Saturday, 24 May 2008

Soozy Who?

Pure Evil Gallery, 108 Leonard St., London.
22 May – 3 June (I think) 2008


Soozy Lipsey is a name I have never heard of before but judging by the beau monde who turned out for her show, she must be very well known to some pretty damn cool and happening people. Obviously not having heard the name before this post can’t include any cross reference to a graffiti track record, but the suspicion is that this is urban style rather than street art coming in off the streets.

Soozy uses a lot of collaging and spray, and a lot of building up of layers on newspapers and other materials and tearing strips off. Her style is reminiscent of no one more than Faile.

Favourite piece of several in the show is one which puts a new meaning to the expression a set of killer heels.




Apart from Faile, some pieces had echoes of Eine.






At a slight stretch, strong dynamic whirls may conceivably suggest a heavier form of David Ellis, so knowingly or un-knowingly Soozy has been influenced by some pretty classy street artists.




Repeated viewing of Try Your Luck, the biggest canvas on show, is a bit like re-reading a great book, you find something new every time, a truely awesome piece.




A small selection of other pieces:












After catching sight of gods like Brett Anderson of Suede browsing the Soozy Lipsey, the smelly sweaty wall licking street art hoardes took refuge downstairs in The Krah show.

With both Soozy Lipsey upstairs and The Krah downstairs in the basement celler, Pure Evil has pulled off two of the strongest shows seen to date in his idiosyncratic space. If you are going to see Doze Green in The Leonard Street Gallery next week, you’d certainly wouldn’t find 30 minutes at Pure Evil’s wasted.

A fuller set of pictures of Soozy Lipsey’s work is here.


Krah World at Pure Evil Gallery

Pure Evil Gallery, 108 Leonard St., London.
22 May – 3 June (I think) 2008



The Krah, which is Greek for the corruption of civilisation, has been mystifying sober adults and scaring babies for many years on the streets of London. Typically the street stuff is half bloated machine, half organic being with infinitely flexible bendy arms and unusual numbers of fingers, often raised in what most of us would probably consider to be a peace gesture but may well be a metal styled devils horns. Body language interpretation is confused by the fantasy metal-flesh combination but facial gestures usually convey very precisely an emotion.



The Krah with Spit, Batemans Row, London


The Krah’s street work tends to be incredibly long lived, testimony to its quality. Some of the variety of media used in this show has been telegraphed outdoors where we have seen spray paint and marker pen, highlighter pen on cardboard, marker pen on road cone, inflatable balloons and paste-ups.




The Krah with Greek buddies b. and Littll, Brick Lane. London





Inside the over active imagination of the Krah it seems the universe is populated by two forms of hybrid being. There is the mainly organic, always wearing a hood or a fiendish space fighter pilot helmet; there are mainly robotic machine beings with organic arms and often a face presented on a TV screen, more than likely a machine’s simulation of a face to signal and communicate with the other organic beings in Krah world.





The Krah has taken over the dungeon walls of Pure Evil’s 108 Leonard Street gallery, and anything remotely resembling a ledge or shelf too. A trio of Krah people on roughly the same scale as The Krah’s larger street pieces have been painted onto a crudely white-washed wall so that the heads and main torso’s captured on a canvas are part of a wider tableau which, to own in its entirety, you’d have to buy PE’s basement. Wearing bizarre helmets, these three warty gnarled people wouldn’t get many Notting Hill dinner party invites.



The dungeon’s gloomy ambience is illuminated to a utilitarian 60 watt averageness making photography very tricky without flash, so apologies for the pictures, the choice was either no flash but lose the colours or use flash but swamp the pieces in glare.

Many of the cyborgs are being swathed in tentacles, suckers seek grip on some surface or victim yet some of the suckers become orifices through which a daughter tentacle reaches out. Some of the tentacles are tipped with some form of tool for burrowing or drilling. The scale of the figures and the background is constantly switching, do the characters occupy a world, or are the beings occupied by worlds. You have to be into your future fantasy sci-fi worlds to love this stuff.





What will be very interesting next week will be to view Doze Green’s work just across the road in The Leonard Street Gallery, it will impossible to ignore a resonance between the bio-mechanical forms bursting through the canvas of both artists. Maybe some kind person can illustrate the point with pix from both shows, I’ll be on a beach.

Un-expectedly there is an enormous amount of small sculptural pieces hidden in nooks and crannies, balancing on a pile of rough bricks or sitting on window ledges.
Some pieces are cast and painted Krah creatures, others take antiquated household objects, a wall lights shade here, a small globe there and transform them with the trademark Krah face into the bio-mechanical combi denizens of the Krah universe.




Miniature slinkachu-scale people an arid desert landscape centred around a Krah faced god, perhaps the god of ordinary small lives. The Krah himself professes this working with 3D miniature worlds to be one of is favourite artistic releases.




Other sculptural curios include the global graffiti staple, a train daubed with the distinctive mark of the artist, but conveniently this is more a hornby scale model painted with a Krah creature. Even curiouser is a collection of small cast Krah models housed under moulded plastic covers like a bizarre twist in the menu of one of those mass-produced home made whole grain sandwich emporiums.




