There are always random people that come in to your life, people that you know you will always be friends with wether you see them a lot or not and Kieron (aka Kemo) is one of those people.
When I became homeless last year I was given a derelict sinking boat to live on, freezing, smashed windows boarded up with tarpaulin, no toilet or shower, full of spiders and water but it had a roof and it was in the centre of town so to me it was a blessing. My friends who I write with suggested their friend, who is best described as a nomad, come and stay so I wasn’t there on my own as it was in one of the worst areas of town so I said yes and that person turned out to be Kieron…
I managed to only be homeless for 3 months, I picked myself back up pretty rapid but through those 3 months myself and Kieron had some pretty jokes times. We have similar personalities, our interest in graffiti and the need to seek new places out that other people don’t go took us underground Manchester, being surrounded by police and police dogs in Birmingham and many other stupid situations. I also got to chat to Kieron and find out a lot about his life and see his passion for photography so I thought an interview with him would be pretty sick so my subscribers could delve in to his life a little and see some of his photgraphy which I rate so much, I think they have a real movie still feel to them, but it’s real life which makes them so sick…
So first of all I’d suggest everyone take a look at his TUMBLR , BLOG and INSTAGRAM: @the.london.vagabond all photos on this post are taken by Kieron on the mean, obscene streets of the UK! Now lets get down to the nitty.
• Give us a little bit of an outline of who you are 🙂 your age where you grew up etc
-There is no other way of describing myself other than a complete weirdo, a nomad, somebody that leads a hedonistic lifestyle and craves spontaneity. I don’t think i can be put into a box… I’m 23 years old but i still like to believe I am 15 and I grew up in London although my head has always been elsewhere.
• How long have you been in to photography? Was it something that just happened (did you get given a camera) or was it something you’d always respected and wanted to do?
– I would like to say always but i guess it was through graffiti that really pushed me into it. So since I started taking painting seriously at around the age of 15, it started by first documenting my pieces, then the location, then getting to the locations, then my friends and so on. I always wanted a good camera and the first two cameras i actually got i ended up stealing.
• I’d say from knowing you you’re a complete wanderer and an adventurer (for want of a better word) have you always been that way? Have you ever been a recluse?
-I have always been somebody that hates being in the same place for too long or i can lose my motivation. Again it comes back down to graffiti, i travelled up and down the country from 14-15 to paint new places and rack paint. I try not to stay indoors much at all.
• What inspires you and makes you feel alive? Do your general day to to missions fulfil your inspirational needs or do you want more?
– What inspires me is quiet a weird thing… The fact that I know that one day I will not be here and that day could be tomorrow! So because of that I want to be out as much as possible doing the things I love meeting new people, getting into fucked up situations. Not thinking about whats going to happen next and just generally living. My inspiration comes from a constant buzz and a constant need to chase it. I always need more…
• Who has been your favourite person/people to meet on your travels?
-There is a saying that goes ” The greatest photo I ever took is the photo that I never took.” That is the case for me some of the best characters I have ever met I have never had the chance to photograph usually out of the resect of them not wanting their photo taken which I can appreciate.
The people that always stick out in my mind are always either the most humble of people or the craziest of people.
• and what has been your favourite experience or moment?
My favourite experience Is yet to come, I couldn’t pick one single moment that has been my favourite yet. Get back to me on that in a few years time!
• what do you think has been the most dangerous?
Ermmm I would probably have to say my most dangerous was when I was up in Birmingham and I saw two guys preparing their heroin and I asked them if I could sit with them and take some photos while they sorted it out. It was fine for a couple of shots and then one just started bugging out shouting at me needle in hand, while the other was asking me to take the photos. Other than that I have felt comfortable in most the situations despite the risk.
• I know from personal experience you can meet some amazing people living your lifestyle, I probably trust my writer mates more than I do anyone I’ve ever met. Do you think you make a deeper bond with people the way you live?
