Ben Eine (b. 1970)
The prolific street artist Ben Eine, (née Ben Flynn), is best known his series of spray-painted letter murals on storefront shutters along London’s Middlesex Street, or “Alphabet Street”, as it has become known. Eine’s trademark colorful typography adorns streets in cities all over the world, including LA, Mexico City, and Tokyo, and the artist also creates indoor installations and produces works on canvas in spray paint, acrylic, and glitter.
Prior to becoming involved in commercial graffiti, Eine was a very famous and highly credible writer in the underground London graffiti scene. His unusual ‘throw up’ was created to stand out from the usual tags and dubs seen on the streets and can still be found in some dingy areas of East London.
Inspired by the work of fashion assassin Noki, Eine first started to explore more commercial avenues in a workshop above the Dragon Bar in Lenoard Street, London (now knocked down). Eine produced a number of custom clothing designs notably some custom “VANDALS” sweatshirts and started to explore screen prints eventually working as a screen printer for cult screen print company Pictures On Walls. Eine produced many of the hand pulled prints for artists represented by POW including Banksy, Jamie Hewlett, Mode2, Modern Toss and David Shrigley. His natural talent for color combinations meant that he was able to enhance the work supplied by the artists. He left this position to pursue his own solo career in 2008.
Eine first came to prominence in the “commercial” graffiti scene through his symbiotic partnership with London graffiti artist Banksy; through Eine, Banksy was able to access the underground scene and through Banksy Eine accessed the commercial world. Eine shot to international fame when the Prime Minister David Cameron presented one of his works to President Obama as a gift on their first official state visit and his subsequent San Francisco solo show sold out prior to opening. Eine was also included in the biggest exhibition of street art to date: “Art in the Streets” at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles.