THE SOUTHWEST'S URBAN CULTURE MAGAZINE
SKATE . GRAFFITI . URBAN . STREET ART . HIPHOP . BMX . MUSIC . FASHION . LIFESTYLE
People of the South West have been awaiting CURB for a long-time. It pulls together all aspects of their Urban hip hop culture and zooms in on the lives of some of its biggest names. You can be anywhere in the world, but when you're reading CURB, you're always back in the urban jungle, where you belong.
SECRET WALLS AT FALMOUTH UNIVERSITY’S STANNARY BAR
WORDS BY ELLIE KENDALL PICTURES BY DAVID J BLANKS, MATTHEW LOOTS AND JACK NEALE
You wouldn’t have known that you were in the hub of seaside university life, if you went to The Stannary on Saturday 11th May. Hub definitely, seaside? Not so much. The Secret Walls event had brought with it a whole host of urban skateboarders, graffiti artists and even a beatboxer. It started with a free skate courtesy of the Flexsi Skate Jam, on a temporary skate park outside The Stannary. Within the 4-hour skate time, there were trick competitions and a chance to let off some steam and show everyone the real reason for this event Falmouth’s much needed new skatepark. Alex Brinnen, Head of the Skate Committee said: “With such a large quantity of skateboarders, BMX’ers and scooter’ers in Falmouth, it is crucial to have a skatepark for them to use to keep them off the streets and in a safe and inspirational place. Falmouth has had a rich history of skateboard heritage over the years, not only has it spawned some great skaters it has also been the home of 3 separate skateboard companies and numerous pro skaters, one being Mathew Perham. “Our current park has fallen into a state of disrepair and so the desicion has been made to build a brand new £250,000 concrete skatepark which we plan to have completed within 2 years.” The committe plans to expand on the existing site at Dracaena and will take the current 500 square metre park and expand it to around double that. The new design, built by Maverick industries, will be in an L shape and will wrap around the current football pitch providing some much needed extra space for parking.
Alex went on to say: “So far we have successfully raised over £1000 pounds by putting on skatejams and music nights as well as selling a limited run of skatepark tshirts (available at sessions or through our FaceBook page). Obviously this is a very small amount compared to the 1/4 of a million pounds we need, but the next step (which we’ve already started) is funding applications to a wide range
The main event, world renowned Secret Walls, was an art battle between two teams of artists who had 90 minutes and a huge white wall each, to create a piece of graffiti-inspired artwork. They could only use black marker pens and paint and when their time was up they would be judged by, not only the crowd, but by an official from the Tate Gallery as well as
of grants that are applicable to our project. “The secret walls gig was the brain child of Emma, Matt and Christina. They approached our skatepark committee and said they wanted to do a charity fundraiser for the skate park and we obviously jumped at the offer! They did an excellent job and put on a top notch night and we aided and assisted were we were needed!”
renowned Cornish street artist Cosmic. Around the venue there were smaller versions of the giant white walls allowing attendees to pick up a marker pen and work on their own artistic skills. By the end of the night these walls were covered in doodles, messages and in-depth works of art: Cosmic led the way and covered a whole corner of
one of the walls with some original work. There was plenty to do while the art battle was going on. DJ Jankin Janks, stood in the very middle of the 2 walls, kept the music flowing with a mixture of old school hip hop, dubstep and drum and bass, while MC Rootsie made sure the crowd was happy and the artists on time.
When the time was up, the winning Falmouth team was announced with huge roars from the crowd and unanimous votes from the 2 official judges. The artwork the boys had produced was incredible, especially considering they were up against some of the best Secret Walls artists in the country. They could finally relax and, while headline act Running Numbers set up on
stage, the crowd were entertained by beatboxer, Dyna-Mic who, at 19, has already performed with a Bob Marley and The Wailers tribute band. He amazed the crowd with his range of vocal talent. Closing the show were Running Numbers, a locally well-known hip-hop, drum and bass-esque trio from Brighton. They kept the crowd jumping into the early hours, playing tracks from their debut EP â€˜Into 3â€™, such as The Flux, What You Say and The Wave. All in all, The Secret Walls event broke the mould for The Stannary and produced a bit of underground magic. Alex Brinnen wishes to thank prize sponsors, Session, DC, Faltown, and Thrashion.
