The graffiti scene recently lost a true virtuoso with the passing at a very young age of Jano. Jano was a master of style. He pulled off the almost impossible feat of constantly innovating and developing new directions while always remaining distinctive and instantly recognisable.
Jano, Bishopsgate 2017
Whenever you came across a Jano piece or saw his latest upload there was always a kaleidescope of geometry and colour that made the letter form almost redundant yet on close inspection Jano’s very inventive and unconventional take on letter shapes would be revealed to the patient and curious eye. You did not need to be a graff obsessive to see the beauty in Jano’s style and this cross-over appeal may explain a lot about the esteem in which Jano was held as well as something about the growing general appreciation of graffiti as a significant, valid culture.
Jano frequently painted concrete structures at the former sewage works in south west London now known as the Feltham Circles and it is at this location that a large number of tributes to Jano, by fellow writers have appeared – hat tip to Romanwg who messaged me to draw my attention to this.
Thanks also to local boy Art Of The State who pointed out that Feltham Circles is next to the crematorium where Jano’s funeral service was held. After the service and the next day friends, relatives and writers gathered at Jano’s favourite location to celebrate his life and pay tribute.
RIP Jano by Gasp, background MrMeana
Jano tribute by Paul "Don" Smith UA
Jano tribute by Sky High
Some graffiti writers, a talented few, develop a character which becomes as much a signature for their identity as their handstyle, the character is so distinctive and recognisable you are in no doubt who the creator was. Zomby has it, Tizer has it. Jano had it too. “The Boy” as the character is known, a seated character based essentially on a circle, was often found close to Jano’s graffiti and all around his usual writing haunts.
The Boy - Jano, Sclater St 2009
The Boy is replicated in homage in many of the tributes.
The Boy character homage by Chum
Jano Rest In Piece
The Boy, homage by Gem vcs
The Boy, homage by Dice
Among the many character tributes was this particularly poignant shrine, also seen closer up in the feature image at the top of this post. It is possible that this version of the character may be protected under plastic as a genuine Jano relic, comments seen online from writers paying tribute to Jano suggest this may be the case.
I met Jano on just a few occasions many years apart and found him courteous and tolerant of my intrusion on his painting. RIP Jano, not forgotten.
Jano work in progress, Shoreditch 2017
With apologies to all those writers and friends of Jano whose art features in this post but who through my ignorance I can't credit. If you know who any of the uncredited pieces are by, just drop me an email: nolionsinengland at gmail or insta DM @dave_stuart_ldn, all polite messages most appreciated!
All photos: Dave Stuart