Legendary New York graffiti master George ‘SEN-One’ Morillo has teamed up with two Leeds street artists to create a huge mural for the upcoming Leeds West Indian Carnival.
Morillo, who went from graffiti outlaw in the 1980s to a revered artist whose work is loved around the world, visits the city regularly and has previously worked with artist Nicolas Dixon on a piece at Farsley’s Sunny Bank Mills.
Now he’s united with city artists and youth workers Hyro Graff and King Monk for the large scale piece in Potternewton Park.
And there will be a chance to hear from the man himself as he tells how he went from tagging on subway trains to the cover of Time magazine, when he appears at Outlaws Yacht Club at a fundraiser for youth music charity MAP on Wednesday night.
Morillo said: “It was a really big project and took around two days to complete. We all did stuff that was outside of our safe zones - it’s not just straight graffiti, but contemporary art.
“There was a real buzz down in the park, the kids would come down and want to have a go with the cans.
“We wanted to create something that was clean, balanced and represented the city. There’s a very positive energy here that’s inspirational to me.”
Morillo was an original member of the Incredible Bombing Masters (IBM), one of the most respected graffiti crews in Hip Hop history. As ‘vandalism’ evolved into art, so did Morillo, becoming an international influence and gaining a host of fans - including former First Lady Michelle Obama.
He is now spending more and more time in the city, as his partner is from Leeds, and describes it as his “primary home” above the Big Apple.
“When I’m in New York right now, it’s totally changed,” he said. “The community has been destroyed. It’s no longer a place to be creative, it’s a place where people are surviving.
“Leeds is full of energy - the same energy New York used to have.”