Tim Hans Shoots… Jack Murray


The work of Jack Murray aka Panik ATG as a cornerstone of my early experiences looking at graffiti in London in 2008, and I’ve continued to admire and follow his work since. Tim Hans met Murray in London for Tim’s continuing series of artist portraits, and Murray and I caught up a bit over email.

RJ: Why the decision to start going by Jack Murray instead of / in addition to Panik?

Jack Murray: It’s all about growth. A lot of my studio/gallery work these days doesn’t really reference the world of graffiti so it doesn’t seem right to pull it back into the Graffiti scene by referring to myself as Panik. I like to make artwork that reflects my thoughts on the world, or era’s from the past, I also like to write and take photos. All of that stuff comes from my mind that has developed as a person from birth and not necessarily as my alter-ego that has grown up within Graffiti. Naturally sometimes these worlds cross over but when someone is looking at my work in a gallery etc, I prefer to shake off the direct association with graffiti as it can change people’s perceptions of who you are and remind them of a world that may have little to do with what they are viewing. I’ll always be rooted in Graffiti and people who know, know, but if you don’t know then that’s fine just look at the artwork and make your judgements upon what your viewing, don’t worry about how many tag’s I did, or if I ever got arrested etc. Hope that helped clear that one up.

RJ: For a while, you were one of the most visible writers in London. How does it feel to know you’ve left that kind of mark on this city where kids will grow up thinking of your name as part of the landscape?

Jack Murray: Having a genuine effect over your landscape is what makes graffiti so powerful, as you can battle with the adverts and everything else that fills your field of vision, so knowing at one time I had real control over the city’s landscape (and still do like any other active graffiti/street artist) was/is an ego boost of course but also a very liberating feeling. Writers that came before me were the reason I thought it was possible to do the things that I did and I just want to have the same effect on younger writers coming up. When you’re really active with the bombing you want to be that guy known for going the extra length but once you have got yourself out of that mind set and are focusing on other things, you want to see someone else going for it and soaking up the glory in the same way. Being king of your city forever with no-one stepping in would be dull. When the new writers come through and make an impact, the older heads will always find reasons as to why the newbies are not quite as certified as they are/were but secretly in the back of their minds they’re happy to have some competition and to see things moving forwards.

RJ: While you sit pretty comfortably within the world of graffiti, you paint a lot of characters, even your “P” is a sort of character, and ATG has a logo that goes beyond just being three letters. Is there a reason for that?

Jack Murray: I’m not sure if there is a direct reason for any of that, more just down to us going with whatever feels right at the time. Some people hated it when I started painting characters and just wanted to see me paint straight letter rooftops for the rest of my life, or when ATG moved into being represented as a wider movement/brand, but then others were entertained by all of these transitions. Some people are destined to go in certain directions, so while I might sit pretty comfortable within graffiti, my creative release was never going to just be traditional graffiti and ATG was never going to be just a bombing crew. Once we felt we’d done all we could do within illegal graffiti we simply looked for other stuff to engage in.


RJ: What was it like exhibiting in New York, where you don’t have the same fanbase who have seen your work on their daily commute for years? Did people respond to different things about your paintings?

Jack Murray: New York was great. If anything the fact that people weren’t that familiar with my work made them more intrigued. In general New Yorkers are pretty upfront and vocal with their thoughts which meant there was lots of good feedback from people on the opening night. Having people come straight up to you and tell you how they see your work on the opening night is exactly what you want really as it lets you know that people are properly engaging with it as opposed to just drinking the free drinks and talking about what happened last weekend. Every city has a different atmosphere with inhabitants that have different mannerisms and tastes, on the whole my work seemed like it gelled well with New Yorkers so would definitely like to do more stuff out there down the line.

RJ: What are you working on at the moment?

Jack Murray: I’m currently getting stuck into a seasonal wave of private commissions which is always good. Outside of that I am busy working on a new movement which focuses on a wide variety of things including, abandoned locations, fashion, travel, models, graffiti, photography, film and writing. There’s lots planned for this movement including a gallery show at the beginning of July in London. I’m also in the process of trying to set-up a local arts charity for young people alongside my Mum and some close friends.

Photos by Tim Hans

Weekend link-o-rama

Dart, PC, Curve, Rams, and Sane
Dart, PC, Curve, Rams, and Sane

As I’ve been gearing up for midterms, I’ve missed posting some great outdoor work (and other things) this week.

Photo by Carnagenyc


Jack Murray aka Panik

London’s ATG crew is headed to New York City for a show this week at Klughaus Gallery. Silverlink brings together 4 members of ATG, including Vandalog-favorite Jack Murray aka Panik and photographer Will Robson-Scott, and should be an interesting test to see if ATG’s success in London will carry over to the NYC without as strong of a reputation locally. The show opens on Friday and runs through June 17th.

