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BRIGHT FUTURE

Photographs by Andy Stagg

His kaleidoscopic art has made walking through the capital more joyful these past few months. But Yinka Ilori’s trademark optimism runs deeper than his palette, learns Joanna Taylor

Grabbing time with Yinka Ilori is tough. Between photo shoots, negotiating with potential retailers and working on projects at his studio, he’s a busy man. So it comes as a surprise to me that after almost an hour of chatting on the phone and my 134th question, he’s not rushing me off the line.

If you don’t know Ilori’s name, you should because the designer has likely brought a smile to your face long before you started reading this. Whether you climbed his Dulwich Colour Palace last summer (‘It brought people together, which was amazing’), cycled through Happy Street in Wandsworth (‘I found the response… overwhelmingly incredible’), walked past one of his many motivating murals or have strolled past Selfridges recently, thousands of Londoners have been privy to his work.

"it was a bit more than just colour. It was about my identity"

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"You get to understand that colour and what people wear is part of their culture, where they’re coming from"

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"someone will replace me at some point. I won’t be the exciting thing in 30 or 40 years time and I’m okay with that"

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