Looking at artist James 'sheOne' Choules's bold and expressive paint strokes, it's easy to trace his early '80s graffiti roots. As part of the first generation of English graffiti artists, sheOne is planning an upcoming group show in Sydney more than 30 years after he first wielded a spray can.
Beginning as a graffiti artist in 1984, I first crossed paths with sheOne many moons ago when he was touring Australia doing live paint shows for the now defunct footwear company, Royal Elastics. We met, drank whiskeys and became friends.
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He says about his beginnings, "I was fortunate to start making graffiti as a teenager. Unlike today, spray paint and the application of graffiti had no legitimate artistic legacy so I was free from any preconceived critique of my image making."
In the early '90s as a reaction to the transient nature and short lifespan of graffiti, sheOne made works on canvas in tandem with his wall painting. In recent years, he's managed to successfully transfer the scale and energy of illegal street painting into the well-lit confines of the gallery, creating international exhibitions and site-specific installations.
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In 2000, his breakthrough exhibition Graffiti Retail was curated and presented in New York by artist John 'Crash' Matos after musician, mutual collector and fan Eric Clapton suggested the two work together. After the show's success, sheOne and Crash set to work on a series of collaborative paintings in their highly distinctive styles that would later go on to be exhibited in Paris and Los Angeles.
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Now with a huge list of shows across the globe under his belt and collaborations with some of the world's biggest brands, sheOne resides in Barcelona where he continues to paint and flex his trademark style. I look forward to seeing more of his work later this year.
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