I don’t think it’s going too far to claim that Pinky is likely the most well-known artist to come out of Hull in recent decades. The Brighton based, North Hull born artist is without a doubt the most famous graffiti artist to come out of the Hull. Though to use the graffiti label underplays the breadth and impact of his work both home and abroad. Earning international recognition, his work has graced the walls of the rich and famous, been seen in corporate brand advertising, T-shirts, skateboards, snowboards, the interiors of boutique hotels. He’s done work for Nike, Dior, Flip Skateboards, Altamont, Gnu, Levis, among others. In fact, the list of achievements, and places Pinky’s work has appeared goes on and on.
Back in August, he returned to Hull to give a talk at the monthly Nourishment event at Union Mash Up, that I attended. Pinky talked about the brands he’s worked for, the inspiration for his work, his life in Brighton, and how it all started in Hull. As well as referring to some of the commissions he’s carried out in Hull, in recent years.
An immediately recognizable style, highly reminiscent of 60s’ psychedelic posters from America. Reminding me of the posters Wes Wilson did for Bill Graham, the juxtaposed colour choices of Victor Moscoso, and the quirky comic book style poster designs of Rick Griffin. But that said, there is that quintessentially English element, with influences of Peter Blake, who designed the Sergeant Pepper album cover. And the psychedelic stylings of Peter Max, who is most well known for his design work for the film Yellow Submarine. Spliced in some influence from seminal graffiti film from 1983 Style Wars, and you are somewhere in the ballpark of what you are likely to get with Pinky piece of work.
Works that have graced the streets of Hull in recent years include Pinkfriargate in 2010. Which was psychedelic installation along Whitefriargate, as part of the celebrations of Hull being a port for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The installation filled the street with bold coloured banners and window graphics. Seven banners, that represented the various legs of the race and the places the ships encountered. With the complementary window graphics speaking of the unique quirkiness of Hull itself.
More recently Pinky’s work has featured quite heavily as part of the Humber Street Sesh. In 2013 he was commissioned to do the mural that can still be seen on the side wall of Martin’s Alley, at the top of Humber Street. In 2014, he created the graffiti styled mural, to reference the WWI “Dazzle Ships”, that were used to confuse German ships, and attempt to prevent the sinking of British convoys. In typical subversive style however, the stylized dazzle ships of the mural spelt the words “Love Not War”. The mural only lasted a couple of days, before being bulldozed, to make access for demolition being carried out on the area. Even this year among the sea of murals, graffiti and street art that was done for the Humber Street Sesh, Pinky’s work featured prominently.
Us mere mortals may not be able to afford a mural commission, brand design work or even an original canvas. But you could always pick up a Pinky Vision T-shirt from Beasley’s. And where the art of this celebrated Hull artist with pride.