Friday, 17 September 2021

D*Face, Kai and Sunny and Shepard Fairey London art show "Unity"

StolenSpace Gallery
17 Osborn St, London E1 6TD
10 Sep - 3 October 2021


Unity
Unity


Massive queues, a packed opening night at a gallery – is this 2008 all over again? Actually no, it’s D*Face collaborating with two of StolenSpace’s long term friends Kai and Sunny, a double act counting as one friend, and Shepard Fairey.

Many may recall that D*Face’s gallery StolenSpace has hosted three major Shep Fairey solo shows in the past (Nineteeneightyfouria 2007; Sound and Vision 2012 and Facing The Giant, 2019). What may be less well known is that Kai and Sunny, described by the gallery as having a “shared college experience” with D*Face, have been exhibiting at StolenSpace since New Year 2009, pursuing a style which back then was way too “design” for my tastes, not “street” enough. See also 2011, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020!

NineteenEightyFouria by Shepard Fairey, London 2007
NineteenEightyFouria by Shepard Fairey, London 2007


Kai and Sunny have also exhibited at Subliminal Projects in LA, founder….Shepard Fairey, so connections are tight.

Now that the free beer and artist in-person appearances of the opening night have passed there is time to peruse the art at leisure. To appreciate who contributes what where, who combines with whom, it may be handy to really overgeneralise three massive careers in just three pairs of images. D*Face does D*Dog characters with wings and corrupted pop art; Shepard Fairey does Andre The Giant and striking political illustrations, Kai and Sunny come from a gorgeous geometric op art and flower painting direction.

D*Face's D*Dog love lock
D*Face's D*Dog love lock


D*Face mural from 2020 with Obey GIant and D*Dog stickers in foreground
D*Face mural from 2020 with Obey Giant and D*Dog stickers in foreground


Obey Giant Shepard Fairey
Obey Giant Shepard Fairey


Shepard Fairey, Brick Lane 2007
Shepard Fairey, Brick Lane 2007


Kai and Sunny "Shifting Times", StolenSpace 2018
Kai and Sunny "Shifting Times", StolenSpace 2018


With artistic collaborations there is usually one artist whose contribution dominates, who drives the idea and the collaborators “fill in”. Great collaborators appreciate that sometimes they are the chief, other times they are the Indian. I am indebted to City Kitty, or possibly Lunge Box (can’t tell them apart on their podcast) for this stolen and bastardised insight. The online catalogue ducks the whole who collaborated on what intrigue by simply attributing one “lead artist” to each image. Often what makes the art interesting, the “arty” or clever part of the art, is actually what’s added by the others. With Unity Star No 3 below, the foreground is occupied by a D*Face winged Obey Giant but the piece is electrified by Kai and Sunny in the background

Unity Star No 3
Unity Star No 3


Unity Star No 3 detail
Unity Star No 3


A stand out feature is how Kai and Sunny absolutely illuminate a piece when their contribution appears to perhaps be the less significant. I confessed earlier that a decade ago I really didn’t get their work, I am so pleased that recent shows and most notably this current one have opened my eyes to the flow in their art.

Ghost D*Moon Flower
Ghost D*Moon Flower


Obey Rise Up (above), Ghost D*Moon Wave (below)
Obey Rise Up (above), Ghost D*Moon Wave (below)


Unity Obey Flower
Unity Obey Flower


Unity Obey Flower (detail)
Unity Obey Flower (detail)


The whole notion of the catalogue of a show of collaborations, as in “not a group show”, attributing artworks on the basis of lead artist only does rather confound the concept of collaboration. The collaborator redux appears to have challenged the compiler of the online catalogue as “Apply Unity” appears in both the D*Face section and the Shepard Fairey section.

More show images:

Sure Shot Spray Can
Sure Shot Spray Can


D*Dog Icon
D*Dog Icon


Unity
Unity


Hope On The Tide
Hope On The Tide


Riot Everywhere
Riot Everywhere


The D*Face Treatment
The D*Face Treatment


Burning Brighter
Burning Brighter


Burning Brighter Detail
Burning Brighter Detail


The catalogue compiler has a curious concept of “lead artist", “Magnified Unity” attributed to Shephard Fairey features his Andre The Giant image but the main artistic device is the Lichtensein-esque benday dots and magnifying glass and which is a D*Faceification previously seen in his “Magnified Dog” painting in 2013.

Magnified Unity
Magnified Unity


To summarize, dudes all get on, artistic friendships have been put to the creative test and the artworks are genuinely harmonious interactions between the styles of the collaborators regardless of the lead artist nonsense. Back to the City Kitty/Lunge Box aphorism, justifiably large egos have been set aside to produce coherent beautiful art which is certainly worth popping in to enjoy.

Unity
Unity


D*Faced OG Sticker
D*Faced OG Sticker


Unity
Unity


Links:

StolenSpace Gallery website

D*Face website

Shepard Fairey website

Kai and Sunny website

All photos: Dave Stuart

Monday, 13 September 2021

Scenes From Whitecross Street Party 2021

After the Sunday tour this weekend I cycled over to the Whitecross Street Party, always a reliable live street art/music/food fest. Here are some mainly work-in-progress highlights. Most of the ground level art, particularly those pieces on hoardings were only on temporary display so I regret not being able to hang around to see the finished artworks.

