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SEAN john presents:
keith vlahakis

Started as part of Black History Month, our Sean John Presents series features exclusive, limited edition collaborations with the Black artists you need on your radar. Next up is South African-born Keith Vlahakis

An illustrator, Letterer, Pop artist and Street artist, Keith Vlahakis likes to describe himself as a "Creative Pluralist". He cites graffiti, extreme sports, video games, streetwear and comic books as inspiration. That these combined with a love of hip hop culture during this teen years in the 90s are what kicked off his creative journey.

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black lives matter

Keith created the Black Lives Matters artwork featured on the exclusive, limited edition Sean John tee after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Seeing the reactions of millions of people across the globe after the brutal murders was a harsh wake-up call to him. "As people of colour worldwide, we have always known that police brutality and the harsh reality of systemic racism was a part of our existence, tragic and poignant to hear, something that hangs over our subconscious. Our battle is a daily battle for our dignity, our freedom, economic empowerment, and our basic human rights to be met. The grief and anger I felt was overwhelming. I had to use that energy for something better.

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"Street art has always had its roots and foundations in DIY protest art and anti-establishment movement. I used my portfolio page to share a free downloadable typographic protest poster. During that time, I felt it was my duty to act as a vessel for the art. I turned to the writings of Malcom X, Frantz Fanon, Nelson Mandela and the teachings of Martin Luther King. The art was for the movement, for the empowerment of the people demonstration, for equality for people of colour. BLACK LIVES MATTER. If we have a voice or a platform, it can be used for good and positivity."

"As a street artist and letterer, my work is usually positive and focuses on nostalgia and pop culture. I usually steer away from politics, but it was a quote by Nina Simone that inspired me to take action: 'It is an artist's duty to reflect the times.' Nina Simone spoke out against racial injustice back when people feared for their lives to do so.

SEAN JOHN X
KEITH VLAHAKIS

"What this partnership with Sean John meant to me, firstly, is that anything is possible. If our hearts are set right and our intention is pure. It also shows the power of collaborative thinking. It shows the power of unity and creativity. This partnership is a moment that is bigger than me or my work," says Vlahakis. "If we continue to fight and use our voices and mediums in an authentic way, as artists we can truly help and inspire change. I have been a fan of Sean John for many years and to work with Sean John is a dream. I'm inspired by the fact that we could connect on a positive, authentic level."

Discover the art of Keith Vlahakis https://www.behance.net/MrKeith
IG@keithvlahakis

Keith Vlahakis Collection