Iain Cadby

Iain Cadby is an English artist and designer known for his text and image based street art posters. His pasted-up large scale artworks can often been found on the walls of Soho in London. ‘I see my art as positive propaganda. My work should brighten your day, even if the message is darkly ironic. It’s a secret way of getting back at the powers that be.’ 

 

Born in 1970 in London, he was encouraged to draw by his Cartier jewellery designer father and his painter mother. After gaining his Masters from Central St. Martins College of Art he began collaborating with Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, designing books for artists Ron English, José Parlá, Boris Tellegen and Adam Neate. 

 

During this time he was making street art under the pseudonym SMiLE. The name itself describes the tone of his street art. The command to ‘smile whilst the world is in free-fall' is both playful and dark. His street art is comparable to the 1980’s New York social commentary of artists Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger. ‘I felt deeply frustrated and voiceless against the constant brainwashing and negative propaganda we are bombarded with everyday, and at some point something changed in me, and I had a profound realisation that I had to do something myself, but more importantly that I could do something.’ 

 

Over the course of his career he has transitioned from making London based street art, to making screen prints with London’s premier printmakers. He says, ‘My artwork has developed from text based works to a purely image based aesthetic. Although the large texts aren’t there, I often use symbols and very small details that link my street art social commentary to my fine art. The aesthetics are different but the messages are essentially the same. In the same way that making socially aware street art is liberating, making beautiful fine art, without an overt social message is equally empowering, both have their place.’ The artist currently lives and works in London, England.