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Discover graffiti artist kELzO

POSTED: 13.9.2019

Earlier this summer we collaborated with Bruntwood for our very first out of this world Microdot event at HATCH, Manchester. Those who joined us could enjoy a taster of bluedot 2019 with a free family-friendly day out, featuring a premiere of Tim O’Brien’s talk ‘Jodrell Bank and the Space Race’, and music from John Haycock, Lost Colours, Werkha, David Attenborough’s Jungle Boogie, plus roaming cosmic creatures and an incredible mural by Manchester graffiti artists kELzO and Entise. The mural was part of our Moon Landing celebrations, commemorating 50 years since the iconic Apollo 11 mission.

We were privileged to have kELzO join us for our inaugural Microdot event. His experience on the frontlines of the city’s subculture means he’s witnessed massive change in a relatively short space of time, being at the centre of an ever-evolving urban neighbourhood.

As an integral part of the UK hip-hop youth movement in the mid-1980’s, he gained notoriety some years later when he turned the inner-city area of Hulme, Manchester into one of the biggest outdoor graffiti art galleries in Europe. The area, Hulme Crescents, was condemned for demolition in 1991 but had become a hotbed for a variety of art movements, anarchists, and squatters in the 19 years since first opening its doors. The story of Hulme Crescents is a rollercoaster journey through to its rebirth today as a vibrant but safe part of the city that works well for its community.

The talent nurtured within the residents of the area is a remarkable tale of citizens carving out a cultural scene in a way in which they could express their identity without limits. kELzO was one of the innovators who realised the huge span of walls at the Crescents would be the perfect canvas for graffiti. Whilst the face of Hulme, and Manchester, has changed dramatically in the 30 years since the Crescents, the legacy it has left behind is palpable and many of the cogs at work in the art scene here are perpetuated by the work of kELzO, of filmmakers, writers, and musicians whose freedom of expression set a fire under the industrial city.

By supporting communities and championing culture, Bruntwood hope to fulfil their purpose of creating thriving cities, and through the fascinating lives of the people they encounter, hope to learn from mistakes and be inspired by innovators.