Gary Stranger is a UK based artist who started out writing graffiti in 1996. He is now a world renowned artist, famed for his well executed typographic pieces.
Over the past decade or so Gary has moved his wall paintings away from the traditional graffiti aesthetic. Having always had a passion for type and having studied in the subject, it was the inevitable conclusion to take his own work in that direction.
His studio work and his wall paintings consist of hand drawn and painted typographic arrangements, attempting to communicating the artist's sentiment on a particular subject.
Xenz painted his first piece in 1987 at the age of 14. He signed his early work with the tag ‘sense’ a name that has evolved to xenz. He grew up in Hull, East Yorkshire. Following his studies in textile design in Edinburgh, Xenz moved to Bristol where he collaborated with some of the graffiti scenes most admired artists and became well respected for his landscape murals. Xenz has a unique approach to the art form and it is such that the word graffiti no longer sufficiently describes his work. It is an extraordinary cohesion between mind, memory and spray can that allows this influential artist to walk up to a wall or canvas and paint an epic landscape from his imagination using the spray can to capture fragments of memory and ever changing subject matter often drawn from the natural world. Xenz set up Studio in London in 2005 and held his first solo show in the same year. He has since been shown in exhibitions and art fairs in the Uk, Miami, New York, Basel, Paris and has also held successful solo shows in India Australia and Chicago. His prints and paintings are in huge demand and his work sits in private and corporate collections world wide. In 2013 he published a book entitled “The Art of Xenz” which documents two decades of his career as both a painter of walls and canvases.
The mixture of fine art with gritty urban scrawl is a powerful one that draws you in and leaves you suspended in his dreamlike world. lazarides Gallery
Ben Eine is one of London's most prolific and original street artists. Anyone who visits East London on a regular basis will be familiar with the giant letters and words that adorn his preferred canvas: the walls and shop shutters of many businesses. Ben Eine hit the headlines when his piece "21st Century City" which was hanging in our Soho gallery was given as a gift by David Cameron to Barak Obama on his first state visit to the USA in 2010. Eine specialises in producing huge letters on shop fronts across London. From single letters to complex and wry combinations, Eine's alphabet can be found throughout London. His huge individual letters on shop shutters are in a style he has made his own, originality, a distinctive style and a clear profile sets his letters apart from all others. Ben Eine is not just a master graffiti artist though he is also the man behind the printing of some of the most iconic works to come out of the Pictures on Walls studio over the last five years. Eine's screen printing skills have helped produce some of street arts most sort after prints from arguably the greatest street artist on the planet including Banksy, Faile and his own work. Eine's work has been exhibited in New York,Los Angeles,Tokyo and all over Europe including V1 in Copenhagen (with Banksy) and Collette in Paris. His painting commissions have also taken him worldwide and include trips to Israel, Australia and India. His artwork has featured on the debut album cover of Scandinavian band Alphabeat; an accolade which has only further cemented him as a well respected commercial artist.In 2013 Eine found a new champion of his work in millionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson. Bransons airline Virgin Atlantic displayed 10 works by the artist in their upper-class clubhouses at Heathrow and New York's JFK airport. The innovative move allowed passengers travelling between London and New York to view the works in a "virtual gallery" and acquire paintings by the shutter-painting superstar. 2014 has seen Eine produce his largest and most ambitious works to date. The artist painted a monumental 400m long mural on the hoardings stretching the length of London's Olympic Park. Titled "The Review", Eine painted words describing the Olympic games and its legacy in his signature brightly coloured circus font. Read our editorial featuring Ben Eine: Video: artrepublic Gallery Highlights, inc. Mike Edwards, Charming Baker and Ben Eine The Christmas of a Street Artist: How Ben Eine Swapped Eating Turkey for Painting Trains New work by Ben Eine at London Graphic Centre
Filled with neon colors, geometric patterns and symbols, Zosen’s paintings immerse the viewer in their vivid imagery. The artist creates his proper mythology, flooding walls and canvases with fantastic characters that reveal his commentary on the happenings of our own world. An active member of the Barcelona graffiti scene since the early 1990s, Zosen continues to produce projects that carry the anti-authoritarian spirit of his early days in the punk and do-it-yourself movements.
