I always enjoyed wearing my own art so people could see my work everywhere I went. What started off as simple screen-printed t-shirts and selling them on for a modest price soon became a business and a brand.
My sister came home one day and started applying rhinestones onto her Saree (Asian Dress) and I just stood there watching her and felt it was my light bulb moment. After finding out where she had purchased the rhinestones I purchased a huge bag for myself to experiment. The first t-shirt I made was of Bob Marley. Through trial and error and washing the garment numerous times to check if the rhinestones were fit for purpose I knew I was onto something special. I wore the garment out during uni ‘freshers week’ and the reaction was amazing! People wanted their own t-shirt, including the DJ.
2. When did you discover you had a talent for art?
Art has always been a part of my life, from growing up all I did was sketch Arsenal players, to painting and mixing my creative skill in any way possible. Being creative is what seemed to make me feel alive. I have tried walking away from it a number of times but something always calls me back.
3. What was the first picture you made using crystals?
The first Swarovski artwork I created was of Michael Jackson. This piece consisted of 2,680 hand-placed crystals. At the time it felt like a huge amount of crystals but what I didn’t know was that it was the start of something amazing.
4. Have you sold your pictures to the likeness of the person?
Yes, I have produced a portrait of Drake (Canadian rapper, singer, and songwriter) which he actually owns. It’s a great feeling. I have a number of other high-profile individuals I’m working with in 2019 who will own a San B portrait of themselves too, who I can’t reveal just yet.
5. Is there anyone you really want to make a picture of?
Not so much make a picture of as I could create a piece of anyone I chose. It’s more of not having the opportunity to showcase the piece to the icon as they are no longer here. I would have loved for Muhammed Ali to see my portrait I created of him. That would have been special.
6. How many crystals do you use on average? (or give an example of one)
On average I use 10,000 Swarovski crystals, the most I have used to date in one piece has been 23,000 crystals but that will change soon.
7. How does your brand partnership with Swarovski Crystals work?
In 2017, I became brand partners with Swarovski Crystals. Each piece I create is authenticated by Swarovski. They do this by applying a Swarovski Hologram Seal on the artwork. This has a unique Alpha Numeric code which the owner of the work can check for its Authenticity. Each Crystal is approved by Swarovski and once an art piece is completed I register this with Swarovski.
8. What do you use to place the crystals and are they glued down?
Each Crystal is hand place by myself and as each individual crystal contains glue on the reverse which once heated it activates and fixes into position.
9. What’s your favourite piece that you’ve made?
My favourite piece has to be ‘Prince Purple Rain’. I loved the purple coloured crystals used to bring the portrait alive and it was on a large scale at 120cm x 110cm.
On a sentimental note, I dedicated this piece to a family member who was a huge Prince fan and who is sadly no longer with us.
10. What’s next?
2019 will see some very interesting pieces of art created by myself, travelling and exhibiting globally. My next aim is to really scale up with what I’m doing, so please do watch this space.