Born Charles Uzzell Edwards in South Wales, and tracing a lineage back to Sir Thomas More (the Lord Chancellor famously beheaded by King Henry VIII), Edwards’ early influence was the work of his father, the Welsh painter John Uzzell Edwards. It’s as Pure Evil, however, that Edwards has emerged as one of the leading British artists of the thriving international street art scene, exhibiting worldwide and launching the Pure Evil Gallery in London. On completing his studies focused on graphics and fashion in London in 1990, Pure Evil left what he called the “ruins of Thatcher’s Britain” at the age of 22 and struck out for California. Street art, of course, proved to be Pure Evil’s most important artistic discovery during his 10 years in California. Inspired by the initial influence of Twist and Reminisce, with a dose of skate culture thrown in, Pure Evil began tagging freeways and storefronts. Pure Evil has always considered the moniker a bit over the top, but it does justify his artistic excursions into the darker side of people and their social ills. The symbol proliferated, as rabbits often do, and so did Pure Evil. He went on to work with people involved in Banksy’s projects. After being denied re-entry into the USA, he moved back to the UK and went on to develop what would become his Nightmare Series, in which images of crying celebrities are rendered in bright colours using a stencil and spray paint technique. When asked why the celebrities are presented with elongated tears, he explains that ‘it’s an illustration of the heartbreak and sadness we have all experienced in relationships in the past.’ Pure Evil has participated in more than 50 shows in the UK and internationally, his style and insight into the world of street art is respected both in the commercial and academic art world.




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