After immigrating to Barcelona from Buenos Aires as an adolescent, he began to experiment with different graffiti styles, combining social criticism with amusing characters and letters. In 2001 he became a member of the celebrated crew Ovejas Negras (ONG). Though the crew has disbanded, he continues to collaborate with its former members as well as artists of different disciplines from around the world.
The influences of skateboarding, fanzines and street culture permeate Zosen’s contemporary work, both on the street and in the studio. His murals bring color and spontaneity to the austere gray of the urban landscape of Barcelona as well as many other international culture capitals. But despite their playful aesthetic, Zosen’s paintings speak out against the social injustices he perceives. The multi-colored, two dimensional characters, though naive at a first glance, criticize the corruption of today’s society. Folkloric elements combine with the excesses of post-modernity, creating a new vocabulary of symbols.
While Zosen paints on the streets frequently, his repertoire has expanded to include performance art, printmaking, illustration and fashion design. He has shown his work in galleries in Europe, the Americas and Asia and is the co-founder of the clothing label Animal Bandido. Relentlessly creative, Zosen constantly invents new artistic projects and urban interventions.
A leading artist to emerge from Bristol's infamous graffiti scene, Sickboy's humorous works have cemented his place in the upper echelons of the British street art movement. He is one of the first UK artists to use a logo in place of a tag, and his red and yellow street logo known as 'The Temple'and his ﾑSave the Youthﾒ slogan can be seen on walls and wheelie bins worldwide. Sickboy has built up one of the largest bodies of street art works in UK history which has led to him being tipped by the leading financial press as one of the movement's most bankable artists. His major London solo show in 2008 and audacious stunts - including the caged heart installation dropped outside the Tate Modern last year - have landed him global recognition.
Born 1980, Stroud, England. Self taught.
Sparkes inhabits the space between reality and illusion, between popular culture and scientific investigation, and creates a landscape where everything is spliced, butchered and dissected. His treatment of each subject, be it a desolate landscape, a stranger’s face or a panting animal, is linear; each must have a layer stripped away and another created, and each must have its own complex interior exposed. It is, as Sparkes has said himself, “a fraudulent science”. To an extent he also plays with the idea of our disconnection with nature through, for example, portraying animal butchery as an idealistic cartoon scenario. In a world so preoccupied with superficial banality, Sparkes’ work, although initially appearing tongue-in-cheek, brings with it a more robust message of the conflict between the natural and mechanical worlds.
E M 2013
1.Before i encountered your art, and began to focus more heavily on it, i met you through record collecting online and this was early 2000's. As we both had a joint passion back then for rare soul music, i guess as someone who draws some inspiration from music myself i wanted to ask you how much if at all music influences your own practice.
Music influences me very heavily, buying records and finding new music is a never dying passion for me and i think it always will be. I get inspired by lyrics, atmospheres and whatnot besides the obvious fact that record sleeves and labels are often very inspirational. Also working with a lot of music people who needs graphics for records, stores, merch or whatever it's just a perfect way to combine interests.
2.I recently came to one of your shows in Stockholm "Plants" i came straight from the airport to the opening, and was suprised that it was on in a basement where i had to ring a bell, but once inside it was great like a private art party, without asking to state the obvious i was going to delve a little deeper and ask what was the premise behind the title and the driving force that lead the theme for that show?
I haven't done so many solo shows in that sense and a friend who works at that venue asked me if i wanted to exhibit something there. The theme itself came about when i had a period of time of just doing stuff for other people so i asked myself what i would've drawn if it was just something i wanted to draw for fun and the answer was plants. Plants, flowers and just organics shapes seems to come natural so i thought of doing something that i could do without putting too much time into it, i was home almost fulltime with my then 1,5 year old son so time was crucial.
Founded in 2001, multidisciplinary art collective Broken Fingaz (Kip, Unga, Tant and Deso) are regarded as one of the first graffiti crews to emerge from Haifa, Israel, and their name is now at the forefront of contemporary street art.