JODY: A WHOLE LOT OF OLD SKOOL HEART + SOUL Jody Thomas is a wellknown, well-respected street artist from Bristol. After going underground for a y e a r, h e i s b a c k w i t h n e w artwork just in time for Upfest and his own 5-day exhibition, Heart + Soul. He speaks to Ellie Kendall..
“I was supposed to be called Ben when I was born,” Jody says. Imagine that, a brick walled masterpiece with a credit to ‘Ben’. Somehow, it’s not as artistic and hasn’t got the unique edge ‘Jody’ has. “I think the sort of J e n s o n Button of the day, the big racing driver was a guy called Jody Sheptor and my mum liked the name Jody. I’ve grown into it now but when I was younger I was really badly bullied about it and I hated my name for a while, but it’s quite rare I guess.”
such artists as Inkie and Nick Walker, when the likes of homegrown Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead were blasting through the speakers of boomboxes. “In the mid 80s when breakdancing, graffiti and that all came over, for me it was amazing,” he says. “It was a rebellious kind of street culture, it was cool, it immediately got you the respect of your peers if you could do one of them, particularly graffiti. “Back then, you used car spray paint - the same thing
ists, not as many as there are male, it’s a very male dominated culture but it’s just basically males showing off artistically, physically, lyrically.” Among the big names of Bristol’s graffiti world, Jody remembers a young Banksy. He says: “I haven’t seen him for 20 odd years. Back in the days in Barton Hill where I used to paint in the late 80s, he was a young guy who used to come down on his bmx and he was kind of a face in the crowd to some extent. I used stencils which was cheating back then, which is ironic now because they’re used so much, especially by Banksy. But it was seen as cheating. I got roughed up by another artist because of it. I only used a stencil because I couldn’t get the features fine enough, because the paint would come out so quickly.” Jody was blessed with the ability to draw from a young age and says that making the change from drawing on paper to
Turning 40 this year, ‘old school’ street artist Jody hasn’t followed in the footsteps of his namesake. Instead, he is among the big dogs of hip hop and graffiti culture. He may not have fast cars or indeed be able to race them but, given a spray can and the wall of a sidestreet, he can create something beautiful in his hometown of Bristol. “Bristol and painting in Bristol, particularly with the likes of Banksy, has become almost like earning your stripes. I mean I’ve gone and painted in Bristol and that’s like saying ‘I’ve gone and acted in New York’, it’s got that kind of kudos to it,” he says.
Jody grew up painting at Bristol’s legendary Barton Hill Youth Club, in the 80s, among
your dad would use to repair handwells on his car or the black outlining paint that you used to paint the railings outside of your house. They were still using the kind of rudimentary tools. Now it’s kind of changed because you actually have proper tins of paint that are designed and manufactured by graffiti artists, they know what they want. You’ve got different nozzles. But back in the day it was outlawed, it was frowned upon, it was cool. It was something that was kind of evolving as well. “One thing you must understand about hip hop culture is that basically MCing, breakdancing, graffiti and DJing are basically the four ways that males show off. Unfortunately there aren’t that many females, there are female graffiti art-
the wall “wasn’t so much of a big stretch”. Taking his inspiration from film, and music from the likes of 80s bands Joy Division and New Order, he creates dark, often monotone photographic pieces, both on wall and on canvas. “There wasn’t much to draw upon apart from my own experiences, I mean I love the work of Andy Warhol and I loved a lot of photographers’ work and because I used to buy a lot of vinyl, having really powerful cover art like Bauerhouse was a big influence on my work,” he says. “But my influences were always very much, not necessarily art.” Jody dubs himself a big fan of Ridley Scott, David Fincher and director Terry Gilliam. He says that the music and feel