The big success of this show is the large single character canvasses. As these pieces are the most direct descendants of the illegal exterior art perhaps its not surprising to reach this conclusion.





Pure Evil is a clever and cunning strategist. Prices are written all over the walls in invisible ink, you need to ask the delightful Maria to borrow the pocket UV lamp to read them. The effect is the love it/hate it decision is un-tainted by issues of affordability and borrowing of the purple light wand is a frank and public admission of desire. It’s a bit like giving your better half a joint credit card.

This Krah show has been eagerly anticipated for some time and the breadth of the materials surpasses expectation whilst the eccentricity and bizarreness of the characters occupying Krah space bites your head off. Probably the only other street artist assaulting the eyes in this quasi insane way at the moment is Judith Supine, though the styles bear little resemblance.




What have we gained in the gallery? The NoLions Through-The-In-Door analysis suggests detail, variety, sculpture, time, finish. The Living-Rough assessment is that the elements of simplicity and speed may still be wandering the streets. I really wanted to love this show as much as I love his outdoor illegals. The large canvasses really worked big time and one of these on your wall would directly reflect what we see on the streets but in the realms of the nick-nacks and smaller paintings, some barely 2 inch by 2 inch, it felt like being at the attic clearance car-boot sale of a sci fi nerd.







Friday, 23 May 2008

Monday Update. . . .

Mighty Mo's Monkey is cropping up in an amazing array of places....well actually not that amazing as they are nearly always on top of a train bridge, but placement and execution are second to none, all done with a roller and a very long pole.

Parked my car IN FRONT of this billboard a few weeks ago, the wonders of Flcikr made me realise this was on the other side of it! A big fave for me of this style from the Burning Candy boys.

Eine Continuing to be bloody amazing, wonder if this will become a "wall" font?

Random weirdness in the shape of a photo with an astronaut called Ozzie and the text "To Donna, Love Bob". First one I found was left in situ for others to get a giggle from, then I found more and took one. Has the address www.todonnalovebob.org on it, which when visited prompts you to enter a unique code on the back of the photograph, asking for it to then be sent back to them with a promise of being contacted shortly.

I'll report back soon, if I'm still alive that is. . . . .

JR getting up at Truman Brewery, looking forward to seeing more of this at the Tate very soon.

And a half finished (or is it, I can never really tell with Conor) Harrington piece in progress on the entrance to the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

It's Still a MysterY To MME

I have often wondered if Eine is actually spelling anything out in placing his letters along our thouroughfares, from his latest spat of shutter realted daubery (at least in the order I have spotted them) here is what he has spelt so far :







So, seemingly bugger all...unless it's really subliminal?!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Banksy, No Lions, Eelus Group Show

Or Cans Festival: you created a monster


Words: NoLionsInEngland; pictures NoLions, Howaboutno 



Foreword - Cans Festival (the bits that make sense of where this post is coming from):
Cans Festival - the first preview night visit
Cans Festival - Let Us Spray - what went on in Banksy's pet project, the public access spray zone


The gauntlet was thrown down. Cans Festival includes a come-one-come-all stencil participation event and…well, you can’t get onto the "rock up and spray" ramp unless you are going to do some art.

Brooding about this on Sunday night, I wondered how the heck I could get onto that ramp to photograph some of the awesome shit being thrown up on the un-scripted walls. Monday morning had held promise of a lie-in as it was a bank holiday but a bolt of lightening hit the NoLions boudoir in the night – to get on that ramp I've just got to somehow discover the hidden artist within.

What image though? First thought was keep it small and simple, an animal silhouette, perhaps a butterfly but oh bugger hasn’t that been done to death by Messrs Evil and Walker already. Maybe a Leopard, but you couldn’t compete with Bansky’s Tag Leopard in the show. Then slowly slowly the penny dropped – how about a Lion based image.



Banksy

The story behind the name No Lions In England is that lyrical wizard Ian Brown, previously lead singer in the Stone Roses, subsequently multiple album releasing god-like genius and also long standing street art aficionado many years ago was in a group panel discussion on TV when a demonised rasta man leaps up and started loundly querying where has the lions on the England badge came from as there had never been any lions in England. Ian Brown went on to record the track No Lions In England with a thumping bass line so low the bass strings must hang somewhere down near the guitarist's ankles.

Having adopted the NoLionsInEngland monikor about 4 years ago, it seemed a good idea to create an image involving the three lions of the England football badge and add red crosses through them.

After breakfast, an image of the badge was found on the net, tidied up, transferred to the inside of the conrnflakes packet and luckily having an unused set of Stanley knive blades, the lion stencil was born. The cross was simple, and my daughter drew the words.




We checked in at Cans Festival reception,
“you got a stencil?”
“yup”
“you got cans?”
“errrrrr”

Some marshall guy allocating spaces comes over and takes us past the Colditz barrier separating the rock-up-and-spray talent from the rubber-neckers and suggests we slap ours under the Eelus tag. He then got us the black and the red sprays. The wall was as rough as a badgers rear end and as grubby as an ant-eaters breakfast so our new friend gets us some white to prep with. This guy, dark top heavy mop of curly hair if that helps, may work for PoW though we hadn’t met before and credit to him, he couldn’t have been more encouraging and helpful – we salute you.

