Darren Cullen

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SER aka Darren Cullen
Cullen in his London studio
Darren James Cullen
Known forGraffiti, public art, stenciling

Darren Cullen is a London-based professional graffiti artist who is commonly known by the tag name SER. Cullen emerged as an artist from the British graffiti art scene in the early 1980s.[1][2][3]


Cullen grew up in Croydon where he became active in the graffiti and street art scene in 1983. His current graffiti name "Ser" was originally a crew name, which stood for "South East Rockers" – an unorganized crew name used by other graffiti artists in the south east area of London. When other graffiti artists stopped using the name "Ser", Cullen adopted the name as his own.[4]

In July 2012, Cullen spoke to Rebecca Cafe of BBC News and said he was confused as to why the graffiti walls in East London were all of a sudden being cleaned. The walls in East London "the mecca of graffiti" had been there for years, but with the Olympics about to start the authorities wanted to clean the streets.[5]

In November 2013, in an interview with The Economist, Cullen said that in his view graffiti had become respectable. Cullen went on to say that graffiti had evolved due to a number of factors. Magazines and documentaries documenting good graffiti art and spray paint had been produced especially for graffiti. The paint now gave the artist more control over his artwork, he said.[6]


In 2012, Cullen worked for the London 2012 Olympic Games, painting the stage sets for the opening ceremony.[7]

Cullen created a Hyperrealist mural of Kate Middleton and royal baby on a wall at Brookland Lake, Snodland, Kent.[7]

Cullen also donates pieces of artwork to non-profit organizations for underprivileged children.[8][example needed]

Rockmount Infants School in Upper Norwood received a council community grant to commission Cullen & fellow artist Paul Barlow to paint two sea murals on the classroom walls.[9]

Cullen has given credit to street artist Banksy saying: "If it wasn't for Banksy, graffiti would still be about vandalism".[10]

Graffiti Kings[edit]

Graffiti Kings Ltd
TypeLimited company
IndustryCommercial graffiti
FounderDarren Cullen
HeadquartersLeake Street, London, U.K.
Area served

Cullen founded Graffiti Kings, a commercial graffiti and street art company based on Leake Street in London.[11][12] The company provided spraycan artwork and branding to major international brands. They have also appeared on BBC TV programme Young Apprentice.[13][14] Graffiti Kings represents around 30 artists.[15]


Graffiti Kings was founded in 1999 as a movement by Cullen. Graffiti Kings became an organised business in 2007.[16][17]

Graffiti Vehicles[edit]

Graffiti Kings gave the London Tonight Olympic cab a new look with vibrant colours. The cab was used by London Tonight presenter Ben Scotchbrook to interview the public and get their views on the 2012 Summer Olympics. Ben Scotchbrook says the "Graffiti Kings are artistic royalty"[18]

Green campaigner Mr Peg from Croydon commissioned the Graffiti Kings to paint his chip fat powered eco bus in return for a pallet of Tangy Toms crisps before it went on a worldwide tour to help promote low carbon use.[19]

Live Performances[edit]

Graffiti Kings take part in a live online hashtag campaign that was featured on the Sony Facebook and Twitter social media sites.[20][21]

Graffiti Kings produce a live piece of art in front of shoppers to help launch the opening of a new store in Trinity Leeds.[22][23]

Graffiti Workshops[edit]

Students from South Worcestershire College England work with the Graffiti Kings to paint a colourful graffiti art mural in their college youth centre.[13]

Graffiti Kings help the visitors at the National Railway Museum in York England to produce graffiti art murals over a 2-week period.[24]

Graffiti Kings hold weekend graffiti workshops at the Banksy Tunnel in London to explain the distinctions between graffiti and street art.[11]

Community work[edit]

Cullen has admitted to engaging in vandalism and tagging while growing up in Croydon, but after later turning his work into a legal, commercial activity, Cullen was commissioned by Merton Council to run graffiti workshops for young people. The workshops aimed to reduce vandalism and to foster an understanding of graffiti art and its positive uses among at-risk youth in Croydon by offering opportunities for graffiti artists to practise their art legally on designated walls.[25]

