, and screenprinting. In conjunction with their latest show “Press and Release,” these workshops will be open to the public and will teach you in depth techniques from featured artists in the exhibit. The following descriptions are taken directly from the site to explain each workshop.

Monoprint: Saturday, 10 July 3-6pm
Monoprint (or monotype) is often thought of as “the painter’s printmaking”, referring to the painterly qualities that this printing technique can achieve.  Invented by Castiglione, monotype “served to break down boundaries between painting, printmaking and drawing”. Using thick layers of water-based printing ink, Perspex sheets, and ear buds, all are invited to drop by while artists Martin Payne and Martin Lea Brown get their hands dirty.  Anyone is free to join in and experiment with this easy and versatile printing method that has captivated great masters such as Picasso, Degas and Gauguin.

Linocut: Saturday, 24 July 3-6pm
Relief printing is one of the simplest and oldest forms of printmaking, for which the linocut is attributed.  Known for revealing a more raw look, linocutting requires a range of rudimentary-looking tools, such as U-shaped and V-shaped gouges, to carve images into linoleum sheets. Join us as several artists from our current exhibition demonstrate various techniques in linoleum mark-making. THEN, try your hand at inking and printing the linoleum plates of artists such as Nylon, Cyclops, Sweet Toof and more….  This is an opportunity to get a hand-on approach to printing the works of these acclaimed artists yourself, and a chance to get a bargain in the process.

Screenprint: Saturday, 17 July, 3-6pm
Grandchild of the age-old stencil, screenprinting has been gaining both popularity and speed in the contemporary art world of today.  With visual effects aplenty, a steady arm is the main ingredient for achieving the best results.  Come test your upper body strength, and create ironical wearable graffiti paraphernalia with Miss Aida of Neon-Inc and Brag Clothing.  Printing the likes of Kid Acne, Sickboy, and the entire Burning Candy crew, Aida has quickly become a master screen-printer-to-the-stars.  Pop over to see how its done– Roll up your sleeves, learn the tricks of the trade, feed the creative revolution, and rejoin the world in DIY style.

For more information visit High Roller Society

Photo by High Roller Society