A few famous faces have cropped up over the last few months selling The Big Issue in London – and it’s thanks to Loretto.

The mysterious South London street artist’s painted pieces have given the Queen and Jesus the chance to step into vendors’ shoes to have a cracking at shifting a few mags.

But now you no longer have to prowl the mean streets of the English capital to track down his satirical view of celebrities or his musings on human nature and psychology. Portobello Road’s Graffik Gallery has brought all his work together for a greatest hits showing, running from July 5 to 19, where he will also launch an exclusive screen print.

The artist told The Big Issue that it was Street Cat Bob, who features in many of his pieces, who inspired him to turn his attention to the iconic red tabard. “With his humble origins, the simplicity strength and the power of its message, speaks to me,” he said. “The same can also be said about Jesus, that’s if we leave aside all the religious connotations. But the stories of them both have a lot in common.”


The Big Issue magazine is read by an estimated 379,195 people across the UK and circulates 82,294 copies every week.

Loretto’s work caught the eye of The Big Issue in January and February this year when his tabard-toting versions of the Queen and Jesus were spotted in on brickwork around London.

And the artist, who uses a stencil and spray paint technique to take shots at the rich and powerful, revealed that he is a fan of the magazine – sort of.

“To me, when comparing The Big Issue to other magazines and tabloid papers, it is more truthful and just has that authentic feel so closely associated and linked to the urban movement and what’s really happening on the streets,” he said. “The paper is great but to be honest, I’ve only ever bought it when I was published in it.

“The process I use for choosing subjects for my pieces is not linear. I choose the people I paint based on the ideas that inspire in me. My themes jump between comedy and tragedy in equal measure. Current events always give me new ideas and when I paint politicians I always portray them in a comedic manner.”

To attend the exhibition, please RSVP to naveed@graffikgallery.co.uk

Image: Loretto/Graffik Gallery/Christopher Bissell