In 2000, Cullen worked with London Borough of Sutton to paint graffiti murals on 19 shop shutters to help reduce graffiti vandalism.[citation needed]

Val Shawcross from the GLA's anti-graffiti committee visited Cullen while he painted a 300-yard-long subway. Local youths from South Norwood London helped Cullen paint the mural, which was part of the Croydon Council Smarter Croydon initiative.[26]

Cullen has received the backing of the British Government for his work to prevent graffiti on trains.[27] Cullen has painted 15 train stations, the first being Wallington Train Station in Sutton south London.[28] The Wallington project had more than fifty young people taking part and around 300 more arrived to watch the event.[17]


  1. ^ Wilkinson, Todd (17 October 2010). "When Barbarians Crash the Gate: Once Labeled Criminals, The Graffiti Kings Go Legit and Earn Re$pect". Wildlife + Art Journal. Archived from the original on 27 October 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  2. ^ Turco, Bucky (21 July 2012). "UK Authorities Going After Real Threat to 2012 Olympics: Street Artists". Animal New York.
  3. ^ "Graffiti artist who worked for Adidas is banned from Olympic Games venues". theguardian.com. 18 July 2012.
  4. ^ Lee, Bofkin (18 April 2013). "An Interview on Injustice: Please Come With Us Ser". globalstreetart.com. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  5. ^ Cafe, Rebecca (24 July 2012). "London 2012: Banksy and street artists' Olympic graffiti". BBC News.
  6. ^ "How did graffiti become respectable?". The Economist. 10 November 2013.
  7. ^ a b Walker, James (2014). "Artist Darren Cullen creates mural of Kate Middleton and royal baby on wall at Brookland Lake". kentonline.co.uk. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  8. ^ Johnson, Fatima (2012). "disRESPECT Mag". respect-mag.com/. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Smarter scheme cash leaves class all at sea". Croydon Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  10. ^ Georgiou, Myria (2013). Media and the City. Malden, MA: Polity Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-7456-4855-2.
  11. ^ a b "Graffiti Kings: Graffiti and Street Art Workshops". Timeout. 26 February 2014. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  12. ^ Lee, Bofkin (18 April 2013). "An Interview on Injustice: Please Come With Us Ser". globalstreetart.com. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Students work with Graffiti Kings for local youth club". South Worcestershire College. Archived from the original on 17 March 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  14. ^ "SJunior Apprentices make a big splash". business-powerpack.
  15. ^ "Colourful Characters: Graffiti Kings". Completely London. 28 June 2011. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Interview: Graffiti Kings". UK Street Art. 30 July 2010.
  17. ^ a b "From vandalism to street legal". The Croydon Guardian. 7 December 2001. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  18. ^ "London Tonight launch Olympic cab". ITV News. 10 August 2012.
  19. ^ "Croydon green campaigner plans world tour in chip fat powered bus". Croydon Guardian. 1 September 2009.
  20. ^ "Have you heard about the Studio Duo online event tomorrow". Sony. 11 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Graffiti Kings' ArtJaz: How To draw on the hybrid VAIO Duo 13". damkool.com.
  22. ^ "Trinity opens T-shirt Store with Graffiti Kings this Saturday". LeedsUnCut. 13 December 2013.
  23. ^ "Graffiti Kings help launch flasghip TSHIRT store in Leeds". Bdaily. 16 December 2013.
  24. ^ "Graffiti artwork on show at NRM". Completely London. 8 August 2012.
  25. ^ "From vandalism to street legal". The Croydon Guardian. 7 December 2001. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  26. ^ "Art smartens up Croydon subway". Wirral Globe. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  27. ^ "Outrage over artist banned from Olympics". BBC News. 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  28. ^ "Global Street Art – Global Street Art – Street art and graffiti from around..." globalstreetart.com. 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.

External links[edit]