Urbanist Interview (Part two)

Welcome to the Urbanist Interview (Part two). To read the first part of the interview please visit: Urbanist Interview (Part one)

“Urbanist” by Urbanist – Tinkers Bridge, Milton Keynes, 2019.

To start the second part of the interview we are going to continue to document the opportunities that followed once establishing yourself as The Urbanist. In part one of the interview we covered your foundation years as well as the projects you worked on up until 2010. Could you elaborate on the projects that followed?

Ok so following on from the previous section,

2010 – 2013 (ITV, Selfridges

I was approached by an agent, who got me an appearance live airbrushing on the ITV morning show Daybreak. This created a lot of hype, my agent was approached by Selfridges and the Player Footballers Association, I was featured in their magazine, got to meet some players and also invited to the Footballer Of The Year awards. I got the opportunity to do some live airbrushing in store at Selfridges, London, Manchester and Birmingham, on t-shirts and also backdrops. During this period my work was also featured in Vogue magazine..

Urbanist T-shirt feature in Vogue magazine – model Stella McCartney

2011 – 2012 (Desperados)

I was approached by a beer company called Desperados, about being part of their promo team, airbrushing Graffiti name give aways on their Desperados t-shirts for the general public at various venues and events around the country.

2012 (London Olympics)

I got to airbrush some dancers at the 2012 London Olympics, beach volleyball, working with the same hair and make up team from MTV..

2014 – 2017 (G-Form)

I was contacted by a guy who had seen me doing some live airbrushing at an event, He was working for G-Form, an American company who made protective padding, for skateboarding, biking, football. I was asked at first to travel to a skiing convention in Munich, basically airbrushing names on ski hats, this was to help attract the crowds to their stand. This went well and the following year I was invited back to Munich, also a bike convention in Vegas and a Ski Convention in Colorado.

2008 – 2019 (Santa Pod)

I was introduced to Santa Pod by a trader friend in Camden, who suggested I try trading there at a couple of events, Santa Pod is a drag racing strip in Northampton. I paid to trade at an event called Bug Jam, this was a VW Show.

It went well so I continued to trade there selling Airbrushed t-shirts, caps and hoodies, not just at VW events, but all the car events. This venue is only half hour from home so has worked out ideal for me over the years. This has also opened up opportunities for me to work at other show grounds around the country.

2017 – 2020 (eBay shop

eBay shop called Urbanist Graffiti Clothing. Since 2017 I’ve had my own eBay shop, which supplies Airbrushed graffiti names on t-shirts, Caps and Hoodies, this has proved to be very popular for kids that do street dance and street dance competitions…

Visit the Urbanist eBay shop at https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/theurbanistgraffiticlothing

You mentioned working with Kade who is another prolific local artist. How did you first connect with Kade?

I think the first time I met Kade, was in Central MK back in 2006 we must have spoken about both being into the Hip Hop Graf culture, and he had seen some of my Graff from way back, Smooth Criminal, Stop the Violence etc, we exchanged numbers. Later he called me to invite me to exhibit some of my work and do some live airbrushing at a Graffiti event he was putting on with other Graff artists in Middleton Hall CMK, Since then I would bump into him here and there over the years, but over the past year I’ve linked up with Kade a lot more, been introduced to other artists, done a bit of painting, trying to adjust back to using the can, which isn’t easy, after being so used to airbrush but Kade’s really helped showing me different techniques especially during the Lockdown periods.

“BLM” by Urbanist & Kade – Milton Keynes, 2020.

You have visited the USA on several occasions. As a UK Hip Hop artist how was your experience of Hip Hop Culture in its birthplace?

I’ve visited the US many times, I have friends that I stay with in California, they have taken me to quite a few places where there is a big Hip Hop Graffiti culture. Venice Beach has Graff, basketball and Hip Hop, Melrose has some nice Graff and at the back of Kat Von Dee High Voltage tattoo shop in Hollywood, South Central LA, Compton, Watts and Long Beach. Some areas a bit more hard core, a lot of gang Graff tags but also some nice work, also have a real Hip Hop vibe and a lot of famous artists like Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy E etc come from those areas.

As New York is the original birthplace of Hip Hop it had even more of a Hip Hop feel, I loved Brooklyn, Fulton St to be exact, this was one of Biggies old stomping grounds, lots of sneaker stores, Hip Hop clothing, music, airbrush artists, it had a good vibe. Harlem 125th St was also cool a lot of Hip Hop clothing stores, sneaker stores, bits of Graff. In Time Square, and on the subway I would often see Breakdancers performing. I visited the Bronx a couple of times and Queens all had a big influence on me back then. Also I’m a Big sneaker head and loved getting the latest Jordans over there.

Since Moving back to Milton Keynes, you have contributed to several of the local art projects regenerating underpasses and community areas in some of the more deprived estates such as Netherfield, Tinkers Bridge, etc. How was the experience of working on these local projects and what kind of reception did you receive from the local residents?

The only Graff art job I have worked on in Milton Keynes is the Tinkers Bridge underpass wall by the shops, which Kade involved me with, that was just over a year ago and got me back into using spray paint again, I really enjoyed working on this project, connecting with some local Graff artists, listening to Hip Hop, and painting with my old friend Jesse (Rolek One). The local people seemed to like it, and we had some nice positive feedback on the day.

Some people out there are of the impression that Milton Keynes is a place lacking in culture. What we are trying to portray at Breaktothebeat is to shine a spotlight on the artists like yourself that have emerged from a small local scene and progressed to have a successful career. What advice if any would you give to the younger generations of local creatives looking to break in to the industry?

My advice to the younger generation of future artists would be. Work hard and practice your craft, create your own unique style, practice your skill until it becomes like second nature, believe in yourself and picture where you want to be. Market and promote yourself, think of your target audience and how to reach them. Always stay professional on the job and always keep the quality of your work to a high standard.

As an artist, using your creativity you have the gift to express and convey messages in a way that members of the general public are unable to. How significant has this means of expression been for you during your life?

Being able to express myself through my art has been significant throughout my life, I have always enjoyed drawing from a young age, my art can help me to zone out and helps me to express my thoughts on paper, walls and clothes. I have times when I  sketch images or come up with different themes, I like creating characters and lettering mainly, as with all artists my work is constantly evolving mixing old techniques with new. It’s so good to be able to draw what’s in my mind and a good way to express my emotions.

Finally, Big up and nuff respect for supporting the Breaktothebeat website and sharing your story. Are there any shout outs you would like to give?

Shout Outs, to my mum Pat Easton for always encouraging my art and buying me the Graffiti books back in the day. My sons Cairo and Tian, Rolek One, Kade, Vaypa, and all the other Graff artist in MK, I love just how far the Graff Art has come since back in the 80s and I must say if I was one of the few first Graff artists in Milton Keynes back then, I’m proud for what I started and the progress of what it’s evolved into today..

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