Weekend link-o-rama

Jack Murray aka Panik ATG

Exciting week next week: Troy Lovegates and Labrona will be coming to Haverford to paint a mural here, so look forward to some pictures of that… If I find the charger for my camera. Also, I’ve taken the plunge and I’m finally on Instagram. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

Photo by Jack Murray

Vandalog Interviews – PANIK ATG

Photo by delete08

Whilst we here at Vandalog strive to cover the latest and freshest street art creations and goings on, we’ve noticed that in our haste our coverage of graffiti, at least it the purest sense of the word, has for lack of a better word been slipping as of late. In a new series of interview we’ve decided to go back to basics or back to where it all began if you will and interview some of the pioneers of the underground art scene before street art became a house hold name. In this, our first interview, we spoke to graffiti artist Panik from North London. Panik is one of the co founders of ATG – one of the most prolific and notorious graffiti crews England has seen in the last decade. From their cross over into music, fashion and now main stream street art, Panik exclusively talks to Vandalog in the wake of his latest solo exhibition at Pure Evil Gallery.

Just for our readers, can you tell us who you are, what crew(s) you represent and where are you from?

I’m Panik aka Mr.P, I represent the ATG crew and I’m from the borough of Camden, North London.

Photo by delete08

How long have you been doing graffiti for and how did you first get into writing?

I’ve been doing graffiti since 1999. I first got into it through my school funnily enough. There was a hall of fame behind the sports hall and a train tunnel that runs underneath the school with pieces by all of the old school heads. I used to check all the graff when skating over round the Westway and the South Bank as well. When I started, it was quite a natural thing to do as everyone had a tag. There’s still people I paint with today that I was going on my first bombs with at age 12 in my school corridors! It started with trying to be the most up in my school, then the local area then the whole of London and nowadays I am painting wherever I find myself in the world.

Photo by ATGLDN

Do you see what you do as some thing of an addiction?

Graffiti is an addiction and if your in it for the long haul then it is all about how to tame that addiction in a way that allows you to get on with the rest of your life. When you are fully immersed in it, you become a junkie for it and you start to neglect other things in your life, but if everything in your life is going bad, then it is that thing that will always be there for you and reminds you who you are and helps you move through changes in your life. Going out painting graffiti on my own has helped me sort my head out during hard times but when you know you’re probably going to be doing it for a long time, it’s important not to abuse it. In other words don’t go getting shitfaced on cheap cider all week if you want to be able to enjoy a cold pint on the weekend.

Photo by delete08

How did your involvement with ATG come about?

My involvement with ATG started in 2001. It came about through friends that were loosely connected through a scene in North-west London that was more or less orientated around selling weed. Basically there was a few of us at that time that were beginning to stand out and were pushing the graff scene forward north of the river so we joined forces under the name ATG
(Antagonizers) which was a name Aset had thought up. The original line up was me, Rest, Aset, Snore, Rayds and shortly after, Harm. ATG was and always will be a lot about partying as well as painting which is how we spread so quickly. We would go to random parties all over the city and then after when we were all charged up we would climb all over shit, bombing our way
home. We also wanted to raise the bar with illegal graffiti in London and try to step on stage with the people doing big things internationally.

Photo by mikeion

Who were/are you inspirations?

Artistically my inspiration has come from all over from old school London Graffiti to Street Art in South America and Europe and various typography and illustration from the past, but my energy is always found through my friends and London Town.

Photo by nolionsinengland

How do you feel the internet has affected Graffiti?

The internet has changed graffiti a lot, everyone knows this, but then it has changed everything in life. The one thing I’ve noticed about the internet and graffiti is that it has almost killed off regional styles. Before the internet really took off you could tell the difference between South London and North London graffiti not to mention the different styles in cities across the world. This was because people would be inspired by the graffiti they see in their area when growing up so the style of local heads would rub off on them. Because of the internet, now no matter where you are from you are probably looking at graffiti from around the world online more than local stuff on walls and so the styles these days all start to look the same like some international Euro/NYC mesh. The internet has made the graffiti subculture ridiculously easy to access. Info on almost anything about it is available online. People these days find spots to paint by checking photos on flickr, order all there specially designed graffiti paint online and track down and message their favorite writers on Facebook or MySpace.

Before the net you had to go out and search for your spots, spend a while stealing shit paint from hardware shops until you finally worked out the good paint to use and if you ever managed to cross paths with one of your favourite writers, it was a special moment. The internet has changed all that, but I’m not bitter. Graffiti has been adapting from it’s birth and this is just another era.