of Gilliam’s dark, gritty thrillers as well as films of encounters of the third kind, gave the powerful, slightly sinister undertone to his own work. Being a regular at Bristol graffiti festivals and events, such as UpFest and See No Evil, Jody has been at the centre of the action, painting alongside artists from all over the world. One he mentions is ‘Herakut’, a duo from Germany, who create works of art by merging their two styles of graphic characters and photorealism to create something magical - a pair that Jody thought himself lucky enough to meet when at Upfest, a couple of years ago. “I love the work of Herakut and Maclaim as well. Maclaim is the German crew (fronted by one half of Herakut) who do sort of amazing photo-realisms. There’s some guys from New Zealand whose letters have now become very, very complex and almost abstract and they’re producing some beautiful work from New Zealand. That’s really good.” “To me art should be beautiful in a way that you just look at it and go ‘wow’ and a lot of the reason that my show is called Heart + Soul is because that’s what you have to put into something and if, as an artist, I can say ‘wow, they’ve really put their heart into that’, that’s what’s really important.” Jody is still preparing for his big show at Paintworks Gallery, Bristol on 9 May and, despite the fact he has veered away from his usual gloomy,
and not sound like a complete dickhead! I try and avoid ‘art-speak’. Some of my work recently I’ve been really happy with and I hang them around my house, so when people come in they say ‘wow! That’s really quite different’. But it’s still quite photographic and as accurate as I can make it technically.” The venue of his show, Heart + Soul, is also a break away from the small shop galleries, such as King Of Paint and Weapon of Choice, in which he usually exhibits. Despite the great publicity he hopes to receive by doing this, as well as the corporate VIP’s coming to admire his creativity, Jody isn’t one for the limelight. He says: “I hate, believe it or not, being the centre of attention and actually, I’m sort of painting on my own for months and months and months - 6 months on my own, and then suddenly there’s going to be hundreds of people filing past my paintings.”
I’ve gone and painted in Bristol and that’s like saying ‘I’ve gone and acted in New York’, it’s got that kind of kudos to it
black and white pieces in order to add some colour to the mix, he says his content has matured and he is very proud of the work he’s produced. “They say that you are only really as good as your last piece of work,” he says. “It’s very difficult to talk about art
As a design and brand consultant by day, Jody is able to constantly relieve his creative needs while making an honest liv-
ing out of doing something he loves, and says his job is basically a “hobby that pays”. Obviously not one to break the law, Jody thinks he wouldn’t be able to paint illegally. “I got chased a couple of times,” he says. “This was back when I was sort of 16/17
and I don’t have the nerve to do illegal work. I like to walk away from a wall and feel that I’ve produced something that’s beautiful, that people will like.” But, hasn’t arm of out to
suffice meant the law try and
to say, this that the long hasn’t reached grab him from
the streets he loves to paint on. He recalls a close encounter with the police. “I was doing a piece at the top of Park Street by the Illusions bar and I was painting there one Sunday morning when a riot van screeched up, literally to my toes, and the guy rolled down the window and said ‘is it you? Is it you?’ and I said ‘you think I’m Banksy don’t you?It’s a Sunday morning, it’s broad daylight, I’d be running away’, and he said ‘for fuck’s sake we thought we had him’, rolled up his window and pulled away. “They’d come round the Triangle, saw me painting and then did a double back. He was really genuinely quite excited and then when he rolled up his window and shot off up the road he was really quite disappointed. I was kind of taken aback by his question. That said alot about the fact that he would have been a big shot to get. He would have been a high prize target, basically. To get Banksy would have been something he’d have gone and boasted to his colleagues about.”
shot off up the road he was really quite disappointed. I was kind of taken aback by his question. That said alot about the fact that he would have been a big shot to get. He would have been a high prize target, basically. To get Banksy would have been something he’d have gone and boasted to his colleagues about.” Nowadays, especially in Bristol, street artists are considered almost celebrities of the hip hop urban culture scene. Sometimes, as is the case for under-cover-of-dark street art legends like Banksy, they are also high prize targets for the police. But Jody believes that anyone, anywhere could be a street artist. “You could be an illustrator, you could be a painter, you could be a graffiti artist that’s moved across, but there’s much more of a mix of media approach in terms of the influences upon it; you could do a stencil or a painting because you are just a street artist. You’re taking your art to the street. How you choose to do that is up to you.” Jody will continue to live up to the reputation of one of Bristol’s finest street artists and, with a 10-day exhibition of his work, as well as a prime allocated spot at this year’s Upfest, there’s no sign of him throwing in the spray can just yet.