With their independent approach and shared appreciation of illustration, the BFC's success has been unprecedented. In over a decade working together, they are renowned for their unique style, inspired by the peaks and troughs of life, everyday ephemera, old comic books, 80's skateboard graphics and neo-psychedelia amongst many other things. Starting out painting on the street and designing posters and graphics for local venues, the BFC's work encompasses graphic design, painting, film and installation.
Elucidating the importance of their contributions to the shape of the contemporary scene, the BFC's work was presented at exhibitions in Israel's most important visual arts institutions: the Tel Aviv Museum (2011) and the Haifa Museum of Art (2010). Since then they have exhibited widely outside Israel. In 2012 they presented their debut international solo exhibition in London (The Old Truman Brewery, 2012) with shows following in Vienna (Inoperable, 2012), Paris (Lebenson Gallery, 2012), Amsterdam (The Batallion Gallery, 2013) and Berlin (Urban Spree, 2013). In 2013 they were also invited to participate at Cut Out Festival, Queretaro, Mexico, where they produced a new stop-motion graffiti film.
Their public murals can also be seen on the streets of cities across China, Japan, Cambodia, Israel, UK, Germany, Holland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Mexico and more.
In the press, the crew are regularly featured in art magazines including Juxtapoz, Complex and VNA. Accolades from national and international newspapers about the BFC's work include "the vitality and spirit of street art" (Evening Standard, UK), "successful arts collective...not everyone has their talent" (The Independent, UK).
London-based artist Word To Mother was born and raised in an English seaside town. After attending art school for illustration, and with a background in graffiti, Word To Mother entered into the art world.
Word To Mother creates work that combines many influences into uniquely layered paintings, often atop pieces of salvaged wood. Incorporating hand drawn personal sentiments, emotions and feelings that he executes in the form of loose script, inspired from his experience as a tattoo artist and tight sign written letters, drawn from years of painting graffiti.
Suggestions of nostalgic sign writing and unmistakable WTM figures feature within a salvaged environment where they appear to have existed for years. A beautiful juxtaposition, of fragile and emotive elements shown through subtle textures and washes of colour, but with a strength and confidence fused with his signature patterns, architecture & figures. His work is melancholic yet fun and playful. With an earthy ‘London’ palette of grey tones accentuating splashes of brighter ‘seaside’ colours of fluro red, pink, yellows and turquoise which give the paintings an optimistic feel.
Lucy McLauchlan’s multi-disciplinary practice combines ancient, almost pre-historical influences with a graphic modernist sensibility, effortlessly bridging the gap between installation, design and abstract painting. Paint cans, ex-police riot shields, doorways, abandoned vehicles, plastic containers, driftwood and a Rolls Royce have all been transformed by McLauchlan’s fluid monochromatic style, balancing figurative subjects with a combination of experimental mark-making and delicately patterned motifs.
In an era of extensive preparation using digital tools, the British artist is noted for her use of permanent materials and a one-take philosophy. McLauchlan’s organic murals adorn walls and public buildings globally, with her most recent commissions including James Lavelle’s Meltdown Festival at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and an ambitious installation in the book rotunda of the largest public library in Europe, located in her home city of Birmingham. McLauchlan has gained International recognition with multiple highly acclaimed solo and group exhibitions across Europe, Japan, America and Australia, as well as artwork placed in various permanent collections such as the V&A museum and press coverage including Vogue, ID Magazine, Creative Review and Huffington Post.
Notable recent solo and group exhibitions include: Marking Shadows, Lazarides, London (2014), MOVE, & Pens Press, Culver City, LA (2014), Exhibit Z, Library Street Collective, Detroit (2014), Project M, Urban Nation, Berlin (2013), Holding onto Fragments of Past Memories, Triumph Gallery, Moscow (2013), BRUTAL, Lazarides off-site, London (2013), Ordinary/Extra/Ordinary, The Pubic, West Midlands (2013), A Study of Studies, The Outsiders, London (2013), Buddy System Invitational, Breeze Block Gallery, Portland (2013)..
