Matt Small’s “That I may see” at Black Rat Projects

Today I have to break my usual rules for posting on Vandalog. I’m trying to stick to cover “street artists” and not “urban artists,” but I have to make an exception for this. It would make no sense to ignore Matt Small’s upcoming solo show at Black Rat Projects. That I May See is a show based on Matt’s trip to the Robert Shitima School in Kabwe, Zambia and it opens next Thursday (September 9th). Matt, Swoon, Mike Snelle (who runs Black Rat) and I spent some time at the Shitima school earlier this year. You can check out my video of the trip here, but Mike’s post about the trip on Arrested Motion is probably the best place to learn about what we did and where we were.

Since getting back to London, Matt has been painting portraits of students that we met in Zambia, and those will be shown for the first time at That I May See. This is a really special show to me, because my mother and sister are very involved with the Shitima School and having visited myself, I have seen just how vital their work is. Anyone who has met Matt knows what a kind person he is, so it should come as little surprise that Matt and Black Rat Projects have kindly decided to donate 40% of the proceeds from sales to the school. Unlike a lot of charity art shows where a hodge-podge of artists donate work that has been sitting around their studio for a year or two, this really is a proper solo show from a talented artist, and it happens to also be supporting a great cause.

If you’re in London next Thursday, I hope you have a chance to check out this show.

Preview of BRP’s “Now’s the Time”

Black Rat Press have just sent me a few images as a preview to their upcoming group show Now’s The Time. The line-up is pretty sick. Black Rat have really found some fantastic paintings from some of the world’s top street artists (past and present) including Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Barry McGee, Keith Haring, Swoon, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Os Gêmeos. The show opens Thursday April 22nd, and I expect the gallery is going to be packed. Here’s what I can reveal so far:

Shepard Fairey

That’s got to be the best Angela Davis (edit: okay apparently this isn’t of Angela Davis, but it still looks amazing) I’ve seen from Shepard Fairey.


Swoon keeps getting better and better and better. Definitely my favorite living artist.

Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat

While it’s only a drawing, how often do you get a see a Basquiat in person? This is something special for sure.

Now’s The Time at Black Rat Projects

Black Rat Projects (formally Black Rat Press) finally has their first show of 2010 opening in a few weeks. It’s called Now’s The Time. It’s a group show and it brings together artwork by some of the top names in street art’s history: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Banksy, Barry McGee, Faile and Os Gêmeos. I’ve heard about this show coming together over the last few months, and I like to joke that the idea behind it is strikingly similar to The Thousands, but two artists really separate this show from The Thousands and other similar exhibition that have been put on in the past: Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. It’s not often that a gallery has put on an exhibition of what is claimed to be the world’s top street art and been able to include those two essential artists in the line up alongside newer artists artists like Faile. This is going to be a very interesting show. Now’s The Time opens April 22nd at Black Rat Projects in London.

Via Pimp Guides

Luc Price aka Cyclops at Black Rat


I’ve been sitting excitedly on this for quite a while now, and finally I can say that Luc Price aka Cyclops’ first solo show is opening on October 15th at Black Rat Press and offer a few images. If you’re familiar with Cyclops’ work on the street, this show, Jesus Help Me Find My Proper Place, is going to be quite surprising in its content.

Here’s the press release which is worth a read if only for its slightly (unintentionally) funny exaggerations. But I suppose exaggeration and spin is the job of a press person.

This October, Black Rat Press presents ‘Jesus Help Me Find My Proper Place’ – a major London solo show by Lucas Price, also known as the acclaimed street artist Cyclops.

Heralded as a new star in the art world, the artist – whose familiar skeletal, giant toothed street art works with painting partner, Sweet Toof, can be seen in high profile spots all over the capital, and the world – will be exploring the fringes of society in a show which tackles narratives of homelessness, dereliction, madness, drugs and redemption.

