Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Beauty in Ugly People!

Every so often an artist comes along who takes a certain style or idea and makes it their own. It can be seen across all spectrums from painting to graphic design and illustration. The last few years has seen a real growth in the world of illustration with the endless possibilities of digital tools leading to a slight saturation of the market with styles becoming a little boring and same same. Slowly things began to hark back to a more hand drawn approach but with the use of tablet technology, a perfect meeting point for analogue and digital! 

Out of this melting pot came great artists like Mcbess, Jack Teagle and Ben Newman to name a few. Each of these guys have created a style and aesthetic that is instantly recognisable, even against the thousands of imitations they've spawned. And Aberdeen's own Ugly People is another name to add to the list. Ugly People aka Lee has been creating his own unique characters for a few years now, beavering away behind closed doors until the opportunity to work on the Hell Yeah group show came up in 2013. This was my first introduction to Lee and his work despite almost crossing paths a number of times in the past on other mural projects. Since discovering his work I've watched from my phone screen as his instagram feed filled up with sketches and projects like the live drawing event at North Hop and most recently for the Painted Doors project (see video at the bottom).

Combining the every day with the weird gives Lee's work a feeling of the familiar, a sense of the every day but through a slightly warped filter. A giant condom rides his skateboard arms aloft, a ghoul chain smokes from his favourite arm chair, a bottle of beer drinks a human dry and a weary mountain makes his way home, keys in one hand, knife in the other! Sticking primarily with black and white, each character has a simplicity with little background to distract the viewer and some have a great sense of movement despite being a still image. The viewer can create their own story of how each character came to be, where they may be going but they also work as a still moment in time, to be appreciated for its wonderful weirdness. 

Lee has been on a real mission of late to draw as much as possible and has been producing short runs of prints and a special zine which collects some of his most recent work. You can pick up all the goods via his online shop here, I'm running out of space myself but my walls will be better off with a few Ugly People characters, especially with 3000 followers in instagram all wanting to cop his goods! You can keep up to date with Ugly People via his instagram and make sure to get something before they sell out and he retires to the weird world hes created for himself.