This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 10/08/2017.
Wesley Baker brings music and street art together
The founder of CDN, Wesley Baker, is a photographer and event organiser based in Croydon. Wesley is one of many community members actively working on the downtown area’s regeneration and specifically the street art movement.
After leaving Coventry University, Wes returned to Croydon and began immersing himself in the tech and art communities. He was frustrated with people’s misconceptions about Croydon and aimed to create a better image through branding.
“I would talk to people about Croydon and their eyes would glaze over and the shutters would come down,” said Wes.
CDN is an abbreviation based on the railway codes given to areas such as LDN for London. Although, the Croydon based brand also has multiple meanings such as “Cant Do Nothing” and “Culturally Diverse Network”. Wes would like the brand abbreviation to be fluid and mean anything that the community would like.
Wes began designing shirts with the CDN logo to raise awareness of his ideas. “I thought people could wear it with pride if they took to it,” said Wes. He designed the logo with multi-coloured triangles that symbolise different cultures and diversity in Croydon.
Wes’ brainchild called the Street Art Jam was held on 23rd July. Twenty-three artists came together at the Croydon Arts Quarter to celebrate Croydon’s past and future. The people featured in the event were live musicians and street arts. Wes was inspired by the Femme Fierce street art event that took place in the same area two years before.
The festival combined live mural painting by local artists and live acts by local musicians. They street artists were asked to paint the likeness or a concept related to a significant Croydon musician who was associated with the borough. Featured on the walls were musicians such as the famous singer Amy Winehouse and grime artist Stormzy. The Street Art Jam only covered a fraction of the forty-eight musicians who Wes thinks should be represented on concrete in Croydon.
Wes has extremely high hopes for Croydon’s future and is already planning next year’s Street Art Jam. He plans to use CDN to start multiple community projects. Wes is currently brainstorming ways to incorporate youth into street art culture. He would like young artists to know that “you can be a part of this, you can make a change and shape Croydon in your image.”
CDN is constantly encouraging local artists, whether they be musicians, painters, photographers or designers to be proud of the community. “You don’t have to leave to make it. You can stay where you live and make a difference. Be a part of the scene,” said Wesley.
“We are the Croydon scene. Come into our community and see what we’re doing.”