Art

Charming Baker's street artists

Guest editor Charming Baker meets The Big Issue contributors whose joy, pain, energy, and vision bring a unique perspective to our pages every week

At The Big Issue, we understand the power of art. Art as expression, art as redemption, art as escape, therapy, transformation or release. Since our launch in 1991, we have encouraged and supported vendors to express themselves through art.

An artistic outlet has helped so many vendors coming back from dark places – poverty, loss, homelessness, addiction or mental health issues – and each week with Street Art we celebrate this, showcasing the work of people whose art may otherwise not reach a wider audience.

Inspiration was in the air when a group of regular Street Art contributors – including Big Issue vendors plus members of the 240Project, an art and health activity centre for people affected by homelessness – gathered at the Jealous Gallery in East London.

The special workshop with Big Issue guest editor Charming Baker and gallerist Dario Illari included a demonstration of screen printing techniques and an in-depth discussion of the work brought in by Street Art favourites including John Sheehy, Christie Cassisa, Michael Crosswaite and Andrew Howard

“It was wonderful,” said Baker. “We had the gallery filled with artists.

“We’ve been looking at their work and talking about how difficult it is to be an artist. The Big Issue and Project240 do projects for people who need art in their lives – and that really helps them.”

Sheehy, 67, who has experienced lengthy spells of homelessness, but has shown his works in Somerset House and The British Museum since joining The Big Issue arts group in 1999, said: “The Big Issue have been a great support over the years with my art.

“They encouraged me from the very beginning. They have published my paintings and poems, and they invited me here today. I thank Dario from the Jealous Gallery and Charming Baker for helping us, showing us the studio, and their great hospitality.”

Crosswaite, who is now in a Peabody flat after periods of homelessness, also brought along a series of paintings. He said: “We met Charming, and he is a really charming man.

“He said he liked my work. I told him I’ve got a thing about black paper at the moment – I’m gradually reducing the amount of paint and letting the black do the work. I might reach a point where it will just be black paper and nothing else!”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'Each brush tells a story of hope': Homeless artist hosts exhibition to help himself off the streets
homeless artist David Bedford
Homelessness

'Each brush tells a story of hope': Homeless artist hosts exhibition to help himself off the streets

Those wounded by the Troubles still walk among us. Their pain is as relevant today as ever
Art

Those wounded by the Troubles still walk among us. Their pain is as relevant today as ever

Artist Aasen Stephenson turns leaves into astounding works of art: 'Nothing beats what nature makes'
The Leaf Man at work in his studio
Art

Artist Aasen Stephenson turns leaves into astounding works of art: 'Nothing beats what nature makes'

Artist Ray Young: 'Our government is threatening disabled people's rights – there's no compassion'
Theatre

Artist Ray Young: 'Our government is threatening disabled people's rights – there's no compassion'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know