Sunday, 19 August 2012

TRP v. ID - Graff Battle

Curtain Rd, London

Sat 18 Aug 2012

Expect sparks when two crews collide. Fills get abstract, characters pose, outlines pop, shines burst and backgrounds flare yet the real stress causing graff foreheads to pucker is not the law or the pikeys robbing’s the clock!

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Two of London’s finest, TRP with CEPTs’s galactic concepts, SNOE’s awesome fills and BRK’s letters bump up against ID crew. ID rock up understrength, shorthanded; 2 v 4, no chance surely.

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Dr Food rocks the decks while Pure Evil whips it up on mic, Strongroom Alive pumps it out into internet world. Time is running out, the ID character is looking rocky, TRP smoke up a flaming background, Judge A was thinking TRP but now thinks ID, Judge B changes his mind constantly.

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TRP - the can that shines

10 minutes to go, large piece of blank background on the ID side, a character remains a fuzzy exploration in muddy colours while TRP dink shines off corners and outline their Bode characters. Perhaps in sympathy for the overwhelmed ID boys, TRP step up to fill in the cactus on ID territory marking the boundary between the two pieces. From a perch in the shade it looks like a lot of pressure.

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Heat and aerosol fumes drive dogs mad and Englishmen to beer. ID’s piece is partially obscured by a large awning while BRK feels at home in the almost Mediterranean conditions. An Extra 15 minutes is decreed by the judges.

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TRP fill

ID: "RC"

Whistle! Goddamn, a reminder of a football match is the last thing I needed having hotfooted it over from seeing my team spanked 0-5 at home just a couple of hours earlier. The audience whoop-ometer is pretty inclusive, people just like cheering like pavlovian beerhounds. Three judges step forward. Andy from Stussy, a dude with a pedigree graff alter ego plumps for ID, feeling that completing the character then getting an outline round that made it pop wins the day. Pure Evil, colour lover, sides with TRP. All down to the third judge who extols the virtues of both pieces in a pretty even-handed way before going for ID!!! Wooooooooo wooooo wooooooooo.

ID character

TRP chaacter (yup - thought that about the little finger too)

ID character

Interestingly, hardly anyone could read what the writing actually said so I am grateful for one of the writers telling me what the two crews wrote was “Can You Feel The Force”, TRP piecing “FEEL” and ID writing “FORCE”.

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TRP: can u FEEL

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Them judges had a pretty hard call to make. ID’s medallion wearing character, hands spread wide came together right at the end though the late addition of shine to the character was a backward step. The 4 man TRP produced a more polished looking piece and a sweet background not to mention joiner arrows with nice fill leaks. However ID’s letters popped a bit better off their flatter plain red background. Neither crew's work is up to the usual standards expected of these crews when piecing down a HOF or jam, blame the time pressure, probably.  Tough decision, who cares, chill and enjoy. Could be worse, could have been stuck down an airless rabbit hole under a train track.

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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Sweet Toof - Sweet Revenge

Sweet Revenge - A retrospective showcase by High Roller Society

at The Colour Works, 117 Wallis Road, Hackney, London E9 5LN

11 August – 19 August 2012

all photos NoLionsInEngland except DaveShocko and Myriam JC Preston where stated

Sweet Toof solo shows are as rare as hen’s teef. There was the curious basement outing at Kings Cross, London in 2008 followed last year by shows in quick succession at Arch 402 in London and the “Dark Horse” show at Factory Fresh in New York. This comparatively low rate of gallery bothering allows Sweet Toof to provide dental hygiene care to some stunning pieces on outside walls like these seen recently in London.

Numskull (Aus), Sweet Tooth, Mr Penfold
Sweet Toof w/ Numskull (Aus), Mr Penfold


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Sweet Toof w/ PINS

In a warehouse space barely the width of a beaming smile from the Olympic Park on the other side of Regents Canal, High Rollers Society staged this collection combining a retrospective of older works including some from the New York show previously unseen in this country with a small number of new pieces. The first impression looking into this cavity was the scale of the enterprise. Paintings, prints, wall pieces, sculptures not to mention some very impressive breakdancing in the middle made great visual candy .

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Sweet Toof’s reputation has been built on the huge number of friendly gummy grins on walls, rooftops and toilet cisterns all over East London for more than a decade and Sweet Toof brings the spirit of that furtive art indoors spraying murals directly onto the gallery walls, fixtures and fittings.

