“I can’t remember the exact date I first met Jon, it was some time in the early 1990s. But what I can remember though is knowing of him before I actually met him. Of course, I didn’t know him as Jon at this point, I knew him as Fire, one of the leading lights in the Brighton graffiti scene. His name was peppered along the train tracks between Brighton and Shoreham, and his more colourful pieces graced the walls of halls of fame like Tarnerland, Blackrock and Davigdor Road.
After several years of watching his style develop, when I eventually met him I was pleasantly surprised. In a scene dominated by huge egos, eccentric personalities and plenty of unscrupulous characters, Jon was none of the these. He was as down to earth as you could get, he had no hidden agenda and, most of all, he was extremely modest considering his talent.
And he sure had talent. In the past week I’ve been looking at photos of his pieces from 20 years ago and the one thing that sticks out is how they have stood the test of time. While many graffiti styles and techniques have dated badly, Jon’s haven’t and if one of his pieces from 1994 appeared on a wall today it would still burn the competition. So I guess in that respect it’s fair to say Jon was certainly ahead of his time. His style defined the Brighton graffiti style, which in itself defined the UK style for much of the 1990s, and I know many graffiti writers will admit to being heavily influenced by Jon’s work
Jon obviously stopped painting graffiti towards the end of the 1990s which was a sad loss for the scene, but who could blame him? He was able to harness his great talent in his animation career – he must be one of the few people that I know that had a job doing what they truly love – and then he met Issy and started a family.
So while he’s sadly no longer with us, we can perhaps take some solace in the thought that the legacy of his immense talent lives on in the same unassuming manner that he demonstrated as a person. From the tapes we played on the many car journeys we shared to other cities to paint I remember Jon was particularly fond of a track by Souls of Mischief called “93 ‘til infinity”, and I’d like to think the song’s title sums up how Jon’s influence on the graffiti scene will be remembered.
Rest in Peace Jon.
Lots of burners after the jump. Rest In Peace.
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