IMAGES FROM HEARTANDSOUL BRISTOL: PAGE4 - JODY’S PROMO FOR THE HEART+SOUL EXHIBITION. PAGE5 - JODY AT UPFEST. PAGE6+7 - WORK INCLUDED IN HIS EXHIBITION
bristolâ€™s graff With UpFe st on the hor iz on, CURB takes a look at some of what makes Bristol the U K â€™s S t r e e t - A r t c a p i t a l . . . Pictures: Ellie Kendall
Youâ€™d easily be able to spot some sort of street art, no matter where abouts in Bristol you are. But here on Nelson Street, the walls are awash with colour, intricate designs and the remnants of 2012â€™s See No Evil festival, which saw some of the biggest names in the graffiti world come together to share their creativity with the Bristolian public.
The event, which is the largest permanent street art project in the UK, has turned Nelson Street into an open air street art gallery which even features work from its curator, Inkie. For these street artists, the sides of buildings are their canvases and in 2012, 30 prolific artists hand-picked from all over the globe came, painted and partied in style
at a New York themed Block Party, to close the event. The works of art you can see along Nelson Street include Nick Walker’s ‘Vandal’, a pin-stripe suit-clad man who goes around the city, painting it red; giant stick-characters by street artist Stik; graffiti by New York’s Tats Cru, and work from the likes of China Mike, M-City and CANTWO.
This event has turned, what was once one of the dullest streets in the UK, into an urban jungle full of colour, creativity and culture and has made Nelson Street in Bristol a major tourist attraction. But, though the current works of art look like they may last a lifetime, the future of the See No Evil event is still unclear.
GRAFFITI: Changing perceptions? What was once an illegal past-time, may now be something of an everyday normality... WORDS AND PICTURES BY ELLIE KENDALL
With the likes of Banksy creeping around at night, stencilling iconic imagery and then running off before the sun comes up, it’s easy to see how graffiti has been classed as illegal, a crime for so long. But when, on the side of a corner shop or underneath a second storey window, the public sees Banksy’s masterpiece, it’s not a crime, nor is it simply art. It now belongs to the local people, those who have the pleasure of walking past it everyday from then on in. These are the many perceptions of graffiti and street art, nowadays. Undoubtedly, to some, it isn’t attractive and they certainly wouldn’t want it in their sights, nor would they want to own it. ‘It’s vandalism, pure and simple.’ But if this is the case, then why is graffiti and street art such a popular, wealthy part of our culture? On 20th March 1989, police ‘Operation Anderson’ took place in Bristol and Bath, whereby all of the prolific Bristol artists who had been illegally tagging on the streets were taken to court. These artists
painted at the infamous Barton Hill Youth Club under the watchful eye of Youth Club worker John Nation, who encouraged the young artists to paint in a safe, legal environment. The operation was the biggest ever anti-graffiti operation in the history of British policing and consisted Police-style design, Nelson Street of dawn raids on the homes The graffiti policy for Bristol of those who’s illegal street City Council states: “In recent tags had been matched to years some forms of graffiti those on the walls of Barton have featured in popular culHill Youth Club. ture and it is now recognised Ironically, however, just over that street art can make a 30 years on, the Magistrates’ positive contribution to the Courts and Juvenile Courts urban environment. In approin which those young artists priate cases the Council were put on enables street art in its area. trial have now “We will work with local been legally people to ensure that the painted on as design and quality of the part of streetwork is such as will enhance art project the amenity of their area. In See No Evil, appropriate cases this may and Bristol include consulting local people City Council on a range of projects before are starting to settling on the preferred artist/ acknowledge work. the change in “We will continue to work perceptions of toward removing defasive this art form. graffiti. This includes painting,
