Saturday, 30 June 2012

High Roller Society Teeshirt Printing with Copyem

10 Palmers Rd
London E2 0SY

Sat 30 June & Sun 1 Jul 2012, 1pm - 5 pm

Copyem: Facebook; Tumblr

All photos: NolionsInEngland

This Graffoto scribe has learned a bit about various forms of printing at workshops which run by High Rollers Society gallery in East London.  As the NoLions wardrobe is notably bereft of cool teeshirts, a teeshirt printing workshop looked like too good an opportunity to miss.

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Copyem, master of tee shirt printing, has been printing teeshirts, sweat shirts, hoodies, vests, tote bags as well as vinyl, paper and boxes for a couple of years out of his own  fully equipped studio.  High Rollers bumped into Copyem at Pick Me Up, the contemporary graphic art fair at Somerset House earlier this year and that chance encounter between kindred spirits led to this workshop this weekend.

Copyem brought some screens and some basic teeshirt printing equipment to the gallery.  Not to damn with faint praise but for multicolour printing and larger volumes Copyem uses 8 frame carousels which are not practical to schlep across London to the gallery, hence the basic gear in use today.

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Graffiti Is For Losers - Copyem12

The first step in the process is obviously, create your artwork, which leads onto the second step, burn your screen.   Step 1 was fulfilled by several notable artists and Copyem had already burned the screens back at base.

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Copyem screen

Handy tip alert - Copyem applies an abundance of tape to the screen outside the image area in case there are spots where the photosensitive chemical didn’t harden in the burning process, so the parcel tape prevents un-wanted ink leaking through those spots. The screens are clamped into the screenprinting press with the image centralised.  A light spray of adhesive to prevent the teeshirt from slipping around preceeds the stretching of a teeshirt over the wooden base.   

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Young Master NoLions - Scientists discover lack of can skills is hereditary

The screen is charged with screenprinter ink, though other forms of acrylic and water soluble ink can be used, and the squeegee is used to drag ink across to “flood” the screen.

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Flooding complete, the ace printer makes two or three passes across the screen with the squeegee to force the ink through onto the teeshirt.  We were all ace printers for one afternoon!

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When the image looks solidly printed, the screen is lifted and a heater element placed a couple of inches over the tee to dry the ink off.  Rumours abounded of people popping tees into the oven or under the grill to complete this stage.  

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Hey presto, super cool kid with the hottest teeshirt around.

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At the workshop we saw three different designs being printed , the purple Goldpeg above and  a black on white “Graffiti is for losers" and a pink (ok – fushia) coloured character by Copyem12.   Anyone could have a go at printing the Copyem designs which could be taken away for a fairly nominal donation to the costs.  The Goldpeg and couple of ultra cool multi colour Rowdy and Sweet Toof tees were available to buy from the gallery.   The Sweet Toof tees came with a special screen printed Toof image which looked to have uniquely varied backgrounds.

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Rowdy, Goldpeg, Sweet Toof

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Sweet Toof screenprints (inside the teeshirt packages)

The compact layout of the High Roller Society gallery makes for a very intimate workshop experience, participants not only get to see every aspect of the process close up, the “vibe” lends itself to informal discussion with the expert presented as the workshop progresses and everyone gets to have a crack as well.    If you are reading this on Sat 30 June 2012 or before 5 pm Sunday 1 July then there is  a chance tomorrow (Sunday) for people who couldn’t make today to have a go and (or) to pick up some of those cool teeshirts.  Well worth a quick visit.

Copyem: Facebook; Tumblr

PS - a tiny selection of the cool schiz from the Good Times Roll Show now on at High Rollers- another good reason for heading down to High Roller Society:

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Numskull (Aus)

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Martin Lea-Brown

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Remi Rough

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Dark Clouds (NY)

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Milo Tchais

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Dark Clouds (NY)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Banger Art - Part II

13 Jun 2012 - 1 night only
then Lovebox Festival, Victoria Park, London
15 Jun - 17 Jun 2012

all photos NoLionsInEngland,

In case you missed Part 1 of Graffoto’s news and views from Banger Art, check it out here (opens new window or tab or something) for background and loads of artwork.

Eine, Will Barras, Aida, Sweet Toof

Did you know Pablo Delgado also painted? News to us but a reliable source identified these coarse and somewhat KKK channelling figures as by Pablo.

Pablo Delgado

Matt Small paints anonymous humanity, defusing the stereotype and reducing the inferred intimidation. In this show Matt paints on car bonnets and doors, revisiting a format he showed at Black Rat Press in early 2009 but let’s face it, there aren’t many forms of reclaimed metal that Matt hasn’t daubed. Matt’s technique is based upon blending various immiscible oils and liquids on a level(ish) surface then dragging the fluid around to create the image. A little information about his technique is quite irrelevant of course as these hanging works serve as a jolting reminder of the colour and beauty in Matt’s portraits.

