• PatnDon: Artist Interview

    PatnDon are an artist duo that share a unique vision and way of making art, communicating their idea in variety media including print, text, video, painting and photography.

    Their practice manifests in a number of different ways with contrasting themes: from paying homage to the costumes of The Prince of Pop, Michael Jackson to creating a number of bespoke cabinets containing detritus and ephemera collected over a lifetime. We caught up with the pair to find out more about what they do and their past.

    Who exactly are PatnDon?

    P: PatnDon are Patricia and Donald. The ‘n’ represents the way in which we pronounce ‘and’. 

    D: We like to think that it’s Yorkshire dialect but really it’s just slovenly and common and can’t really be attributed towards slang. 

    How would you describe your work? 

    P: We have, with a varying degrees of success, incorporated painting, sculpture, screen printing, text video, utter nonsense and ‘cheap stand up’ in our exploration and yearning for Artistic endeavour. 

    D: I suppose that it is quite typical to describe our work as autobiographical, but it is the most appropriate term for it. But then I suppose that all artist’s work can’t be anything other than autobiographical!

    P: We believe that our work carriers comprehensive pretensions, but we are just as satisfied if our work merely makes the viewer smile. 

    What would you say are the benefits of working as part of an artistic duo?

    P: To a lesser or greater extent everyone strives to make their mark on this world. We just find that by working as a collaborative duo lessens the burden.

     D: Our styles certainly complement each other.

     P: I tend to paint things.

     D: And I tend to build stuff. 

    What is the story behind your Michael Jackson inspired series of images? 

     P: For quite a while we had yearned to produce a series of abstract paintings. We had devised various formulas to create colourful compositions but everything that we tried seemed too forced, predictable and tiresome. We were beginning to get disillusioned. And then Michael Jackson died and we were suddenly inundated with images in newspapers and magazines of the ‘King of Pop’ and his rather questionable fashion. We suddenly had our source material.

     D: The vast majority of the pieces featured glittered and highly glazed elements to represent the glitz and glamour of the man. Out of respect and necessity we set about producing 100 paintings based on the diverse costumes that Michael Jackson once wore. The series included his significant pieces as well as some of his other less obvious creations. 

    Do you listen to anything in particular whilst working? 

    P: We gravitate towards music that has a story. In the sense that it can be categorised into a beginning, middle and end. Music that allows you to embark on a journey. A climax and an anti-climax. An experience. Songs that haave layers. We are not loyal to any one specific style. We think that Hip-Hop has a lot of merit. How sampling is a marriage of styles. A homage. 

    D: The work that we are producing at the time has a direct correlation with thetype of music that we favour. It seems to be a rather unconscious decision.Ironically, when we spent almost a year creating the Michael Jackson paintings we couldn’t bare to listen to even one of his songs. It would have been overwhelming. Pink Floyd are wonderful. Trent Reznor is a genius. Tom Waits and Nick Cave are incredible storytellers. 

    Where did you both grow up? 

    P: We grew up in Goole, East Yorkshire. The town is significant for previouslyhaving the honour of being Europe’s largest exporter of wood. And of course it’siconic water towers that closely resemble Salt and Pepper pots

    .D: The town is now inundated with supermarkets and charity shops.

    Where did you train? What did training teach you?

    P: We completed our Foundation course at Selby College. It was an intense and avery humbling experience. It was the first time that we were amongst people who had willingly chosen to be students. We learnt so much.

    D: Our Tutors at Leeds University were a revelation. They wouldn’t allow you tobe dismissive of anything. Everything could be justified and rationalized. Theyreally steered our practise in a very conceptual direction. Our final piece was toproduce a manual, which the reader, our subject, was invited to use as a guide torealize our work for us. To realize language in a physcial form. To expose andexploit assumptions. It was incredibly well received.

    What would you say are the main themes you pursue?

    P: Nothing is particularly off limits. And we think that this is true with the majority of Artists. We all seem to pursue and explore the same main themes.Love, Life and Death are obvious. We do feel that humour is quite understated and generally overlooked in Art. But yet, consider the premise of a joke with most of the Art that you observe and you’ll soon happen upon a punchline. Albeit, it a dark humour in many cases.

    D: We certainly have a fondness for language and how language can be explored.Especially in the way we use everyday expressions. We all use expressions withlittle or no real consideration but if you were to interpret them literally you would conjure up some wonderful imagery.

    Which of your works are you most proud of?

    P: That’s like being asked to choose your favourite Child! We are proud of how all of our ‘projects’ have turned out. We are particularly fond of our on-going Collection Box series. This is by far our rawest and most honest creation. We make bespoke display cabinets and fill them to capacity with items that we haveacquired throughout our life’s. They were initially inspired by disappointingMuseum displays and over cluttered charity shop windows.

