Tuesday, 28 July 2009

[218] Watchmen Graffiti on South Bank Pictures

I swear, this is the last time I'm going to write about Watchmen. For a while at least.

As I mentioned last week, today there was a special art event happening down at the South Bank skate park - one of my favourite areas of London. Graffiti artist Chu was going to create a Watchmen-inspired piece there, with Dave Gibbons in attendance, in conjunction with the release of the movie adaptation of the comic being released on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Chu had been working on the piece since midnight, and I turned up around 3pm, so he was quite a way into it, recreating an integral panel from the comic's first issue, in his highly stylistic, three dimensional-esque manner - which spilled over, up on the ceiling and floor. It was a striking, detailed, vibrant piece - and it was great to see Chu deftly building up the disparate parts of the overall image.

Dave Gibbons was there, chatting with those who had turned up, and signing some copies of the Watchmen graphic novel for fans (for one fan-derived write-up, check Geek Syndicate here). Managed to have a quick chat with the man himself, marvelling at his iFanboy-sourced 'Hurm' t-shirt. There was a good turn-out, with some families braving the bustling, kamikaze traffic of the skate park to get a look in. As it went along, though, it took a turn for the incredibly odd.

As Rorschach-styled hoodies were handed out among the PR team, and a bunch of, I'm guessing, capoeira/power move-centric b-boys turned up, and were asked to pose and handstand, in front of the piece. It was almost too much to take - with the already-slightly-surreal mixture of skaters, sofas, spray paint fumes and a tall white lamp.

[It turns out that the gent in a handstand in the above picture is Ryan Offer, a freerunner in a team called puremovement, check the comments for more info, or his youtube page here]

Chu was still putting the finishing touches to the piece by 4.30pm, when I had to make my move Peckhamwards - hoping to finish by 5 (17 hours after starting!). Nevertheless, it was quite an experience watching his handiwork. If you're in the area, make sure you check out the piece, before it is inevitably painted over, in the cycle of Graffiti art.

- For the rest of my photos from the event, check my flickr, or picasa.
- Check out Chu's (enlightening) in-depth preparation process for the piece, on his blog, here.


Jared said...


Dom Sutton said...

that really is very special. Great stuff

Ryan Offer said...

hey guys that dude doing the handstand. His name is Ryan Offer and he is a freerunner in a team called puremovement.

email him at
for enquiries

Mike Leader said...

Hi Ryan - thanks for the comment! I'll update the post.

Little Kid said...

I'm so gladd you got pics of this. It was sprayed over less than 24 hours after completion. I love graf, but taggers totally dick me off.