-Trust no one…
• Do you wish you lived a more ‘normal’ life or are you satisfied with how things have panned out, is there anything you would dramatically change?
-I’m pretty happy so far i have no complaints at all… The only thing I guess I would change is my lack of money, If I had more money there would be a hell of a lot more content that is the only thing holding me back!
• Do you ever think you will live that normal lifestyle? House, wife, kids, job, do you think you could or would you even want to?
– I have no idea about ever having a house, the reality of that is crazy i don’t even like to think of that too much. I hope to have a good base at the least! Not sure about a wife?! A stable relationship is more important to me than a legally binding contract. I want kids 100% !!
• You’ve been in prison for graffiti related charges, you were sentenced in 2012 for being the leader of SMT crew. How was your experience there?
-I genuinely had a good time there, it was a brand new experience to me so it was like a big adventure… I only had a couple of shit days and thats when I found out that my Facebook had been hacked and deleted and I got a few angry letters from people and lost contact with a hell of a lot of people.
•Did you meet any characters or hear any stories?
-There were too many characters to mention, a few people that definitely belonged in mental hospitals, one guy that would fill up his coke cane with piss from the urinal and stand there and drink it like thats the thing to do. One guy who was really good at making things out of matchsticks who set himself on fire while trying to set his wife on fire too… there was way too many stories to hear in there.
• and apart from the fact prison is a fucking stupid system that is based around money rather than actual justice, did you take anything positive away from there (I don’t mean positive in the way that they thought they taught you, I mean did you take positivity for yourself or was it a complete waste of time)?
– I became a little bit less fussy with food since i went in there… I read a hell of a lot of books that i had always wanted to read in there to like the 48 laws of power and The art of war. Other than that i didn’t really learn too much at all, If i did i ‘ve forgotten it since i have been out.
The only other things you learn in there are how to become a better criminal and all the options available to you in the criminal world.
• So you had a pretty sweet skill to keep you going in pen, drawing etc I’ve seen your alphabet you did in there an it’s fuckin’ boss, although that got taken in one of your raids so I can’t share it, did your drawing come in handy?
I ended up drawing all sorts for people for a price so I was sketching up tattoo designs, doing portraits of peoples girlfriends, doing designs on envelopes, writing peoples names in graffiti or script, I did cards for every occasion under the sun. I even wrote love letters for people and charged them for mars bars, crisps juice, whatever I needed at the time so that was all good. It kept me busy.
• did you meet any other writers in there?
I was In with a bunch of other writers, I was in a shared cell with one of my fellow crew members, best friends and partners in crime Inta SMT and then I heard that Noir ATS who I was already good friends with was in there too and I ended up linking up with him and chilling, He would bring me the sun newspaper every day for me to read after he had finished with it. Oker & Bice GSD who we hung out with on B wing quite a lot, All I can say is Bice is a complete beast if you had the privilege of seeing the pages in his prison blackbook you would lose your mind! There were a few other heads and some local writers too.
• I only want to lightly touch this subject but I do want to touch it because I think it’s unusual for people to actually talk about this type of thing. You came to live on my boat under the conditions that you would do anything you were asked to (your idea not mine but it was definitely a good thing for me as I can’t kill spiders haha). So luckily for my readers you don’t live with a dominatrix now coz you would be otherwise tied up instead of being able to do this interview, but you did spend a lot of time with one, can you tell us a bit about that!?
-Where do i start haha… It was interesting to say the least I got to hear funny stories all the time! I remember “My Mistress” at the time telling me about one guy that would pay just to be humiliated in a specific way. He wanted to be made to wriggle around on the floor and to be called a worm! Which is cool each to there own, the thing is he was paying £250 an hour for that!!!
• Ok that’s enough of that lol I could sit and ask you crazy questions about your life all day, I haven’t even touched the subject about the knife blade that is lodged in your shoulder but I just want to know if there is anything you’d like to add before you exit this interview?
Thanks to all the people that have supported me so far! Shout out to my crew and all affiliated members!
• Thanks Kieron!