To Just B – The New B-boy Art Movement

When I was 15 I was taken to a b-boy jam by my father.  For those who aren’t sure what that is, it’s where b-boys and b-girls (and often other dancers such as poppers, lockers, etc) meet to exchange, battle and vibe together.  Essentially, it’s a giant party for real street dancers and those who appreciate and support that aspect of hip-hop culture.

Of all the people I was introduced to at the b-boy jam, Hanifa Queen, formerly known as B-girl Bubbles, was of particular interest.  A legendary UK b-girl from Wolverhampton representing “The B-boys” and now legendary founding crew, T.B.B (The Bronx Boys), she was the first b-girl to compete on the same level as her male counterparts worldwide.

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With my brother at age 16, I was invited by her to join a project called Art Breaker.  She had developed a new form of art where she would place paint on her hands and feet and then literally break-dance on canvas, creating physical representations of her moves and the music. Along with maybe 5 or 6 other participants, my brother and I were among the first people to make art in this way.  As a result, my journey as a b-boy started that day, meeting and learning from my teacher Money B – but that’s a story for another time…

Almost 10 years later, Art Breaker has matured and grown into something incredible.  No longer just simply breaking to funk and hip-hop on canvas, the heavily music-inspired art form has grown to the stage that Hanifa Queen has recently launched her first exhibition, entitled Liberated Taboos, and has also expanded to putting her art on ceramics for purchase.  This has all culminated in Hanifa being nominated as one of “100 Masters of Art” in the Black Country.

Hanifa has now managed to create an art form that uses no typical mediums: no paint brushes, no spray cans, no agenda (as might be typically associated with hip-hop’s art form of graffiti), but instead, simply uses the body. Once the pieces are made, she then selects sections of the work, which she refers to as the “masters”, and edits them with the creative functions on her phone (such as superimposing and mirroring) to create some truly incredible masterpieces.

Hanifa has now advanced the art form she’s pioneered by advancing the base into three separate foundations.

  • Art Breaker: the original style, breaking directly onto canvas and nothing more.
  • Bboy Art: this is when pictures and images are created via the original techniques of Art Breaker
  • Bboyizm: where pictures are edited in geological formations to create something completely new

10 years deep this is only the start of the rise of Art Breaker, and Hanifa retains her position as a pioneer of B-girl culture within the UK and now adds to that by innovating once again and the recognition is beginning to mount.

To check out more of Hanifa’s work, visit her site and support the art.  Also, check out the 100 masters website for more info and a breakdown of Hanifa’s nomination.

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