mic righteous
Jake Whit­bread has been draw­ing and cre­at­ing images for many years now, it began by listen­ing and attend­ing Jungle raves and Hip Hop nights in the mid nineties. He saw that the raw energy and pas­sion in both cul­tures were par­tic­u­larly power­ful and rather than tak­ing a music­al route into these areas decided to devel­op his cre­at­ive skills such as draw­ing to doc­u­ment both move­ments as they grew and flour­ished. Peace­ful war­ri­or was a Ali­as that was found which best suited him­self and his work, from this he star­ted to draw por­traits of the indi­vidu­als and crews that inspired him in a artist­ic form and in a more deep­er way to live life. We catch up with him to find out more…

When did you real­ise you could draw and were a gif­ted artist?

I genu­inely don’t see myself as a gif­ted Artist! I think that I have spent many many years “learn­ing” how to draw, how to use depth of field or how to draw an image in pro­por­tion. I see these as skills, like learn­ing a trade, then as my con­fid­ence began to grow I star­ted to build my own par­tic­u­lar style and exper­i­ment with dif­fer­ent medi­ums, dif­fer­ent types of paper and dif­fer­ent sized images. I remem­ber one of the first por­traits I com­pleted was of skinny­man (Mud­fam) and it was on a really small piece of paper in biro and through prac­ti­cing my tech­nique I found what best suited the format for me draw­ing por­traits; now gen­er­ally keep to a stand­ard size and find that pen­cil and graph­ite help mag­ni­fy the dif­fer­ent fea­tures in my images.

You have drawn so many inspir­a­tion­al fig­ures from the world of music… tell us a bit about how you decide who to draw and what com­pels you to bring them to life through your art?

Well again, I star­ted off draw­ing indi­vidu­al music­al artists whose work really influ­enced me, mainly from the world of Jungle and Hip Hop. I love Jungle because it is a music­al genre that was born in the UK, in fact born in Lon­don and I was lucky enough to observe that birth in the early nineties going to jungle raves and sem­in­al club nights such as ROAST, AWOL at the Para­dise club and oth­er events, it sounds clichéd but I feel quite priv­ileged to have been around at the right time and the right place to see jungle devel­op from its roots. I felt like I needed to doc­u­ment these times so I decided to draw people that rep­res­en­ted the scene such as Congo Natty AKA rebel MC, MC GQ, Micky Finn.  The same goes for HIP HOP; I chose to draw UK artists and again because I wit­nessed some of these sem­in­al UK releases like Skinnyman’s album “Coun­cil Estate of Mind”, Rod­ney P, Life MC PhiLifeCypher. The decision of who I draw seems to nat­ur­ally cor­rel­ate to the indi­vidu­als that inspire me.


You bring the ele­ments of Hip Hop to life through your art, your work is full of pos­it­ive fig­ures! How has art helped you in life?

Art or at least the cre­at­ing of these images, look­ing back gave me a pur­pose, it’s really deep, there have been many times in my life where I have felt like I’m no good at any­thing, then I would look at the por­traits I was cre­at­ing and it lif­ted my spir­it on all levels. It felt like it was some­thing that was unique to me and some­thing that needed to be done, to draw these inspir­a­tion­al indi­vidu­als in a style that remained con­stant over the years, to build on this cata­logue of por­traits. I wanted to draw people that spread good vibes and in turn devel­op the pos­it­iv­ity already present in the music in a visu­al man­ner.

Have you been able to share your art with those who you have drawn? What has the response been like?

Yes I’ve been lucky enough over the years to get nearly every por­trait I’ve drawn signed by the music­al artist that it is of. I think as any­one would be at the start, I was nervous to show my work to the people that have influ­enced me and my life in a massive way, but as I said earli­er the more images I cre­ated the more my con­fid­ence grew. The style that I draw isn’t par­tic­u­larly close to the genre, it’s not Graff, I’m not a writer and I’m not an emcee, turn­tab­list or break-dan­cer. I’ve pur­posely come at it from a dif­fer­ent angle, I wanted to rep­res­ent all that was good in the scene in my own style. The response has always been really pos­it­ive, I remem­ber tak­ing a por­trait to be signed to Life MC and feel­ing quite nervous but he really digged it. Same goes for Congo Natty but it was all blessed and actu­ally received with a lot of love, I sup­pose that it’s some­thing fresh maybe for them to see, rather than try­ing to spit bars at them or get­ting a video of them I was present­ing them in a humble way a piece of me, a draw­ing that I had spent hours cre­at­ing that was try­ing to cap­ture their own unique essence.

You are a massive sup­port­er of the jungle and hip hop move­ments, and get to reach a lot of loc­al events. Are there any music artists that really stand out for you?

