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The world of street, stencil and graffiti art has endured aconstant battle with the issue of public property and the right to expression. More often than not, it garners public attentionbecause its symbols and themes (passionate yet anonymous pleas tosociety brought on by dispossession, inequality and frustration)are equated with sheer vandalism. Nonetheless, it finds a natural partner in forms of urban music such as Hip Hop and these sub-worlds of art, music and other modes of creative expressionband together to form an urban culture whose styles may differ fromone city to the next, but whose roots are invariably the same.

Stencil artist, DJ and long-time Grey Lynn resident and patriot Component has been practising long enough to watch the slowgentrification of his home suburb and the more starkcommodification of his musical passion. As he explains, &ldquo Hip Hopculture has been going through a metamorphosis, transforming from amouthpiece for the dispossessed to a hideous cartoon used to sell everything from soft drinks to porn.&ldquo However, rather thanchannelling his disgust and anger into bitter outlets, Component seeks to illuminate the positive aspects and opportunities of the urban growth and gentrification and its parallel in Hip Hop, bringing together the authenticity of the pastwith the immediacy of the present. Component's work isthematically varied yet stylistically linked Subjects range fromodes to fallen hip hop legends to political critiques on censorshipand conformity Boba Fett standing guard on Ponsonby Road to QueenElizabeth II rocking the turntables. Component's solid line workand eye for detail ensure his pieces leap out from canvases andbrick walls alike and his choice of stencil and spray as a painterly medium makes equal use of his early training inprintmaking and his love of graffiti.

Both the suburb of Grey Lynn and the culture of Hip Hop may have been changed forever by commercial interests, but Component'sattitude and art captures the old-school spirit of both communities, recontextualising it for the present day. True to hispassion for his suburb and his art, Component chooses to shares hisskills and knowledge with others, running workshops on art and DJing to enable others to find their voice.

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