The concept was born in the winter of 2005. James Jessop, a retired graffiti artist, known for his huge oil painting ‘Horrific’ shown in the ’New Blood’ exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in 2004, conceived an idea that would gather a diverse group of artists for a rare opportunity to present their work together.

Jessop explains: ‘I wanted to do a group show featuring artists who became involved in art through graffiti, so I asked Gretta Sarfaty Marchant from Sartorial Contemporary Art, whether she would be interested in working on the project. She was very enthusiastic, and work began on setting it up.

Graffiti is a never ending source of inspiration for my paintings and over the years I have got to know some of the most talented artists in the scene. Last Christmas I invited five of my old graffiti friends to dinner, to discuss the concept for the show. After some beer and discussion it became clear the show would be called 'Artistic Vandals'.'

He continues, ‘I then had a call from a writer I had first met in 1996, called 'O.Two'. I loved his new pieces, which had a Pollock autumn rhythm feel and I thought he was perfect for the show.'

In early 2006 'Shaze' was added to the line-up, after Jessop met with him on a trip to graffiti's birthplace, New York.

A number of these friends and graffiti writers have deftly made the transition from painting streets and rolling stock, to studying at London's leading post-graduate art colleges, such as the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy schools.

The work of these artists is rooted, to some degree, in their common motivation: graffiti. It’s also bound by the vision of Jessop himself, a graffiti artist with Saatchi credentials. But Artistic Vandals isn’t a genre show, or a political show, or a cult show. It could be said it’s a show unified by its very diversity. Whatever it is, it’s very definitely a show of work that’s energy is carrying it to new places.






















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