The Stockwell Hall Of Fame in London is one of the best and most famous legal spots to paint in the world. We caught up with Solo, so he could tell us a bit more about Stockwell.
ILG: When and how did Stockwell start?
Solo: The Basketball court sits at the end of Broomgrove Road on the Stockwell Park Estate. Its technically North Brixton in its location. Since the early 90’s it has been a space where writers can do their pieces and only in recent years as the standard of writing culture has become higher and so too has the role Stockwell Hall Of Fame plays in presenting that work.
ILG: What role does Stockwell play today?
Solo: Today The Hall Of fame is a place where writers worldwide come to showcase their Art and its considered the best Hall Of Fame in the U.K. Also we have to remember that this space sits in a residential area so the work has to be something which will not be rude or offensive. The Hall Of Fame is for serious writers who want to produce serious work.
ILG: Whats your role in connection to Stockwell?
Solo: I currently maintain the Hall Of Fame via my Watch this Space project and work to make sure the space is maintained and liase with the Housing Association should any issues arrise with residents. I also provide support to visiting writers.
ILG: How can one paint at Stockwell?
Solo: Its easy. The Basketball Court is located at the end of Broomgrove Road in Sw9 and buses 196, 333, 2, 345 and 322 go past it. Just turn up and paint, but do your best.
ILG: Any funny stories?
Solo: As its a Hall Of Fame obviously it can get busy so I’ve seen things like when guys have finished a production and just left and the next set of people have come in and painted over their production as its drying, with another dope production. I call this the 2 for 1 Stockwell meal deal. Other times dudes have roller painted the walls and as they are painting the sky opens up and washes the whole thing off, like cricket, rain stops the play. I mean, just as a place to connect I met a young student once and as a result of that meeting a year later I was working for a charity called Pepo la Tumaini in Kenya, all as a result of how the place brings people together. I think one year for some bizarre reason I decided to include expanding foam in one of my pieces so I was hearing people moan about that for a while via the writers gossip network which gave me a few chuckles. I did see a writer once paint his outline upside down as he had the paper upside down…I put that down to nerves, he knew his piece had to be good…or it wouldn’t last.
One of the saddest things though recently the family of Luther Beanz Edwards who was from Stockwell Park Estate and murdered last year came to have his portrait painted in the Hall of fame. The artist Carleen de Sozer painted it and it was covered in perspex to protect it. Luther was well known on the estate and this was a great memory to him but also a reminder of how real things can be out there in the world. The video for that is here:
The family are still looking for justice here www.justiceforluther.co.uk. R.I.P Beanz
ILG: Who painted at Stockwell?
Solo: Lots of internationally known writers, but for me the realness of it all is when you get foundation members of this culture come through and paint their art. Like Slick from L.A, it was good to see him. Duster UA, Ivory and we had Tats Crew a few years ago, which was a big thing as they painted something special with Goldie and we had Ghetto Faceur crew on the wall, so a total mix up of classic American and Old School U.K with futuristic GF styles. That video is here:
ILG: How often does it get painted, how many pieces is there space for? How many pieces been done in total?
Solo: On the big wall theres space for 6 decent pieces, in total about 40 writers can paint the whole place out. The paint on the wall is deep with layers upon layers of spraypaint. I would say during dry seasons, remember it can rain a lot here, about 10 + pieces a week. Sometimes its painted all out on Saturday and Sunday but I would say its always quality Art here. Any mediocre work will be taken off the walls.
ILG: Anything else you can think of?
Solo: Yes, there is now a Facebook group called Stockwell Hall of Fame so anyone reading this please like the group and if you are visiting from abroad get in touch and we will do our best to assist you while you are in London. Just to add, there is going to be a consultation regarding the Hall Of Fame which I will post up on the Facebook page. Please could any of the readers give us feedback so we can look at improving the space in the future, any ideas you have is much welcomed!
Also check out some of the videos at www.claptwn.blogspot.co.uk
ILG: Thank you Solo!
Below a mix of photos from Stockwell from over the years. And you can see many more on the Facebook page here.