Originally from Melbourne, Australia but always on the move, Aeon mixes up his traditional graffiti pieces with his depictions of long haired big bellied 'bogan' characters that can be found on the streets of London, USA, Latin America, Asia, Melbourne, across Europe and in his current home of Barcelona. With his gallery work he has taken a different approach mixing up his style and techniques learnt painting on the streets and fusing them with imagery and objects seen on his travels.
His first show in Melbourne featured over 90 pieces and completely sold out motivating him to try his luck overseas. Since then, he has spent five years on the road traveling from country to country, painting and soaking up different cultures. His travels have resulted in successful shows in London, Los Angeles, Berlin and Barcelona. The sale of three pieces to the National Gallery of Australia triggered a string of collaborations, magazine features and projects keeping him on his toes and always busy.
Egs is one of few artists that can claim to be truly global. Starting out in the 1980s as part of the first wave of Finnish graffiti, he has gone on to paint in more than 40 countries and collaborated with a staggering amount of other artists including Honet, Hes, Ket, Lodek, Petro, Pike, Rainman and Risk. His travels and collaborations have led to an almost unrivalled depth of knowledge about the regional style, folklore and culture of graffiti.
His own work is an exploration of the chirographic essence of graffiti, taking his own name and reshaping it into new forms and into his signature 'inkblot' style. His graffiti work utilises almost exclusively black and silver - the shapes of the letters starkly rendered and not 'camouflaged with other colours' - and his fine art work features deep Indian ink applied using a syringe. The result is graffiti art in its purest form, enabling the viewer to study the form and complexity of his work.
Infamous in his hometown of Stockholm due to the plethora of monochrome tags bearing his name across the subway system, Nug experiments with capturing the energy of traditional graffiti bombing and his personal connection with it. His work features a variety of media and environments and his high octane, high speed style is exemplified in Territorial Pissings, a film made as part of his degree project, which went on to elicit praise and controversy in equal measure all over the world:
This isn’t art. This is damage and vandalism.
Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth (Minister of Culture, Sweden)
A Minister of Culture should not decide what is art and what is not. As a happy reminder of this, I have a print of Nug’s Territorial Pissing hanging on my office wall.
Paavo Arhinmäki (Minister of Culture, Finland)
Born in 82, London Based artist Roids began painting the late 90’s spending the last ten years building a solid international reputation for innovation and technical skill. His constant evolution of the conventions of New York Subway graffiti has never stayed still and neither has he. After his sellout debut solo show in summer 2012 he is now working as a fine artist and typographer from his south London studio, continuing to influence and change the way people think about graffiti.
Eko spent his formative years in the infamous late 80's Hull Graffiti scene, relocating to Bristol in the 90's and leaving his inimitable mark upon the city. As his focus has broadened to encompass commissions from the worlds of fashion and music, Eko has worked continuously and notably with EH? and Lex Records, for artists such as Dangermouse and MFDOOM.
Alongside commercial success the long-established relationship with walls never ceases, most recently with his cohorts at WSSK( kuildoosh ); invested with no small amount of irony and a little self-deprecation, their output has been published in frequent volumes for Thames & Hudson and Die Gestalten Verlag.
Kosmisch wanderer with a black hairy heart
PETRO has been an active graffiti writer since the early 1980’s, heavily influenced by British electric- boogaloo graffiti nostalgia and all that is off-key. Throughout this time, he has developed an unmistakable style and a solid reputation within this anonymous subculture.
For this exhibition PETRO has combined the traditions of graffiti lettering, the galactic funk, wonky pattern repetition, primitive drawings of fantasy characters and an unhealthy obsession with Ralph Lauren. As well as art concepts including installation and performance, and his detailed pieces, entitled 'Life of a Pencil'.
Despite the epic transition and employment of new forms, concepts and expression, PETRO stays true to his approach. Bringing personality to letter form and bending the laws of the alphabet, along with painting all over the world and remaining unidentified have elevated PETRO into a faceless yet prolific spotlight.
Eric is a self taught portrait painter. In a remote part of the UK. The eighties born artist has been painting for ten years, The first portrait was painted in 2011 and since then has only painted portraits with the goal to explore a concern with the 'immediacy and the artificialness of life (and death) and a yarning to demonstrate his hunch that time and form are a mere ruse.