Ably assisted by the young Little Miss No Lions, 5 minutes later we have both wielded a spray can for the first time ever and suddenly – this stencilling thing works!





And we were able to get close up pics of all the other un-billed genius’ art on that ramp - mission accomplished! Pictures of the have-a-go hereos work are here, and a description of the fun is in an earlier blog entry "Let Us Spray".









One thing the experience lacked was any kind of tension.  It was legal, authorised and totally lacking that key element of graffiti – the danger of being caught. Why stop there? Realising that stencils can be re-used and with blog compadre HowAboutNo confessing to having a stencil of his own ready to go, a couple of pints of Guiness was all it took to generate sufficient dutch courage to have a go on the streets.





How can we avoid standing out like spare pricks in Shoreditch at home time on a Wednesday evening? That’s easy, pair of chinos, pink shirt, cufflinks, 20 marlboro. We almost faded into the walls.

3 pints of Guinness and 30 minutes pass, and next thing several walls in Shoreditch appear to be ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly more vandalised than before. It seems a sort of very polite dis-obedience.




Tomorrow, we may return to the scene of the crime to get some snaps of our handiwork which we may add to this blurb.

Did it work? Tonight’s mindless wall daubing is a minuscule vindication of what the organisers of Cans Festival set out to achieve, to spread wider the use of the spray can and stencil as a means of public expression, to unleash the un-suspected and hidden talent in us all. We like to believe that this is being repeated up and down the country and the seeds sown last weekend at Cans will flourish over the coming years.






POST SCRIPT:

Cans Festival proved to be something Graffoto had to devote far more than this post to, here is the full set of related posts:

Cans Festival - the first preview night visit
Cans Festival - Let Us Spray - what went on in Banksy's pet project, the public access spray zone
Banksy, No Lions, Eelus Group Show - Banksy wanted anyone apart from artists to take up stencilling, we accepted the challenge
Cans Festival - One More Sniff - How the Cans wall art evolved in the first month or so after the event
Cans Recycled - First Peek - An un-scheduled sneak peek at the second version of Cans Festival when the tunnel was closed for a few days.
Cans Recycled Opens - Like it says on the tin
Alphabet Soup - The Cans 2 Letter Hunt - A Rarekind of letter game played at Cans Recycled
Cans2 Recycled Revisited - more.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Cans Festival - Let Us Spray

Popped down to the third and final day of Cans Festival, this time with a mission to get past the security and get some photos on the exit ramp where all the un-billed artists could rock up and spray. Conning my way past with a few stencils in my mitts, the results of this mass participation spray-a-thon are pretty awesome.

Known names seen in the spray-it-yourself area included Jef Aerosol, The Krah, K-Guy, TEK13, Mr Brain-washed (but he was everywhere), Snub, Hush, Hutch, C215, Asboluv. These regular practising crims were jostling shoulder to shoulder with a horde of enthusiastic stencilists from the beginner (I’d never sprayed a can in my life before) to the staggeringly accomplished. Here’s a selection of some of the highlights.

In the main drag, Blek had passed through, dropping a few very familiar Blek images. A number of other artists had either escaped my attention on previous visits or had done their shit since Saturday lunchtime. A sand artist had set up in the sandpit area, for a fiver you could get your picture taken sitting on his sand sofa. The staggering liberty here was his sofa totally covered Banksy’s tag leopard which would deny one of the best pieces of the show from all today’s visitors. Get out of it!


Reports of carnage - unfounded




unknowns – love the linking of the toddler and the rocket


This lad must have been about 12-14, great stencilling and impressive images:


Tonch



Regular graffoto fav The Krah



Focus



SPQR



great bat placement - unknown



Well worked – AME72



What a pile of shit. Suspect Dicky and Smif (D*Face hackers) [update: Not Dicky & Smif. and everything else written is made up as well.]



The whole event was worth running!

More pictures from the access all vandals area here:

Write up of the main artists area in the previous blog entry, and pictures from the main artists here


POST SCRIPT:

Cans Festival proved to be something Graffoto had to devote far more than this post to, here is the full set of related posts:

Cans Festival - the first preview night visit
Cans Festival - Let Us Spray - what went on in Banksy's pet project, the public access spray zone
Banksy, No Lions, Eelus Group Show - Banksy wanted anyone apart from artists to take up stencilling, we accepted the challenge
Cans Festival - One More Sniff - How the Cans wall art evolved in the first month or so after the event
Cans Recycled - First Peek - An un-scheduled sneak peek at the second version of Cans Festival when the tunnel was closed for a few days.
Cans Recycled Opens - Like it says on the tin
Alphabet Soup - The Cans 2 Letter Hunt - A Rarekind of letter game played at Cans Recycled
Cans2 Recycled Revisited - more.