Tuesday, 23 February 2016

London And How To See Lots of Art - Part 2!

Day 2 in London was my gallery day, a chance to check out some shows and visit some new galleries. Armed with my iPhone I set off from Whitechapel in the hopes that my google maps wouldn't lead me on any wild goose chases and kill my phone battery!

First up 'Life Work' by Martha Cooper, renowned graffiti documentor at Stolenspace Gallery. Anyone who is interested in graffiti should know Martha and her seminal photo book Subway Art. Ask anyone from the higher echelons of the modern graffiti movement and they will all cite Martha's book as a huge factor in getting them out bombing the streets from London to Paris to Rome and back to NYC. I'll be doing a seperate post about the show as it deserves it! 

A little further up brick lane I found Proof London showcasing work by Vents137 and Miha Kosmac. Vents137 showcased some nice canvas pieces, harking back to the golden age of graffiti with trains and old skool characters adorning each piece, very much an aerosol affair. Miha's abstarcted blobs of colour follow suit, revealing what looks like steam locomotives continuing the train theme. Or it could just be random shapes. Hit up the PROOF facebook page for pics from the show and further info about the artists. 

Not a gallery per se but still worth checking out is the Rebels Alliance store. One part clothing brand, one part custom bike shop, they sell various high end items from t shirts to custom bikes, all emblazened with motifs and logo's by your man D*Face. I spotted his own custom bike out side the shop while photographing his new mural and looked up just as he walked in. I was tempted to go and speak to him as I've been a fan of his work for years but decided to move on. It was only later I found out they had a showcase happening in store by master sign and letter master The Striper. Should have gone in.

After stumbling across a new Broken Fingaz Crew mural I popped into 'Neverended: A 10 Year Retrospective by Endoftheline'. Featuring work from all and sundry, it proved to be popular with a ton of school kids pilling in just as I was leaving, just imagine being exposed to the work of SheOne, Mr Jago, Sickboy, Stendec, 45rpm and Will Barras to name a few, on a school trip! Some increidible work by all involved. 

A hop, a skip and a jump brought me south of the river in search of the Lazarides Editions space which is currently hosting a special show of new prints by Robert Del Naja aka 3D of Massive Attack fame. His distinctive style and aesthetic has been developed over decades with motifs and designs relating back to many of Massive Attacks album covers. The organge glow of the Heligoland cover almost glitters next to the black hearts on the main wall. The show coincided with the release of a new ep from Massive Attack, Ritual Spirits which also gave the show its name. I've covered it in a bit more depth in a seperate blog post here.

A bit tired and weary I stupidly decided to skip the 'Still Here - A Decade of Lazarides' show at their other gallery and instead went to check out the Standpoint Gallery and hoped to catch Fiona MacDonald whom I met via Peacocks last year, little reminder of her show here. Sadly she wasn't working but I did get to check out 'The Return of the Nullifiers' collaborative show. With quite a small space to work in it felt like every wall, cupboard and liftshaft has been utilised to show work but without it feeling crowded. A giant walrus, tapestries, videos and objects of desire await those who dare! 

I got a little lost looking for the Jealous studios but stumbled across the Pure Evil Gallery. I'd come across Pure Evil's work in London before and also Reykjavik where he'd covered an entire wall in his characters. His most recent work focus on celebrity portraits reduced to simple shapes, stencil style with a single dripping eye with a few special pieces like the silver David Bowie print you can see below. The bigger gallery space just up the road still had a few canvases on display by Stinkfish which are anexplosion of colour along with a load of other work down across its two floors. Definitley a gallery ill be checking out again.

My final stop of the day was Jealous London. Set across 4 floors in the middle of Shoreditch, Jealous is a multi faceted beast with shop and gallery space on the ground floor and print work shop and studios above. I was blown away by the current show 'Cut It Out' by Joe Webb which featured a load of new prints and original collage pieces. I was lucky enough to see Adam Bridgland, studio manager at Jealous who very kindly gave me a tour of the building from the incredible roof space where different artist's have been invited to create a new mural each month to the busy print studios which were a flurry of activity creating editions for some massive artists and shows. 

The perfect way to cap off a pretty full on day really. Always good to see places and people you normally only like on facebook or instagram like The Doodle Man's tunnel and I have to say the reception from the staff at all the galleries and spaces I visited was top notch, really friendly and informative. Apart from D*Face, he just looked at me like I was a bit of a weirdo. I am!