I wanted to paint a portrait of Karl that spoke a little bit about his life.
Karl grew up in Southend, so to the right of him is the Kursaal building, a well known landmark in the city, and beneath are some glimpses of the London Underground tunnels. Karl has been painting graffiti since the early nineties when he was just 11, painting District line trains at the end of the line in Upminster.
During my photoshoot with Karl we spoke in depth about painting, art and life in general so there’s a “Thinker” statue that can be seen in the fourth photograph. At the bottom of the painting are a skull and a seedling growing from a broken column which represent death and life. Since Karl’s retirement from painting panels he found religion, and so I wanted to depict him in a way that expressed his faith, looking towards the heavens.