“I grew up in Finchley, North London. It’s a big area in Barnet, London’s biggest borough. Finchley’s predominantly middle class but theres a triangle that runs along Ballards Lane, down East End Road, then back up East Finchley High Road to North Finchley Bus Garage; joined in the middle by the cross hair of Long Lane and Squires Lane – this triangle makes up the manor.
When I started secondary school I got into skateboarding and graff through the older kids. Back then everybody had a tag, big name writers such as Zonk, Joak, Skil and Nekah from the All City crew went to my school so there was a strong buzz about the place. Another writer Tease DDS schooled me on sketching and gave me a tag. Jungle, hip hop and UKG was the soundtrack, class was bunked, joints were built and lessons of a different kind were learned…often the hard way.
By year 8 I started getting into punk music, I met Rhett soon after, skateboarding in the Park and we started hanging out; He went school in West London and took me riding the lines to skatespots like Meanwhile Gardens, Playstation skate park, South Bank and Barbican. London was a different place back then; tracksides had wild style burners, tubes were battered with insides and undersides from all the big crews. I witnessed writers like Take DDS and Tox 02 go all city…being exposed to the raw form of graffiti culture with all its history was a blessing, today’s scene isn’t even a shadow of what it was then.
The combination of spending time with my dad and seeing so much of London as a young teenager shaped my character. The mix of nurture, subcultures and localities heavily inform my artistic practice. “
“I had met Julian and you guys through mutual friends. When I heard that he had passed away I was gutted and wanted to help support the cause. I went to the fundraiser at Visions (you man smashed it, big up!) and got chatting with Matt; Panik had told me about the commemorative show so I offered to put some work in.
I had never exhibited before and was making hand-painted typographic bits at the time. I made Peace, Love, Andoh against the clock with assistance from Rhett. Having never shown work, getting the opportunity to be part of such a meaningful exhibition surrounded by friends provided a good introduction to exhibiting. The work was well received, I remember my line belling off on route to the opening and getting texts through saying i’d smashed it. The work sold and the good reception provided a confidence boost that I took forward into future projects.
It’s a strange thing that Julien passing provided the foundation for In Our Manor and my direction towards higher education. A silver lining to such a tragic loss.”
“My work is formed mainly as a reaction to life experiences and encounters; often due to lack of opportunity in the art world and restrictions imposed by society. Power structures and their implementation also fascinate me.
I come from a working class family, there’s no poetry or great literature in my yard; Supporting Tottenham Hotspur FC is how we express intense feelings and ideas…that and poetic domestics, haha! But lack of high culture in the nurture environment is a miner, my cockney heritage and exposure to London’s subcultures serves me just as well; you can read books at any age, you only get one childhood tho ;).
A lot of the art world is an elitist club; money, institutional indoctrination and obscure reference from go-to subject matter (Art History, Philosophy, Feminism, Homosexuality) exclude large sections of society from true participation. As a reaction to “art-world art” I’m forming what I call “Subversive Inverted-Elitism”. A play on inverted-snobbery, Subversive Inverted-Elitism pulls from low-brow cultural references. In doing so it uses art’s tools of demystification and remystification against itself, levelling the playing field by rendering a privileged education useless when experiencing the work. In the words of Eric Hoffer, “In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists”.
…I’m not here to exclude people though, the idea is to provide an opportunity to learn something new; opening greater understanding and acceptance of others. The art i know and love breaks down social barriers and provides greater appreciation of life.“
“Getting stuff popping in the ends is still a big priority of mine but plans have been put on hold while I study. I’m currently on an art foundation course at WMC in Camden and have been applying to Uni’s for a Fine Art BA. Getting an education will no doubt provide me with better tools to expand In Our Manor in the future!
There’s still a lot of positive stuff happening in the endz tho; charities like Art Against Knives and Community Souls are running loads of workshops and services in the arcade…Mondays is a free nail bar (4pm – 6pm) and wednesdays they do free studio time (4pm – 6pm) for any rappers, producers etc. “
Vol. 5 – BNTL Presents: Louie Jenkins
Vol. 4 – BNTL Presents: Will & Tom (Done)
Vol. 3 – BNTL Presents: Warren Feather
Vol. 2 – BNTL Presents: Panik (ATG)
Vol. 1 – BNTL Presents: Shy One (DVA)
Photo’s by Tom Spellman