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Folk Graff: An Explanation

Folk Graff, as an explanantion, is a term I've applied to the majority of my art that features spray paint, stenciling, animal totems, runes and psychedelic tribal patterning. In my mind it is an amalgamation of Neolithic cave art, Bronze age motifs and Iron Age runes, combined with a modern urban aesthetic of aerosol, paint pen, stencil, drip paint and airbrush. It is bridging a cultural gap, stitching the knowledge of my ancestors and ancient past into a contemporary form of expression.




 My interest in Iron Age cultures, such as the Celts, Anglo Saxons and Norse stems from Junior School, being taught about Boudica's uprising and raising of Colchester, my home town. I've continued, on and off, my own research and study since then, recently tracing Northern European spirituality back through Bronze Age Hittite culture and as far back as Gobekli Tepe, 12000 BCE. It is now my desire to express these discoveries through the creation of modern artifacts, for the continuation of tradition broken by the influence of organised religion.



 My experience of working with and engaging in an active spiritual practice based on my findings has led to a philosophy more akin to Buddhism and Shamanism, than the aggressive and bloody heathen rites often presented in the media and practiced by the bravado. What is discovered is a primal narrative of altered consciousness, discourses with a living universe, evidence of cultural exchange with our hominid cousins and a path of enlightenment that unites all ancient peoples.



1984 sees the release of the book Subway Art, filled with photographs documenting the aerosol paintings on the New York City trains, an emerging graffiti movement that took fire in our child minds. It became the most thumbed book in the school library. This led to a couple of years of designing, painting and running, until girls became more important. Like much of what would become known as Hip Hop culture, it never left my heart and like 80s comics it would influence my visual style across a range of mediums.



In more recent years my obsession with graffiti would be inspired by the cave art produced by Neanderthals in Europe, 40,000 years ago. Pouring over images of hands stencilled with pigment, blown from the mouth, amazing drawings of beasts and complex designs of psychedelic patterning. This inspired my to start stenciling runes designs, using an atomiser and transforming Anglo Saxon symbols and runecharms into tags and slaps (stickers) up in the town.



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