C215’s artwork indoors and outdoors

July 28th, 2010 | By | 7 Comments »

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.

Photo by Nolionsinengland

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.

Photo by Nolionsinengland

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:

Photo by C215

Photo by C215

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.

Photos by Nolionsinengland and C215

Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos | Tags:
  • Street Art and Urban Art never get bad reviews, and critics is the basis of any art, so I can just be happy to get such a reaction over my show. It is for me a very good sign.
    Moreover when I check that the arguments you use are just inoperable.
    Comparing my first style you like to Artiste Ouvrier’s work is abusing because a non sense, since he’s never doin single layer and almost never paint outside, moreover illegally .. I would love you to show me a single crackled face done by Artist Ouvrier… The number of bridges i put in these crackled faces came precisely from the street activity, to get strong stencils, and this is far from his interests.
    Your main critic about my recent gallery works is just “I like” or “I don’t like”. I am sorry to say you that Art is not consumption, but an intellectual thing, and I advise you to find intellectual reasons to criticise a show next time you try to do it. That you have a collection does not prove you love art or that you have a good elaborated taste, but that your father has money. I am sorry for that.
    The pieces I ‘ve done for Midnight dreams show have to be done in the flesh, but you feel ok to criticise a show that you’ve not been visiting.
    I can also check that you imagine that if this last show is done in that style, so i will stay stucked with this, while you just dream about keepin me in stylistic boxes, where my styles have numbers (style number 1, style number 2).
    Pop culture has this disadvantage that people get easy culture, and low thinking. You should take distance with “branding” :
    An artist has to evolve his whole life, try new things, and choke bourgeois who will not understand his evolution.
    I am very proud of your review, showing that i can surprise, instead of repeating a successfull process, and showing that you have absolutely no intelectual legitimicay nor culture for writing so bad about an artist show.
    Chris / C215

  • If you have been following C215’s work for a while, his new body of work should really come as no surprise. He’s differentiated between his street and gallery work for quite some time now, primarily in his use of colors and backgrounds. Against the already colorful background of the street, his stark, black/white, 1 or 2 layer stencils really stand out. I don’t think anyone would disagree that he has mastered this style. Yet moved into the context of a gallery or collector’s home, his black/white work, while masterful, is lacking. Far too many street artists, and especially stencilists, rest on their laurels and deliver the same, expected work to galleries time and time again. I think it’s crucial that artists take risks and work on continually developing their styles. While I enjoy the direction C215 has taken with the more painterly, abstract backgrounds and dreamy subjects, it is a tad bit too colorful for my tastes. Mind you, I haven’t seen any of this new work in person yet either, but I look forward to an opportunity to do so at Brooklynite this fall.

  • Ade

    I’m a big fan of C215, especially the street work, and I definitely prefer the 1 layer style but I think it’s fantastic this show is a bit different. He’s moved his work on but he might take another direction next. I’m just enjoying his work, always looking forward to what he does next (he’s the most exciting artist I follow on flickr) and wihs him good luck.

  • ade

    oops! I meant wish him good luck!

  • RJ

    Hey Chris. Thanks so much for joining in with the conversation.

    While your work is more detailed and complex than comparable pieces by Ouvrier, I think there are some similarities. Admittedly I overstated that in the above post by saying that you were “heavily” influenced by him, but your crackled face style pieces such as your portrait of Logan Hicks definitely have enough similarities to AO that I think it’s valid to remark upon them. I don’t mean to say that you’re ripping him off; comparing those pieces to AO is just one way of describing that style and differentiating it from your stencils which are many-layered and where the shapes are more curved.

    I’ll grant you that my language for discussing art isn’t very highly developed. I could try and go a bit more intellectual, but there would probably be too much bullshitting involved.

    If you want to bring the fact that my dad buys art into this, I’d suggest that it’s probably pretty stupid of me to be negative about any artists. It would be easy and probably smart for me to always stay positive and say that everything is the best thing ever. That way, I could praise something at a gallery, email that gallery, ask for a price list, maybe get a discount for publicizing the show and get early access to the best work in the show. That would be the smart thing to do if my dad’s collection was why I spent my time on Vandalog. I don’t doubt that he’s been able to help me and I’ve been able to help him thanks to Vandalog (hell, he is kind enough to pay my hosting fees and keep the site online), but his money isn’t WHY I do what I do. The reason I mentioned that my dad owns a few of your paintings is to further point out that I generally like your work, so that people don’t get the wrong impression by this post.

    I admit that some art really does have to be seen in person. That’s why I’ve also linked to Nolionsinengland’s positive review of your show and acknowledged that I haven’t seen this work in the flesh.

    You’re totally right, artists do have to evolved, and artists should probably completely disregard what critics have to say.

  • RJ

    Luna, that’s probably true about C215 differentiating his work for a while now, but I think this is the most that I have seen of the work in this show being nearly 100% of this style.

  • Can’t change your mind while I would prefer read being influenced by Le Bateleur, Dan23, Carricondo or Sten, but now I mainly think that this is just a very good freudian therapy for both of us lol