“In August, ‘No Walls Gallery’ kicks off a series of shows with ‘SHOTGUN’ by Brighton’s very own Imbue. The show runs from the 5th to the 28th of August with the opening reception on Thursday the 4th from 6pm….
Shotgun includes a body of new original works, prints, collages, mirrors (and balloons?!?!?) with classic logos, icons and imagery manipulated and re-mastered like you’ve never seen them before…..” – No Walls Gallery
I recently caught up with Imbue who told me about his show, his art and his life as an artist…
Tell us a little bit about yourself – when did you first start painting and why?
I have always been creative, when I was young my Dad used to bring tape and boxes home from work for me to cut up, stick together and make a mess. I remember trying to make Buzz Lightyear when they were the ‘sell out’ toy one Christmas.
With regards to art, it was my favourite subject at school and then the only thing I studied at college. College gave me freedom to explore and learn about all different types of art and steal a lot of materials!
I know you are originally from London, what attracted you to base yourself in Brighton?
I was born in London and then grew up in Kent. My older brother moved to Brighton and I quickly moved in to his spare room. I really love it here and when the sun is shining, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It has a great community and over the years I have met some amazing people through my art and a brief period selling spray paint!
Tell us about your new show at ‘No Walls Gallery’ entitled ‘SHOTGUN’?
Well it’s something I have been dying to do! ‘SHOTGUN’ is a fun collection of work giving a more realistic view on things, I didn’t set a theme for the show – one just occurred naturally. It will be great to look at a room filled with work and ideas that I have created. I want people to experience seeing lots of ‘Imbue’ all in one go.
Are your methods and techniques of working on the streets the same as when creating pieces for your show?
A few of the show pieces have a worn, street feel but most of the work is screen printed and a lot more polished. I don’t really limit myself to any particular techniques and I am always experimenting -I love using and modifying real items. I generally use whatever is going to work best for each project.
‘No walls gallery’ is a white wall gallery; do you think your work lends itself to white wall galleries?
I guess it does, my work for the show doesn’t look as though it’s been taken from the street and put in a gallery, it’s a piece I have taken time over in my studio knowing that it’s going into a minimal gallery space. Outside of a gallery you have more freedom and don’t have to worry about what people think of the work. On the other hand, sometimes you just want to throw paint at a billboard or over a CCTV camera, you can’t put that in a gallery!
Your work seems to create controversy – especially amongst the brands that you depict in your work! Do you enjoy the fact that you have and can bother these multi-national companies with your art?
I do enjoy it – it means that I am making some kind of impact on these huge companies that can get far too cocky and think they can do what they like without any regard for public or local interest. People need to stand up for things and realise, this is your world and you are important.
Are there any of your street pieces that you are particularly proud of?
The “Drug Vend” machines are a favourite of mine I had a lot of fun making them and even more seeing how people reacted. I put the video on YouTube and it got around 20,000 views! Another of my favourites from last year were small brass plaques I stuck under loads of fat tags around Brighton; the plaques read “This artwork was kindly donated by a local artist”.
I’ve seen your stickers all over the UK, what is it that draws you to sticking?!
I love stickers and try to always have them on me as they are such an efficient way to get up. I send them to people all over the world and take great pride in seeing one of my stickers in a prime spot that has been up for years, I’ve even got my girlfriend to carry a stash in her handbag!
What is the strangest thing that’s happened to you when you’ve been out putting work on the streets?
A guy came up to me in London when I was pasting something up. He turned out to be a plain clothes officer, he asked a few questions and then let me finish whilst he told me about a limited edition print he had recently acquired!
Do you collect art yourself and if so, what art do you have on your walls?
I do – I have some great pieces that Hayden Kays made for me, I swapped a print with Buff Monster and I recently swapped some bits with Static. I have a print by INSA and a massive Sex Pistols bear brick!
Photos by Imbue