Come and Get It! Half Price: The Apprentice Takes on Urban Art

As most of you may know, last night premiered the latest episode of The Apprentice UK concentrating on the sales of urban art. The two teams were split up and tasked to represent two street artists and flog their work the public in East London at a night only gallery show. Obviously knowing very little about the genre himself, Lord Sugar set the teams up with car company Renault and gin manufacturer Beefeater in attempt to generate big sales for the teams by way of a corporate client. And then the circus ensued…

The episode opened with the teams standing looking frightened in Leake Street Tunnel in Waterloo with an ominous video of Lord Sugar talking them through the task. The candidates were then immediately split into their teams with half traveling to Bristol “the birthplace of graffiti” and the other half staying in London to source artists. In Bristol, the candidates met with SPQR and Copyright. Not liking the controversial wares of SPQR (the hypodermic needle freaked them out) the team fell for the stencil/tattoo-like stylings of Copyright. One of the guys kept trying to offer his own ludicrous interpretation the work as the camera panned to the silent artists making the situation just as uncomfortable for the viewer watching. In London, the teams met with Pure Evil, Nathan Bowen, and James Jessop. The teams fought over who wanted to sell Pure Evil’s work as he eventually went with the team that showed more enthusiasm rather than the pretty boy who kept talking out of his ass about how much he knew about street or rather that he may have viewed Exit Through the Gift Shop and retained a few facts. Bowen was also chosen to be shown, in order to impress Beefeater with his London centric characters. It was, however, ironic that half the team saw his work outside in Bristol and expressed how much they hated only to find out that they were selling it the next night. Nice job boys. The other team settled on Jessop and Copyright in the hopes of selling a large Jessop canvas to someone who was drunk enough to drop 10,000 pounds securing the team the win.

The shows themselves took place in Black Rat and Arch 402 with the usual street art crowds and bankers trolling through. The teams had no idea how or who to sell to, but just talking bullshit as if they were selling insurance. I’m just hoping that the artists who were involved were happy clearing overstock that night and making some extra money. Pure Evil alone sold over 10,000 pounds worth of work apparently. Not a bad haul and I’m sure some great publicity will come from it. Bowen got into the spirit by doing a live canvas based on the London landscape that could have gone to Beefeater, but with his representatives crappy client skills, the company left empty handed and their pockets still teeming with money. But in the end, the team that had Pure Evil won, even though it was only by 173 pounds. Bit of a shame. If only someone had enough space for any one of those 10 feet Jessops…

So what is the lesson here boys and girls? Is that anyone can sell urban art nowadays? Is it that almost anyone will buy something if you tell them it is cool/hip/trendy/up and coming? No no no. The lesson is that if you paid full price for any artists’ works than you paid too much. With an hour left to selling the teams started giving 50% discounts to some of the work. Half Price! Come and get it! Because that is not in bad taste whatsoever…

Images courtesy of BBC

Art for Africa charity auction

Eelus' print for the auction

Temwa, a charity working on community-based projects in Malawi, is holding an art auction in Shoreditch next month. Art for Africa will take place on December 4th at Jaguar Shoes in Shoreditch. There’s a long list of artists involved, but some of the highlights for me are probably going to be Mr. Jago, Toasters, SPQR, Will Barras, Eelus and Xenz. Go here for more info.

Photo courtesy of Temwa

Things to look at this weekend…

Detail of a painting by Bast

I’m guessing that with college only getting busier (although, as Stickboy pointed out on Twitter, freshman year isn’t exactly the busiest), I think I’ll finally have to resort to a semi-weekly link post. So Things to look at this weekend… will probably become a weekly feature on Vandalog (but maybe with more exciting name). So here’s what I’ve been reading recently:

  • Street Art: Contemporary Prints from the V&A is pretty much what the surprising title says. Turns out, the V&A museum has a pretty solid collection of urban art prints by artists like Swoon, D*Face and Blek le Rat. This show opens at a museum in Coventry, England on October 9th and UK Street Art has more info.
  • Tristan Manco‘s latest book, Street Sketchbook: Journeys, will be released at the end of September. Tristan is one of the people that I most respect in the street art community. Besides curating Cans Festival, he has been writing quality street art books for about a decade. He probably knows more about the artists he is writing about than just about anyone else, but he keeps everything accessible to a mass audience. Originally, I was skeptical of the concept of this book, but I’ve since been convinced that it will be at least worth checking out, and will probably be the best street art book of the year in terms of mass appeal (although other books will likely top it for street art fanatics). For me, the most exciting part of this book is going to be the exhibition that Tristan is curating at Pictures on Walls for next month. You’ll probably hear more about it on Vandalog in the coming weeks, but basically all the artists from his new book will be in the show. WallKandy has more info.
  • Bast has a solo show at Lazarides’ Rathbone Place. Most day’s I’m pretty indifferent to Bast indoors (credit to him for always getting up though), but I’m liking some of this work, and the Bast fans I’ve spoken with think this is some of his best work yet. Arrested Motion has photos.
  • Eelus has a solo show at Brooklynite Gallery in NY. The show runs through October 2nd. Hi-Fructose has some great photos.
  • It’s not a new idea and this video has been appearing all across the web, but if you haven’t checked out this “birds as CCTVs” project yet, it’s about time you do. I ignored it at first because I thought the idea was tired, but this version brings the idea to new levels and the video is very well-made.
  • One of my favorite art blogs is Street Art is Dead. If you haven’t read it before, it’s basically a no-holds-barred street art blog. Basically, I guess the writer of the blog is anonymous or just really doesn’t care what people think, so he/she really says it like it is and reveals juicy tidbits of gossip before anybody else. Today I want to link to two recent posts from Street Art is Dead. This one , on a topic that will not be discussed on Vandalog because I don’t want to play into the hype-machine, and this 100%-spot-on post about the latest Dolk prints and SPQR’s upcoming show at Signal Gallery. SAiD took the words right out of my mouth about SPQR and Dolk before I could post that here.
  • Old-school street artist Richard Hambleton has a solo show which just opened this week in Moscow. It looks pretty damn good. Of course, Arrested Motion has photos and all the info you need.