Neonita Work In Progress
Neonita Work In Progress


Stage watchers overlooked by Mr Cenz's epic futuristic portrait
Stage watchers overlooked by Mr Cenz's epic futuristic portrait


Gent 48
Gent 48


Filthy Lucre inflatable paintbrush with rainbow painting by Stikka
Filthy Luker inflatable paintbrush with rainbow painting by Stika


Boris The Spider and his web of lies by Spore and Mr Oliver Switch
Boris The Spider and his web of lies by Spore and Mr Oliver Switch


Choir singing Glory Glory Hallelujah while Filthy Lucre's Goofs menace them from above
Choir singing Glory Glory Hallelujah while Filthy Luker's Goofs menace them from above

This next shows Perspicere’s string art work in progress being admired by three passing policewomen.

Perspicere String art admired by 3 policewomen
Perspicere string art gets police attention


Perspicere’s string street art has been a familiar sight over the last decade and these super complex string portraits are a new form of his art which have been appearing on the streets in the past year.

Regrettably I could not get to Perspicere’s solo show at BSMT Space last month so this was the first chance I had to see the string portraits being created live and it is just jaw dropping. Here is a short clip made yesterday at the Whitecross Street Party showing how magic is made.



Perspicere making magic happen


Artist Links: Perspicere instagram

Neonita Website

Mr Cenz instagram

Gent 48 instagram

Filthy Luker website

Stikka instagram

Spore instagram

Mr Oliver Switch instagram

All photos and video: Dave Stuart

Thursday, 9 September 2021

David Speed "Light Of Life"

Light Of Life
David Speed Light Of Life


Break out street artists are rare beasts. There are the street artists whose appeal grows way beyond the natural base of street art fans leading to popularity and commercial success. Commercial success doesn’t preclude artistic success of course.

Soundwave, Shoreditch 2021
Soundwave, Shoreditch 2021


David Speed started his neon illuminated portraits and animal painting around Shoreditch a few years ago and has achieved such ubiquity that he is one of the few artists, other than Banksy and Helch, whose art is recognised by Shoreditch Street Art Tour guests exploring street art for the first time.

David Speed Neon face, Shoreditch 2018
David Speed Neon face, Shoreditch 2018


David certainly wasn’t new to spraypainting at the beginning of this neon pink phase, his double life has him as Director of Shoreditch based spraypainting outfit Graffiti Life. Lockdown bestowed gifts on David in two ways –the reduced demand for commercial spraypainting services seems to have allowed him more time to focus on personal and artistic development and if you check out his Creative Rebels podcast that certainly comes across strong. There was also a significant increase in available street canvasses as business fearing a breakdown in law and order went for full plywood cladding as we went into lockdown in 2020.

Hoxton Ponies, Shoreditch 2021
Hoxton Ponies, Shoreditch 2021


David’s art exploded across Shoreditch property and caught a lot of attention.

David Speed neon "Creation" homage, Shoreditch 2019
"Creation" homage, Shoreditch 2019


It was a long wait, Shoreditch 2021
It was a long wait, Shoreditch 2021


Neon Tiger! Shoreditch 2021
Neon Tiger! Shoreditch 2021


In the street art world, London at least, David is synonymous with this pink neon street art style so it was an amusing irony earlier this year that a mural advert was painted in David’s signature colour combination by a rival spraypainted advert company. Many people erroneously identified David as the artist so he felt compelled to put up a deliciously executed take out.

Biting Style, Village Underground 2021
Biting Style, Village Underground 2021


DS Style, Village Underground 2021
DS Style, Village Underground 2021


He currently has a self-organised solo show running in Shoreditch, it turns out the neon illumination theme suits canvas and paper as well as it does brick walls.

Fly
Fly


Reunited 1
Reunited 1


Skull Left Facing, Skull .... ,Skull Right Facing
Skull Left Facing, Skull .... ,Skull Right Facing


Content
Content


Distance 2, Hope, Distance 1
Distance 2, Hope, Distance 1


Daily Walk, Poise and Reunited 2
Daily Walk, Poise and Reunited 2


A recent project that must have taken a long time to prepare was David’s “drop” of 1000 hand finished prints around the streets of London, to those with long enough memories this was a homage to Adam Neate’s 1000 print drop in 2008. We came across one of David’s murals on the Shoreditich Street Art Tour that day at which point a guest pulled a pair of prints out of his bag with a flourish and declared “I found those on the street as I was walking to the tour!” Lucky guy.

Various North, East, South, West
Various North, East, South, West


The show is located just a couple of minutes walk from where our morning Shoreditch Street Art Tour ends, so perhaps book a tour this coming Friday, Saturday or Sunday and complement it with a visit to the show.  Admission to the show is free.

“Light Of Life” show runs until Sunday September 12th.

The Depot
33 Boundary Street
Shoreditch
E2 7JQ

All photos: Dave Stuart With all that pink and blue no attempt was made at colour correction in processing the exhibition photos!