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    Meet the duo who are converting cafes and walls across the city into works of art

    There’s a lot more to being a graffiti artist that some of us may imagine. For instance, it’s not just about picking up paint cans and drawing pretty pictures on walls. “That’s street art. And it usually has a message,” illustrator and graffiti artist Mohamed Aqueel Hussain (street name AkillAD57) points out. “Graffiti is self expression. It’s sort of a narcissistic form of art where the artist paints his/her own street name in a very creative way,” he explains. And if you’ve seen Hussain’s work, you’ll agree that graffiti artists put in a lot of effort to not only camouflage the narcissism, but also make you stop and appreciate their work. Hussain, who was introduced to the art while in Malaysia, is joined by Prasanth Baskaran (aka Bibs132) and together, they create graffiti, street art and commissioned projects in cafes, offices and other establishments.
    Among their works is the recently launched COCO Jaunt 1728 (a cafe in Anna Nagar) and a wall in Besant Nagar that they worked on during the Conquer the Concrete street art festival by Goethe Institut. Thanks to the appreciation of local residents pleased with the splash of colour in their areas, this duo, sometimes joined by a friend Siddhu (aka Shady55), have spruced up walls at YMCA Nandanam, Gopalapuram, the Airport flyover and Express Avenue. Provide them a wall in a public space, and they will brighten it up for free, and if you want them to sketch your ideas, depending on the complexity of the design, they’ll do it for around Rs 15,000 onwards. After all, their spray cans (Rs 450-Rs 500 for the imported ones) don’t come cheap. Details: 7667765500, 9677947037

    Ryan Peppin

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