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Matt Small

One of the first examples of Will Barras’ work this keyboard botherer came across was a battered van at Cans II Festival in 2008, his stunning char-a-banc at this show was an even wilder and willowier series of ethereal wispy human and equine figures on a smoky abstract background. Should black, greens and cornflower yellows work together in a Ridley Walker-esque frieze of gothic post apocalypse characters and mad animals, perhaps not in theory but behold the beauty.

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Will Barras

The underground car park is huge, let’s take a guess and say it might have fitted 60 to a hundred cars in the architect’s utopian scheme. Pillars, pipes and weird skanky flooded side rooms break up the space. Transits, that is lines of sight rather than Ford vans, offer all kinds of beautiful interactions between cars, installations and art on the walls.

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The eyes have it: Jorge Rodriguez-Garada, Matt Small, Sweet Toof

The Borrowers style miniature figures of Pablo Delgado have been populating the streets of London for over a year now but the pavement level dwellers have suffered some tragedies with spectacular lorry jack-knifings and terrorisation by Aida’s oversize dayglo queen of the jungle. It has the look of a cult B movie in the making.

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Aida, Pablo Delgado

The car decorated by Pablo Delgado features a hugely intricate mankind-as-plague tableau. The human population squeezes out the animal kingdom and to escape their self inflicted overcrowding the humans scramble up the passenger side door (dear America, right handed drivers would find drive-by shootings easier with the steering wheel on the other side) and in through a hole in the window, to reappear out another hole on the driver’s side where they expire in free-fall, greatly improving matters for the rest of nature which now have more room to graze. As a fully thought through coherent composition executed in pain-staking detail, this stood out in exceptional company.

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Pablo Delgado - passenger side

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Pablo Delgado - side where the steering wheel goes

Back to Aida, the Princess of Screenprinting has done a masterpiece of pop art with more than a hint of glam with a glittery neon zoological kaleidoscope, perhaps the spangley gun on the dashboard even hints at gangstaaa! Rising to the challenge of the novel medium, Aida brought her screens with her and sprayed through the image with aerosol stencil style, bet that’s easier said than done..

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Group shows generally give us the willies with many ill-combined artists chucking in lackadaisical “cluttering up the studio” pieces but in Banger Art, all the artists worked on site for days putting in shitloads of time and creativity. There is not a single crap “dialed-in” performance in the cavern. In the case of the artists whose work is familiar to us (sit down Dan Hillier, Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada) the concept was much more taking the refinements of the studio art to the car park rather than the usual cash-in taking the street into the gallery, except of course for Matt Small who routinely paints rusty metal in the studio. Good art deserves a great environment and this grubby neglected underground bunker provided a perfect ambience for art on wrecks.

Dr D

The potency for street art to play a positive role in a regeneration programme has been discussed before and specifically was one of the elements in justifying the use of the St Peter’s estate car park facility.  I am a little inclined to be sceptical and cynical about this but there is no doubt that the wave of positivity around this event, where the door was open and residents mingled and marvelled, creates a lasting impression that feeds into the necessary positive sentiment about the area.

There was something so right about this location for this spectacle, it will be interesting to hear from anyone how these cars fit in in their second incarnation at Lovebox festival in London’s Vicky Park this weekend, link up your pics in the comments below.

The texture, scale and colour of this show made it incredibly photogenic. More photos meaning other photos not used in this blog are here.

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Ella (surprise guest)

With so much to see and so many ways to see it, there are several other great photo sets out there and each has a number of unique pieces not repeated in the others, check out HowAboutNo, Hookedblog and LDNGraffiti

Friday, 15 June 2012

Banger Art

13 Jun 2012 - 1 night only
then Lovebox Festival, Victoria Park, London
15 Jun - 17 Jun 2012

all photos NoLionsInEngland, except HowAboutNo where stated

OK, so who’s idea was it to mash up memories of an embassy car park (Banksy, Swiss Embassy, London) with the spirit of a secret NY subway station (Workhorse et al, Underbelly)? Step forward Nelly Duff with their one night only art on scrapyard fodder jalopies in an abandoned basement car park under an intimidating Hackney block.

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St Peters Estate underground car park

Street art gets the setting it deserves in this underground swamp, it is filthy, reeks of piss in corners, had to be swept of needles and shit and figuratively is a million miles from the sanitised, optimised cubicles most art in the city is seen in. The walls are festooned with graffiti evidencing a propensity towards racism (NF), football tribalism and even burned out occult weirdness.

