You don’t need to travel far in the East End of London to come across some work by the prolific Paul ‘Don’ Smith.
Known for his multi-layered stencil portraits, Don’s work is impossible to miss if you’ve spent any time in the Brick Lane area over the past few years. In fact, his works were some of the first I noticed when I first moved into the area a good few years ago now.
In fact this very blog pays tribute to the work of Don pretty much everyday. The blue avatar used as a logo is in fact a photograph of a piece he did on Redchurch Street in 2012. That image is actually supposed to be a pair of toilet rolls joined together so they look like a smiley face. Not his usual style admittedly but it must have had some impact.
His work itself is immediately accessible, often painting portraits of people in the public eye they are very easy to engage with. People understand what they are seeing with Don’s work, it is obvious and gives recognition, a gateway into the scene which helps people take notice and appreciate other art more.
So it seemed high time that I spent a bit of time taking a better look at some of his work especially as, over recent months, I’ve noticed a marked increase of his stencilled portraits in the area around Brick Lane.
Don is one of the artists who make the street art scene in the East End what it is. One of the artists who keep it going whilst big names from outside the city come and go, he’s one of the home crew that give the street art scene in the area life.
Speaking to the Little London Observationist blog back in 2013 he said that he had two identities, Paul ‘Don’ Smith, the commercial artist and ‘Don’ the graffiti artist. It’s the latter which the street art scene knows him as. “This is where I can do what I like” says Don in the interview “and I have to draw the line between the two. It’s my stuff, my own thing. I’ve been doing that for years”.
Paul Don Smith is a London based artist whose work can be seen around the Brick Lane and Shoreditch areas amongst others. An excellent interview with him can be found at the Little London Observationist or you could listen to some of his ‘Articulate‘ radio shows on Hoxton FM. The pictures in this article were taken on Saturday 8 August 2015 and are all were found around the Brick Lane area.
Paul Don Smith Brick Lane Gallery