Oliver “Ollie” Sylvester Was born in 1972 and hails from Camden Town, North London. Diagnosed at a early age with mild dyslexia, he found himself focused more on doodling then his curriculum. As he found himself at the back of his academic courses, his interests in art began to take precedent. With his initial inspirations coming from Lego and Marvel comics.
His bic-biro sketches filled his books and his vision began to flourished.
In the early-eighties, Sylvester became closely involved in the emerging London Hip-Hop scene. Strongly influenced by ‘Subway Art’ an American book documenting graffiti on the New York subways. Armed with sketchbooks loaded with anti-heroes and paranoid robot illustrations, and a new source of creative inspiration, he began to transfer his off key creations from the books to the walls.
By his mid teens, he had already considered himself a well rounded artist gaining a reputation in the underground graffiti scene. Running with Saker-DDS-PFB-TKS-MGM, a North London graffiti crews.
Sylvester was commissioned to work on the video set of ‘3 That’s The Magic Number’ for the New York rap trio De La Soul. For this he designed and painted stop animations caricatures of members Trugoy, Pusdnous and Prince Paul, throughout the video. This success would be followed with a commissioned by ‘Swatch’. He would paint the Qxford Street branch shop to launch their Orange Feather Swatch Watch.
In 1987 Sylvster was introduction to the ‘acid house’ scene would begin to take an integral part in his inspiration for his work. The more dubious side of rave culture and urban life would translate to the more darker tone in his work. Soon he would transition his work from the urban walls of London to the canvas.
As Sylvester continued his work, an unfortunate event would befall in 1994. Ollie suffered an accident in which he almost severed his right arm. Losing most of his nerve functions as a result, he began training to paint with his left hand. He succeeded and his straight lined cross-hatch style started to evolve as a result.
Now ambidextrous and determined to continue on with his work and progression of style. Ollie’s works began to move further from his more figure-based works, inspired by his mood and setting. Ollie’s older works have darker, more constructed feel to them. His more recent pieces take on a happier more chaotic design. The ordered lines have been replaced with curves and focuses on one central colour.
His caricatures began to brandish a more joyous tone. As a truly evolving and experimental artist, he often splashes his work with Guinness. The dark drips causing an almost oxidised effect and adding to the overall dark beauty of his works.
The unique imagery of his work would catch the eye of the Chinese government. They would sponsor and commission him to come to China. Ollie then painted a cinematic size artwork at the 2007 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture.
With a colourful and fascinating journey into the world of art and a multitude of mediums and an ever evolving image. Ollie Sylvester has proven himself to be a would-be legend in the street art community. His work is easily a unique talent to be recognised in the art world.
“I’m sure that art collage could have livened me up to new mediums and techniques and potentially given me a leg up. But I don’t think that you can enter that environment without being artistically influenced, and I didn’t fancy that!” – Ollie Sylvester