Give a person a spray can and the certainty they won’t get caught and everyone will spray paint on any wall
Bristol Police Station
being caught. You can quickly do up a couple of stencils and off you go into the night.” A man famous for his stencils is the elusive Banksy, who’s work was recently involved in quite a controversy. His piece, ‘Slave Labour’, which featured a young boy with a sewing machine, was ‘stolen’ from the wall of a Poundland shop in North London back in February. This left the owner of the Poundland store with a chunk out of their wall and local residents were left fuming as they claimed the piece rightfully belonged to them. Jody says: “That piece wasn’t stolen, it was removed and that’s very very important, because if someone took a chunk out of the side of your house, you’d know about it. So obviously the landlord would have been involved, there would have been an organisation around that. “The actual organisation of cutting a piece out of a wall, transporting it across to America without it getting broken, into a gallery in Miami, takes an awful lot of effort and really it’s not a conversation about art, it’s a conversation about money. That piece is worth an awful lot of money. If I walk along the street with a piece of chewing gum and stick it on the wall it’s not worth anything. If Banksy were to chew that piece of chewing gum and stick it on
a wall then it’s worth something. That’s as ridiculous as it gets. But it wasn’t stolen from the wall, it was removed, but it was stolen from the public and that was the outrage.” The public’s opinion of graffiti can vary dramatically from generation to generation but, by looking at how prominent graffiti and street art is becoming it isn’t hard to see that it is mainly a feel-
Graffiti on the wall of Bristol Police Station
ing of wonderment and awe, and questions like: “However did they do that!?” George Skaliotis, 21, is an actuarial science and maths student, from Cyprus, studying at Manchester University. Science and Maths is a far cry from street art, which tells you that anyone can enjoy the art form. He says: “Graffiti is a good thing to see in the local area, depending on the location, for example parking areas and old buildings, because it may brighten them up. I see it as an art because art is a way people express their feelings to the public, give a person a spray can and the certainty they won’t get caught and everyone will spray paint on any wall.”
Now, with the help of celebrity-like graffiti and street-artists, this art form is just that, a way those involved can artistically express themselves. Just like the other elements of hip hop culture - DJing, MCing and breakdancing, it has a place in popular culture and will continue to do so thanks to art festivals and council policies such as those in Bristol. Jody goes on to say: “Hip hop culture has now spawned the likes of 50 Cent and all those sort of guys, those sort of bling and get girls, cars and all the rest of it. It’s sort of evolved into something quite kind of crude. And obviously it’s now crossed into the mainstream.” “You only need to go to Upfest and see there’s hundreds, thousands of people there. It’s a big thing and hopefully it will be here for a long time but the people who are trying to make a fast buck out of it, if I ever talk to an artist, someone trying to get into it, I say ‘don’t do it because you want to make money, don’t do it because you want to get girls, don’t do
A masterpiece on Nelson Street
it because you want to be famous, do it for you, yourself and learn the ropes’.”
