Is street art reaching proper recognition? Bristol based artist Mr. Penfold weighs in on gallery vs laneway walls

Like many artists before him, Mr. Penfold AKA Tim Gresham could not be contained by the sleepy ‘burbs of Cambridge, UK. Instead he’s unleashed his graphic art talent on the graffiti clad walls of Bristol (a town famed for its murals by graffiti legends such as Banksy, Cheba and a thousand nameless artists) as well as those in America, Australia and Europe.

Happy pulled up a chair for this talented artist, and talked about his influences, where he sees the future of street art going, and his collaborations with record and clothing labels.

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With hard edges, street sensibility and graffiti’s vibrancy, the potent artwork of Mr. Penfold is spreading across the globe.

HAPPY: What were some of your earliest teenage influences?

TIM: Growing up I was surrounded with so many amazing pieces of art in my home. My dad (being a screen printer) filled our home with incredible paintings, prints and sculptures by artists he’d worked with over the years. I remember being young and looking at this work on the walls and not liking it! I was only interested in comics and skate graphics at the time. As I grew older I noticed myself becoming interested and influenced by these pieces.

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HAPPY: How has living in the street art heavy Bristol influenced your graphic design style?

TIM: Bristol is a really vibrant city! It’s a nice contrast from Cambridge where I grew up. For me the best thing about Bristol is being surrounded by so many artists, whether it be painters, illustrators or graffiti artists. I’m not sure if it’s affected my work really, more my personal and social life.


HAPPY: Do you think as time goes by that street art is becoming more widely accepted by society as art?

TIM: I think the title ‘street art’ is slowly disappearing! People are starting to see the work on the streets as just ‘art’ and not this sub-genre people have become obsessed with. I never liked the term ‘street art’ – it seems to take away the credibility.

Mr Penfold

HAPPY: Do you have an ideal location where you’d like to create street art?

TIM: Anywhere people can see it!

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HAPPY: Do you find your style adjusts according to whether you’re making art in a gallery or on the street?

TIM: Yeah, it does change sometimes, but I think that’s more down to the materials and technique.

Mr penfold street art

HAPPY: Working as a freelance designer with record and clothing labels, does your work becomes more of a collaboration?

TIM: Sometimes. It depends on the client. Most of the time my freelance work allows me complete freedom, but you know… we all get those fussy clients!

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HAPPY: Ideal collaboration with another street artist is…?

TIM: Anyone who has passion!

HAPPY: What’s up next for Mr. Penfold?

TIM: There’ll be a solo in the UK this year… but it’s too early to give anything away I’m afraid! I’m also off to LA and Vegas in a few months to paint some walls, which is always fun.

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