Thursday, 27 December 2018

Sweet Toof Mid Nite Crisis Exhibition


Mid Nite Crisis
14 – 22nd December 2018

Rocket Barber Shop
118 Stoke Newington High St, London N16 7NY

Sweet Toof, East London’s legendary dental illustrator is back for a show in the unlikely surroundings of a North London barber shop cellar. The unorthodox location heaves with canvasses, prints and bizarre objects. Knick knacks with lurid buck toofed characters abound while disembodied gnashers chomp in mouthless isolation.

Cool, trendy upstairs

Shady basement downstairs, shady geezers, shady gals

Cellar. Sweet Toof.

Many acquainted with the breadth of Sweet Toof’s outdoor endeavours will recognise Mid Nite crisis as a corruption of Mid Life Crisis, which Sweet Toof and friends often put up on walls.

Mid Nite Crisis

Sweet Toof MLC collab with Rolf Carl Werner, Dalston 2017
Sweet Toof MLC collab with Rolf Carl Werner, Dalston 2017

Centre stage is hogged by a train set with the looping period piece rail service hit hard with whole car Sweet Toof graffiti. This straight up not-for-sale Sweet Toof toy provided what the vast majority of arty art shows lack, something to have fun with!

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Battered Choo Choo

It is only 12 months since Sweet Toof last exhibited in Dalston, a joint show with Swedish artist Rolf Carl Werner (review here) and the good news to take away from that is that artists abandoning London aren’t actually lost to London.

Stag Night

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Knick Knacks

Moments of darkness transformed the cellar into a graveyard of glowing ghoulish gnashers.

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A print launched at the show featured Sweet Toof collaborating with Aida on a gentrification lament. The print celebrates 10 years that Aida and Sweet Toof have worked together on prints and other  collaborative artistic misdemeanors.

GentriFUCKation - Aida Wild/Sweet Toof Collaboration

Completely anonymous artist in disguise.

There is an irony in the concept of two street artists coming together in a trendy barbershop in Dalston to protest against gentrification.

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GentriFUCKation - Aida Wild/Sweet Toof Collaboration

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That’s not to knock the location of the show in a hairdressers. It is crucially important that this scene is outside the gallery system and not dependent upon museums or art world support, Sweet Toof by convention is unconventional.

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Aida and Sweet Toof also collaborated on a lush variant on Aida's ever popular "EAST END SUCKS" print.

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East End Sucks, Aida Wilde/Sweet Toof Collab, 

Cleaned your teef?

Red Handed (Above), Roller Gang (Below)

Sweet Toof instagram
Aida Wilde instagram, website
All photos and video by Dave Stuart: instagram

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Street Art Against Hate

In a weekend when a lot of new street art appeared in Shoreditch one creation particularly stood out, the new “Wall Of Love” from the #NoHate family of street artists.

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This consists of signature art from 355 artists rendered in a circular format under the slogans #StreetartAgainstHate #ToLiveAndLetLive .


This London installation was put together by 8ArmsToHug from Cologne assisted by street art friends in the area, so perhaps it would be more appropriate to use the German versions of the slogans #StreetArtJajeHass #LevveUnLevveLoss

Featuring Homo Riot (LA)

The impact of seeing this on this wall in real life is immense. I was humbled to share the experience seeing this for the first time in the company of Patricia and Manuel Oliver whose son Joaquin Oliver was a victim of a mass killing earlier this year in the US. Joaquin was one of 14 high school children and 3 school staff killed along with 17 others wounded when a 19 year old male armed with a semi automatic rifle entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with murderous intent and devastating consequences.

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Parkland Florida Victims, image courtesy CBS News

Patricia and Manuel have set up a charity Change The Ref “To empower our next generation so they can fight for their values, have their voices heard, and impact change for their future.” Founded in the memory of their son Joaquin who was one of the 17 victims, Manuel and Patricia Oliver are committed to making sure that their son’s life and the lives of the other 16 victims are never forgotten and that real change happens to prevent future tragedies like this from happening ever again.

Manual told me that they aim to change the American gun culture by making powerful graphic statements all around the world and urban art is part of their efforts to send their message in non traditional ways.

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WE DEMAND.... Mural by Manuel Oliver, Winwood, Miami. Photo supplied by Manuel Oliver

Notice the electrical box cleverly simulating a lecturn inviting visitors to declare their support.

Gun control and anti hate are not perfect synonyms but they are facets of the same coin. I felt honoured to be able to show Patricia and Manuel a lot of politically engaged art in Shoreditch including Jimmy C’s Trayvon Martin mural, Bambi’s tribute to Michael Brown and of course the epic new NoHate wall.

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Live and Let Live: Germany's legendary 1Up graffiti crew

Live and Let Live

The #StreetArtAgainstHate originated in Cologne just one month ago and has gone viral. Live and Let Live or #LevveUnLevveLosse in its original German is actually the motto of Cologne, described as a s, 8ArmsToHug says there are now over 530 artists from all over the world taking part, see how many you can identify in the photos! The #NoHate derives its power from its volume, each individual artist makes a small contribution but the mass of messages combine to project a message far louder than the sum of the individual artist’s voices.



