Last week, C215 opened his latest solo show at Signal Gallery in London. Midnght Dreams is his second solo show at the gallery, and possibly third in London (Nolionsinengland seems to recall a solo show at Pure Evil Gallery). I’ve been a fan of C215 since seeing his art at Cans Festival, only months after I first got interested in street art, and an interview with C215 was one of the first things that I posted on Vandalog. In my house, we have a few pieces by C215. That said, Midnight Dreams isn’t at all what I was hoping for.
C215 has two primary styles that he cuts his stencils. The first, the one that I prefer, is what he does for 1-layer stencils. To oversimplify things, I guess you could say that the definition in those images comes from C215 cutting lines that look like cracks running throughout the piece. This style is the one that’s so heavily influenced by Artiste Ouvrier.
And then there are C215’s multi-layered and often more colorful images. These stencils look like the above and below images from Midnight Dreams. I just don’t like looking at these pieces nearly as much as the 1-layer stencils and the subject matter is less interesting to me as well.
My favorite pieces by C215 have always been those 1-layer pieces, maybe with a bit of color thrown into the background. C215’s street pieces tend to use those 1-layer stencils. That’s why, I’m loving these two pieces that C215 has put up in London recently:
You may also notice that the people C215 is making portraits of is different indoors and outdoors. To me, somebody who first found C215 from his street art, he will always be intimately connected with the streets. I tend to prefer C215’s paintings when the subject matter reflects his relationship to the streets. With Midnight Dreams, C215 has tried to distance his gallery art from his street art. It’s a move that a lot of street artists attempt and I think C215 has good reasons to separate the two worlds, but that just results in me becoming uninterested in his gallery art. I’m sorry to say that Midnight Dreams has disappointed me so much, but at least he’s still active outdoors and has been refreshing London with his artwork, since a lot of his work has been buffed since he last painted there.
So now that I’ve gone on dissing C215 for a few hundred words, I’d like to remind readers that there are other opinions out there. Nolionsinengland, one of the art bloggers and photographers that I most respect, enjoyed Midnight Dreams and has reviewed it on Graffoto (and he’s actually seen the show in person instead of just through jpegs).
Midnight Dreams runs through August 7th at London’s Signal Gallery.