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Sweet Toof w. PINS

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Looking at the new works, this magnificent new 2.5m wide 1m high canvas contains signature Sweet Toof magic ingredients that make his work so appealing, this work-in-progress shows he knows still how to hit that sweet spot.

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HW (work in progress), oil on canvas, 257cm x 100cm

There are intriguing elements from real life in the painting, the building with the SWEET HANGOVER on the parapet looks very much like the building whose rooftop was weatherproofed with an epic collaboration with PINS (video here). The leanover may represent a blue print for idea which sadly now is unlikely to be realised as a block of apartments and retail boxes has since been built feet from that building. The architectural landscape includes some distinctly New York elements such as the water tower. Sweet Toof also checks some artists with whom he is known to have painted in London including PINS (UK), SMELLS (NY), Mobstr (UK), TEK33 (BC) and Monkey (BC).

Also new are two minatures in the same style as a series which appeared at Nell Duff gallery a few years ago. They are like rococo Sweet Toof affordable original canvasses.


Above photos: DaveShocko

The last new works as far as Graffoto is aware are both called Lovers. The regency attired skeletal couple crackle with a conspiratorial affection, they are definitely comrades in arms for some no good fun.

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Painted wood panel

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AP, hand embellished Linoprint, photo Daveshocko

The Factory Fresh show last year included several works that had been seen at Arch 402 in London but the pieces on show tonight that haven’t been seen before in a London show confirm that NY got a classic Sweet Toof show.

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Bright Lights, Big City, oil on canvas 18" X 24"

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Sweet Vanitas, oil on panel 16" by 13"

The great thing about a retrospective is the chance to see work from shows you missed. “Stand and Deliver” and “Your Money Or Your Life” is more than an Adam Ant lyric, it’s a before and after pair of paintings in which the dandy highwaymen bite off more than they chew when the victims fight back. The highway men should have read the signs, the passengers have swashbuckling toofy grins too. These were shown at the Burning Candy crew show “Candy Shop” in 2010, also put on by High Roller Society.

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Stand and Deliver, oil on canvas, 236cm x 115 cm

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Your Money Or Your Life, oil on canvas,

At the two UK solo shows there have always been sculptural pieces present. Sweet Toof enjoys applying teef and gums to almost anything where the result is a comic disfigurement of the object. 3D pieces aplenty have been assembled for this collection, including the “Vagina Dentata” whose name ensures its continual presence since 2008 in the upper region of “most viewed” photos on my flickr account.

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Roll On, woodcut with sepia wash; Stampede, oil on canvas; large toof brush

Sweet Toof Sweet Revenge

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Burning Candy Sculpture

One of my favourite paintings is Battle Of The buff, an irreverent taunting at the futility of the constant sanitising of areas where colourful wall art is one of the few redeeming features of the area. The vibrant colour and cheekiness in the skeletal expressions balances out the dark and macabre “day of the dead” element present in a lot of Sweet Toof canvasses. Super nice to see the original of this.

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Battle Of The Buff, oil on canvas, 6ft x 5ft

A strong Sweet Toof image is about a lot more than just the teeth and pink gums. There’s the vivid colour choices, the swagger of the characters, the almost vaudeville villain attitude of the subjects and the sheer relish they display in committing petty crimes generally involving paint. In the hands of the characters, paint becomes a weapon while walls, rooftops and the great outdoors are the battleground, and the teef and gums are insouciant leers.

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Duet, oil on canvas, 161cm x 115cm

The show runs thick with colour and humour, the collection of so many favourite works in one spot is great for the old fan and hopefully an eye opener for new visitors who may not be aware that street artists have talent. As the show is located at the heart of a parish noted for some of Sweet Toof’s finest naughty moments, any visitor can double up the visual delights indoors with the sight of some fantastic Sweet Toof rooftop works as far as the eye can see in almost any direction.

UPDATE: CHeck out the High Roller's Grin Gang wall of shame ; and it'd be crazy not to add these flicks to the blog

Sweet Toof - Sweet Revenge show
Foreground - "Hunter Gatherer (apparently "Vagina Dentata" is no longer)

Sweet Toof, sculpture

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Blind Man's Buff, oil on canvas

Sweet Toof - untitled sculpture

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Happy visitors from all walks of life