Street art is a platform which many artists use successfully in transmitting powerful messages to an audience larger and more diverse than their own social circle, and yes, street art supports many campaigns to end advertising, smash capitalism, prevent injustice, stop gentrification, education for all and so on, all brilliant causes passionately cherished by their champions but surely there can’t be a more power purpose that ending hate and ending the insanity of human on human gun violence. My only regret is that I don’t feel capable of capturing the intensity of seeing this wonderful wall in person.

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Mythos BLN

Many thanks to 8ArmstoHug for her patient help with background, not to mention of course putting up the London Wall Of Love


Live and Let Live/levve Un Levve Losse Instagram

Change the Ref Website

8ArmsToHug Instagram

All photos Dave Stuart except where noted

Thursday, 15 November 2018


Ryan Callanan aka RYCA


8th - 18th November 2018

BSMT Space (see photo below)


On One
On One

There is a canon of legendary musical events where the number of people claiming to have been there far exceeds a venue’s capacity, oft quoted is the Sex Pistol’s first Manchester gig (wasn’t there). In the UK, many many people, apart from me, can genuinely claim to have indulged in the acid rave scene and not just the crusty travellers whose fondness for a music driven drug influenced lifestyle earned them a special law, the 1992 Criminal Justice Act prohibiting assembly for the consumption of loud repetitive beats.

Smiley Slips
Smiley Slipmats

Dance Rave Chat
Dance Rave Chat

Dance Acid Rave

Acid Curiosities
Gonna need more water

Dropping MDMA (not me!) didn’t stop, wearing silly bright colours and waving glowsticks (not me) kind of did but the sounds and aesthetics of the so-called second summer of love and the post rave club culture are still easily recognised. In the UK, the acid smiley became iconic and inseparable from rave culture after its appearance on flyers, in contrast to the US where it had late 60s hippy connotations.

On One
I love you and I and you and you and...everyone man

Glowin innit
Glowing Up

A passion for beats, dance and declarations of love for complete strangers as well as a tendency to get in the broadsheets for people shitting in posh gardens close to rave venues (not me) made raves an obvious target for heavy policing, while protests against the ensuing Criminal Justice Bill led to conflict with police.

On One

There is only one way you can launch a new show with the title Dance Acid Rave, or perhaps there are three. RYCA’s opening night was basically a rave with some glorious sounds and it involved dancing, I can’t speak to the third element.

Acid Circles, Stars, Bricks
Acid Circles, Stars, Bricks and drips

It’s all about the mood that was created that night, the music was loud, there was the requisite frantic weaving of wrists and elbows and there was great feeling played out in front of a crazy collage of acid yellow art.

Acid Abstraction Lrg 1
Acid Abstraction Lrg 1

It’s a whole load of yellow and shitloads of pop art going on in RYCA’s canvasses, always has been.  The two combine beautifully in the acid soup can Warholian references and its fun to see Van Gogh’s sunflowers get made over as acid smiley flowers.

Acid Flowers
Acid Flowers

Acid Soup Yellow
Acid Soup Yellow

Star Wars as religion is a recurring RYCA theme, the challenge of the BSMT Alcove has been met by creating a zoned off trooper crucification with a charnel house of beheaded troopers forming a glowing heap below the cross.

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RYCA lush drippy Clone Tropper Collage, Sclater St, 2013

Trooper On The Cross
Star Trooper

Trooper On The Cross

Acid yellow resin coated star wars figures on crosses and in sculpture are not in short supply.

Drippy smileys
Dripping Acid Face (Classic) & Long suffering Trooper Red. Just sayin.

On One

RYCA has been known for years for the quality of his craftsmanship, in particular his signage (see Pure Evil Gallery and StolenSpace signs) so you do need to look past light cultural references and the humour in the pieces to see the quality. It is particularly evident in the finish of the blister pack toys and the embossed prints

Empire Emporium
Empire emporium

Acid Curiosities
Acid Curiousities: This the rave man?

HOME - Silkscreen printed glass, incised text with paint and iridescent glitter!!

Acid Empire
Acid Empire, not a toy

Most art openings derive their vibe from the chit chat and conviviality on the pavement outside with the art on the walls often just getting a perfunctory eyeball while hunting out the bar. For the second show running, after DScreet’s live rock, rhythm and blues based opening last month, BSMT has staged a show where RYCA has pulled off a neat trick in using live music, disco fog and acid smileys to make the opening an “event”. Bangin’. Sorted. Nice one fellah!

On One

Acid Marilyn
Acid Marilyn

Been Here Before? Dunno.

BSMT Space
Rave's supposed to be round here somewhere...


RYCA Instagram

BSMT Space website

All photos by Dave Stuart