    D: When you begin to consider the designers involved in each item, or theindividuals involved in the packaging of said items, or the amount of peopleinvloved in the distribution of each item then it becomes an incredibly considered project. There are arguably thousands of people indirectly involved in the manufacture of the Collection Box series. 

    What’s the biggest myth about artists?

    P: I can recall with anger and frustration the time when a relative asked what Iwas studying at University. After my response he proceeded to ask if the windows were clean.

    D: Even though this was a witty retort, the pre-conception that Artists don’t do alot with their day is incredibly annoying. Being an Artist is not a 9-5. And there iscertainly no such thing as an overnight success. You can trace any Artists successback by years.

    What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

    P: If in doubt, make it big. Make lots of them. And give it a fancy name.

    D: That, the cat sat on the mat is not a story. The cat sat on the dogs mat is!

    What is the greatest threat to art today?

    PnD: Damien Hirst.

    P:- IIya & Emilia Kabakov, Fischli & Weiss, Martin Creed, Angus Fairhurst. 

    D: We admire Artists that just seem to do what they want. Individuals who appear carefree and uninhibited in the type of Art that they produce and don’t particularly conform to any assumed type.

    What work of art would you most like to own?

    P: A Thousand Years by Damien Hirst. It’s the perfect metaphor for life. I like the imagery of it being the focal point in the lounge and everyone having to live their lives around it.

    D: Autumn Rhythm (number 30) by Jackson Pollock. I believe that it is withoutquestion the most striking image that I have ever experienced. It’s a knockout. It is arguably the most energetic ‘still’ painting out there. A juxtaposition. It’s passive aggressive. It’s also a reminder that an Artist with a relatively simple, yet original idea can completely change the perception of Art. 

    Finally please describe for us an average day in the life of PatnDon…

    P: We’ll discuss, deliberate and disagree before finally settling on something to do. There is alot of dialogue between us because we made the bold decision at University to discard our sketchbooks in favour of the actual realization of work.

    D: Having no tangible plan leads to all many of nonsense. It’s easy to startsomething. But it’s hard to go on. And it’s very difficult to finish. We hate endings.That is a start!

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  • Radical Nudes

    There has been a lot of press recently about the new ground-breaking exhibition of Egon Schiele’s evocative nudes currently on at London’s Cortauld Gallery. 

    It got us at artrepublic thinking about the power of the nude figure in art and also drew us to take a look at some other artists who embrace the female form in their work.

    Egon Schiele was an Austrian figurative painter, (1890 –1918) whose artistic career was cut preciously short when he died suddenly during the great Spanish flu epidemic of the early 20th century. As a protégé of the great Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, Schiele was known for firmly putting women at the centre of his art, creating intense and sexually charged work. His draughtsmanship and painting style frequently evokes a feeling of unease and anxiety in the viewer with limbs being exaggerated and distorted. 

    Schiele grew up in Austria during a time when sex was celebrated in different forms of art from painting to the composes Gustav Mahler’s exhilarating musical works. The ‘Father of Pyschoanalysis’ Sigmund Freud’s revolutionary essays on sexuality were published at the time Schiele was studying at art college affecting him greatly. Schiele’s work was not appreciated outside of his home country until decades after his death, when he was recognised as one of the most important exponents of Expressionism. In 1912 he was even imprisoned for displaying ‘immoral drawings’ in a place where they were visible to children. He even produced a number of notable self-portraits from his prison cell whilst incarcerated. 

    Sarah Hardacre is a contemporary artist and printmaker who utilises the female nude figure in a very different way in her work. Hardacre is well known for her paper collages and silkscreen prints, which dramatically juxtapose glamour models from vintage ‘Gentlemen’s’ magazines with the stark urban landscape of her hometown Salford. The women in Hardacre’s prints are presented oversized against their backdrops creating a striking balance between the sensual curves of the models with the harshly structured post-war architecture. Hardacre’s use of women in her work is to celebrate the beauty natural female form rather than presenting an image of misogyny.  

    Henri Matisse has seen a resurgence in popularity recently due to the sensational exhibition of his paper cut outs, which was held at the Tate Modern earlier this year. The show was the best attended in the Tate’s history and brought the French artists work to a fresh new audience. Throughout his life Matisse explored the nude female body in his artwork. Arguably his most famous works, which were made toward the end of his esteemed career, were his blue gouache découpées representing elegantly stylised women either seated or standing. 

    Women played an incredibly important role in the life of Matisse with the artist employing the help of several beautiful female studio assistants who would became his muses. Towards the end of career Matisse was virtually bed ridden due to complications from surgery but still created work, drawing from bed, cutting paper that had been painted for him and instructing the fabrication of his work. 

