Our Team

Julian Phethean
Director of Positive Arts
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Director of Positive Arts Julian Phethean is a professional artist with a Degree in Community Arts and Education Studies and 20 years practical experience working with young people of all ages and abilities. He is an accomplished graffiti artist who painted his first commissioned mural in 1988 at 11yrs old and has continued with many high profile jobs and exhibitions ever since. He is also qualified youth worker and has spent several years working within Youth Offending Services doing early intervention work and reparation. Over the years he has been able to use the combination of these skills to oversee some very successful art projects with young people.His artwork is very distinctive in its quality and attention to detail.It focuses on intricate and flowing letterforms, shapes and line work, which are abstracted in a unique way to create his own unique and aesthetically pleasing style. He is a very versatile artist competent painting in all styles from classic graffiti to photorealism. He works hard to ensure his work is constantly changing and developing and that every piece he creates is very individual.

My Story

For as long as I can remember I was drawing or scribbling on things I shouldn’t. This became an obsession when I discovered hip-hop culture and graffiti art in the early 80’s. I spent hours copying pieces from the pivotal graffiti art book Subway Art, learning how to draw letters and characters. At the age of 11 I wanted more and began experimenting with spray paint mainly on my garden shed. Then through the support of my parents I got the opportunity to paint my first mural at a local primary school. It didn’t stop there and like a lot of my peers at the time I began getting into trouble with the police for illegal tagging. After several brushes with the law I decided to focus on developing my talent legally and after I finished school I went to Art College to expand my artistic skills and knowledge. From there I began painting on canvases, using lots different mediums and exhibiting my work. Shortly after at around 17yrs I started helping out with local holidays art clubs where my desire to work with young people was born. After going to University and gaining valuable experience in running community art projects I worked as a full time youth worker in Bromley for several years and became qualified. As I wanted to help the most needy young people I began working in Youth Offending Team’s and started using graffiti art as a tool for challenging behaviour. After several years of experience I decided to combine all my skills together and start my own company ‘Positive Arts’.

I feel passionately in the power of graffiti art in challenging and exploring important personal and social issues with young people as it holds such street creditability and respect. As graffiti artists we are able to informally get young people to think about their actions through an educational and fun activity.

I believe it is important for me to use my life experience to help nurture and guide aspiring artists and encourage them to follow their dreams. Not all young people have the support of their parents like I had so I believe I hold an important role in teaching, inspiring and directing the next generation to achieve.

 

James
Positive Arts Artist
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James has been drawing and painting from the early nineties and has developed a career as a graffiti artist focusing his skills in community / youth projects with the aim to encourage and inspire others to experience ART! and get creative. His personal artwork prides itself on clean, direct and sharp lines and is very graphic in its nature. He fuses classic graffiti letterforms with nature and animals in an abstract way, which is both unique and modern.

My Story

My interest in graffiti art started in the 90′s living in south London and seeing all the new graffiti art being painted on a daily basis with styles heavily influenced from the 80’s graffiti phenomenon which swept across the city, bringing neglected surroundings to life and inspiring many like himself to seek adventure within the graffiti world.

like most artists i spent many hours a day drawing and sketching letter-forms on paper long before picking up a can of car paint, being ready with a sketch / plan was the only advice put forward. Experimenting with spray paint came as a natural progression from using traditional art methods i.e. paint brushes, pens, markers, through dedication i grew to understand some of the boundaries of using paint and the methods to create large pieces of art and developing his skills became self-taught. A few years past and i was asked to paint murals for the local youth service which in the late nineties got me involved in graffiti workshops and programmes within the local community, this is where creating public murals all started.

I’ve managed to mix my graffiti art background with youth work facilitating art programmes and mural workshops to help engage young people to be creative and encourage community’s to be more expressive and take ownership of redundant spaces around them with murals. I’ve worked alongside many youth service organisations over the years including: councils, housing associations, crime intervention groups, charities and outreach – detached youth projects across London and the surrounding county’s.

I strongly believes that working with young people and engaging them through art helps build confidence and develop there own identity to express there ideas and views in a positive, educational and artistic way.

 

Edward
Positive Arts Artist
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Edward has been doing youth projects and workshops throughout the UK for over 15yrs with young people of all ages and abilities. He is now a world renowned Graffiti artist and illustrator and believes very passionately in the importance of artists like himself passing on skills to the next generation.

His very distinctive style of characters with their fun and quirky nature have been popping up on walls everywhere for years and have become an integral part of the UK graffiti scene. He is a much loved and respected freestyle artist who can put his hand to anything from youth projects, large murals to small canvases and intricate drawings.

Highlights of his professional career include being involved in the huge James Brown tribute mural in Brighton and customising Malcolm McLaren’s coffin.

My Story

As a young adult the school system failed me, I am deeply dyslexic and was deemed disruptive, stupid and was expected to underachieve in life. Graffiti gave me confidence and made me realise that I could do anything I put my mind too and that there was no such thing as the impossible. Through my art I have traveled the world, taught children and adults of all ages and become an important part of my community. I have changed areas and people’s conceptions of what art is.
New York style Graffiti is the only art form that was invented by children, it is the voice and heart of the forgotten, and it is the art of the poor. It uses every type of art known to man, for example, perspective, colour, design, cartoon, scale, mathematics and many more. I try and teach the history of art to children and adults through this ever-expanding art. This is a worldwide phenomenon that needs to be cherished and respected.
I am glad to be an important member of this sub culture because I know how important it can be for certain individuals, as it is for myself.

 

Mark
Positive Arts Artist
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Mark is an experienced graffiti artist and youth worker who has a BA Hons degree in Graphic Design. He has been facilitating workshops for 15 years and has completed a large number of successful projects across London and south east England. These have ranged from painting individual canvases with small groups right through to two week long mural projects, and personal and social issue based work.In his spare time he paints his own work, which can regularly be seen on legal street side spots around East London and his hometown of Plymouth. His letter based style is inspired and influenced by the New York subway graffiti art of the 70’s and 80’s and has the same simple, raw and graphic nature.His work is bold and bright and oozes the freestyle flavour of traditional graffiti.

My Story

My graffiti career started in 1986 by painting on the street at night when most people where safely tucked up in bed. Painting under those conditions gave a rawness and immediacy to my work and helped me to paint fast and accurately making as few mistakes as possible.

I learned the visual look and lettering styles of graffiti from my friends and peers and also from the only two books that were published at that time – Subway Art and Spray can Art. No Internet, no blogs, just these books and the work other people had painted on the city streets. From the ground up.

I run my workshops with a strong emphasis on drawing and painting with a view towards developing strong basic design skills and maintaining core traditional graffiti techniques.

Having started on the street, I understand the need young people have to partake in an activity they relate and aspire to, where they can develop by first-hand experience and trial and error.

 

Nick Brown
Positive Arts Artist
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Nick Brown aka is an accomplished illustrator, graphic designer and professional graffiti artist who has been practicing his skills since the mid 90’s. For the last 10 years he has been gaining valuable experience working with young people in various settings all across the country.His work specialises in highly intricate, detailed drawings and paintings using pencil, chalk, ink, spray paint and digital media. He is a master of shading and lighting who creates amazing depth and realism in his sci-fi and comic book inspired pieces.

My Story

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