Introducing “SHAPES ‘N’ FLOW” a solo exhibition by London Graffiti Writer SHYE131

SHYE has been writing graffiti for 30 years, not just in London, but across the UK, Europe, and of course the Mecca for all writers: New York, the home of Hip Hop.

He has been featured in two UK graffiti books, several magazines, and appeared at many events painting live in front of huge crowds.

SHYE spent a large portion of his life growing up and becoming the man he is today in East London, in particular Hackney Central, if you’ve lived around that manor or visited, chances are you’ve seen a SHYE piece, or seen the man himself at work.

SHAPES ‘N’ FLOW explores the unwritten rules of b-boyism, with the mindset and understanding that graffiti is a branch of the Hip Hop tree. Within this, style and flow in shapes comes naturally and are found everywhere within the culture. ‘The culture is consuming to those submerged in it: it’s Hip Hop, it is a way of life that a generation of 40 somethings have been living for 30 plus years’. SHYE131 is one of those guys.

From the natural flow of a graffiti writers letter shapes, the break dancers moves, the DJ’s beat mixing, cuts and scratches, to the flows of the MC’s spitting lyrics, it’s all Hip Hop, it’s all flow, it’s all relevant to that unique b-boy style, shapes ‘n’ flow.

SHYE made the transition from wall to canvas in 2014 when he turned 40, he craved the necessity to push himself to do more with his remarkable skill with a spray can, and to produce work that he wouldn’t ever paint on walls, work that has always been stuck in his mind and needed to be released and saved for posterity.

The first few canvases in 2014 were a study of female form, in particular black women, capturing the beautiful flow in their profile and facial features that he has always admired so deeply.

“Painting these wonderful curves came so naturally, I could literally feel the same smooth flow in the beauty of these images as I would feel when writing letters on a wall”.

Inevitably SHYE would end up in the studio more than on walls, so, during the course of the following year he decided to paint a lot of different portraits in various styles, even adapting a polygonal method to bring some of them to life.

Finally, in 2017, SHYE couldn’t resist doing what he does best, letter writing, in for a penny, in for a pound, he rocked the whole alphabet with his beautifully precise and colourful shapes ‘n’ flow!!!

The alphabet in itself incorporates graffiti culture, each letter is produced 3 times on every canvas, the basic ‘tagged’ chisel tipped font, the ‘throwup’ bubble letter, and the stylised ‘piece’ letter.

The piece letter is vibrantly painted first and then seemingly taken out by the throwup and handstyle, just like it is within the worldwide graffiti culture on walls.

Shapes ‘N’ Flow will be open from the 14th to the 20th of August at The Brick Lane Gallery.


Private View – 15th August, 6 – 9:30pm.