ORGAN THING: Petro and The World’s Most Stolen Book, a new collection of eleven original paintings and…

Petro – Original Painting on Anodised Aluminium. Tray framed by Fluorescent Smogg.
Size: 50 x 70cm

That book certainly was a big part of some sort of revolution back in the mid 80’s, I didn’t steal my copy, I bought it in 1984, had to order it, had to wait weeks, several people did try to steal my copy though. I do remember a big crowd of people looking over my shoulder the day I bought mine, it felt exciting to see all that art and those photographs in one place, and that New York world certainly looked exciting from where I was standing (in North Wales). We’d seen hints, that Blondie video, via the U.S hardcore punk scene that was bleeding into the Skate scene, skateboards never interested me but the culture certainly did. We’d seen hints of it in contemporary art, pop art, but nothing really prepared us for those images of trains, those full cars, the outrageous audacity of it all. I still have my now rather battered copy to hand right here. Love what Petro has done with it, love the movement, the feel of something instant in that paint, the excitement captured, the energy of the paint…     


“This new collection of eleven original paintings and Risograph Zine from Petro will be instantly recognisable to graffiti writers, fans and collectors all over the world. By filtering the pages of the seminal book Subway Art through his own process & personality Petro captures something that lies somewhere between history and memory; the culture of the movement and his own place within it. Drawing on notions of collective memory and perception these paintings remind the viewer of their own formative experiences with graffiti, perhaps even triggering their first memories of it”.

“in terms of mark making, tried to paint the paintings in a way that captures the energy, motion and movement, with the format of the pages being buried deep in the subconscious of myself and many others like me, the paintings become memory of the book”  – Petro

“Subway Art is world renowned book by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, a  portrayal of the New York Graffiti Scene first published in 1984. Known to graffiti writers, as “the bible”, its impact on the visual tapestry of society has in itself been biblical”.


“One of the UK’s most respected and innovative graffiti writers, Duncan Weston, also known as Petro, is an artist whose ‘bugged-out’ graffiti practice has been widely admired, and often emulated.

 Having started his career as a graffiti artist in the 1980s, his style is in constant movement and has earned him wide respect from the graffiti community, fellow artists and collectors alike.

​Over the years, Duncan has travelled wide and far experiencing a varied community of people and places. His pieces, often autobiographical, carry a mix of nostalgia, humour and an acute observational skill.

 Duncan’s portfolio is particularly rich, having produced work in self-published e-zines, golf courses, go-karts, merchandising, advertising, as well as canvases, prints and paper works”.

More info from Fluorescent Smogg

My well thumbed 1984 copy

One thought on “ORGAN THING: Petro and The World’s Most Stolen Book, a new collection of eleven original paintings and…

  1. Pingback: ORGAN: Five pieces of art – Wawi Navarroza’s highly stylised photographs, Wayne Thiebaud’s cakes, Kayla Mahaffey, Martha Cooper, Petro, Madeleine Strindberg’s paintings… | THE ORGAN

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