Kid Acne

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Kid Acne is an artist, illustrator and hip-hop musician. He was born in Lilongwe, Malawi in 1978.

He grew up in Lutterworth, Leicestershire and currently lives and works in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. He spent his formative years painting graffiti, creating fanzines and making limited run records on his own Invisible Spies imprint. Nowadays, his artwork can been seen throughout the world – both inside and outside of galleries. His signature style has adorned products for leading brands such as Prada, Kenzo, Elle, Kid Robot, Brompton and Warp Records.

In 2014 Kid Acne collaborated with Dr Katie Edwards, an academic at The University of Sheffield, on 'The Word Made Fresh' project for the university's The Festival of the Mind. As part of the project, Kid Acne painted a mural version of his work 'The Birth of Hip Hop' on the side of the Old Junior School in Sharrowvale, Sheffield.[1] [2] He also created a new rap, 'The Universe Rap', for the project.[3]

Musical output[edit]

Kid Acne has released a number of records sporadically over the years.

His first release was in 1997 under the name 'Mongrels' alongside DJ Benjamin on their own DIY label, C U Next Tuesday.

In 2000 they changed the label name to Invisible Spies before Acne issued his first solo 7" single, 'Squirrel Hunters' as the prelude to his debut LP, Rap Traffic (2001).

Kid Acne's 2nd album, Council Pop (Invisible Spies) was released in late 2003 preceded by a 12" of the track 'Radio Music', which led to a series of UK and European tours.

Both Rap Traffic and Council Pop were produced by UK graffiti stalwart and nocturnal beat constructor, Req One.

2007 saw the release of Kid Acne's 3rd LP, Romance Ain't Dead, this time on Lex Records / EMI. Beats once again programmed by Req One, with production handled by Ross Orton.

Mastered and cut by Rob Gordon.

The album has been praised with significant critical acclaim and was released internationally in 2008.

The lead single, 'Eddy Fresh' was released in Autumn 2007, complete with Gescom Remix and promo video directed by fellow artist, Dscreet.

Acne's live show consists of (DJ) Benjamin, (Hype Man) Clev Cleverley and (human beatbox) Chase Rockwell.

Together, they have toured the UK and Europe supporting acts such as: El-P, Black Lips, Flying Lotus, Anti Pop Consortium, Prince Po, People Under The Stairs, Quannum Projects, Jeru The Damaja, Lethal Bizzle, Atmosphere, James Pants, Long Blondes, DJ Food, Herbalizer, Lady Sovereign, Yo Majesty, Jneiro Jarel, Jehst, Black Twang, Estelle, Goldie Lookin Chain, Scroobius Pip, Pitman and Coldcut.


Rap Traffic (LP) / Invisible Spies 2001

Squirrel Hunters (7") / Invisible Spies 2001

Regarde Kid Acne (7") / Invisible Spies 2002

Council Pop (LP) / Invisible Spies 2003

Radio Music (12", Single) / Invisible Spies 2003

Zub-Zub Rockers (7", Single) / Electro Caramel 2003

Reality Raps EP (12", EP) / Invisible Spies 2004

Eddy Fresh (7", Single) / Lex Records, EMI Records 2007

Eddy Fresh (12") / Lex Records, EMI Records 2007

Romance Ain't Dead (LP) / Lex Records 2007

Sliding Doors (7") / Lex Records, EMI Records 2007

Worst Luck EP (7") / Lex Records 2007

Tracks appear on[edit]

Mongrels – Slingshots (7") / C U Next Tuesday 1997

Toah Dynamic – Hip-Hop Gymkhana (7") / C U Next Tuesday 1997

Invisible Spies (CD, Comp) / C U Next Tuesday Records 1998

Req – Car Paint Scheme (LP) / Style Mentorz / Skint Records 2000

Toah Dynamic – Movement (LP) / Invisible Spies 2000

Lexoleum Two (12", EP) Rap Dracula / Lex Records 2001

Lexample (CD) Radio Music / Lex Records 2002

Mongrels – Fresh Arrangements (7") / Invisible Spies 2002

Toah Dynamic – Harvest Festival (7") / Invisible Spies 2002

Toah Dynamic – Son Of A Copper (7") / Invisible Spies 2002

Toah Dynamic – Cops Hate Our Love (LP) / Invisible Spies 2002

Abstract Funk Theory (2xLP, Comp) Ghosts With Teeth / Obsessive 2003

Suspect Files Vol 3 (CD, Comp) South Yorks / Suspect Packages 2004

Lexample Red (CD, Promo, Smplr) Eddy Fresh / Lex Records 2007

Zebra face[edit]

Graffiti of Zebra Face, painted by Acne in Lutterworth.

Zebra Face is a cartoon character created by Kid Acne and Supreme Vagabond Craftsman. He is a bombastic stripey horse with a hip-hop obsession and an insulin dependant sidekick. Zebra Face first appeared in a one-page comic strip in Kid Acne's 'Velcro Grass' fanzine in 1995. Generating mild interest amongst the UK fanzine scene at the time, Zebra Face then became a fanzine of his own before the duo began working on a book, which was self-published in 2001. Zebra Face is currently being made into a short animated series for Channel 4, due for broadcast in Autumn 2012.

Selected exhibitions[edit]


Stand & Deliver / C.A.V.E Gallery, Los Angeles, USA*


Cloak & Dagger / Other Gallery, Beijing, China*

Kill Your Darlings / Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, UK *

Rhythm Is A Dancer / Stolen Space, London, UK *


When The Smoke Clears / Concrete Hermit, London, UK *

Dust In The Giant’s Eye / Electrik Sheep Gallery, Newcastle, UK*

Ois’ Easy / Helmet Gallery, Munich, Germany*


Flying Eyeball ‘Pop Up’ Show / Gallery 27, London, UK

Seven Styles for Seven Brothers / APG Works, Sheffield, UK

Smoke & Mirrors / Stella Dore Gallery, London, UK*


Nancy Victor Christmas Show / Nancy Victor Gallery, London, UK

Stella Dore Group Show / Stella Dore Gallery, London, UK

Brothers In Arms / Mini Gallery, Belo Horizonte, Brazil


Alternativity / Truman Brewery, London, UK

Bestial / Iguapop Gallery, Barcelona, Spain

Refill Seven / MTV Gallery, Sydney, Australia

Flat Black / The Workstation, Sheffield, UK


His Life Is Full of Miracles / Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK


Picture This (War Child) / Bargehouse, London, UK

GIRLS / Myymälä 2 Gallery, Helsinki, Finland


The Big Draw / Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, UK

Graphic / Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, New York City

Application / Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Australia


Basefield / The Commons, Melbourne, Australia

Sexpo / Hixept Gallery, Grenoble, France


Graffiti: Concrete or Wallpaper? / Swiss Embassy, London, UK


Graffiti Bastards 2 / Custard Factory, Birmingham, UK


Graffiti Bastards / Custard Factory, Birmingham, UK

  • Denotes solo show