Its been an exciting few days for Global Street Art. As well as documenting street art we want to help artists find more walls! We found Phlegm a large wall in London and documented his mural being created. Check out the article and slideshow below, and the higher resolution images in the two preceding blog posts.
Phlegm has become a popular artist in the past few years. No one is more surprised than Phlegm, who typically avoids interviews and exhibitions, letting his art speak on his behalf. With white emulsion splattered on my fingers, I found out more about Phlegm. Check out the slideshow of the mural being created…
Phlegm started keeping sketchbooks during his fine art degree 15 years ago to deal with the stuffiness of the course. After he graduated he felt that his art stagnated. Phlegm was inspired looking back at his sketchbooks; the relief of sketching to stomach his degree became his new work, which he enjoyed. He became a full-time comic illustrator, producing and selling comics from his home in Sheffield.
Phlegm’s name derives from classical medicine, where the body was thought to have four main fluids (or humours). If you had too much phlegm in the system it was thought to lead to apathy. Comics were a release for Phlegm and a way to enjoy art again. His name acknowledged that fact, plus it was unusual, fitting his comics.
Phlegm made a living producing comics. Painting walls was a way to stay fresh. His initial ideas warp to fit the character of the walls. There was no pressure to do street work, although he really does love painting walls. For Phlegm it’s important to do what he loves each week. The DIY ethos of street art appeals to him plus street art is a great way to use space that’s otherwise unused and reach a broader audience.
Phlegm painted in colour when he first used spray-cans. He moved to black and white to tie his walls and comics together. Phlegm’s walls are frames in his comics. There’s a balance between illustrative work, which involves a lot of sitting, and more physical street work.
Everything Phlegm paints has a place in a narrative. His characters have evolved as different species; with a history and a culture Phlegm can think about how his characters react to different situations. The narrative keeps his work fresh so he doesn’t run out of ideas.
Phlegm likes being an outsider of the art industry. The distance is important – he doesn’t want to be funnelled into a system. Again, it’s about evolving and avoiding stagnation.
Phlegm keeps it simple, in his own words “I make comics and I paint walls!”
If you have a street-facing wall and think your community could benefit from some awesome street art then please get in touch! We love connecting artists with walls! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!