Graffiti artist brightens France’s walls

2011-01-15 00:00

ANTHONY Kirkwood is an ordinary 20-year-old. Almost too ordinary for what he does. His neatly cropped hair, clean shave and practical plaid button-up shirt are no indications of his life as a talented graffiti artist.

A look into his bedroom allows a glimpse into the graphic design student’s other life. A poster above his desk reads “Graffiti is not a crime” and newspaper clippings of other artists adorn his walls.

But for Kirkwood, graffiti isn’t about tagging buildings and neighbours’ walls, instead he uses his talent to brighten drab buildings in needy communities.

“I don’t do illegal graffiti,” he said adamantly. “My work is more like art. I make murals to brighten up places that need it.”

Kirkwood, who goes by the name gasak (Graffiti Art of a South African Kulture or God as Saviour and King), recently spent seven days in France on what he called a “seven day, seven murals, one township, one artist, one goal,” project. There he added cheer to local buildings.

“I lived there and it was amazing. I worked in Unit One and Two and stayed with the Mkhize family in Unit One. Everyone was so kind to me.”

His love for the art began five years ago when he was in the hostel at Wartburg Kirchdorf School.

Since then, Kirkwood’s work has become a sensation with people arriving at parties to see Kirkwood “perform live”.

This week, he painted a mural for a group of medical students while mesmerised party-goers watched.

A full-sized mural can take anywhere between six and eight hours to paint which, Kirkwood said, leaves him exhausted but exhilarated.

Kirkwood can be reached at


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