grime portraits

I love grime. I vividly remember listening through JME’s ‘Blam’ album on my MP3 player as a 13 year old kid on rugby tour. The energy, the unique lyricism, the authentic London sound is something special. Over the years I’ve looked to pay homage to some of my favourite grime artists and I’m proud to have had portraits of the likes of Wiley, Jammer, Ghetts, President T, JME & D Double E exhibited across England. 

This ballpoint pen portrait of D Double E drawn on a London tube map. Exhibited and sold at The Discerning Eye Exhibition 2019 at The Mall Galleries.


Within this fineliner pen portrait, I pay homage to the face of modern British music by depicting the ‘godfather’ of grime music, Wiley, drawn on W.J. Turner’s English Music text from the 1940s. Although the artwork is monochrome, there is a strong sense of pride within the pose of the subject as I look to celebrate blackness with nuanced mark making; as well as pragmatic placement of the composition.

The original artwork was exhibited at The John Lennon Building with the Liverpool Biennial 2018 and South London Gallery with Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Also shown at the Mall Galleries In 2019.


The fact that a new genre of music has emerged over the last twenty years, starting in London, has deeply interested me; as 'grime' (the described genre) grew from modest beginnings to becoming internationally recognised. The pioneers of the genre came from poorer demographics of London and portrayed a narrative that is relatable to people from similar upbringings through their music, I pay homage to such founders through this piece drawn on W.J. Turner's 'English Music' text from the 1940s.

Although the artwork is monochrome, there is a strong sense of pride within the pose of the subject as I look to celebrate blackness with nuanced mark making; as well as pragmatic placement of the composition.


The subject within the portrait returns the gaze of the viewer, with an intensity that shows the frustration of the archetypal disenfranchised ethnic male in western society. I seek to create a discourse regarding the prejudicial ‘white gaze’ in relation to ethnic minorities. With minorities usually being undermined by the mainstream media. I feel that this hierarchy of status shows a somewhat paradoxical reflection of colonial ideals in relation to the transatlantic slave trade.



Fineliner pen on 1940's ‘English Music’ book case. Portrait of early 20th century English music composer, Edward Elgar, a man synonymous with English music and ‘JME’, a contemporary musician & producer. The composition emulates that of a famous baroque painting; this work depicts the evolution of race relations in the creative field in the UK, the face of British music is now that of an ethnic minority. This work looks to celebrate blackness and the strides that minorities have made towards empowering the oppressed in modern society.


The subject within this ballpoint pen portrait (Grime artist – Ghetts) avoids the gaze of the viewer, with a sense of deflation depicting the frustration of the archetypal disenfranchised ethnic male in western society. By using the London Tube map as the canvas for the work, I have explicitly shown the proximity of this somewhat anecdotal drawing.




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