    The female nude is one of the most recognisable and evocative motives in art and is constantly a source of inspiration for a great number of artists regardless of the era, aesthetic style of movement. 

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  • Peter Blake: Classics Revisited

    Peter Blake is a unique artist who loves to revisit his earlier work, re-examining it and further exploring ideas. This can be seen in his fabulous new print, which is a contemporary reworking of an old favourite. 

    Since the mid 80s Blake has been going back over his artwork and updating it with fresh new versions. This idea of engaging with past reflects Blake’s desire to evoking a strong sense of nostalgia in his work and transport the viewer to different eras. Blake describes his motive for reconsidering his work: “I felt that some of the American Pop artists had only one idea in the early 1960s, then repeated that idea over and over again, mainly for commercial reasons, whereas I had often only painted one picture from an idea, and it would sometimes have been worth further paintings". 

    A fine example of his revisited work is the updated version of the iconic of Sgt Peppers album cover Blake made in 2012 to celebrate his 80th Birthday. The newly revamped work featured a host of Blake’s celebrity friends, contemporary heroes other cultural icons including Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse, David Hockney and Noel Gallagher. Another case of Blake restyling a classic work is his silkscreen print ‘The Second Real Target’ published in 2009 nearly fifty years after he painted the original ‘The First Real Target’, which is now part of the Tate’s collection. The initial painting refers to the work of American artist Jasper Johns, one of Blake’s contemporaries who also incorporated images taken from popular culture into a fine art context. There is a great feeling of continuity when comparing the two target pieces. 

    This leads us on to a very exciting announcement, the release of Peter Blake’s latest incredible print ‘Tiny Tina the Tattooed Lady’, a reworking and of a familiar motif in Blake’s work. His first tattooed lady edition came out back in 1985 with the screen print depicted a blonde woman with a selection of brightly coloured inked designs. The theme of the print fits in with Blake’s love of traditional circuses and the associated characters from various Victorian era shows.

    Blake made the original painting that inspired the prints, ‘Loelia, World’s Most Tattoed Lady’, back in 1955 while a student at The Royal College of Art. The piece was painted in oils onto a wooden panel in a naïve, folk art style and emerged during Blake’s earliest period of Pop-Art. The art historian Marco Livingstone describes ‘Loelia’ as “a multi-layered proto-Pop painting, which occupies a key position in the history of British Pop Art”. The painting gained international recognition in 2010 when it sold in an auction at Christies for a Blake record of £337,250- double the highest estimate.  

    Peter Blake is well known for continuing to innovate and evolve his artistic practice, favouring new techniques and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the medium of printmaking. Blake has made his new edition of ‘Tiny Tina’ uniquely customisable, allowing the purchaser the luxury of choosing from 6 different coloured bikinis and hairband when ordering, allowing for a great number of different colour combinations. The additional elements are then collaged onto the finished print. The print is a signed limited edition giclee on 330gsm Somerset Satin paper and is from an edition of just 100.

    On ‘Tiny Tina’ Blake has seamlessly blended modern and Victorian style illustrations and typography, giving the whole image a simultaneously cotemporary and retro feel. Despite now being in his 80s Peter Blake has always retained a distinct air of coolness and a reputation for staying one step ahead of the avant-garde.It is also very fitting his latest print features a woman adorned with tattoos as the form of body modification is currently at the apex of popularity, with more and more people deciding to have artwork indelibly inked onto their skin. ‘Tiny Tina’ is a fantastic and inventive reinterpretation of an icon Blake image. For the first time the treasured artist has allowed the buyer of the work to decided upon elements of the design and colour scheme. Remember there will only be 100 customisable Tiny Tina’s printed, so move quickly to avoid miss out on this absolute gem! 

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  • artrepublic's trip to New York

    Lawrence and Lindsay from our Brighton gallery have recently been on a transatlantic voyage to New York City, meeting up with some of the hottest artists on their way. 

    Ron English

    Ron English is one of the most important names in the art world and has played a huge part in elevating street art to the widely respected position it currently holds.  Also known as ‘The Godfather of Street Art’, English creates pop-hyperrealist oil paintings and sculptures blending surreal humour with subversive irony. The pair from our gallery travelled to English’s expansive studio in upstate New York to view first hand where the magic happens. English has a cast of invented iconic characters that permeate through his work, some of which he releases as limited edition ‘designer vinyl toys’. He also sets up abstract sculptural compositions that he then photographs and uses as a guide to create his paintings.

    Ron English is a truly unique artist and a rebellious character. He is known to don a yeti suit and roam the woods near his home stalking deer, a creature he loves dearly. We are very excited to reveal that artrepublic will be releasing an exclusive limited edition print by Ron English very soon! Make sure to check this space for more information and the release date of the upcoming brilliant new work.  