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St Peters Estate Car Park: "they'll kill you...before we lay" apparently

This show is as much about the vibe as the art. Over this space is a concrete playground surrounded by high rise council flats.  Intended originally for the cars of local residents, the space became the problem haunt of junkies and vandals with a noted propensity for torching vehicles. Contributing nothing to easing the social issues in the area, the council sealed off the car park many years ago, residents who have lived in the blocks for over 10 years said they had never seen it open. Brutal walls and stark lighting lend a grimy austerity which fuels the sense of in-hospitable danger. Calcifying stalactites leach out of the concrete and drip something that probably isn’t spring water on cars and punters.  So it's a perfect place for some street art.


Ten artists jumped at the chance to pimp clapped out cars, though Jorge Rodrigues-Gerada confided he would have liked his to have been burned out and rusty as well, who’d have thought that’d have been too much to wish for round here. Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada is far better known in America where his forte is the top-to-bottom building end gable photorealistic portraiture done in charcoal. The rougher the surface the better he says, this car represents quite a different scale to his usual street works. The medium is charcoal on white paint in the style of revenge attack on teacher’s car. I love the detail of the photographer reflected in the eyeball.

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Jorge Rodrigeuz-Gerada

Dr D never misses a political target and this week has seen a former Prime Minster of the UK demonstrate the extent to which politicians have been at the whim of an excessively dominant media baron. Politicians and the press are stable targets for Dr D so he/she/they (whatevah) must be wetting themselves with the revelations in London this week about the media and government taking dirty weekends away to finger eachother, while the media mogul stuffs hoards of cash in tax shelter hide-a-aways made from feeding us a diet of scandal, lite porn and celebs. The scary thing is the headlines pasted in the car are from real lfe.

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Dr D - Tits and Farce

Eine’s Beemer has been decorated in a crystalline diamond pattern which originated from the new direction used for the background of his recent Lowrie Museum mural, The application slick and mechanical, the colour pops off the car though photos from the Lowry suggest that the pattern works better in lighter colours as background to huge circus font letters rather than the small stencil tags on automobile bodywork.

Eine - Diamond Beemer

Dan Hillier’s car was stuck in the darkest corner furthest from the bar, probably not being seen by many in its paste-up’d glory, which is a shame as the scary surrealistic fauna as humanity and dali-esque bodies are fascinating.

Dan Hillier

Toasters have thrown almost the full stencil repertoire at their racy looking machine, flames and flying stones in the form of buff toasters, abstract toaster parts and dayglo toasters spew out from the tyres of their car, there is no shyness about bold colours here. See how many toaster parts you can spot!

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The average man on East London council estate if pressed to identify the piece of graffiti he notices most often would almost certainly recollect “them teef wiv the pink gums”. Not content with just a car to batter, Sweet toof has boldly gone “all car park” producing a myriad of lenticular faces across several successive pillars, not to mention teef, teef and more teef everywhere.

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Sweet Toof

Sweet Toof seems capable of transforming any paintable surface into a sickly sweet menace of teef, check the wing mirrors, the Merc badge and out of shot even a fire hose reel has been subjected to the slack jawed toof decay thing. Sweet Toof’s pimp mobile looks like it is venting pink vapours into the gloom of the roof as it positively glows with marshmallowness, has pink ever managed to look so malevolent?

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Sweet Toof

Part 1 of this reflection on Banger Art closes with a selection of photos from ace snapper HowAboutNo. Part 2 will be with you in the next couple of days, you may anticipate more stunning photos and highlights from the St Peters Estate bunker.

UPDATE - Part 2 featuring Pablo Delgado, Aida, Will Barras, Matt Small and others here (opens in new window)

Matt Small, Aida, Sweet Toof

Pablo Delgado, Sweet Toof

Dan Hillier

Jorge Rodriquez-Gerada

More delicious HowAboutNo photos in a flickr set here

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Mike Ballard I.D.S.T

Block 336
336 Brixton Road, London
1 - 29 June 2012
All photos NoLionsInEngland

Mike Ballard's second solo show this year, I.D.S.T opened in Brixton last night.

 The venue is a non descript utilitarian basement concrete box, perhaps a bit too labyrinthine to be described as a plain box, various rooms, slots and box rooms house a varied collection of Ballard’s lastest photograph collage and film experiences.  The centrepiece is a vast low ceilinged room roughly the size of a tennis court with 5 very large looping film projections playing on the walls of three sides.  The films are essentially process documentation of the creation of a painting.  It seems that in each one Ballard is studying the process of paint explosion, created by cracking open a spray can of paint on four spikes.  Each of the films bursts into life as the can erupts, then the paint is captured dribbling across coloured backgrounds, an abstract dynamic colour discharge across the screen. Each of the slow drips, dribbles and runs are mesmerising to watch, trance alert – no drugs necessary.  We love colour! 

