A small series of pieces we painted for Graffiti Street's 'Underground 2016' show at Hoxton Arches, London. Complete with photos of the process! It was a fun idea taking popular pieces and giving them a little twist and incorporating my own characters. Redrawing each piece gave me a new appreciation for each original; Escher's subtle angle changes, Mondrian's ratios and Hokusai's tumultuous linework.


This is never going to pass health & safety.

What I discovered when drawing this piece was that Escher adjusted the angle of things over distance. I was totally expecting the stairs to be the same angle all the way along a set but it turns out they adjust minutely each time, which allowed everything to fit perfectly. Can't say we've ever used a ruler to cut a stencil as much as this piece, haha.


I'm not taking criticism from someone who painted their section in one motion, alright!

I've referenced Mondrian before in 'Heisting...' painting but it was nice to paint it at a larger size. I've not painted any roller guys in a while either, so it was a nice match. It was also a little bit easier to cut than the other two in this series, which never hurts either!


Although this was clearly not fine but what was there to do?

The original by Hokusai that this piece was inspired by would've originally be printed using woodcut blocks and so it was interesting to see the slight overlapping of colours. I'm pretty sure I now have every mtn 94 blue available to me, as I really wanted to get the colours just right. Can't beat a nice, smooth gradient either!

Stacks and stacks of stencils. Easier to see them when they're together but I can spend ages finding a stencil if it's on it's own. It's one of the few downsides of acetate!

Laying down the black layer for 'Not Quite Right' first. Since none of the colours touched, it was fine to lay the darkest colour down first. Black was first as it served as a useful reference point when spraying the other layers because it was present across the entire piece.

We have a print drying rack for when we screen print but it's damn useful for stencils too!

Always yellow.

The joy of peeling a stencil back and seeing it's all deliciously crisp.

Last layer going down.

Similar to 'Not Quite Right', we stuck the background layer down on 'This Is Fine' first as it provides a white 'silhouette' so as to know where every subsequent layer should sit on the canvas.

Spent a lot of time figuring out which blues to use, very happy with the final palette.

The square grid on the stencil doesn't really mean anything, it's only there because the maximum size we can print stencils at is A3. This painting is larger than A3, so each layer is 'tiled' across multiple sheets. However, printers generally can't print right up to the edge of a sheet, so the grid allows us to see up to which point the printer has printed and then we trim the excess off. Once all the sheets are trimmed and we're left only with the design, we can stick them together with tape and create one large stencil layer!

Always good to label your stencils if the colour isn't obvious. We've had too many times when you lay down the wrong colour and immediately ruin a piece!

Some of the expended stencil layers, each shape hand cut!

These pieces are originals and we only painted one of each, so there was no need for the hassle of registration marks. However we still needed to know where each stencil went and it's not always obvious with the more chaotic pieces, hence the phone with reference mockup!

All the small circles of spray are accurate to the original too!

More reference mockups, although 'You Missed A Bit' was easier to align than 'This Is Fine'.

Men at work!

Hope you enjoyed the insight into how these pieces are painted and thanks to Graffiti Street for putting on another excellent show!

Posted 13th October, 2016

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