London artist She One is pretty clear about his role in the art world. “I’m a Graffiti artist.” He states bluntly. This is not strictly true. To say She One is a Graffiti artist is like saying Jackson Pollock used to throw a bit of paint on the canvas. Both statements are partially accurate but give no genuine indication how great each of the respective artists’ work is.
She One’s huge paintings push the notion of what can be considered Graffiti to its limits. To the casual observer his pieces seem to have more in common with Abstract Expressionist painting than the kind of Graffiti we see thrown up by train lines or daubed as tags across the country.
One really has to train the eyes to make out the traditional Graffiti and typographical elements in She One’s paintings. At first they seem like a series of minimal, violent streaks of spray paint on the canvas which form spidery abstract patterns. But look into the painting, and consider the title of the piece and the letterforms may suddenly become clear. Like a Graffiti magic eye picture.
She One’s process can seem chaotic given the rapid speed at which he paints and the vast broad streaks of paint which criss-crossing the canvas, yet the brush and can strokes are carefully applied and meticulously orchestrated. They are an accumulation of over ten years of She One honing his unique style. “I definitely didn’t just ‘hit upon’ my style of painting; it is purely the result of drawing typography and executing paintings with spray paint.”
One of She One’s most enduring collaborations was his work for the Addict clothing brand which has seen his designs sported by thousands of people worldwide. “Addict gave me the opportunity to create a fabric pattern, the S1 Camo, initially it was going to be for one jacket but it is still in production on clothing and products five years later.”
She One works to balance all the elements within a painting; colour, scale and texture, repeating things that have worked previously and eliminates those that have failed with the hope of one day presenting a perfect distillation of his aesthetic.