The end result, the accidental by-product  of the hours of filming is a gorgeous glossy abstract splatter filled canvas displayed outside the film cave.

Films frequently crop up in the Ballard output but this is a long distance from the scratchy over-dubbed retro-future black and white sci fi edits seen before.    After some 15 to 20 minutes in the film area emerging into the comparative light and bustling throng of the crowd taking in the rest of the installations was a stimulating shock to the senses.

 Also featuring in the show are a set of photograph collage light boxes and the kinetic lightbox (circular thing on the floor) recently seen at Ballard’s Arch 402 show,  these photos below come from that previous show, the installation at Block 336 benefits from compactness and proximity which makes them relate better to eachother than as shown at Arch 402.

 (Not all these lightboxes are in the I.D.S.T show)

Also making a return are a trio of photographic paint collages on aluminium,

 Astro Traveller Far Rockaway; Astro Traveller Between Patterson and Benson

 The I.D.S.T in the show title is the acronym for If Destroyed Still True, its addition to a piece of graffiti abuse giving the slur a longevity beyond the mere existence of the visible writing.  The allusion is to the impermanence of the moment of creation in the fluid paint transitioning into end product, Ballard’s film brings about a recycling of those moments in the creation of his New Instruction painting, lending that fleeting point in time the potential for an infinite existence, he has the potential to recall those moments and recreate them at whim and for ever.  That’s what Graffoto reckons anyway.

 This show brings together his collage light box units, chromoprint photographs and his films in a more coherent collection that anything we have seen in the past couple of years.  There is none of the wall/ceiling/floor painted illusion room stuff that he does so well (e.g. Dalston garage, 2008) which neatly swerves the “one-trick-pony” issue.  Yet the film zone is a beautifully colourful, disorientating and immersive multi-coloured cinematic experience.

PS - ARTIST'S TALK, Fri 6 Jul 2012, feat Hall Of Mirrors

Last night (FRI 6th July, 2012) Graffoto joined a gratifyingly large standing room only crowd at Block 336 for an artist talk by Mike Ballard [, interrogated by Alex Daw].  Seems a good excuse to supplement our own guesses above with lies and half-truths from the artist's own mouth, not to mention better photos that weren't taken leaning against pillars and people.

Going back about 7 years, Ballard moved beyond his 20 year pure letterform practise into a broader fine/conceptual art direction including mashed up video making inspired by Stan Brakage.  In a 2006 video of a serpentine spluttering paint line filmed by a cam mounted on a spraycan, the focus is on the dynamic jet of spray and the surface transformation at the impact point, this is very much a primordial ancestor which has evolved into the the IDST installation.

Ballard's fascination is not just with the painting and not specially with the process, it's just the paint itself.  Random uncontrolled paint, released explosively from the pressure cylinder of the spray can and distributing itself according to the brutal laws of nature.

Its not just the motion, explosion and dribbling that Ballard wants to experience, there is the sound too, the sound of the can puncturing on the nails, the hiss of the paint propellant being released from the can and the splatter and drip of the paint hitting the canvas surface.

The physical characteristics of the space where the films are showing touched a an ancient autobiographical note for Ballard.  He grew up in a small village in the remote provinces and in his words, "it's hard to be prolific all-city when you are the only graffiti vandal in a small village" but the limit of the 13 year old's world was a rail track which passed through one of those cavernous box like tunnels full of pillars and this was where the delinquent Ballard started out doing graff.  This happy hidden practise ground was referenced in Ballard's "All of Everything" show a couple of years ago and the Block 336 space has a strong echo of that ancient spot.

The Cutting

The Cutting, detail from The All Of Everything Show, 2010


Hall Of Mirrors v. Mike Ballard, IDST film installation

The origins of the three chromotagraphic prints became clearer (as in, this time I can remember what he said).  Another Ballard film process involved directly painting on and scratching a super 8 compilation of fast moving fast moving cuts, this "spoke" to Ballard by drawing his attention to invidiual frames which got stuck in the projector, offering themselves up for longer scrutiny. Ballard got the message and created the Astro Traveller Far Rockaway images from those frames.

The light box collages are entirely found and appropriated internet images, distorting scale and deliberately mixing hi res with very poor quality pixellated images, dancing around Ballard's long cherished themes involving mysticism, hip hop, Sun Ra, Ramellzeee, mysticisim, tunnels.