Ahead of His Exhibition at Brickworks, We Chat to Kid30 About His Twenty Years Producing Eye-Catching Street Art

Interview: George White
Illustrations: Kid30
Tuesday 08 November 2022
reading time: min, words

If you’ve taken a walk around the city centre at any point recently, you’ve likely seen the eye-catching work of Kid30, the graffiti artist known for taking famous cartoon characters and dropping them into a creative blender. Now, twenty years after first getting into the street art scene, he’s celebrating the landmark anniversary with an exhibition at Brickworks


Tell us a bit about your upcoming exhibition… 
It's in Brickworks, just off Sneinton Market. The show is made up of two bodies of canvas works, one making reference to popular culture through mixing my logo with other logos and characters that have been an influence to me. The other is a continuation of my mash-up work taking snippets of different cartoon characters and creating new figures of my own. Both have a nostalgic feel to them referencing things from different decades, some references are more obscure and maybe more personal but hopefully people will be able to take something from it, and maybe it gives them a feeling or memory of their own. 

It's partly dubbed as a reflection of the last twenty years. How has your art evolved across that time? 
I’d like to think I have progressed in my style. I am better at getting my ideas concluded than I used to be. I have produced a small book for the show which is images from the last twenty years, and I can see changes in my work from different themes or ideas I have focused on at the time. I probably have a different outlook to it now than when things were a bit more carefree, plus I have loads less time now.  

Is there one piece of yours that still stands out as your favourite so far? If so, why? 
I recently painted a gable end on Broad Street in Hockley. It's been an ambition to paint a personal bit of work on this scale for a while and it was good to finally achieve it.  

Graffiti has always had really strong roots in Nottingham, it just hasn’t been as visible in the city centre as it is now

The new exhibition will kick off with a special launch party on Friday 11 November. What will the night involve and why should people stop by? 
Brickworks is usually a club venue, so I will be hanging paintings on the walls and lighting it very differently, but hopefully bringing a gallery into a basement setting will give it a different feel. DJs on the night are Detail, Transit Mafia, EF2 and Jay Dimes, who will be playing hip hop, breaks, jungle and drum and bass. There are print releases for the night that will be available, a collection of old photos from the past twenty years, a book release and, most importantly, a bar, so hopefully it’s a good excuse for people to catch up, check out some art and have a social. 

You have a really distinctive style - I can instantly tell when a work of art is yours. How would you describe that style?
I’m a character painter, mostly. I like a bold, clean outline, usually with solid, flat colours. At present, my character style is that of mash-ups , referencing bits of cartoon characters, more recently mixing in my logo. 

What’s your creative process like?  
I run a design and mural painting business nine-to-five, so that takes up a lot of my creative energy - I have to fit my own stuff around that, meaning it’s usually quite quick and impulsive. If I have an idea I try to draw it up quickly and paint it before having time to reflect on it and talk myself out of doing it. 

Hopefully the launch event is a good excuse for people to catch up, check out some art and have a social

Where do you find inspiration for your work?  
Popular culture, my childhood, stuff my kid is into, things that are happening in my life, weird stuff that pops into my head. 

Your art is often proudly displayed across town, like the beautiful beach side piece on Goose Gate. How does it feel seeing your work displayed so prominently in Nottingham? 
I have a love-hate relationship with my work. I love thinking it up and wanting to go and make it, and the actual challenge of painting it , but after I have completed it, it can take a bit of time for me to decide if it's a good bit of work or not. In the case of the piece mentioned (painted with Boaster), I was quite happy with it, I liked it that other people had added bits to one section of it, which also made me go back and add some extra bits. This is one of the great things about this art form, it’s really transient, so your work will always disappear at some point. 

Does it feel like there’s been a growth in respect for street artists over the past two decades? 
From the general public and councils, for sure. People are used to seeing street art more in city centres and with the progression of different styles of street art, sign painting and so on, it's become a lot more commercially friendly. The rise of graffiti and street art festivals, paint shops, social media, and people having a phone in their pockets has meant it has become more commonplace. 

From the outside, it feels as though it’s become such a core component of the city’s identity, especially in areas like Sneinton…
Graffiti has always had really strong roots in Nottingham, it just hasn’t been as visible in the city centre as it is now. There is a plus side to all the student flats being built - there are always hoardings to paint… 

Kid30’s exhibition at Brickworks kicks off with a launch party on Friday 11 November. Tickets are available through Eventbrite 

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