Smile And Say hello

This is a small post about The Smile campaign that I have been actively involved in recently.

Part of my illustration process is to make drawing s of people I see when travelling around London. I notice that a majority of the time people are in there ‘zone’ and there is very little ineraction. So , I thought that by using some of the sketches I made of people in Crouch End a positive message could be expressed. With the support of The Crouch End Festival seven of the illustrations were printed up and placed around N8. This led onto some coverage in print and on screen. Here are a few of the highlights.

SMILE snapshot copy



This was the original publicity.

Artist seeks to bring community together through ‘smile and say hello’ poster campaign

A north London Illustrator & graphic artist, Sean Azzopardi, has created a campaign designed to bring communities together and is hoping to get the Government to back his idea.

The campaign, ‘SMILE AND SAY HELLO. CONVERSATIONS START COMMUNITIES’ is being tested in Crouch End in North London.

The idea is simple, if we start to speak to our neighbours that starts a conversation which leads to stronger communities. And stronger communities have less crime and social problems, help each other and offer support in crisis.

Each of the 7 posters feature an illustration of a diverse selection of local people and is being placed in local streets on lamp posts and backed by postcards in café’s and community spaces.

But Sean is not revealing the identities of those he’s illustrated to protect their privacy.

“I am amazed that cities like London can be such isolating places, so many people walking past their neighbours, but never exchanging even a word. So I thought if I could get them to at least smile and say “hello” that would break the ice and start conversations that would create a sense of community. It’s worked in my road, I now know most of my neighbours and every year we have a great street party.”

Catherine West, local MP said,

“We know that close community ties make our environment better and our neighbourhoods safer. We can all get involved in the Smile campaign and get to know each other better, we’ll create even better communities.”

Sean is hoping his campaign could go London wide and even nationwide.

“It’s a simple idea and simple ideas tend to work.” 

Sean is also the official artist of the UK’s biggest community arts festival, the Crouch End Festival, who are backing the campaign. Local ethical ad agency Creative Orchestra are sponsoring it. 

“The Festival is amazing, it brings the community together through creativity, so it’s a great honour to be the official artist.” 

Festival artistic director, and a founder of London Community Arts, Chris Arnold, commented, “The Festival is now UK’s biggest community arts festival so we are backed Sean’s campaign as bringing together community is the cornerstone of what we do.” 

Sean’s work has appeared in numerous graphic novels including acclaimed titles such as Necessary Monsters, Twelve Hour Shift and Dark Matters. He has also worked on ads – recently he created a highly successful poster campaign for the youth charity Brook.

Chris Arnold, who is also Creative Director of ethical ad agency Creative Orchestra, responsible for the Brook campaign, commented, “Sean is an amazing talent, his work really connects with young people and his illustrations have helped Brook communicate sensitive messages with teenagers.”

The story was then picked up the Ham And High, who did a full page feature.


(Pic – Polly Hancock )

I was then contacted by someone in N8 who worked for the Wright Show, and I was asked if I would like to go on the show and talk about the posters.

Which I did.

(The episode is available until 02/06/16 – My bit is around 11ish.)

There has been a positive response to the posters, and it was definitely worth doing.

I have stopped for now, as i’ve run out of posters and money. There has been quite a few request for buying posters. My intention with this project was not for monetary gain, so I have uploaded  the images for anyone to use.

If you like what you see and would like to commission me for illustrations, then please get in touch.