    Dan Baldwin

    Whilst in New York, Lawrence and Lindsay also had the chance to catch up with an old friend of artrepublic, the magnificent Dan Baldwin, who was preparing for his debut solo show in the Big Apple. The exhibition entitled ‘The End of Innocence’, opened on 23rd October in the city’s ultra hip Meat Packing District and covers the full extent of Dan’s immense talent with paintings, ceramics, bronze sculptures and works on paper on display.

    The new body of work sees Dan explores the notion of loss of innocence as he incorporates incredibly personal ephemera into the work. Objects with great sentimental value including his father’s boxing gloves and son’s baby teether find their way on to the canvases to add real depth and layers of meaning to the exhilarating compositions.  Dan Baldwin continues to take the international art world by storm and reap the rewards of his ambition, ability and relentless hard work. He even took a minute out from hanging the show to spar with Lawrence! 

    Nick Walker 

    Nick Walker is one of the pioneers of stencil graffiti and made his name on the infamous Bristol street art and graffiti scene of the 1980s. Walker also has a show of new work in New York.  Nick combines stencils with freehand spray painting; this approach allows him to juxtapose photographic style images with the raw mark making that is synonymous with graffiti. Nick has also released a book for his show, with each cover being hand sprayed. 

    It is great to see the genius that is Nick Walker returning to show in galleries after a 4 year absence. The show at 345 Broome Street, in the Bowery, clearly drew inspiration from the city, with his signature man in a bowler hat popping up against at stencilled urban landscape. We can’t wait to see what Nick Walker has in store in for the future particularly on this side of the Atlantic. 

    Buff Monster

    Lawrence and Lindsay also had the pleasure of meeting the painter, Buff Monster in his New York studio. Buff Monster is force to be reckoned with in the art world having relocated to New York from Hollywood in 2012. He made a name for himself by putting up thousands of hand-silkscreened posters across Los Angeles and other places.

    Strange happy creatures living in a bubbly landscape and melting ice cream cones characterise his work. His colour of choice, electric pink, is prevalent in his work. Buff Monster loves the colour because it’s a symbol of confidence, individuality and happiness, three integral elements in his work. He cites heavy metal and Japanese culture as other influences. Buff Monster already has a painting in the Bristol Museum’s permanent collection and we would love to see some more of his uplifting and brightly coloured creations over here! 

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  • Spotlight on Bruce McLean

    The juggernaut that is Frieze Art Fair has recent rolled into town and taken place in London’s Regent’s Park, bringing with it a host of contemporary art as well as a number insightful artist led talks and discussions including the brilliant Bruce McLean

    One of our favourite artists Bruce McLean was chosen to present a keynote speech as part of Frieze Talks, a series curated by the editors of Frieze Magazine. In his inimitable and playful style, McLean delivered the talk in the form of a performance in which he bizarrely interviewed himself. 

    McLean is a legendary figure in the British art world. In the 1960s he studied at the Glasgow School of Art then attended Central St. Martins College with fellow radical sculptors Gilbert and George. Since then he has created artwork through the media of painting, sculpture and performance.  McLean describes the stifling environment in which sculpture was taught at the time: “The St. Martin’s sculpture forum would avoid every broader issue, discussing for hours the position of one piece of metal in relation to another. Twelve adult men with pipes would walk for hours around sculpture and mumble.”

    In 1969 McLean was included in the seminal show “When Attitudes Become Form”. Ironically he used his inclusion in the highly regarded show as a platform to begin mocking what he saw as the machismo and posturing of minimal and conceptual art. This rebellious and playful attitude would manifest in his future artwork. In the 1970s while teaching at Maidstone College McLean founded the concept band ‘Nice Style’ who were billed as ‘The World’s First Pose Band’ (take note One Direction) and played a number of gigs using their bodies to perform as sculptures rather than actually playing instruments. In 1972 McLean was offered an illustrious exhibition at the Tate Gallery at the age of just 27. He opted, with sarcastic intent, for a ‘retrospective’ lasting only one day. It seems McLean pre-empted the transient nature of the pop-up show that is prevalent in the art world today. 

    McLean doesn’t see himself as an artist. “Art is a three letter word and I’m not interested in three letter words. I’m interested in: Punk, Pose, Jazz… not art.” He prefers the title ‘Action Sculptor’ because of the influence of the abstract action painter Jackson Pollock. McLean refers to the video of Pollock smoking a cigarette whilst rhythmically applying paint to a canvas as: “The most subliminal and sublime shot in the history of cinema”. McLean goes on to say: “I like Jackson Pollock, because he was an action painter and I like the action of Jackson Pollock, not so much the paintings, they had nothing to do with it. Him doing it was the work, not the thing he’s done. I think I’m an action sculptor, it’s not the sculpture that’s important it’s the action”.