The looks of the law
RUDIMENTAL - HOME A review of the music videos of chart sensation, Rudimental. By
PICTURES FROM MTVIGGY.COM// VIMEO.COM// SHOCKMANSION.COM
Rudimental’s new album Home is taking the music charts by storm. The quartet, who became more prominent in mainstream music with their single Feel the Love have just finished a European Tour and will begin their worldwide tour later this year. But Rudimental are not just skin deep. Their latest album is a mixture of feelgood dance, drum and bass like Feel the Love and more deeper, soulful tracks like More Than Anything, which features the vocal talent of Emeli Sande. Infact, Rudimental have collaborated with a number of great talents on this album, John Newman, Alex Clare and Becky Hill to name a few. They have also included live improvisations and conversations from their studio time, which gives it a very personal touch. But deeper still and you will see something that isn’t too often mentioned. Music videos. The music videos of Rudimental have something
about them which tugs on your heart strings and makes you want to see more. The music video for Feel the Love consists of men and boys wrapped up from the cold, one clutching a boombox in pure retro fashion, the rest making their way down a snow-covered urban street. It’s modern-day, yet there’s something Wild Western about it, especially when these guys, all dressed in the latest Winter fashion, each jump onto a horse. It’s not so much a possession, like a car, but rather a companion, a new way of showing off within their culture. They sit and sometimes stand, proudly on their horses and it’s odd to behold when, in the background, you can see electricity cables and traffic lights. This, paired with the incredible voice of John Newman, is enough to send shivers down your spine and when the bass drops and the upbeat drum and bass-esque tune kicks in we see fast-paced horseriding, guys sitting on
their horses to play basketball and one horse kicks its hind legs in time with the music. Before you know it men, women, boys, girls and their horses are gathered round a Western-style campfire laughing and joking while the snow falls. Latest track Waiting All Night ‘s video is based on the true story of BMXer Kurt Yaeger. It begins silent as we witness a bike crash on a busy urban road and then focuses on a man in a hospital bed, Kurt Yaeger himself, surrounded by friends all dressed in stereotypical BMX fashion. The video then goes on to show how Kurt overcomes his accident, using the powerful, soulful voice of Ella Eyre and the pairing of Rudimental’s upbeat tune with trumpets, as you’ve never heard them before. Some parts are comical, like when his friend graffiti’s on the window of Kurt’s hospital room and the nurse mouths words of disgust at them while they try to hold in their laughter. Other parts
really pull on your heart strings, especially when Kurt can’t seem to stay on his bike and ends up throwing it to the ground. But when he finally makes it off of the ledge of the skate ramp and his prosthetic leg moves in time with the pedals, the beat kicks in again and we are filled with a powerful sense of euphoria as he and his friends ride off, quite literally, into the sunset. Rudimental say they don’t want to appear in their music videos as it would “take the focus away from their music”. But if they continue to please the senses the way they are now, it’s clear to see that the 4-piece will be around for a very long time. And the world is quite happy about that.
Kurt Yaeger’s prosthetic leg
Riding on horses in the Feel the Love video
Keep commes wasted youth
Ellie Kendall checks out the best beanies for those cool summer nights... PICTURES FROM
It may well be Summer, but down here in the South West that doesn’t necessarily mean scorching hot sun, cloudless skies and no rain from June til September (though we can dream) . So, whether you’re BMXing, skating, painting or chilling on the beach, just remember, when you’re wearing a branded beanie you’re bound to stay cool.
BRANDS TO WATCH: LOCAL HEROES
Local Heroes is a brand loved by the likes of Rita Ora, Cara Delevigne and Rihanna. They do a large range of slogan creations, the most famous of which is probably their “WHATEVER” beanie, modelled here by Rita Ora herself. Unlike the other beanies, Local Heroes’ style is more fitted to your head, meaning it’s more secure when your skating, or BMXing and, if anyone should bug you while you’re in the middle of being a local hero, you can simply raise a finger to the world and point to “WHATEVER” the hat says.
WASTED YOU+H Who wouldn’t want to wear a slogan in which the ‘‘T’ has been replaced with a swanky cross? You certainly don’t need to be a wasted youth to rock one of these beanies, either. The style of Wasted You+h beanies are a lot more sock-shaped and give a retro feel to any look. Plus, Was+ed Youth has now released slogan tees, bobble hats and snapbacks so you can build a collection and wear a new piece everyday.
COMME des F*CKDOWN
Maybe you’ve broken your board, come off your bike or put a nice big handprint on your latest piece of artwork. If that is the case, then why not wear a COMME des F*CKDOWN beanie as a constant reminder to keep your blood pressure down. Sure you can’t wear it when you’re visiting your nan, but she’s a calming influence in her own right, right?
ONE FOR THE... GEEKS