We went soul searching, talking firsthand to the spray can artists and supportive folk that made the party that was: Meeting of Styles UK 2015.A mash up of graffiti techniques and human energies, the event reverberated with one love across the creative movement and into the locality – leaving a lasting mark, not just on the walls of the Nomadic Community Gardens. Jhona, a graffiti writer for urban apparel label and MoS sponsor Eskis tells us what’s up…
“I’m from the south of France and I’ve come here to represent Eskis, which is a clothing brand born from the graffiti movement and hip hop,” says Jhona, a resident of Marseille where street culture from the ‘banlieue’ or poorer suburbs has undoubtedly contributed to the country’s standing as the second largest hip hop market in the world.
A lyrical freestyler himself, Jhona is also the entrepreneur behind eclectic Africa-inspired clothing line Ozas99prod, as well as a live illustrator for Eskis. “I’m part of a growing collective and I customise products at festivals – this is our third year at Meeting of Styles, it’s a bestseller for us and the number 1 for graffiti I think in the world.”
Renowned for their hoodies, tees and snapbacks trademarked with graphic scripts, his job at Eskis is to improvise and write off-the-cuff emblems on textiles as people look on, but he sees his responsibility as something else altogether; “We try to collaborate graffiti, hip hop and fashion by sponsoring events – to represent, with the aim to help the refugee community.”
Born in Yeumbeul in the Dakar region of Senegal to parents from Guinea-Bissau (West Africa), he came to France at the age of 10 to reunite with family. Having endured and succeeded in resettling, the 99 in his brand name represents the social security department code for those born abroad – a reminder to be grateful. Despite life’s trajectory, bright paint splatters and a rad lettering style betray a childlike sense of fun in Jhona, and it isn’t any wonder that this outwardly warm person holds workshops for little kids back home whenever he can; “When school is finished and there’s vacations, it helps young minds translate the imagination.”