Graffiti artist, 15, follows in Banksy's footsteps

This Is Local London: Cartrain satirises famous logos like that of MacDonalds Cartrain satirises famous logos like that of MacDonalds

A graffiti artist from east London is making a name for himself with stunts and satirical stencils.

The name Cartrain name may be familiar to people as it appears all over Waltham Forest on walls and street furniture.

Now the 15-year-old, of Leytonstone, has started to look further afield to showcase his work.

He said: "I don't do any more work in Leytonstone because no one pays any attention.

"I have since moved into Brick Lane and Hackney, where there have been a lot of websites talking about me."

His work has also started to appear across central London.

Banners carrying his distinctive emblem have been seen hanging from bridges and his stencils have been sprayed on walls opposite the Houses of Parliament.

His work often depicts political figures including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George Bush.

He also satirises the famous logos of fast food companies KFC and McDonald's.

He said: "I find it very offensive when big companies have big adverts that make you feel small unless you buy their crap.

"Councils are very quick to tell you how much graffiti costs but not so quick to tell you how much they get from advertising."

Cartrain first started doing graffiti when he was 12 and soon came up with his signature.

"The name Cartrain is a random name that I made up when I was thinking of tag names."

Despite some early difficulties, he quickly began taking his work more seriously.

He said: "I only did small pen tags. I started off doing small stencils of text.

"But I got hold of a copy of computer graphics software Photoshop and my stencils have improved. It's very hard cutting out large stencils as it takes a lot of time and hurts your wrist."

There are also a number of other concerns for graffiti artists, including public criticism, the threat of being caught and the competitive nature of tagging.

Cartrain said: "Sometimes I worry about getting caught - you never know when a police car is going to go past.

"People that think graffiti is a nuisance should open their eyes. Graffiti doesn't tell people to buy crap they don't want, unlike advertising. I consider my work artistic and creative, not mindless rubbish designed to annoy people.

"I have a rule that I won't write on people's property. Tagging can be very territorial, it's about getting your name around more than anyone else. If you go over someone or they don't like your style, they will put a line through your work."

Cartrain's profile continues to increase thanks to his high volume of work across the city and his contributions to the YouTube website. His work even appears in the music video for the song Glory Days by Just Jack.

Cartrain's finest hour came when he sneaked a fake exhibit into the British Museum.

He produced a plate titled Nike Footware (sic) and hung it in the museum while a friend filmed him.

The information accompanying it claimed it dated from 2800 BC and showed a man wearing trendy Nike footwear, "made for pennies and sold for pounds".

The museum has insisted it was removed within a few hours, but Cartrain maintains it was on display for three days.

The incident received coverage on the London Tonight television programme and a clip from the show, as well as Cartrain's original footage, can be seen on Youtube.

The stunt was reminiscent of Bristolian graffiti artist Banksy, someone Cartrain has always admired.

He said: "The British Museum idea was Banksy's. He has been a huge inspiration for me.

"I've sent him a few emails showing him my work and he sent me a signed piece of his work in the post. I went to an exhibition and a similar piece, but unsigned, went for £10,000."

Cartrain will continue to take sideswipes at companies and politicians for a while yet, but he is unsure what the future holds for him and his work.

He said: "I think, with my graffiti, I will continue to do it for a few more years and not make a huge career out of it and abuse the graffiti market."

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