This month’s cover artists are husband and wife team Katie and Simon Griffiths, who both work under monikers: Katwish and Sicando. They mostly work separately – Katie painting portraits, murals and more, and Simon creating stencil artwork – but the two occasionally collaborate, as in our cover, and a couple of examples here.
Katie makes personal portraits to commission (“cats, dogs and children mostly”) but is always open to other suggestions for projects. “When I paint a portrait, whether it’s an animal or a human, I like to find out a bit about their story before I begin”.
She has been one of the Patina artists for 17 years, and used to work alongside her sister, Sally Miller, with WishWorks Puppets. “I think I put a bit of theatre in the pieces because of my background in puppeteering.” She wouldn’t be painting today if it wasn’t for the support of her family whilst growing up. “I make art because my mum was always so encouraging and let me dream and create. My uncle taught me how to draw a face. My dad taught me to buy good quality tools (like brushes) and look after them!”
Simon started creating stencil artwork in 2014, and is inspired by stencil artists such as Martin Watson, Ben Allen and Banksy, as well as Pop Art from Warhol and Lichtenstein. Simon’s passionate about the ideology behind street art, explaining that “at the root of street art (and graffiti) is an anarchistic freedom of expression that art should be available and affordable to all”. Katie cites Lena Revenko, Kimika Hara and Georgia O’Keeffe as influences, and we love how the couple’s different aesthetics combine for our psychedelic May cover.
The first element created for the cover was the girl on the fence: Simon took a photograph and then separated the colours in Photoshop to turn it into a stencil. “I go down to the Lewes Print Centre and print out each layer on thick paper. Cutting on paper gives me the ability to do much finer detail than using card or cardboard, however the fragility of paper also limits the number of times the stencil can be reused. There’s a lot of upfront thought and preparation, but the actual deed of spray-painting the stencil is over in a matter of minutes and I only get one shot at getting it right.”
Simon spray-painted through his stencil onto an A3 piece of paper, which Katie then painted on directly. The vivid lettering pops out beautifully in the middle third: the pink was chosen to contrast with the green of the field, as they are on opposite ends of a colour wheel. And the myriad brush strokes that build up the firework-like lower third of the painting result in lively bursts of colour.
Simon and Katie have prints and originals available at Art5 Gallery in Brighton, and will be presenting work as part of Artwave at the Patch Café/Bar later this year.