    In recent years painting and printmaking have become increasing more important in Bruce McLean’s practice. Between 2002 and 2010 McLean acted as head of Graduate Painting at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art. Even when painting something as classic and conventional as a still life scene, McLean manages to inject his mischievous and rebellious spirit but using vivid punchy colours and boldly simplified shapes.  

    This year sees another retrospective of Bruce McLean held some 40 years after his original tongue-in-cheek one day version. The Exhibition titled ‘Bruce McLean: Sculpture, Painting, Photography, Film’ examines the artist’s career across five decades and includes drawings and photographs that have previously never been shown to the public. Held at Colchester’s Firstsite gallery the show is presented over seven galleries occupying 855 square metres and truly shows off the immensely broad talent of one of British art’s irrepressible satirists. 

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  • Michelle Mildenhall: Artist Interview

    artrepublic artist Michelle Mildenhall is currently taking part in an exciting and provocative new show titled “Sex Sells”. Alongside two other acclaimed artists, Jess Eaton and Andrew Shoben, Michelle is showing a set of portraits which have been meticulously constructed from sheets of latex.

    The show, which takes place at Embassy Tea Gallery in London, encompasses the macabre, the kinky and the intensely sexual with each artist exploring the erotic realms in their inimitable style. It promises to be a celebration of all things sexual, sensual and sinister. We caught up with Michelle at the private view and she very kindly gave us some fascinating insight into her work.

    How did the exhibition "Sex Sells", with the other artists Andrew Shoben and Jess Eaton, come about?

    About a year ago Andrew and I decided to do an exhibition together, it arose from a conversation we had.  He had bought one of my latex pieces and we wanted to put our work together as it really complimented each other’s. We decided go for it and to do the show for ourselves.  It’s the first time we’ve shown together and the largest amount of work I’ve produced and shown in one place. 

    You’re well known as being the UK’s only latex artist. In the art world latex is a very uncommon material. How did you come across using it in your art and what are the qualities of it that appeal to you?

    I make outfits for myself out of latex but I’m artist, this led to an epiphany one day, why don’t I create my art in latex, as nobody else is doing it? Latex comes in so many amazing colours with pearlescence and glittery effects. It’s such a sensual material. What I’ve created with the latex adds eroticism to my work. For me it was a natural progression. 

    How you choose the celebrity figures in your portraits?

    I’ve used David Bowie because he’s very statuesque and I idolise him. Personally I put him up there with the Pope. For people like the Queen or Margret Thatcher there is a feeling of irony, its fun and you see my character coming through. Thatcher’s reign coincided with the Punk Movement so it’s entertaining to put her in a dog collar with purple eye make up. With the Queen I’ve made her beautiful but she has a very sexual look in her eyes. 

    Talk us through the psychical process of making your artwork… 

    I come up with an idea or image and then cut everything out by hand from latex. I have to use thinners and special glue that you can only get from a single shop in the UK. It’s a very unique process. The latex comes in huge sheets like on a roll fabric, so I spend hours cutting it. Once all the shapes are cut out I have to apply thinners and then stick it all back together. 

    Finally what kind of impact and message do you want to communicate with your work?

    I would like to show people something that they have never seen before. The message is a combination of the fun elements and irony, with the more fetishistic characters. The women in my art look as if they’re being dominated but they are actually the one’s in control. They are very strong women, the opposite of how you first perceive them. I want people to look deeply into the characters rather than just seeing the initial image. 

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  • J.M.W. Turner is Immortalised in New Biopic + EXCLUSIVE Sneak-Peak Clip

    This month sees the spotlight turned on one of the most important artists in British history, Joseph Mallord William Turner. The forthcoming film ‘Mr. Turner’, which hits cinemas at the end of October, is a biographical account of the artist written and directed by Mike Leigh. 

    The film tracks the life and career of Joseph Turner with the acclaimed character actor Timothy Spall playing the artist. Critics have championed Spall’s performance and he has already received the Cannes best actor award for his portrayal of the fiercely talented and prolific artist. Spall actually spent two year learning to paint in order to come across on screen as convincing. The years spent training culminated in Spall painting full-size copies of Turner’s two classics ‘Snow Storm’ and ‘Going by the Lead’ from 1842. In the film Turner travels the land and seashore with his painting kit slung over one shoulder on his endless quest for the attaining the sublime in his work. The audience will find out much about the character of the man and his flawed genius. 

    His name lives on today with the annual Turner Prize, which is presented to a British artist under the age of 50. It is Britain’s most highly regard award in the arts and has a host of influential and controversial winners including Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Steve McQueen. 

