“Addiction isn’t a hindrance, it’s a gift, you just have to learn how to use it”
Since the age of thirteen, Ed Worley, AKA Opake, has been fascinated with graffiti art. He was instantly enchanted with the idea that anyone could create large-scale artworks for the public to see and access, for free. At first, Opake began experimenting with tagging and later developed his artworks into monumental murals, featuring both elements of calligraphy and illustrative images. Now, he is known for depicting cherished cartoon characters in new, exciting ways, such as a glitching Mickey Mouse, or Pink Panther, situated amongst a background of skulls. This unique style is self-described as the “disintegration of pop culture”, by Opake. A key theme in his work is ‘insanity’, after having dealt with drug-induced psychosis himself. He plays with the infamous definition of ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.`, with the creative twist of subtly breaking the repetition of his characters, replicating his own story of overcoming addiction.
Having dealt with addiction for much of his life, Opake is now clean, sober, channelling this into his art. As he got better, he started to think about what addiction was to him. He realised that art could become his addiction, as he felt that it wasn’t just an illness but also, when used correctly, a gift: “In my opinion, anyone with those tendencies can easily abuse them, but if you harness that ability, it's incredible”. In addition to this, Opake also started utilising social media to gain a following around his art. He now boasts over 120K Instagram followers, and due to the connections he has made, his work has been exhibited internationally in countries such as Japan, Mexico and the United States.