Peter Kennard exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London


I visited the Peter Kennard exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London yesterday and was knocked out by his work. I’d seen pieces before but never put them together with a name and when my wife suggested we go because it was ending soon and we still hadn’t checked out the new, refurbished IWM it was a no-brainer. The new museum layout is very good, although they’ve crammed a lot in, the different levels take you from the first World War up to the present day with some chilling artifacts (the twisted wreckage of one of the Twin Towers’ windows is included).

Kennard’s exhibition is a treasure trove of posters, books, magazines and original art – tons of it. Seeing it all together you realise what an impact he had in the media and how much of his work pre-dates so many that came after him. Most fascinating for me is the original collage work with photos manipulated by hand rather than computer for the most part. The final room has an installation of many of his pieces, layered like fly posters but interspersed with business cards from various different companies which make for a chilling juxtaposition, “We never forget who we’re working for”Lockheed Martin. It’s only on for one more week so try and find time to go, it’s free or you can donate to the museum as you go in.







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‘Art Pop’ show by Keith Haynes

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The ‘Art’ Pop  show by Keith Haynes just opened at Gallery Different, 14 Percy Street, W1, just off Tottenham Court Road. The North American map above, entitled ‘Hitsville USA’, in made up of vinyl records, all laser cut and named after each of the states. Likewise the ‘Going Undeground’ maps all have relevant records associated with the stops they represent, a simple idea presented immaculately. In a subtle touch Haynes has used various colours from Factory Road’s extensive 45 adapter range to compliment the 7″ centres. I predict we’ll be seeing this ripped off for years to come.

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Musical icons such as the smiley and the target are rendered in coloured badges that remind me of the work of Ian Wright or Jimmy Cauty. ‘Cover Versions’ of Bowie & Beatles sleeves are cut up and modified, looking like physical manifestations of Photoshop filters. The mutated sleeves work well (the ‘Heroes’ one above is even preferable to Jonathon Barnbrook‘s reworking of same for Bowie’s ‘The Next Day’ last year) because he’s remixing the original physical media to form a new work, in the same way Christian Marclay has in the past. Where I find it less successful is when he’s recreated existing designs in vinyl – the Sex Pistols, Velvets (not shown) and Dylan covers for example. They’re beautifully done but they’re Reid, Warhol and Glaser designs, not Haynes’ and it irks me when I see artists reappropriating the iconic work of others. I feel the same way about the portraits of singers like Amy Winehouse, Blondie, Bolan and more in used copies of their old vinyl records.

It renders him as more craftsman than artist, reproducing and recontextualising the work of others, relying on the audience’s familiarity and love of the original subject matter to sell ‘his’ work. The same could be said for the smiley and underground map of course but these are now accepted cultural icons, as part of the public visual consciousness as Coca Cola or Apple. I love the look of his show but I’m conflicted because of some of its artistic origins. It’s on until May 30th, so still a month to check it out and make your own mind up. Photos courtesy of Leigh Adams

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Jason De Haan ‘Nowhere Bodily Is Everywhere Ghostly’ exhibition

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Details and excerpts from Jason De Haan‘s ‘Nowhere Bodily Is Everywhere Ghostly’ exhibition at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in 2010 – incredible collage work. Above and below: ‘New Jerusalem’, 2010 (detail) “A floating city/landscape collaged from the deconstructed covers of over 1000 1950’s-80’s science-fiction paperbacks.”

Spotted by Imaginary Cities on Twitterfollow them for daily image dumps of, well… imaginary cities.

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‘Short Fuse’ – Snub23 at the Ben Oakley Gallery, London

Currently starring in his first solo show at the Ben Oakley Gallery in Greenwich is Snub23, a Brighton artist I’ve featured a few times on here and who I’ve collaborated with before on the last Herbaliser album.
One of the most dedicated stencil artists I’ve ever come across, he’s always moving his style forward and several are on display in the show. His signature 23 piece and Mongrol character preside over the back wall with new 3D heads appearing for the first time of the robot.
His Isometric Op-Art designs multiply across distressed metal drawers and more characters grace found signage, a skate deck and circuit boards. Subtler line drawings of female faces in a number of expressions adorn one wall and delicately stenciled feathers are free to viewers.

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He also has these T-shirts for sale plus prints of the same at the gallery, the show ends on May 3rd so be quick, the gallery in a little side passage off the main market square in Greenwich.


Secret 7″ 2015

S715EyesIt’s that time of the year again when Secret 7″ rolls around and shows off its wares to the public before sale day. You know the deal by now, seven bands or recording artists provide a track pressed onto a seven inch record. Hundreds of artists are invited to design sleeves for one of the acts but aren’t allowed any titles on the image.

The records are housed inside their respective sleeves, all one-offs, and the public are allowed to buy them at £50 each, the proceeds of which then goes to charity. You have to second guess the covers if you want a particular song which can be tricky but some are more obvious than others. The two sleeves at the top of the post were lenticular so moved when viewed at different angles.

The venture has expanded this year and moved venues to Somerset House where they have seven prints to add to the occasion now. Another addition is a vinyl cutting booth where you can go and make your own one-off 7″ on the spot, you have 15 minutes to record something and £50 gets your song, message or performance on a unique piece of vinyl. Looking round the designs I saw several that I could quite happily own and there seemed to be different themes recurring: lots of Op Art, many more 3D works, flower skulls popped up at least three times and eyes were prominent. I’ve divided my own snaps into lots: graphic, illustration, Op Art and 3D work.


