Islington street artist is big draw after media cover stencil being removed

Cleaning off the bad kitty

Cleaning off the bad kitty - Credit: Archant

Underground graffiti artist DS has been quietly plying his trade for years – gaining a following and recognition at home and abroad for his bold, vibrant stencil work.

DS Himself

DS Himself - Credit: Archant

But last month he was thrust into the media spotlight after an inventive work piqued the curiosity of several national newspapers.

He drew a piece called Bad Kitty on the side of the Thumbs Up off-licence in Essex Road, Islington, last year but he was a bit miffed when it was removed after just eight hours.

DS took photographs of a workman getting rid of his piece and used it to create a portrait of him in the same spot where he had removed the picture.

Knowing how quickly graffiti can be removed in Islington, the next day he lurked across the road in The Diner attempting to get a photo of the workman removing a stencil of himself – which the artist said he thought “would rip a hole in the space-time continuum or something”.

In the end the workman happily posed to have his picture taken next to his portrait.

The 28-year-old artist, who lives off Upper Street, Islington, suddenly found himself in the spotlight.

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“To be honest I’m a little surprised about the media coverage and how much it blew up,” he said.

“Street art isn’t largely promoted by the mainstream media so getting recognition from all the newspapers and websites is really encouraging. Since then I have noticed a big difference in the traffic through my website and social media sites with a lot of new people joining and giving some positive feedback.

“My online store which sells various products revolving around my art has seen a few extra sales too.”

DS traces his passion for stencilling to the time he moved to Hackney.

He said: “It was when I moved to Dalston in 2002 that I got hooked on stencil graffiti.

“Since street art was blowing up, Banksy was still relatively unheard of but my brother and I would hunt down new pieces and others, and soak up the colour and creativity from what was otherwise an extremely tough time.

“But It wasn’t till 2009 that it turned into something a bit more.”

Since then DS has expanded his repertoire to include legal pieces and a burgeoning T-shirt business from his website.

He cites two of his favourite works as a 24-metre high painting in the elevator shaft of The Rosebery, an apartment/hotel in Rosebery Avenue, Finsbury, and his P****d Panda, outside Cargo nightclub in Rivington Street, Shoreditch.

But despite lucrative commissions and recent celebrity, he has not forgotten his roots.

“I strongly believe that you can’t stagnate in art,” he said.

“I won’t just stop at street art though.

“Now that the stencil of the removals man has been taken down I have no more pieces up in Islington, but that will change shortly with a new set of pieces I’m making.”

n To see more of DS’s work, visit