Photo by Pure Evil

This month you’re opening your second major solo show at Pure Evil Gallery. Can you tell us a little bit more about the show and how it differs from your first?

My first show at Pure Evil was my introduction to the gallery world so although I was at a stage with my work that I felt was ready to put out there, I was still only dipping my toes in the water. Since I started making artwork outside of graffiti, it’s sort of been centered around trying to capture moments of energy in my life, which can be hard as it’s not particularly slow paced and often a juggling act of highs and lows. For this next show my work feels like it is moving closer to channeling that energy through my style and visual communication of my thoughts. I’m sure it will feel a lot more like you are stepping inside my world. The work that will feature has been done over the last year in London and Amsterdam.

Photo by Pure Evil

What is the key to keeping your ideas fresh and not becoming mentally/physically burnt out by what you do?

I think there are different ways to keep yourself buzzing off your work, but variation in approach is always going to be the most important. Sometimes you just have to live and go and get yourself in to all sorts of situations in order to then go back and enjoy creating work. It definitely helps when I see someone doing things in a way that I have completely slept on. Seeing other people really going for it in a way I relate to always reminds me of why I do what I do. At the end of the day, I’ve grown up in a graffiti world so although I enjoy creating work for myself, I also love to come and make noise, let people know where I’m at and then move on to the next one. And there is always a next one, so that keeps the ball rolling in my world.

Photo by delete08

And finally, what does the future hold for yourself? In regards to your work, new projects and any other personal aspirations you have in life. Is there anyone you’d like to give a shout out to?

Who knows what the future holds for me? My life isn’t slowing down at all so probably just more of the same carry on, more often. At the moment I’m liking the idea of getting into a new studio at the beginning of 2011, spend at least a year getting really lost in my work until I feel I’m creating something that is completely on point to how I see the world and what I want to convey and then do my next show in 2012 sometime. But who knows? I want to do a lot of things so could very easily be pulled in a different direction altogether. There’s always a lot of ATG projects to get busy with and walls that need paint on them. Generally at the beginning of the year I have a long list of stuff I want to complete or get underway by the end of the year, and then I just get stuck in and see how much of it I can do while while dealing with all the other stuff life throws at you. It’s nice to not know what’s around the corner.

Panik’s solo show at Pure Evil Gallery opens on November 11th.

Photos by nolionsinengland, delete08, Pure Evil, mikeion and ATGLDN

Brazilian artists and Panik ATG at Pure Evil Gallery

Sort of killing two birds with one stone here.


Right now through October 30th, Pure Evil Gallery is showing Culture Shock, a show put together by the fine folks at Choque Cultural. Of particular note are the two large canvases by Zezão and that stunning Fefe Talavera and Doze Green collaboration on glass that has been in the gallery for quite a while (what can I say? I guess I’m a sucker for anything from Doze in black and white). That said, all those pieces are downstairs in the gallery and there are a few pieces upstairs by Presto, so it may be best to just run downstairs and enjoy that part of the show.

And November 11th at Pure Evil Gallery is the opening Panik’s latest solo show.

Last Night’s Openings

Last night my friends and I made it to four gallery openings.

Pam Glew Flag

We started at Pam Glew‘s show at Stella Dore. There are a few pieces that are pretty cool and her bleeching technique is interesting, but I think I’ve become a bit jaded by street art. I couldn’t keep from thinking: “portraits from a one-layer stencil” And of course, those seem to be everywhere these days. My friend who doesn’t obsessively follow street art didn’t have that same bias, and really enjoyed everything. Continue reading “Last Night’s Openings”

My Plans for Thursday

This Thursday is going to be, as it always seems to be, a very busy night for me. I’ll be visiting up to 4 galleries with a traveling brigade of my artsy friends. Here’s the plan:

1. Start at White Cube Hoxton Square for the Marcus Harvey exhibit “White Riot” for the portrait of Thatcher made out of sex toys and the bust of Churchill with a mohawk. Get there around closing time so that we can be unceremoniously tossed out at 6pm.

2. Next it’s off to Stella Dore for the Pam Glew show “Noir”. I’m not yet sold on her work, but I’m definitely open to seeing what she’s doing and the painting pictured on the advert they gave me is pretty sweet.

3. Perhaps the most surprising show of the evening will be at the Pure Evil Gallery. Panik, a member of London’s ATG crew, will be trying his hand a gallery work. I give this a 75% chance of not working out but just being a fun experience. It seems like graffiti artists usually can’t make that jump to the gallery. Panik’s work is awesome on the street, but the gallery is a completely different world. If it works though, as I’m hoping it will, it should be great.


4. And to cap off the evening, Part2ism has his show at The Art Lounge.