Interview with Prefab 77


Peter Manning, aka Prefab77, is an artist who has origins in the north of England, California and New York.

Creating, hard edged and stripped down artwork that is often political, sometimes anti-establishment, but always beautiful he weaves small pieces of modern popular culture, pure rock and rebellion reflecting on the passing of our familiar institutions, shadowy establishment on the take and take small bites out of the underbelly of our modern culture that gets more bizarre with each passing day.

It is a dark word of money, fashion, music and politics woven into a luxurious mixture of acrylic, spraypaint, wheatpaste and varnish. He is the Gentle Young Giant.


Hi Peter, today you are presenting for Music On Walls some of your favorite artworks inspired by music. Can you tell MoW how Music is represented in your artworks?




Music is central to most of the pieces I produce, with small pieces of popular culture; money, street, religious, musical and political affiliations, woven into visually beautiful allegorical portraits.

Titles are usually album, singles or tour titles of bands ranging from Glam Rock, Mod, Ska, Punk, Post-Punk, New Wave, Heavy Metal etc. There is a mine of inspiration from some of the most explosively creative people ever born.

For instance, "Living for Kicks" is from a Mod Novel but the imagery is inspired by the tragic Altamont gig by the Rolling Stones.


"Rudys in Love" - Prefab 77








What is your favorite piece between the ones presented today? 

I think "Rudys in Love" (left) is one of my favorite pieces. The original Skingirl piece was one of the first pieces of art I ever produced, she was beautiful, romantic but was noboby's doormat.

I played with the colors of her lips and eyes using golds, silver, greens and other bright colors which proved super popular. This is an update on that theme. The model in the picture is someone I met in the same bar that I produced a 30ft Skingirl mural on a couple of years before, it was like she came off the wall right in front of me so I got her in the studio soon as I could.








How would you describe your art? 

It's a constant battle between visuals, meaning, relevance, style, subject, aesthetic, perception, narrative, substance, originality, theft, construction, destruction, influence, rock, rebellion, fake, real, nihilism, optimism and above all the desire to avoid boredom.

The Prefab77 creative direction has Music/Fashion/Politics at its heart. The process is principally ripped and torn patterns across a range of subjects with the patterns often having musical lyrics and iconography woven in. 


10 years ago I came across an amazing dungeon in London with vintage mags of all kinds but had original Melody Makers and NMEs going back to the early 70's. The titles pages and spreads were a mine of soundbites and imagery I bought £1000 worth and immediately started to use in my work. This technique has evolved over time but the pieces still have Punk titles, torn pieces and badges woven in. Our first show at Lazarides gallery in 2008 had Skingirls, Bikers and Dr. Marten boots with adaptations of Motorhead, the Clash, Meatloaf, AC/DC, the Smiths and Ska references.





The style came to the attention of Dr. Martens from which I created a series of pieces for their offices and stores and also to David Johansen of the New York Dolls who invited me to create their last and final album cover 'Dancing Backwards in High Heels'. (right)

It was a big honor as these guys influenced much of the music I grew up with and admired.






Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art?

Music is probably the most visceral of all art forms. Beyond all other external experiences it triggers emotions, memories, feelings both raw and intellectual at the same time. It's important! As simple as that. It's an ever evolving art form that builds on the genres and decades before but renews itself over and over. I am a person that hates silence and I am grateful to live in an era that provides an infinite choice of music across all categories.

Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians ?

Actually yes. Figures, portraits and all things ripped and torn is my main style and music will always be the backdrop but I have produced a series of cheeky, fun winking figures which has been a bit of a trademark of Prefab’s with the Queen, Winkin’ Linkin, Winkin Churchill and Mao all getting a reference but next round may come from the world of rap and hip hop. But finding the right subject always takes a lot of thoughts... Suggestions are always valued.

Do you listen to music when your working ? 

Constantly! Across a range of decades, I am definitely not one to stick to a faction. If it's good it's getting listened to!

If it's sunny; Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Dre.

If it's Rainy; Alt-J, Roy Ayers, Freddie Hubbard, Giles Peterson.

If I am painting, UNKLE, Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Pixies, Slaves, Biffy Clyro, Twilight Sad, Skids, Stiff Little Fingers and the Jam with Morrissey thrown in.

What is the song you like the most at the moment?

Twilight Sad ALWAYS gets a bashing but now that my three boys are old enough to have their own taste I am actually getting music that they like now. My eldest is loving Easy-E, J.Cole and the others love the Gorillaz.


My best right now are :

Michael Franti and Spearhead - Oh My God
A Twighlight Sad - That Summer
Slaves - Are You Satisfied
Buck 65 - Blood of a Young Wolf
Easy-E - Boyz-N-the-Hood
Bowie - Where Are We Now

(click the video the listen to Prefab77 best songs)


What was the last gig you went to? 

Last gig I went to was the Young Fathers, a hip hop trio and one of the most arresting and unusual acts I've ever seen.

Are you a musician yourself? 

I’m not a musician but would have loved to have been. There's something immediate about the music art form that doesn’t happen in art which stirs as deep but boils slower. I had a different calling I guess.

How would you see yourself as a musician?

If I could, I'd have been a Damon Albarn character, not defined by one particular sound and able to collaborate with the best in the business while producing amazing concepts around genuine tracks.