    Turner was regarded as the artist who elevated landscape and seascape painting to a position of acclaim, inventing new techniques to make skies and clouds luminous and expressive. His enduring influence on art cannot be ignored, having influenced a host of well-known artists from Matisse to Mark Rothko. It was partly because of his love of Turner that Rothko donated his abstract expressionist Seagram Mural to the Tate Gallery in 1970. Rothko was famous for his massive canvasses containing blocks of subtly changing colours and was particularly influenced by Turner’s late work, which “pared back” painting until they were close to complete abstractions of light and mood. 

    Coinciding with the release of the film the Tate Britain is holding ‘Late Turner – Painting Set Free’ which is the first exhibition devoted to Turner’s work made been 1835 and his death in 1851. Interestingly ‘Mr. Turner’ examines the same period, towards the end of the artist’s career where he was largely criticised for his radically expressive and unconstrained style of painting. At the time many attributed this new direct in aesthetic as a result of Turner’s failing eyesight and dismissed the paintings as the work of a man losing his mind. In reality, although his eyesight was indeed suffering, Turner was continually innovating, experimenting and creating what would later become some of the most important paintings of his career. The legacy of the artist and his huge influence in the history of art can be viewed in these two separate celebrations of all things Turner. 

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  • Dave White: Artist Interview on Albion

    artrepublic favourite Dave White is back with ‘Albion’, his highly anticipated latest body of work, which explores the heritage and iconography of native species to Britain, in the artist’s signature dynamic style. For his latest paintings White has cast his eye on familiar shores and is encouraging the viewer to reconnect with the indigenous wildlife that is dwindling in numbers on these isles. 

    He presents oversized imagery in oils and watercolour, brilliantly capturing the movement and spontaneous nature of the natural world. White’s paintings incorporate creatures that act as both predator and prey, creating a brilliant sense of tension between the portraits.

    The work in ‘Albion’ is the polar opposite of White previous series ‘Apex’, which depicted the elegance and power of the much-maligned great white shark. The new show comprises a combination of familiar and less well-known creatures demonstrating the wide breadth of wildlife that inhabit our countryside. Rarely spotted animals including a Scottish wildcat, Peregrine falcon and endangered red squirrel are all represented in White’s instinctive and dynamic portraits.We caught up with Dave at the opening of ‘Albion’ at Loughran Gallery and he very kind answered a few questions for us about the new collection.  

    What made you decide to focus your attention on British native wildlife after exploring the exotic and unusual creatures in the previous series ‘Aquatics’ and ‘Apex?

    For me it’s been a logical progressing of seeing beautiful things. I moved down to Dorset nearly three years ago and I’m honoured and privileged that I see a lot of this stuff everyday; it’s on your doorstep. Pretty much the same as the ‘Natural Selection’ show I did with artrepublic, I was really interesting in focusing on things that were critically endangered. The more I started looking into natural wildlife in the UK I began unveiling some pretty horrific statistics that I couldn’t believe. One of them being that hedgehogs are apparently going to be extinct in the UK in the next thirty years. A large portion of the animals in this show are on the critical or endangered list in UK. The dormouse, red squirrels and otters are all animals I grew up with as kid. I really wanted to focus on the beauty in these kinds of things. People totally forget that in this country we inhabit the place with these animals. I wanted to produce a whole show based on these creatures, making them larger than life and getting peoples attention with them.

    What is the significance of the title ‘Albion’ and what does it mean for you?

    Albion is a very old world for Britain and it resonates with me as it describes something in the past. The show presents things that are alive today and part of our existence in the UK with a retrospective title.

    What kind of impact do you want to have on the viewers of ‘Albion’ and what would you say is the message behind the work?

    Each painting in the show is very different, the most important thing for me was to capture the movement, character, dynamism, plumage, fur; the things that make up the animal. The danger in the fine line is that they don’t become twee, with no disrespect to anyone who uses wildlife as form of art to explore. So if you’re sitting 10 feet away you can clearly see what it is but when you get up close it’s almost like an abstraction, with the way the paint is applied. I want people to look at these works and just see the beauty in what is over here and be inspired to do something or just have a second though as to what is going on.  As a body of work I can see a direction of where things are going to go over the next 5 years.

    You work in oil and watercolour paint, two very contrasting media, is it predetermined which one you will use for a portrait?

    It’s a totally organic thing. When I do an oil painting the colour and pallets are premixed so I’m not just jumping into something cold. I have to have everything available to me because of the way I work it has to be spontaneous. I can’t break from painting and start mixing colours. I always paint to music, it’s very important to me, whether its 90s hip-hop, vintage jungle or dubstep it doesn’t matter what it is. 

