Graffiti – the bane of councils or a colourful way to brighten up the City?

Street Art – a misnomer?

Ok, I’ll make a stand here – I like graffiti in almost all of its forms, I have lots of books on graffiti, I search it out when I visit new places, I see it as an art form, a platform for expression.

I own pieces of graffiti, work by Brighton artists such as Imbue, Snub, Sinna1 & Hutch. I also own stuff by Pipsqueak, David Shillinglaw, Sweet Tooth, Paul “DON” Smith, Matt Sewell and various other artists. Their work decorates the walls of my house, it looks great, it’s striking, it’s interesting, it’s different – hey, it might even be worth a bit of money – highly doubtful but you never know!

Brighton Council seem to like graffiti as well – there is loads of it around town, most of it is really good and the artists are supported (or maybe just tolerated) by the council.

One such artist is Sinna1, a lovely chap who can often be seen painting a wall or a telephone exchange box. Sinna1 is involved with Art Schism an arts co-operative and community based enterprise. He helps disadvantaged kids, he teaches, he’s a hippy with a spray can and lots of talent.

In 2013 I asked Sinna1 to paint a telephone exchange box to help promote the Brighton Tattoo Convention – I did this without the Convention organisers knowledge, he only found out when photos of the box started popping up on Facebook, Instagram and the like. The amount of publicity that one telephone box created convinced the Tattoo Convention organiser that a proper graffiti campaign would work in 2014.

The box that started it all.

Telephone Exchange box 2103
Fast forward to January 2014 and Sinna1 has a new brief from me. Six telephone exchange boxes across the City and a great big wall on the side of the Hilton Hotel to be painted ASAP.

Let me tell you (on behalf of Sinna1) – painting outside in January is no fun, its cold, very cold, it rains and the wind is blustery. But from the warmth of my office I received regular updates on the progress of the job. On a couple of occasions I popped out to see a work in progress but I didn’t stay for long, too cold….

The telephone boxes across the City are now resplendent in their new skins, a striking image based on the Convention poster, original artwork by Emily Wood (who also did the background for my web site). Photos of the boxes are popping up all over social media sites, the Tattoo Convention is being discussed, shared, liked and followed. Its being talked about. Proof that graffiti works – not only to brighten up the City but also as an advertising medium, albeit an underground medium!


Telephone Exchange Box

Telephone Exchange Box – Clock Tower


2014-02-02 15.24.28


Oh, the wall I mentioned earlier, the wall on the side of the Hilton Hotel, the great big wall, 7m across and 3.5m high – yep, that got painted as well and is now being photographed and talked about.

Here’s a photo, I hope you like it!

Hilton Wall

Brighton Tattoo Convention 2014 Hilton Wall