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Chrome & Black

18 December 2015

Christmas opening times!

10 December 2015

The London Vagabond: Masked Up Portrait Series

If you haven't yet seen the works of 'The London Vagabond', aka Kieron Cummings, self taught documentary photographer, then you are missing a good insight into some of life's subcultures and dark places, places you might not get the chance to experience and people you wouldn't normally meet.

He documents life as he see's it, always learning along the way, forever seeking beauty in the darkest of corners and craving the next spontaneous decision. His work is heavily focused on street portraiture and tends to focus on characters that are of some interest to him, whether it be the persons, scars, tattoos or the way they carry themselves.

In his latest series, titled 'Masked Up', he creates a photo set that hides the identities of graffiti writers and photographs them on a plain backdrop, giving the images a clean and sharp aesthetic. We had a chat with Kieron, a graffiti writer himself, to get a better look at the series and the reasons behind it.

"The photo series started out with me wanting to photograph all of my friends that are writers with their faces covered. I guess the idea came from realising the I have spent a lot of time with these people without seeing their faces but still knowing who is behind each mask. Being anonymous is a big part of graffiti and thats what this whole series is about.

Behind each balaclava, t-shirt or even a pair of boxers fashioned into a face cover, there is a prolific name. This series is slightly different in the sense that in each portrait, the person keeps their anonymity; they get to hide their face and unless you know who's who you won't necessarily know the name.

I wanted to break away from typical photos of writers being in the hardest spots to get to and the most dangerous. Each portrait is shot with a plain background so the focus is purely on who's identity is hidden behind the face cover they have chosen.

At the moment the series is still in its infant stages but it will be further developed into a wider series and the plan is to document a lot more writers from up and down the country, including old heads that have been significant in the game and writers that are still keeping old school traditions alive today. As the series grows, I hope to eventually produce some sort of publication of the work."

To check out the full photo-set go here and make sure you check out the rest of Kieron's portfolio here 

All images are the copyright of Kieron Cummings.  

9 December 2015

Chrome And Black Winter Battle 2015- The Results!

We kicked off the Winter Battle, the first of it's kind in London, with our writers not knowing too much about what was going to happen in round one. They were picked from a huge pool of submissions that were sent in from people that wanted to take part and potentially win a cash prize.

Round 1 saw Neboe, Oust, Inkfetish, Chik, Crept, Robes, Kaes and Goro1 battle it out in West London, on a cold, wet and windy day at 9am. It was raining so much we had to try and dry the walls with kitchen roll! We drew a random word of a hat, 'EXPO' and they then had 20 minutes to create the best dub they could.

The public voted and Neboe, Oust, Chik and Crept went through to the semi finals. Again, another cold and windy day a week later in South London saw the 4 writers go again, this time with a different word, 'TRACK', 40 minutes and 6 cans of paint. Once again the public went to vote and Chik and Crept went through to the finals.

Crept and Chik set upon West London's finest spot on Sunday 6th December in anticipation, as this last round was slightly different. This time we had 2 NYC legends, Terrible T- Kid 170 and Kel1st judging the final pieces and fellow Londoner Zaki Dee of The Chrome Angelz so you could imagine the pressure! They had 1 hour to paint and 12 cans of paint. The word picked was 'FLAMES'.

The judges cast their votes and we can now announce that the winner of the Chrome & Black Winter Battle 2015 is CREPT!

Carry on reading below to see which judges picked who and the reasons behind their decisions.

All three judges were sent photos and footage of the two finalists painting. None of the judges were told which piece belonged to who so were voting purely on what they could see. Here are the results broken down by judge:

Terrible T-Kid 170 chose Crept. Here is his feedback:

"So I saw the two pieces 'FLAMES'. They were both good and both exhibited good use of color, style and technique, but I decided to choose the 'FLAMES' with the Cheech wizard character 'cause it has a lot more going on. There were little nuances added to the letters and the artist expoit it but use of characters to bring the piece out and give it more."

KEL1st chose Chik. Here is his feedback:


"Letter style: Classic old school transit letter forms, clean style, bolder. Some of the arrow shapes need more balance.
Color combination: Color palette is uncoordinated, over kill on he yellow, 3-D works well to offset the letter forms. Not enough interior design work within the letters.
Character: Could use losing the yellow to make it stand out more, the yellow shines hurt.
Execution: Nice can control and if the yellow shines were left out the letters would be stronger.


Letter style: Style is a bit cramped and trying too hard to flow with arrows and connections to that lack transition.
Color combination: Nice use of coordinating color scheme, the choice of purple compliments the rest of the color palette used. The red on the end doesn't fit in with the rest of the fill in.
Character: While not an original character, looks like he did a good job of knowing where this type of style comes from. The legs need work, probably better left out. The Bode character is well done but would have benefited from having the legs.
Execution: Can control needs some work, if the control was there and the letter forms eased back a bit to be cleaner lines and bolder shapes it could be stronger.

The winner in my opinion is piece 2 (Chik)"

ZakiDee163 chose Crept. Here is his feedback:

"Big shout out to both writers as free-styling, painting under pressure with limited cans and with such a time restraint is a tuff task. Both were worthy opponents. For me though, 'piece 1' (Crept) just edges it. 'Piece 2' has a real nice 80's colour scheme fill and the 'A' & 'M' are solid, but 'piece 1'  has a flow to it that works for me, the 'M' 'E' 'S' letter forms are real nice, plus both characters drop."

So there you have it, the judges have spoken! Stay tuned to our socials for up coming events and battles in 2016!