Graffiti Gallery (8)

After SMEAR2 I returned with camera to shoot B&W film, colour negative & transparency, knowing that soon enough all of this would be reduced to dust, like all of us eventually... In weeks that followed wanna-be graffiti artists came down to Hulme to make their mark, add their tag or try out their first full piece

Elk came back to finish his SMEAR2 piece & added (one for his missus) 'Piglet' to the lock-up garage doors. Hulme writer Tags carried on painting alongside Kelzo who tried out a few 3-D versions of his recent 'Vergo / Virgo' dub. Zed appeared everywhere, his wonderful undulating lettering covering-over anything he seemingly didn't like the look of!

A couple of international graf artists who hadn't managed to get to SMEAR2 kept an appointment to paint anyway. First Bembo (Spain) then Paris (France) came to create in the Manchester rain alongside Kelzo & Tags

As summer approached an ever-diminishing housing estate grew evermore precarious. The location of mugging 'black-spots' switched as Hulme slowly shrank. Burglaries increased. As did an influx of smack-heads into empty flats. As soon as tenants move out properties are quickly boarded up. Amidst this claustrophobic atmosphere the people of condemned Hulme who knew the end (of a notorious housing project, of a very broken 1960's idealism, of a unique way of life) was in sight. We knew the rats had already fled a sinking ship. We Kept Calm & Carried On as only we knew how to

Stepping up a gear, perhaps sensing its imminent demise, this became one of Kelzo's most productive & prolific times. Lock-up garages, boarded-up flats & walkways became his own personal portfolio & art gallery. When local-legend Iggy moved out of his Otterburn flat Kelz painted 'Magic (Mushroom Casualty)' on the boards. There rapidly followed a series of 3-D pieces, (a Hulme Suite Hulme), in keeping with hedonistic times: 'LSD', 'Kidz', 'Vandals', 'Alkies', 'Junkies', 'Snakes-&-Ladderz', 'Drug Store'.

It was alongside his '(Hulme is One Big) Drug Store' piece that Kelz pulled off one of my favourite side-characters 'Kes' (childhood memory for a lot of people), from the British film (1969, Ken Loach) of the same name

As the weather continued to improve & everyday madness continued to increase, Kelzos' eye twinkled when talk turned to SMEAR3...