Subdude – a London street artist who likes playing with words

Subdude is a relative newcomer to street art, he is a London street artist who likes playing with words.   He has been an admirer of the London scene for many years.  ‘I used to work in Hoxton, so I saw a lot of the art in the area.  Banksy was the first to make a real impression on me. I saw his grim reaper with a smiley face in a doorway in Hoxton and then started noticing his small rats with listening devices and monkeys with signs.  I especially liked any artists who used language well such as Wrdsmth, Mobstr and Bortusk Leer as I like a bit of wordplay myself.’


A few years later, he attended a street art workshop at the School of Life in Bloomsbury. ‘The woman giving the talk was amazing. She showed us many examples of various types of street art from all around the world. Much of it was experiential art – creating experiences on the street. 

‘Then she challenged us to go out an do some with very little time to plan and with no materials. It was nerve-wracking but thrilling…as well being quite a challenge to come up with a whole new project in 30 minutes. 

‘As I have always been interested in words and language, I teamed up with a lady from New Zealand who had the same interests. We decided to write incomplete phrases with chalk on the ground in thought bubbles and then leave the chalk for people to complete them. 

‘The reaction was amazing. People loved the idea of completing thoughts such as “The world would be better if…” or “I wish I could…”. We ended up doing the project in several places around London including in Trafalgar Square and outside Buckingham Palace.

‘I then moved on to a second project of putting posters with various phrases on the street and asking people to put them in new places and send me photos. Once again, the reaction was incredible!  People took my posters all around the world and ended up sending me over 1,000 photos. Unfortunately I have never had a chance to exhibit any of these photos – there are at least 100 really good ones. I hope to do so one day. I am open to any offers 😉 ‘

Just over a year ago he started combining the phrases with his new little yellow character called SubDude.  ‘He came to me during a period of depression, but he seemed to me to be the perfect vehicle to deliver some of my (sarcastic) thoughts. 

‘I taught myself how to do some basic graphic design and stencils and got started. Once again, the reaction was very positive, especially to phrases such as “It’s not all about your selfie” and “The algorithm is gonna get you”. 


SubDude street - algorithm - red - v1 - A3 portrait - 30 June 2017

I then veered off into politics, a subject I have followed keenly for many years. With Brexit and Trump, the ideas just started flooding in. I think people enjoy the messages – and hopefully the humour – in these turbulent times.

For Subdude it is important that his art sends a message and hopefully provokes a reaction of some sort.  ‘It is not intended to just look pretty. I keep the style very minimal, so the attention is drawn to the words and the messages.’

Subdude has been seen doing a stencil spray painting at the Meeting of Stylesin Nomadic Gardens recently and he did his first live paste-up collages at a club in east London. ‘They went down very well and sold very quickly.’ 

SubDude stencil - Nomadic Gardens - July 2017

He has also designed logos and album covers for people who contacted him to do some work.  ‘I am also discussing a possible collective with some other London street artists that will hopefully launch soon, so watch this space. I like doing all sorts of commissions and collaborations, so please just drop me a message if you’d like to speak. Or if you’re a gallery that would love some provocative political art to display 😉 ‘

About Upfest he added ‘As for Upfest, there is good news and bad. I have very important family commitments in Ireland, so unfortunately I will not be able to attend this year. But my work will!   I will be sending down some paste-ups with fellow artists and also be doing some “art drops” of the little yellow man around the area, so keep your eyes peeled.’


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Upfest Saturday 29, Sunday 30 Monday 31 July 2017

Upfest Festival Map

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