Death in the Afternoon @ The Minotaur

Here’s my piece from The Minotaur show, currently running in the Old Vic Tunnels. I was given the brief about a year ago so I was pretty excited about all the possibilities that the Minotaur could bring given my work’s ongoing interest in masculinity, power and ego and all that blah blah blah..

This year I’ve started doing a series of shoots with photographer Eoghan Brennan to use as source material and for this painting I took Ramey’s 1826 sculpture of Thesseus slaying the minotaur as a starting point. I recreated it, replacing Thesseus with Jatinder (an Indian/English mate of mine) and I dressed him up as a matador.

I listen to the news a lot in the studio, and one of the main stories in the last few months as I’ve been thinking about this piece has been the instability in the global markets (I never really understand any of this) and in particular the fragility of the euro. My own country has had no small part to play in the euro’s woes  but for the purpose of this painting I liked the symbolism of the Minotaur, that great charachter of Greek and European mythology on his back about to be slayed by the rising Asian economies.

The Holy Smoke Quintet

These are the 5 pieces I did for Hell’s Half Acre. Our general brief was Dante’s Divine Comedy. We could take from it what we wanted. Given its strong Catholic tone I was quite keen to look at Christianity’s relationship with Islam. I was in Bethlehem and Jerusalem earlier this year and it looks like the Middle East/US/West/Terrorism/Gihad  saga is going to go on for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever so i thought this was the right time to stick my oar in (I might just have solved everything. Through oil paint. Go me). I’ve also been reading up a little on the Crusades, so these paintings are something to do with them.

Also, The Crusades were cooked up by Pope Urban II. I have been called an ‘urban’ artist, so really it was a no-brainer.

Anyway, there are 9 circles in Dante’s vision of hell, each one for various naughty deeds. The 7th Circle is for Violence but the Crusaders would have had to do a fair bit of that, so there you go, a contradiction in the church, who’d a thought. But the figures in these paintings aren’t Crusaders, they’re from a few century’s later. The Knights Hospitaller were a religious military order, originally set up to defend The Holy Land from the Muslims and later became known as the Knights of Malta to do the same job with the invading Ottomans in the 16th Century.

There’s also been a touch of Avarice (greed – 4th Circle) involved in the church over the years, hence my Golden Armada.

I called the series The Holy Smoke Quintet as a light-hearted counter to all the heavy religious business. Sounds like a jazz band. Its also a reference to the Middle East Quartet, a consortium involving the UN, Europe, US and Russia. I think they’re supposed to sort everything out.

The show opened last night and is running for the week. All the allocated time slots are full but keep an eye on the site for more details as its definitely worth coming down to see.

Hells Half Acre

I’m sure a lot of you have heard about this by now, our big Autumn group show is opening in the scary tunnels underneath Waterloo Station in conjunction with the Old Vic Theatre. I have 5 pieces as well as an installation type thing in the show, really looking forward to this one. I’ll get photos up here as soon as its all ready (or as soon as Ian emails them to me).

 

Also there is a nice lil preview vid up on Bablegum of the set-up, you can peek it here.

Bloods Trilogy – We Come Strapped

Yikes, been ages since I posted (I’m blaming the World Cup). I’m waiting on shots of my canvases to come through from LA so I can get them up here. These are the 3 large(ish) paper pieces I did for Eurotrash.

I’ve always liked the similarity between Wellington’s Redcoats and LA’s badman gang The Bloods. Since the show was in LA, albeit a million miles from gangland I thought I’d put an OG twist on the pieces with gangsta rap titles.  

This is We Come Strapped (Compton’s Most Wanted album) and below are N Gatz We Truss (from South Central Cartel’s 1994 album) and The Booming System, not exactly gangsta but I felt LL Cool J’s title worked well with these boys loading up the canon.