Street artist? The New Banksy? Commercial Contemporary? However you see him, Pegasus is on the brink of blowing up
It seems everything the graffiti artist touches at the minute, turns into glittering front page news ! So when the artist opened the doors last week to his first ever solo show, it seemed like a pretty sure thing that all that hard earned hype was about to bring in serious cash and create some more headlines. And he certainly did both!
First with a sea of red heart sold stickers at the beginning of the night and then on to a late night visit by none other than actor and huge fan Johnny Depp. Who turned up and took home not only a pregnant pic of Kate Middleton and a painting of the Queen for a five figure sum, whilst placing an order for a second more revealing Kate to match!
At the beginning of last year I spoke with (the lovely and very humble) Pegasus before this recent flurry of fame took place, to talk about what inspires him, his London, pop culture, his vastly talented body of work, and his hope then of one day having an exhibition of his own….
You’re originally from Chicago, What first attracted you to relocate to London? Were you already working as a street artist before you made the move?
PEGASUS: Actually I have been a graffiti artist only for the last 2 and half years, although I have always been an artist previous to that working with various mediums. I decided to relocate to London after I met someone here and fell in love.
You’ve been in London for 11 years now, do you feel like London has become your home?
Absolutely! London and I had a frosty start but I started to fall in love with the city as the years rolled by. 11 years on I am just as English as someone who was born here. London is a very infectious city with so much to offer. I feel 100% at home here.
Do have a favourite place in the city to go to get inspired, or to feel creative?
I have many hangouts around the city but to be honest when it comes to the creative side of things I get my inspiration mainly from films, music, books, magazines, news stories etc. I do all my creative thinking at home in my own space.
What do you think makes London’s Street Art scene special from other influential cities?
There is just so much talent here! Most graffiti artists in London put so much effort and detail into their work, they really do brighten up the streets. It also helps knowing that your work will be appreciated and looked after because London is a very accepting city for street art.
You’re still so young, yet your so prominent on the scene! Do you feel competitive against other popular artists in your field? / Inspired?
I have only really been around for 2 and a half years so I am a street art toddler. In regards to other artists, there are loads that I admire and respect but when it comes to feeling competitive, I have no time or energy for it. We all have the right to be here and to express ourselves so I am just happily doing my own thing.
What first made you decide to become a street artist, was there anyone who influenced your work or still does today?
I have always been a pop artist but found it difficult getting the exposure I wanted so I realised the only way lots of people would see my art was to put it out on the streets. Working with spray paints and stencils was completely different to what I had been used to so it took me a while to develop the techniques and learn all the tricks. I grew up looking up to Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Hamilton and Keith Haring. I still refer to these artists when I need inspiration.
You have featured so many strong icons of pop culture in your work over the years, including Presidents, Amy Winehouse, Madonna, the Royal Family. How do you select your subjects?
Selecting my subjects is easy because I paint people I admire and respect…deciding how I will portray them is the hard part.
As a graffiti artist you must have to have quite a tactical approach to your work as to when and how you’re going to do it. What has been your most challenging piece location wise to complete?
I kind of just paint people I like when I get around to it. I like to get permission to paint on someone’s wall where I can because I don’t want to rush things and look sloppy. Securing walls is the hardest part of what I do. The most challenging was securing a wall for my queen. I had approached many businesses with the design before I got lucky.
Your work and name on the scene has become so popular, with your success growing and name becoming so well known, do you try to keep your anonymity like many other street artists seem to?
Is it? I am in my own little world and I really do, get so surprised when people contact me and ask for interviews. I just focus on making my work the best I possibly can.
I don’t mind if people know what I look like. I guess I just don’t feel the need to lurk in the shadows.
Do you think we could ever expect a self portrait?
I don’t see the harm in it though not sure many people would want to see my face on the side of their building.
You were recently featured in the book “Happy Graffiti” released in October of last year and will soon be featured in “Planet Banksy” which will be released this April. What work can be expect to see in the upcoming book?
If I remember correctly there are 5 images going into “Planet Banksy” from the Queen onwards. I have also agreed to be featured in two more upcoming books also out this year but that’s all I am allowed to say. I myself am already working on a photographic book that not only looks at the art but gives a more personal look into my life and process…there is no date set for this one yet.
I know some of your pieces have been shown in galleries around the city as well, do you think theres a possible solo exhibition in the works?
There isn’t a solo show planned any time soon I’m afraid…. but this is the goal eventually.
Lastly can you give us any hints of where or what we might expect from you next?
If I am being honest, I really don’t know. I am playing with a few ideas at the moment but still not sure. I don’t want to get your hopes up only to disappoint and not deliver.
Words by Tracy Kawalik and Pegasus
Photos by Tracy Kawalik