FEATURE : Interview with the Graffiti Kings
Meet Darren Cullen the founder and CEO of GraffitiKings he has transformed his graffiti lifestyle into his business. Hes worked with brands like Ed Hardy, Microsoft, Hugo Boss, Dolce and Gabbana, Warner Brothers and Emporio Armani to name just a few. Graffitikings have even appeared on national UK televison numerous times from vandal to lunchtime tv stars who would have thought it? Companies now more than ever are trying to reach out to the younger generations ,they seek street credibilty by associating themselves with graffiti and if they want something done they contact the graffitikings.
The Graffiti Kings Team, TEAM GK is a collective of the BEST UK Graffiti Artists with history since day dot in terms of British Graffiti. Long gone the days of thinking about ourselves with BIG egos, we all work as a team and make GK more important than our own names. This is why GK has a massive presence in the Graffiti Art game, everyone else is still trying to take on the world by themselves.Lets go back to the begining.How did you start writing graffiti ? I know you are writing a long time im guessing twenty years ago there wasn’t a big graffiti scene in the UK?
I started writing Graffiti in 1983 when at the time there was only 4 maybe 6 other guys that I knew that were writing our names in the area we used marker pens to write our names on everything, we thought we were the only ones doing this as we never saw anything else by anyone. It wasn’t utill late 1984 when I took a bus to New Addington swimming bars & saw all the Graffiti on the building with spray paint ,after seeing that I was proper hooked and had to find out how these guys done these BIG colourful letters on the wall. Months go by when a mate shows me Stylewars the Graffiti movie, well that was it, GAME OVER, every car shop selling spray paint from Croydon to Mitcham was ran sacked for their paint by the 5 finger crew.
Any bad experiences painting when you were younger? Arrested? Beaten up?Shot at?
WOW OK… TO MANY but lucky for me I was never convicted so I wont give away them storys as they may catch up with me :) One story that will always be in my head & mouth? I was in a building site tagging all the walls & digger machines when out of the blue a MASSIVE Irish man takes my can of green Buntlack spray paint out of my hands & starts spraying my face green while holding me round the throat. He then smacks me in the mouth and breaks my front teeth in half he tells me to FUCK OFF so I run home looking like the Hulk crying my little eyes out while the nerve in my broken tooth is killing me. Next day my Dad rounds up everyone in the pub and around twenty maybe thirty men with my Dad takes me back to this very building site, what happend next was like the football game in the Wanderers film,ENOUGH SAID!
When did you start painting legally? was it a natural progression as you got older?
I started painting legally around 15 years ago, well getting paid that is. I 99.9% stopped when my son was born 12 years ago but never say never.When he was born it really made me think what the fuck I was doing, fuck it I wasn’t going to get nicked painting walls while I had a son at school with no dad at home.When did you think about making a business out of your hobby?
When my son was born I was already making money on & off but never thought of going at it full time, I was having to much fun with the lads jumping on and off trains and all that jazz. So yeah I had a son and thought ok lets do this, I was never short of a pound note when I was young, I always had my hands in pies and I knew how to hustle on the hard ghetto streets of Croydon lol. I took what I learned while hustling and just walked into company buildings and gave them the Arthur Daley spill.
I read this comment under a youtube video that featured you
nice story and all but i want fame, i want a proper rep and i cant get that through legal shit. im going all city. smashing the tracksides, watch out for me. “
Do you ever get any negativity from other graffiti writers who don’t ike what your doing?
After having a look through your very impressive client list I think its kind of funny some of these companies would have probably prosecuted you before?
Unreal isn’t it? I’m lost for words on that question, really? what happened? its a set up.
Whats a normal day like in the life of GK?
What are your plans for the graffiti kings in the future? Branch into tattoos or clothing?
OHHHHH I cant tell you that yet but VERY SOON Graffiti Kings will not just be about painting walls, who wants to buy my BIG share of this painting wall market ?it will be up for grabs, offers via EMAIL!