Underground Artist

What do freehand drawings of the London underground tube map reveal about some of London’s  leading underground artists? Trina John-Charles and Psycologist Dr. Funke Balfour find out.

We grouped together some of the UK’s leading underground artists and asked them to draw the London Underground tube map from memory… why? Well, just for a laugh really. Then we thought we should probably add some kind of journalistic element, being that we are such a cool, cutting-edge publication. So, without revealing any name, age, or gender, TV psychologist and life coach, Dr. Funke Baffour, kindly analysed each artist based on their drawing. This is what she found…

Big Narstie
This is interesting. This person hasn’t really drawn this to any form of proportion. They haven’t used the appropriate colours either. The Victoria Line is black… does that symbolise a black identity, black community? I don’t know. They have also just written landmarks, things that are important to them. The way the Victoria line is drawn, I feel like this is someone that likes to go to Brixton and Victoria may be the central aspect of it. The other landmarks such as Tottenham and ‘Gos Oak’ are possibly to do with either work or relationships. I think this is a person that doesn’t want to fit in with the norms of society, because they have drawn the map just as they see fit and it looks like they are quite comfortable with what they have drawn.

I think this is a person that just does what they want and doesn’t feel like they have to be confined to what is necessary. This person is a success in their own right. I didn’t get a sense of confusion, I got a sense of ‘I know what I want, I’m proud of who I am and this is my identity. Love me or leave me.’ This person is very proud of who they are. I would say continue being proud, because you have your own identity.

P Money
This person has tried to draw the map to detail but in doing so, I got a very confused type of person from this. This person is trying to do things from memory, but it’s in a very chaotic way. To me, this is someone that tries to remember too much, or tries to cram too much in. I would ask if they have an identity, or do they tend to conform? It’s more representative of the map than the first one, but I feel like there’s no originality. This person feels under pressure to get things right and saw this as more of a test, rather than a freedom of expression. They want to get it right, but I don’t feel they are going about it in the right way.

[Editors Note: we thought your drawing was actually the best one, P. Money.]

Sukh from production duo True Tiger

I love the red and the yellow. This person likes bright colours and is expressive, but in a confined sort of way. He/she has listed most of the Central Line, so that might be central to their life, or where they have made the most progress in their life. They’ve also highlighted the Circle Line, so they probably have strong links in those areas. Then there’s just one line for the Victoria Line… the colours are right, but they’ve only listed Brixton. So possibly Brixton could be where it all began? Or it is a special place. I think this is a person who is on a journey and obviously the journey has advanced much more from where he/she started off. This person also sees themselves as being much bigger… much bigger than what people believe he/she could be. I like that the Central Line has just gone off the page. This is someone who wants to go far out, out of the UK, possibly to America, but they won’t be confined. This is not a person who will listen to what people say. I think it’s quite interesting that they haven’t drawn the Underground as the Underground, all the lines are quite distinct from each other, but tied in closely with their identity. This person wants to go far and I can see him/her thinking beyond the UK.

Oh wow… as far as this person is concerned they like to shop. This person is all about shopping. Their identity is through their clothes. I don’t get a sense of who they are as a person. I also see this as a person who has so much more to them, but what they are fixated on is what they have externally. I don’t know who this person is, but they could possibly wear a lot of jewellery and expensive clothing. This is what they have attributed to their identity which is quite sad, because I can’t see who they are from this. You can tell by someone’s drawing or art what their inner soul is, but I think this person hides behind exterior things. If he is a he, he would probably be someone with a trophy girlfriend. I would say stop spending money on things that are not adding any value to your life. There is more to you than the clothes you put on your body. I’d like to challenge this person to a task: Write down ‘who am I?’ and nothing should be attributed to the things that you have own or have brought.

This says to me, ‘In my mind, I am the person on this page and you will never really know who that is’. I think this is someone who is a bit airy-fairy and takes every day as it comes. This is also someone who is very poetic. They are into poetry and rhyming. I also feel that this is someone who doesn’t want to give away too much. This is also someone that would be a bit of a joker, but when people are always telling jokes there is an internal side to them that that they don’t want us to see and they use the external side of themselves to express themselves. I think this person expresses themselves through art/poetry, but I don’t think they give anything away. He/she is all about clues, ‘if you don’t understand me, then that’s up to you’ and they have given us the underground as they see it, ‘if you don’t quite get me, that’s your doing. I know who I am and you’ll just have to figure it out’. They like riddles. This is someone who, when in a relationship, the other person doesn’t know if they are coming or going. In a way, they could be in their own world they have created for themselves and that could be lonely. Show people who you really are, people may not get the riddles all the time.

Krept & Konan
I get the feeling that these two are in tune with each other, even though they are quite different, they have qualities that really spark off each other and create magic. I can’t really analyse this properly as I’m being presented with two people, but what I can see, is that there is a good working partnership here. Even though they have disagreements, they can always come to a point where they can agree. Their pictures are quite separate, ‘I’m doing the circle line’, ‘I’m doing the Northern line’ but they get the job done and they get on well. You can tell they are also a true comedy act, they like to have fun. Continue having fun.

This is interesting… this person really feels that they need to be contained. I got from this a person in a lot of chaos, but at the same time there’s a sense of desire and of peace. This isn’t drawn to scale, the circle line doesn’t really do that either, but they have put in the significant things. This is someone who desires containment. They know what they think they want, but they are in too much chaos to actually get it. They’ve just drawn the lines, then the landmark, which reads to me like, ‘I want this. I want that, I want that, but I don’t know how to get there’. They know the destination but they are unable to get there, because they are focusing on too many things. There is a lot going on. This person has a lot of creativity, but can’t concentrate on the things that are important. My advice to this person would be to just to work on one or two things, because it seems like they are focused on too many things at once. This is a person that really needs to follow a step-by-step approach. They have an ability… they have an amazing ability, there is just too much chaos and their attention is in too many places.

A Dot
This is someone who I would say is quite rigid, to the point where they have near enough done the map to scale. From memory, they have remembered quite a lot. This someone that for me, likes things in a very fixated way, or in a very systematic manner… I wouldn’t be surprised if they have lists and likes to get things done. In a relationship, this person is the organiser. The reason I say that is because, this is the person who has drawn the map the most accurately. They have drawn stations like Epping… this is someone who knows their way around. This is a very wise person. Don’t underestimate this character. They know what they want and they are determined to get they want. This is somebody who is not afraid to express themselves. This person is very controlled. The only advice I will offer is, if they feel like they are getting where they need to be, continue doing what you are doing. If they feel like they are overloaded, take a step back. I feel like this is someone with very high expectations. When you have high expectations of someone and you’ve been let down, you feel like that person has let you down, but it is your expectations that have let you down. So lower your expectations of others… but still have high expectations of yourself. I feel this is someone who may get let down quite easily, because of their rigidness.

Dr. Funke says: ‘Analysing drawings is so powerful, because it is much more about what someone does rather than what they say. You can’t hide behind anything. You can easily reveal your inner most thoughts, fears and feelings through drawing.’

Trina John-Charles