    You mentioned you live in Dorset now, how have your surroundings affected your work for Albion?

    It’s had a massive influence. Don’t get me wrong I love cities; I’m in London all the time. I love the energy and vibrancy of big cities. I definitely think there’s a tranquillity and peace in the countryside. Most of the birds in the show I see everyday or on a seasonal basis

     Finally tell us the story behind the beautiful E-type Jaguar car that you have painted...

    A collector of my work who also collects vintage cars got in touch and asked if I’d like to paint on his series one E-type, which had been fully restored. I obviously accepted, delight to do it then some interesting things happened. You can’t use oil paints on it so they sent me specially bespoke chemical enamels. They had spent 300 hours just painting the car white. I wanted to do something that was beautiful and graceful that didn’t dominate the car, something that shows speed and freedom, which represented what the car was about.

    Follow the link to see all of the Dave White prints we currently have available and watch this space for exciting new releases from the artist.

    artzine your guide to everything that's happening in the art world

  • The Influence of Fashion in Art

    With London Fashion Week having recently swept its way into the capital, bringing with it a haze of glamour and excitement, it got us at artrepublic thinking about how often the worlds of fashion and art overlap. We decided to delve into our extensive collection of prints and select a few artists whose work has been influenced by fashion and take a closer look.

    First up is one of our most sought after artists and somebody who is very familiar with the workings of the fashion industry, the extraordinarily talent Magnus Gjoen. In the past Magnus has worked as a denim designer at Lee Jeans and as a graphic designer for British fashion legend Vivienne Westwood. These groundings in fashion alongside an incredible aptitude for computer-aided design are key components in his artistic practice. Often juxtaposing destructive and fragile imagery, Magnus wants to address misconceptions of beauty and power, giving objects a new found meaning. 

    Carne Griffiths is another artist who has had a history interwoven with the fashion industry. Griffiths worked as a gold wire embroidery designer for twelve years, producing intricate designs for a number of fashion labels including Tom Ford, Burberry and Ralph Lauren as well as many of London’s Saville Row tailors. He even designed the ceremonial outfit for the King of Tonga’s coronation! Griffiths combines intricate detail with loose gestural marks in his paintings and is known for using combinations of brandy, vodka, tea and ink with stunning effect. 

    Next is Pam Glew who has used the portrait of supermodel and fashion icon, Cara Delevingne, as the focal point in her latest giclee print ‘Calm Before the Storm’. Pam Glew uses a very unique artistic process, which involves dyeing vintage fabric a dark shade then painting using household bleach to reveal her portraits.  She has also worked in collaboration with many fashion houses including Armani and Ralph Lauren. Delevingne is generally seen as this generation’s ‘It’ girl and is equally likely to be spotted walking the runways at designer shows or taking up a front row seat alongside her celebrity friends. 

    One model who has consistently acted as muse for a number of artists is the irrepressible Kate Moss, with her image being reproduced by everyone from Banksy to Tracey Emin. Moss is one of Britain’s most successful models and is also known for her well-documented history of hedonism. 

    The Godfather of Pop-Art Peter Blake chose Kate Moss as one of his subjects for his stunning ‘Stars’ portfolio. Moss was included alongside immortal icons such as Brigit Bardot, Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Marilyn Monroe. The artist also included her when he revamped his famous ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album cover, when marking his 80th birthday in 2012. 

    Peter Blake has also had his own foray into the realm of fashion. In 2011 the artist teamed up with the legendary British brand Fred Perry to produce a line of Pop inspired polo shirts. Blake has also designed and released his own limited edition shoe entitled ‘The First Real Pop Shoe’. The collectable black and white trainers are made from recycled chequebook wallet leather and feature the artist’s trademark heart, target, rainbow and star motifs embroidered on each side. What could possibly be cooler than rocking a pair of limited edition Peter Blake’s on each foot? 

    artzine your guide to everything that's happening in the art world

  • Static: Artist Interview

    STATIC is the creative output of London based images makers Tom Jackson and Craig Evans. Their unique work combines screen-printing with mixed media techniques to produce images that merge elements from street and fine art. The immensely talented kindly took a few minutes to give us some fascinating insight into their lives and work.

    How would you describe your work?

    A combination of visual samples, found images, elements and objects, blended together in new and unique ways across layers of glass and pieces of paper.

    What would you say are the benefits of working as part of an artistic duo?

    Nemo solus satis sapit. (No person can be wise enough on his own)

    What made you choose the name Static?

    STATIC can have positive and negative connotations. We are STATIC, but we are never still. To view something properly either you, or the object you are viewing, needs to be STATIC. We wanted something that reflected the duality of our set-up, which needs both of us to create the work we do. We Like STATIC – and hope you do too?