The show marks Price’s ascension from a life on the streets to one of the UK’s bestselling artists from a graffiti background. Expelled at 15 for daubing the school with graffiti, he later experienced homelessness, drug addiction and jail on two continents. Five years after having kicked his addiction, Price’s much-lauded street and fine art has been recognised by critics, media and buyers the world over, and his works debuted to critical acclaim at auction last year, with pieces including Cease to Exist commanding £15K.

The new body of works on show in this exhibition feature the artist’s irreverent and often politically-loaded satire as well as visual commentary on society’s dark underbelly. Drawing from his personal experiences, the artist questions the ugliness that exists in society and demonstrates the beauty that can be found in even the most abject circumstances.

Price says: “All these references are alive to me. They have beauty within them I’ve seen it first hand. The world is wrecked, but it’s still beautiful, and people are so dumb, arrogant, flawed, imperfect yet so capable of good, so full of potential, and that goes for everyone and everything. I’m lucky, so I suppose it’s my job to not forget and to show people how it can be.”

Featuring works on canvas and paper as well as a series of thought-provoking installations, this promises to be the most audacious debut show of the year. To underline the show’s narrative, Price has worked with Sweet Toof on a site-specific installation – a wake with a coffin bearing an effigy of one of his street art characters. Price says: “The way I see it, he’s dead and this is a new start.”

The show title Jesus Help Me Find My Proper Place is appropriated from the Velvet Underground track Jesus which has been re-interpreted by Price as a direct reference to his past and acknowledgement of his newfound acclaim. It is also one of the subversive slogans that appeared on a hard-hitting series of large-scale light boxes which the artist recently left outside high visibility sites including central London tube stations, police stations, art galleries and major advertising hotspots including Piccadilly Circus.

I think it’s fair to assume that this means Price is retiring his and Sweet Toof’s Lenny The High Roller character. This has got to show some maturity that few other street artists have. I could rattle of a list of half a dozen or more top tier street artists who have essentially been relying for years on the same image or character that made them famous and it get’s irritating, but Price doesn’t seem to want to rest on his laurels.

And finally, some pictures:


I really want to hear from Price what this painting is about, because it could be one of the most controversial pieces of street art this year (even more controversial than most of Banksy’s work for sure). I really like it.

HarveyBadge_Oil Painting


Ways of Seeing at Black Rat Press

Let’s say you own Black Rat Press. You want to do a group show with three of your artists who challenge people’s preconceptions about painting and street art. Who do you choose?

That’s right. You bring together Swoon, Matt Small, and Brian Adam Douglas (aka Elbowtoe).

Swoon is a female wheatpaster who spawned an entire school of street art in New York City, and she spends her time building rafts and crashing art festivals.

And any art critic who says urban artists don’t know how to paint doesn’t know Matt Small. A few years ago, Matt was a runner up for one of the top prizes in the British art world.

Elbowtoe has had a presence on the street art New York City for years as part of the school of lino-block cutters that Swoon influenced, and now as Brian Adam Douglas he is making intricate collage works that look more like impressionist paintings than thrown together magazine clippings. For me, the collages can be hit or miss, but when they work, they really work.

Well that’s exactly what “Ways of Seeing Is,” BRP’s next show which opens on July 2nd.

The official word from Black Rat Press and some photos after the jump… Continue reading “Ways of Seeing at Black Rat Press”

A Sequence of Events

Thursday was the extremely crowded opening of Nick Walker’s latest show at Black Rat Press, “A Sequence of Events.” People were queued for 13 hours just to buy a print. Just the usual sort of reception that Walker receives. The show was done in conjunction with the release of Walker’s book.

Walker Butterfly

Because all the work was only in one or two colors, prices were lower than usual. Also, the size of the work was generally smaller than Nick’s trademark pieces in the past. This means that prices were lower than usual and fans who might only be able to afford a print might to able to afford an original.

My personal favorite
My favorite piece

Nick Walker

There aren’t any new images in this show, so I doubt anybody who didn’t like Nick in the past will be convinced to buy his work all of a sudden, but if you like Nick Walker, this show provides a solid overview of all his most popular images.

Photos by unusualimage