During September 2019 Arkade Graphics organised a collective of local graffiti artists to regenerate an aging mural that covered the double underpass running between the Milton Keynes estates of Tinkers Bridge and Simpson. On a historical level the event holds great significance as it marks the first, and only time to date that four of the cities pioneering first generation of graffiti artists (Urbanist, James Jessop, Chase One and Rolek One) have collaborated on a joint piece of artwork.
All the above artists established themselves as writers in the 1980s and completed the entire first section of the underpass together with organiser Arkade and some assistance from Mega. Photos of the artwork have recently featured in Hip Hop Culture exhibitions organised by Break to the beat at The Open University and MK Gallery. The below collection of images show the mural in completed sections by each of the artists.
Rolek One is a pioneering Hip Hop practitioner from Milton Keynes, England and during the 1980s formed part of the Asiatic Soul breakdance crew with Farhan Sheik, Mixmaster MSC, Kalpesh, Kamal, John Warden, and Raymond. To our knowledge Rolek One was also the first graffiti artist to piece the cities trainline and network of bridges and underpasses.
As part of the Asiatc Soul breakdance crew Rolek One battled both locally in Milton Keynes and at national events organised by the older members of the group. Popular local performance locations during the 1980s were City Square (Central Milton Keynes) and The Funky Breakdown events held in Peartree Bridge. Asiatic Soul formed while attending Woughton school (now MK Acadamy). Continue reading →
Breaktothebeat recently had the opportunity to interview pioneering Milton Keynes B-Boy and Graffiti artist Rolek One. Rolek One was a member of the Asiatic Soul break-dance crew during the 1980’s and gained recognition on the local Hip Hop scene before going on to represent Milton Keynes at several national events. Rolek One also contributed to and helped pioneer an emerging local graffiti art scene in Milton Keynes during UK Hip Hop’s early years. Rolek One’s foundation in Hip Hop culture has allowed him to apply his talents to a number of creative outlets such as flyer designs, murals and metallic sculptures.
“Rolek metallic sculpture” by Rolek One, 2019.
Taking things right back to the start could you tell the readers how you discovered Hip Hop music and culture?
In 1983 I visit my dad in USA and saw Style Wars the graffiti documentary, I had already been listening to my mum’s Sugar Hill Gang 7 inch single and Kraftwerk album (cool mum) at home so had started catching the B-Boy bug already.
“Style Wars” documentary trailer – Public Art Films, 1983.
I started writing ‘DEMO’ in Fishermead then Old Brook then outwards throughout MK, soon after I change to ‘DIME’ and then ‘MONDO’! mostly tags and silver and colour pieces/throw ups. My main competition was the NF and skinhead shite they used to paint on the underpasses. Very occasionally I would see another tag, always other random writers out of their territory on tour. Continue reading →