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Pure Evil: ‘Artists are just a few pay checks away from homelessness’

Pure Evil has designed limited edition signed wrapping paper which is available from The Big Issue Shop

Renowned graffiti artist Pure Evil’s work has been showcased across the world but he understands how easy it can be for creatives to fall into poverty and homelessness

Real name Charles Uzzell Edwards, he told the Big Issue that when he returned from the USA he was “pretty broke” and forced to sofa-surf

“I’m not comparing my life to anyone else but when I came back from the USA I was pretty broke couch surfing. One weekend I just had a few pounds to survive,” he said. 

“I wasn’t going to ask anyone for a handout. It was so hard, the city just sucks the money out of you.” 

Pure Evil has designed limited edition signed wrapping paper which is available from The Big Issue Shop. All profits will go directly back to the magazine and give people living on the margins a hand up.  

“Can you imagine what it’s like to be out on the street in this freezing cold weather? It must be a kind of frozen hell,” Edwards added.

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“Now multiply that by the pandemic and it’s just the worst thing imaginable. This is why I am always going to say yes when I can help the homeless.” 

Edwards said struggling as an artist is not comparable to being homeless but many in the art world are just a few pay checks away from poverty, something he has experienced himself.

“Another time on a train in Europe, I got stuck between Yugoslavia and Italy. I had no money and no food. I had to go through empty carriages in a siding looking for food under the seats. I found a half-eaten, couple of days old burger and it was delicious.” 

The Welsh-born creator had some strong words for Government ministers, saying he would like to see them donate a month’s salary to those less fortunate. 

“I would like the government to donate every penny of their wages to help the homeless for a month, that would be nice of them. And also, to stop hooking their friends up with billions of pounds of fake PPE contracts. It’s disgusting.”

Edwards’ work is often based on pop culture, featuring an iconic solitary teardrop on all of his portraits. His Pure Evil gallery in London features shows and projects by him and other leading street artists. 

Make your gift extra special this year by wrapping it up in the Big Issue’s Limited Edition Art Wrapping Paper.

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