I’ve just had an incredible week volunteering at ‘See No Evil’ in Bristol where over 40 artists have spent the last week painting the dull concrete of Nelson Street. The week finished with an amazing block party (the street was packed!) and it certainly no longer looks dull!
There are too many to mention but for me some of the highlights came from Mau Mau, Xenz, Nick Walker, Mr Jago, China Mike, Tats Crew, El Mac, What Collective, Mysterious Al, Cosmo, Paris, SPQR and Stickee.
The photos below are just a fraction of what is there:
“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!
Onethirty3‘s most recent exhibition – Herakut – opened it’s doors for one night only on Thursday. Both Hera and Akut had spent the week painting the space in Newcastle’s Hoults Yard which is fast becoming a hub for street art in the North East. The German duo’s work paid off, the walls looked incredible and a great night was had by all. The highlight for me was Akut’s photo realistic paintings which used the colours from the previous Paul Insect/Sickboy exhibition to enhance the work.
Note from RJ: This is the first guest post from Ben, a young street art fan from Newcastle. Also, thanks to HookedBlog for documenting Malarky’s work so well. Most of the photos in this post are by him.
Malarky’s colourful characters have begun to adorn the walls and shutters of East London and Barcelona in recent years. His instantly recognisable style soon got him known and he has recently exhibited alongside fellow street artist ‘Billy’ at High Roller Society. As the dust settled from an extremely successful opening night, I caught up with Malarky to ask a few questions.
Ben: Tell us a little bit about yourself – when did you first start painting and why?
Malarky: My name is Malarky; I live sometimes in London and sometimes in Barcelona. Things I like to do include:
• Painting outside
• Painting inside
• Drinking Beers in the Sunshine
• Eating Sandwiches in the Park
I got into alternative art through skateboarding just all the mad deck graphics and stickers and real low brow illustration stuff. I started doing hand drawn stickers and just putting up as many as I could, that sort of pushed me into the graff scene. I have always lived in the centre of whatever city I was in so I never really got trains anywhere, I always enjoyed metro and trackside missions, but it sucks not seeing your piece again, so that sort of pushed me to start painting shutters because people at street level see them every day.
Certain characters seem to reoccur in your work such as your fox – what the story behind them?
I used to see foxes on my way home in the small hours and just loved how they run the streets in the night-time, when no one else is around, just chilling on the corners. Then when I started drawing them, I just loved the colours – the orange and white together and how instantly recognisable an animal it is from just that. Then when I started painting shutters it all fell into place, they both stay hidden in the day then just chill on road though the night.
Tell us about your new show with Billy entitled summer breeze?
Just a crazy medley of mad colours and characters crammed into this cool space, it’s been super fun to do I don’t know what to say, go and see it!
Are your methods and techniques of painting on the street the same as when creating pieces for your show?
Well my colours are definitely influenced by the paint I use on the street; I mix up the paints or inks to match my cans. On the street I like keeping some of the background texture like brick or metal shutters, I use a similar vibe with my paintings on wood so my paintings are like little miniature Japanese versions of my street stuff.
If you could use one medium for the rest of your life what would it be?
MTN 94 all day every day
Recently your street work has involved collaborations with other artists such as Sweet Toof, and What Collective, do you prefer to collaborate with others or work alone?
It’s strange, I love to do both and obviously it’s more fun to paint with someone so I just take it as it comes. Collabs can work well because of all the ideas flying about, but then sometimes you have a big piece planned for a truck or whatever and it has to be a solo piece to work. I guess it’s more satisfying to paint a big piece on your own, but more fun to do a collab and I love the fun times!
On your website it says you live in a ‘magic place between South-London and Barcelona’. You seem to do a lot of painting in Barcelona, what is it that attracts you there?
Barcelona is just a magic dream land of shutters, trucks, sunshine and beers. I just can’t stay away from it, the energy, the people – everything is chilling. Sun and beers all day, paint and beers all night. You could paint a shutter every day and it would take 20 years to finish them all, I can’t speak highly enough of it.
Are there any of your street pieces that you are particularly proud of?
I love the rooftop on roman road with Billy, it’s so prominent on that street and the colours and pieces worked well together. Sometimes everything just comes together nicely, that’s was one of those times!
What is the strangest/most unusual thing that’s happened to you when you’ve been out painting?
There’s been crazy Policia that have bounced me off shutters, and all the classic ‘nearly fell 50ft to my death’ times. My favourite time was when I was painting at this abandoned civil war bunker in middle of nowhere up a mountain overlooking Barca. A band appeared out of inside the bunker and started playing songs and handing out beer, then more and more people started appearing and it turned into a crazy block party up a mountain, it was sweet!
Do you collect art and if so, what art do you have on your walls?
I don’t really collect but I have some prints/paintings up on the wall – some Mr Penfold prints, a Nylon painting, a Sweet Toof print, some sick Hedof prints and a Cloud Commission print.
Any plans for the future we should hear about?
A couple of top secret projects but aside from that, paint more streets colourful, hit some other countries and I think maybe make a small comic.
‘Summer Breeze’ is a must see and runs from the 11th June until the 3rd July at High Roller Society.