    Do you listen to music whilst working? If so what do you have playing?

    The majority of the time we’ll have 6 music on as it covers pretty much all bases and means we’ll get to hear everything from the Beastie Boys to Brian Eno and everything in between, which is just how we like it.

    Where did you grow up? Were you creative children and what made you become a artists?

    We grew up in the seaside town of Scarborough in the North East of England. Famous for it’s castle, it’s arcades and it’s naval warfare re-enactment…

    T. I was always pretty creative as a kid and tended to lean towards art as I never seemed that good at any of the other subjects.

    C. I loved reading stories and would draw with my Dad on Sunday afternoons. Then from around the age of 7 or 8 I started collecting pictures from magazines, brochures and postcards to make scrapbooks of things I liked and places I wanted to go.Neither of us really thought about ‘becoming’ an artist though and the majority of the time when we’re asked what we do, we both say that we’re screen printers.

    Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?

    We met at Art College where we were encouraged to move around the different departments and set ourselves personal projects and from there we went to university where we spent 3 more years doing the same without any idea of where these skills would take us in the years that would follow. We obviously picked up a few things along the way, but the processes we use day to day are techniques we have taught ourselves over the last 8 years, trying out different approaches and learning (sometimes, but not always) from our mistakes.

    How did you get started?

    We set up our first studio in a large derelict flat overlooking the South Bay in Scarborough. Everything was hand-made and we would use the photocopier at the office supply shop to make traces and the dark room at the local arts centre to make our screens.At the time we didn’t have a proper print bed so we improvised using 2 pieces of wood bolted to a table and used masking tape as guidelines to make sure everything lined up. Needless to say, our prints got more adventurous when we got our hands on a vacuum bed complete with a cradle for registration… Looking back we don’t know how we managed to create some of the prints we did with such a basic technique!

    Where and what is your studio?

    For the past 4 years, we’ve been working out of a second floor studio in Hackney Wick. As the layered glass pieces have grown in size and weight, we’ve been thinking we should find a ground floor space and recently we found out that this whole area has been sold for redevelopment, so the search has begun…

    What would you say are the main themes you pursue?

    Pop culture, celebrity, beauty, power, faith, belief & identity.

    Where do you find inspiration?

    Everywhere and nowhere.Sometimes it can find you and other times you have to go looking.

    What are you currently working on?

    We have just finished 2 layered glass pieces that each have over 1400 coloured feathers incorporated into the background and which are currently on display at LAG as part of the MIX Summer 2014 group show. We’re also involved in a couple of really exciting projects that should keep us busy for a while, have a private commission on the go and we’re starting to play around with themes and ideas for our next London solo show.

    Which of your works are you most proud of?

    T. The 2 new pieces are up there with my favorites and the possibilities that they could lead to with future pieces are pretty exciting.

    C. If you look at the progression we’ve made from the prints and originals we were making 7 or 8 years ago, you can see how our ideas and techniques have developed and that’s something I’m personally really proud of and something that I hope we’ll be able to continue doing for another 8 years. 

    Who would you say buys your work?

    Anyone and everyone, we don’t really seem to have a type, it can be anyone from a teenager working a paper-round to save up for a print - to a member of the Saudi Royal family who will pick up 3 or 4 originals out of the blue.

    What memorable responses have you had to your work?

    Well we did have to act fast at the opening of our ‘Moments of Clarity’ show, when an over-eager admirer of our layered glass works decided to take one off the wall for a closer look. Let’s just say this guy had been making the most of the refreshments that were on offer and it was lucky we were close to hand to step in and return the piece safely back to it’s spot.

    What is the greatest threat to art today?

    T. Aliens, killer bees, triffids…. In that order!

    C. Mediocrity, virtual reality and the rapidly diminishing attention span of the human race.

    What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

    T. Never, Never, Never, Never give up!

    C. Don’t be afraid to get things wrong.

    What have you sacrificed for your art?

    Our lungs.

    Which artists do you most admire?

    JR – for the way he has pointed his camera at the people who previously had been ignored, the everyday individuals who are the life and breath of the communities they live in and in doing so, has empowered them and made them part of a global family connected through the Inside Out Project.

    What work of art would you most like to own?

    T. Conor Harrington original or an old school Faile wooden box.

    C. Micallef’s ‘21st Century Love’ or an AJ Fosik sculpture.

    If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world, which would it be?

    T. Laz Rathbone, LDN

    C. Guggenheim, NY

    If you weren’t artists what would you be doing?

    T. Who knows… Electrician/ shop assistant/ burger flipper/ astronaut were a few of my other options

    C. Something that paid twice as much but that made me half as happy.

    Describe an average day in the life of Static...

    Eat, Drink, Create, repeat.


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