Cheo is one of England’s most well known street artists. He began painting graffiti characters in the 1980’s. He kindly answered a few questions for StreetArt360.
Hi Cheo, great to meet you, is there a story behind Cheo?
Not really, when you are choosing a name for yourself you tend to go for something that has letters you like to write, also my partner in crime at that time was Teo so it was a Teo and Cheo kinda thing in the mid 80’s
where are you originally from?
I am from and still live in bristol, can’t bring myself to leave, to many good things come from and happen in this city so I have a sense of pride.
Where was your first mural? Is it still available to see today?
I started tagging in about 1982 with the name “King” slightly high regard of my skills with a name like that, ha.
My first colour piece was 1983 in my good friend Vijay’s garage, it was the name of our breaking crew, can’t remember what it was though I just remember feeling huge amounts of pride and achievement when I did it, just as much as when I did my first windmill (breakdance move) in the same garage.
Do you paint with spray cans or do you use any other techniques or media?
On walls I just use cans, but as for canvas or other surface I use just about everything…whatever it takes to make it look how I want.
What attracted you to the style of art you use (Cartoon like)
I have always drawn cartoon characters as soon as I could hold a pencil, it drove my mum nuts I would just sod off in a corner not talk to anyone and draw.
Not much has changed.
my grandmother used to save me the little comic strips from the news paper which I would copy and the endless comics I bought and stole like The Nutty, Beano, Mad magazine, 2000ad I just absorbed the drawing and was and still am obsessed with comic book style artwork.
I drew all day every day and still do.
Where do you get your inspiration ?
Sometimes I take inspiration from already designed characters and put my spin on them but usually I just sit there with a pencil make stupid faces and noises and create my own from my stoopid brain.
I suppose my true inspiration would be Vaughn Bodē I can remember seeing these lizard characters popping up on pieces all over the place and thought they were fresh so when discovered my first Vaughn Bodē comic book I promptly stole it.
Still love his and his son Mark Bodē’s work it has a certain flow and attitude about it I love.
Which of your artworks are you most proud of (And where can we find them)?
I am never happy with my drawings/artwork, I am on an endless journey of trying to better myself.
Have you collaborated with other artists ? Do you have any artists you would like to collaborate with ?
I have had many collaborations, my favourite person to paint with is Soker we just get on with it, no politics no trying to have more space than one another we just jell, have a laugh and paint what the hell we want.
I’m not a snob about it really I don’t give a toss who I paint with, if I can be bothered and am at a wall the same time as you are then I will just paint.
Is there a dream place worldwide where you would like to create an artwork?
I have traveled the world doing what I love from China to France, Abu Dhabi , Thailand but there is one place and has always been 1 place I have always dreamt about… japan I am obsessed with the place and the artwork is something I have always loved and been fascinated with also, but just haven’t had the opportunity to do anything there.
It’s my dream.
Do you have any exhibitions or upcoming art festivals?
I have stepped back from the gallery solo shows and lightened my canvas output because it got stupid I was doing about 3 shows a year and pumping out endless canvases, they got sold but I even annoyed myself with the amount I was putting out there so I am holding back a little so as not to bore the shit out of everyone else.
Thank’s a lot Cheo . Would you like to add anything else for Streetart360 readers?
As an extra answer I would just like to say to anyone who has bought my work or even just enjoy the stuff I put out there Thank you, I am lucky enough to be in a position where I can do what I love for a job and lifestyle and can’t be more humbled by it.
Cheo Artwork Gallery:
All photos by courtesy of Cheo
BRISTOL Street Art Books