Creative Director Phunky London

Anti-heroes hero with underlying complexities

Published on April 21, 2019

We don’t know where Phunky London comes from; we certainly can’t tell where he’s heading; and, at times we can barely believe he’s with us at all.

“Phunky London is a state of mind, not a physical person,” proclaims the world art scene with a single voice.

“Well, have you met him?” I ask.

“His present is your future. No one disturbs the future,” comes their bewildering reply.

Surprisingly even GOOGLE couldn’t answer my questions about Phunky London “who, what, why” – and the harder I look, the deeper into confusion I’m carried.

To cut through the whispered rumours and endless gossip, I interview several seemingly legitimate sources … but the picture becomes even more blurred. He is this; he is that; he is a sex addict; he is an outstanding visual artist; he is a street drug dealer. He has no competition and his creativity kicks ass. He has murdered a dog in Mitte Berlin, in an attempt to save his cat’s life; Lady Gaga is just Stefani to him; he believes he is a werewolf! Dressing in nothing but a few ostrich feathers he protested in front of the Canadian Parliament for same-sex marriage rights. He is deaf and only reads lips; he suffers a severe form of phengophobia; he saved several lives by crashing his Audi R8 into a truck; he was arrested after allegedly punching a police officer in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris; and so on, and so on. Neither he nor his relations would confirm any of these stories – or even return a phone call from anyone in the press.

Only his rare Instagram posts shine light on his whereabouts, sudden fashion week appearances, private parties in Switzerland and occasional BBC Radio 1 collaborations. His highly exclusive print edition of German fashion magazine Luxenburg was announced in Düsseldorf, only later to be sold out in a matter of minutes on pre-order at an astounishing price tag of €1475,00 per copy. Packaged in yellow gold accented coal-black alligator skin boxes, handcrafted by Canadian jewellery designer Evelyn Piper. The ring of silence and halo of mystery that surrounds Phunky London is about all we can be sure of. But, having picked up and thrown down my pen several times before, this time I’m determined to see it through – I will find Phunky London.

My search started badly. I flew to Toronto to find he’d moved to Berlin; I reached Berlin to find he’d left for Kenya to take part in a humanitarian mission providing access to safe drinking water in rural communities – “just a few hours ago!” With no better leads I begin to wander from gallery to gallery and club to club seeking answers. Every other person I spoke to either leapt away as soon as I mentioned his name, or gave me such brotherly but unusually silent hugs that I begin to think, “This is it, this has got to be some sort of a cult!” I thought it, and then I said it out loud, and only then did I realize how ridiculous this whole thing really was. He is just a clever human being with animalistic intuition and I won’t let him manipulate my mind. Period!

On returning to Copenhagen I got a break – a phone call from the newsroom telling me that Mr London would be attending Copenhagen Fashion Week, and so would I! After chasing him half way round the world, here he was on my doorstep. The feeling when I first laid eyes on him was … indescribable. I literally ran towards him as he stepped off the Hugo Boss red carpet,

“May I have a word with you?” I asked, trying to keep my voice casual.

“No!” was his answer, and I just couldn’t argue with that.

The MTV guy next to me sympathised saying, “Phunky London is known for being a bit arrogant. They say he’s from the Foggy Swamp Tribe but that’s just gossip. He’s more like Tahno!” So, I keep staring at that tall, handsome young man walking away from me. As I analyze the way he moves, he suddenly stops. Standing still, he turns toward me and shouts back,

“I sense you’ve come a long way, may I ask why?”

“To ask you why!” I yell back, “What’s your life like? Two words, please!?”

He smiled, “Earth is my home. Legrady is my philosophy.”

With that he disappeared. I haven’t seen him again and I don’t want to. On that day I’d found my Phunky London.

But what did it mean? “Legrady is my philosophy” is a reference to Miklos Legrady, the globally acclaimed visual artist, photographer and painter based in Toronto. Legrady has an alarmingly impressive résumé and a list of International exhibits and academic publications that’s a little too long. He’s also known for being the only person with direct access to Phunky London. Rumours say that when in 2009 London came to his house seeking shelter, Legrady picked up his camera. In a matter of minutes he had captured the iconic image of Phunky London staring skywards in his CHANEL sunglasses embedded with Luxenburg Magazine’s logo. Years later, Legrady produced an original painting from that very first photograph, according to different sources now estimated to be worth nearly £10,000.

If that was the start of the Legrardy-London phenomenon, then the rest of their creative lives are left wide open to one’s imagination: a mystery, a possibility, an opportunity – a Phunky London.

By Jon Heggie (Contributing Editor: TIME Magazine, Fortune Magazine, National Geographic)