Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Early 1995 my missus Janine met and old friend she knew from Dingwalls and the Soul weekenders by the name of Jon Wilkins (he now is one of the founders of Naked Comms!) funnily enough in a supermarket. He knew of me (Swifty) and mentioned that the ad company he worked (BMP) had some spare cash from the Fosters Courage account and wanted to do something more edgy with it and mentioned the idea of 'Graffiti' on billboards. Push comes to shove and he visits my studio then in Coronet St, Hoxton sq with his collegue Rupert Newton and we hatch the plan ! I came up with the concept 'Street Art' as Graffiti at that time was a very dirty word in Advertising circles and we also wanted to have spray can art as the basis but also wanted the boards to be done by a range of creators from musicians to graphic designers , photographers and illustrators. Now its never been looked into but I'm 100% the word 'Street Art' had never been used in print prior to that date and this campaign broke new ground and received worldwide recognition for narrowing the gap between Graffiti and brand culture. It was radical stuff we booked 10 billboards along Kentish Town Rd from the camden lock market up to Chalk farm tube station and I set to commissioning a range of art to go on them. With the help of Paul Tully (who now runs PD3) we hired a space called the 'Arts Depot' behind St Pancras station an old victorian gym with brilliant vaulted high ceilings to do paint the art and hold the party to launch the event .

Street Art Flyer Front for launch party at the arts depot

Flyer back showing map of Chalk Farm Rd and position of artists billboards

Launch party at the Arts Depot Left: Futura 2000 Middle: Stash and Req on the right

left to right: Wack, Ian Wright, Peter Williams, Rupert Newton (BMP),  Swifty, Jon Wilkins (BMP),
Peter Harding (Courage) , David Crow,  Paul Tully and Req .

Party people! Front row, left to right: Billy, Carleen Anderson and Hassan Hajjaj
Back, left to right: Unknown, Paul Tully, Blaize and unknown