The street art scene is truly thriving in the UK, led by the emergence in the last 30 years of artists like Banksy.
Flying the flag here in Plymouth is Kevin Davison, a stencil and street artist whose creations can be seen across the city and beyond.
Kevin originally started painting backdrops back in the Nineties and Noughties for nightclub events and raves.
Despite having no formal art background, he went on to study multimedia which has given him good knowledge of digital art.
Kevin has been doing street art since December 2017, and his first-ever mural was the “No Bombs” one at top of North Hill near Mutley. Since then, he has gone on to do further work in the Junction and the Underground bars on Mutley Plain.
He has also participated in street art events for New Urban Era in Tamworth and also for Cheltenham Paint Festival.
Kevin recently painted up in Cheltenham last October, and also painted BT Box for Clikk Community in Stonehouse in 2021.
He says: “My work has changed considerably over the last four years, from originally doing work similar in style to Banksy to now producing multi-layer high detailed stencilling for more photorealistic imagery. I am still very much learning so hope to continue to develop this style further.
“As we are a multicultural society, I do like reflecting this in some of my artwork with a bit of an obsession with the Arabic repeating patterns which work well for framing portrait paintings.”
Kevin has been painting for Plymouth Artists Together for around two years, creating artwork on Union Street, Millbay, the Old ABC Cinema and, most recently, the Cumberland Centre in Devonport.
Kevin, who works for Livewell Southwest, previously worked at the Cumberland Centre so he was happy to create something bright for the NHS.
Here, he has just finished painting and installing five murals depicting women of ethnicity and diversity on the walls of the former hospital.
The murals have been spray-painted with bright colours and are each eight by four foot.
Kevin is already working on designs for a collaboration piece for Plymouth Artists Together with another street artist, Danny Simpson, so watch this space!
He explains: “Plymouth needs more urban regeneration and improvement, and more public artwork to brighten up neglected areas within the city.
“I’d urge people to get in touch with Plymouth Artists Together to get a better understanding of what art is being produced in the city and where to go to see these on display in public areas. Mike Vosper has worked wonders doing this.”
Being Plymouth born and bred, Kevin hopes that people are pleased with the public installations/artwork he has created in the city.
He says: “I hope the public see my work as something that is there to brighten up areas of their community. And I hope it instills community pride that artists such as myself love to come and paint.
“I hope through Plymouth Artists Together, that the public see there is a vast community of artists out there who take pride in their city and who are willing to take their time and finances to produce artwork on display in the city for all to see.
Kevin takes huge inspiration from the street art community and credits a number of organisations for getting him where he is today.
“I’ve been to various street art events as a member of the public, such as Upfest, and also participated in events for organisations such as New Urban Era in Tamworth, Cheltenham Paint Festival and Plymouth Artists Together.
“All of these organisations have taken their time and allowed me to come and paint for them and encouraged me to push and develop my skills.”
Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have affected the way in which many of us live and work. And it’s no different for artists.
Kevin explains: “I was doing the murals for the Cumberland Centre through lockdown and also completed additional pieces.
“I was fortunate to be able to escape to some places to paint. Having this and also still going to work for the NHS throughout certainly kept my sanity.”
Kevin also has some advice to any creatives who are emerging from lockdown…
“Keep at it,” he says. “Creativity is one of the best therapies out there – and who knows where it could lead you in the future.”
Main picture by Greenbeanz Photography.