The thing about public art is that it breathes a new life into a place. How you interpret it depends on your worldly view, and that’s what makes it unique. Graffiti is a historical form of public art that has attracted a lot of attention in the past few years. Some may call it vandalism, while others, an epic piece of art. Rabah aka Left from Malappuram found his life’s purpose when he decided to pursue a career in graffiti. And this is his story.
Rabah, like any other young gen, was scrolling through his Instagram feed when he first saw calligraphy and lettering art. Intrigued by it, he decided to give it a try. This paved the way for his entry into the world of graffiti. One fine day, as he passed by South beach in Calicut, a portrait graffiti caught his attention. The next thing he knew, he was tracking down the person behind it. “The artist named A-KILL is the reason why I fell in love with graffiti. I got his contact somehow by asking around and went to Chennai to finally meet him. My first lessons of graffiti and hip-hop kickstarted right there”, shared Rabah.
Also Read: The Artistic Journey of Muhammed Sajid
Rabah initially struggled to convince his parents about a career in graffiti. When he started to get commissioned work and get featured, they slowly respected his work and passion. His relatives, though, were not quite happy with this trajectory, as usual. But Rabah knew this was his calling, and therefore, took it upon himself to get better. After his graduation in Geology, he decided to pursue his post-graduation in Fashion Management in NIFT Hyderabad. He wanted to write the NIFT exam right after Class X. But familial circumstances prevented him to do so, and therefore, he ended up studying Geology. After his graduation, he wrote the NIFT entrance exam and landed a merit rank. And thus began his adventure.
His tryst with graffiti happened by chance, but it took years of practice to ace his work.“To start with graffiti, you must know hip hop culture and the history of graffiti. Practising tags will make you a great graffiti writer. A unique style is what makes a good graffiti work so, with practice, you will have to seek that. I am still trying to make my own style,” shared Rabah.
Some of the artists he looks up to are Zero, A-KILL, NME, EPOK and DIBS. “I am an ardent follower of their works and have huge respect for them. My favourite teacher and mentor is kareem graphy. And I am thankful to Prajwal Xavier and Chipplys for many of my small successes. Chipplys introduced me to art on walls.” One of his memorable graffiti works was during the F I R graffiti jam that happened on February 12th. He got a chance to paint with OG’s in the Indian graffiti scene and his masters.
You May Also Like: When True Emotions Meet Fashion, You Get Sharmila’s ‘Almirah’ Project
However, due to the pandemic, he lost many chances to express himself. But that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing what he loves. Apart from doing his PG, Rabah is collaborating with two clothing brands to come with print designs for their hip hop collections. One of them is a sustainable clothing brand called SOME OF A KIND. He has even collaborated with Neeraj Madhav and Street Academics.
Don’t forget to follow Left. Remember, supporting artists can make a whole lot of difference to their lives.