Abso­lutely, I think it’s import­ant to rep­res­ent what’s going on around you on a loc­al level, it’s import­ant to show love to inde­pend­ent nights and inde­pend­ent record labels. If you are really feel­ing an artist I think you need to buy the vinyl, cds and be pro­act­ive in what is going on around you, this is how the scene grows isn’t it? Every per­son has a found­a­tion from which they have grown and developed. For me the home grown loc­al crews and artists with­in them that stand out past and present are Sold­ja­souls, Music Les­sons, Anti­so­cial Music, Def Tex, J Roots, Rebel Lion, Chron­ic Redeye Music and indi­vidu­al artists such as Reds, Franko Fra­ize, DPF, Strumz. There are so many man!!! I don’t want to miss any heads out!! For me Bark­er, DJ Eddie, Harry ixer, Han­nah Tobi­as, Reds, Neme, Strumz, Case and Ricky Lix are killing it at the moment.

tenor fly

Your artist name is Peace­ful War­ri­or — what does this sym­bol­ise? 

Ha Ha TOP secret!!! …….well a vet­er­an in the scene told me many years ago that you are kind of giv­en your name, dir­ectly or indir­ectly, so it’s come from sev­er­al moments of syn­chron­icity, I hope it’s what I am really… a war­ri­or, but a peace­ful one!

Have you exhib­ited your work any­where, or do you have any plans on doing so in the near future? 

Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to have my work exhib­ited  in a lot of places such as The Art Of Nor­wich, The For­um Lib­rary Nor­wich, I’ve had my work fea­tured in a few magazines and in digit­al formats. I’m really proud to say that I have had my work shown at The Con­ingsby Gal­lery in Cent­ral Lon­don. I’m par­tic­u­larly proud to have exhib­ited there because it’s quite a pres­ti­gi­ous gal­lery and gave me an oppor­tun­ity to break some of the bar­ri­ers that the Art World seems to have cre­ated. I think the Art world in gen­er­al, what is per­ceived as “prop­er” Art and Art Exhib­i­tions can be very very pre­ten­tious. This issue is very det­ri­ment­al to us all on every level of cre­ativ­ity, there is no room for exclus­iv­ity when it comes to show­ing cre­at­ive work. Invit­ing all people from all walks of life should be act­ively encour­aged to par­ti­cip­ate in view­ing “Art”, there should be a feel­ing of com­plete unity, unfor­tu­nately

What are the toughest chal­lenges you face as an artist?

 This is not the case and I am very mind­ful of the say­ing “divide and con­quer”… no one has the right to dic­tate how you view cre­ativ­ity, I took a load of images at set a stall up out­side a large store in Nor­wich and put a sign up say­ing “everything is free” I gave away a lot of images that day, it was really power­ful to exper­i­ence and chal­lenge what people put mater­i­al­ist­ic worth to. Any­way, It was a really good day and I met a lot of really sound people that might not have chat­ted to me about my art work had it not been for the con­text of free Art, and someone did actu­ally ask to by the “everything is free” sign…. I charged them a pound.

With the rise of social media, do you feel this has benefited you as an artist or cre­ated a sat­ur­ated mar­ket? 

A bit of both I think, I use social media to get my images out there and I have benefited from link­ing with indi­vidu­als that I might not have done oth­er­wise and have developed friend­ships. But I try not to get too caught up in that world, I work with a pen­cil and paper!! And although I am not stu­pid enough to expect my work to reach people without push­ing it I also like the idea of actu­ally talk­ing to people about their par­tic­u­lar pro­jects rather than it all being done through the web.


What can we expect from you in the near future?

I’m work­ing closely with some loc­al Artists on sev­er­al pro­jects, I’m really excited to be fea­tured on a EP called “The Heartist”, I’m actu­ally doing a spoken word piece in this pro­ject rather than any visu­al work and it’s always been a bit of a dream to lay down some­thing that I have writ­ten. I will be con­tinu­ing to draw por­traits of Music­al Artists that inspire me. I would like to, at some point pub­lish my draw­ings, this is an ongo­ing pro­ject called Music and Pic­tures but I have not inves­ted too much time and energy into this concept at this present moment. I’m going to con­tin­ue to go to loc­al events and show love. I’m gonna con­tin­ue to keep my work real and you can expect me to shout out to any­one who feels the vibe I’m on to con­tact me! We all need to help each oth­er in this industry no mat­ter what your par­tic­u­lar skill is….. It’s all love.

Check out more of Jake Whit­bread’s art and keep up to date with his upcom­ing pro­jects on his Ins­tagram

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.