In the last three years Eric has sold his work privately around the world including LA, New York, Melbourne, Hong Kong, London and Milan. At first hesitant to show his work publicly. Eric is beginning to move into the gallery and now has shown in Montreal and at this year’s Moniker art fair in London and has plans to show in Cape town in early 2016. Eric will continue the habit of wanting to find the line where distortion and obfuscation seem to be a movement away from form.
Caser's paintings have been conceived as 'hypnagogic portraits’. Occupying the gap between figuration and abstraction they exploit the tendency to see faces where none exist and may be interpreted by an individual's own unique visual hierarchy.
Cain started painting in 2010 and showing his work in late 2011. “As a kid growing up I was obsessed with graffiti” he says. “I lived near the end of the Metropolitan line so everything that was going on in London was delivered straight to my doorstep. The people, style, mystery and adventure of it completely fascinated me. By twelve years of age I had started writing graffiti and at sixteen it was dominating my life”. Shortly afterwards like many others around that time he got side-tracked by rave culture which proceeded to provide an altogether different form of distraction.
This current body of work represents a reflection and distillation of both periods. “The visual shock of seeing a newly pieced train on my way in to school filtered through the peculiarly lucid experience of my late teens”.
CERES, aka The Taffy, is an artist from Cardiff who began painting trains in the late nineties, and continued prolifically for over a decade all over the world.
Since his release from prison, he has had a successful one man show in Newcastle and has shown work in galleries in Wales and England. He has also published numerous books and zines of his photographs and drawings.
His work is influenced not only by the mark making, typography, cities and train lines of his past exploits but also from the maps and topography of his native Wales, especially the cuttings and brutal character of the slate quarries of North Wales, where his forefathers worked.
He captures the patterns made by both man and nature on the landscape, using a wide range of mixed media.
Some of his work is influenced by precise places, while other work is an amalgamation of different locations and memories, all creating a feeling of longing for a way of life and work which is long gone, as well as a map of marks and impressions that have been inflicted onto the landscape.
Hebru Brantley creates narrative driven work revolving around his conceptualized iconic characters. Brantley utilizes these iconic characters to address complex ideas around nostalgia, the mental psyche, power and hope. The color palettes, pop-art motifs and characters themselves create accessibility around Brantley’s layered and multifaceted ideas. Majorly influenced by the South Side of Chicago’s “AfriCobra” movement in the 1960s and 70s, Brantley uses the lineage of mural and graffiti work as a frame to explore his inquiries. Brantley applies a plethora of mediums from oil, acrylic, watercolor and spray paint to non-traditional mediums such as coffee and tea. Brantley’s work challenges the traditional view of the hero or protagonist. His work insists on a contemporary and distinct narrative that shapes and impacts the viewer’s gaze. Recognized nationally for public works and solo shows in Chicago, Hebru Brantley has exhibited in London, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York including Art Basel Switzerland, Art Basel Miami, Scope NYC and Frieze London. Brantley has been recognized in publications including the Chicago Tribune, Complex Magazine and NY Post. His work has been collected by Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emmanuel,The Pritzker Family and power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce. Brantley has collaborated with brands like Nike, Hublot and Adidas. Brantley earned a B.A. in Film from Clark Atlanta University, and has a background in design and media illustration.
I remember seeing a council sign above the last remaining bench on the Limehouse Cut canal a few years ago detailing reasons for its proposed removal. Listed as a main reason was that it encouraged anti-social behaviour. I thought it was funny that the bench, through fulfilling its social purpose was being labelled as anti-social. A few months later the seat of the bench was sawn-off, leaving two stumps.
The calamities of action all arise from the human condition of plurality, which is the condition sine qua non [essential] for that space of appearance which is the public realm. Hence to do away with this plurality is always tantamount to the abolition of the public realm itself.(Arendt 1958:220)
Shiny gumper thumbs invite plurality, and the unpredictability, moral irresponsibility and haphazardness that go with it.
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