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Dan Lish (again because I can’t get enough of his work)

It’s been… ooh, about six weeks since I featured Dan Lish‘s work last but since then he’s been churning out incredible pieces and started to produce work featuring artists outside of the Hip Hop world. You may have seen his print as a part of the De La Soul kickstarter or the free Slick Rick poster with Wordplay magazine. He’s got four new prints available from his site now: De La Soul (featured below), Wu Tang’s GZA, Mos Def and Kraftwerk, all £25 each, limited to 100 copies.

(Top) A Tribe Called Quest, (Below) De La Soul (nice Little Nemo in Slumberland reference with the bed there), De La Soul (original Older version for Kickstarter), De La Soul (Young version for Kickstarter), Funkadelic triple gatefold cover for a forthcoming comp, Kool Keith album cover, Jungle Brothers, Nina Simone, Prince Paul, Run DMC, X-Men/Xecutioners. Check the amazing sketchbook and Prince Paul time lapse short down below too.

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Dan Lish: Ego Strippin’ Prince Paul from Bret Syfert on Vimeo.

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Savage Pencil Slam City Skates advertising

Several items from my collection of Savage Pencil / SavX aka Edwin Pouncey‘s advertising for the Slam City Skates shop. (Above) A rare Slam City Skates bag from 1990, the reverse had a similar image but advertised the Rough Trade record shops, one of which had a space in the basement below SCS’s Covent Garden branch.
(Below) Several adverts by Savage Pencil for the Slam City Skates shop from 1986, 1984 and 1987. The 1976 – 1986 flyer is a Battle Of The Eyes production by SavX and Chris Long.
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Pond LP video & graphics

Finally got round to checking out Pond‘s new album today, not bad, some nice bits on there including this track which looks like it’s been taking styling tips from Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy. Particularly love some of the album graphics, the cover of which reminds me of Robert Crumb‘s turn for Big Brother & The Holding Company crossed with Celyn Brazier‘s work for Wagon Christ.

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Larry Carlson collages and films

Above: ‘Ascension’ by Larry Carlson, do not watch if out of your mind.
Few artists manage to capture the enhanced state of the psychedelic trip in the way that Larry Carlson can in the final three images below. That deepened perspective where the inherent detail in every object before you is magnified a thousandfold until your sense of space is distorted and images become present in everyday surroundings.

Whilst some of his images play into the clichés of the genre, there are enough interesting things happening in his work for me to keep an eye on it for the flashes of brilliance he does throw up. The mix of the surreal, the cosmic and his ability to occasionally nail a two dimensional representation of a lysergic experience puts him in similar standing to visionaries like Ernst Fuchs, Robert Venosa or Mati Klarwein. His work is more playful than theirs, I realise, containing ad hoc elements more akin to Terry Gilliam‘s collages than the seriousness of the greats but I feel he can sometimes capture the absurdness of scale or dimensional distortion that occurs on such trips.







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Paola Delfin paintings

Paolo_Delfin_LondonWhilst out visiting friends in East London yesterday I chanced upon this excellent piece of art next to the old pie & mash shop in All Saints. An appeal for the name of the artist turned up the name Paola Delfin from Mexico, her work is mainly based on the female form, check out more of her fantastic art at the link above.

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Early Simon Bisley Heavy Metal artwork

BisleyRAWcoverGoing through the archive recently for something else I chanced upon these lesser seen early Simon Bisley artworks from the late 80’s. After Simon exploded onto the comic scene with his work for 2000ad on ABC Warriors and Slaine it seemed everyone wanted a piece of him and his work inevitably started appearing outside the comic world too.

His love of Heavy Metal music is well known so it was no surprise when I spotted a cover and advert he’d done for the short-lived Kerrang! rival, RAW (Rock Action Worldwide, not the New York underground Raw publication). I’m pretty sure this is one of the first instances of The Biz drawing Batman, the Joker, Spiderman and Marshall Law, even Judge Dredd too.

Bisley_RAWad88Possibly from the same magazine a couple of years later is a full page painting of Slayer complete with horned devil and Giger-esque creature. Below that is a flyer for a Rock club night I picked up in the late 80’s in London which I’m 99% certain is a Biz doodle.

Last here are a couple of Bisley cameos from anthology books I’ve collected over the years, sadly I’ve forgotten the actual titles of the books but one was some sort of horror anthology and also featured one-off illustrations by other comic artists of the day.


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Greg Gallo in Heavy Metal magazine Jan 1992

A 3 page story appeared in the January ’92 issue of Heavy Metal magazine, credited to Greg Gallo and made entirely out of distorted photocopies. I’ve searched for more comic work by Gallo but found nothing, can anyone enlighten me on anything else he’s done please or was this a one-off? The twisted xeroxes remind me of WKinteract‘s work that sometimes utilises a similar method.

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More Rammellzee…

Ramm1&2 colourThe Rammellzee love-in continues… finished colour versions of the Ramm(s) by Dan Lish (love that he flipped the 2nd one) and an old video popped up the other day of a performance by Rammellzee and Toxic C1 at the Rhythm Lounge in 1983. Toxic is cutting up Billy Squire‘s ‘Big Beat’ while Ramm raps but Jean Michell Basquiat also provides graphic overlays and doesn’t actually appear, the video isn’t all that but it’s all about the recording.

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Rammellzee part 2 by Dan Lish

DLish-Rammpt.2This blog seems to rapidly be becoming a Dan Lish showcase of late. Furthermore to the first portrait of Wildstyle-era Ramm that he posted just a few days ago, late last night this version went up. The Rammellzee in full on Ikonoklast Panzerism mode. Both so wonderful, can’t wait to see the colour versions.


I’ve been meaning to post his illustration for the weird Beatles meets Hip Hop mash up that went up the other month too…


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