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Monthly Archives: April 2018

  • Mark Rothko’s famous Four Seasons tale retold on stage

    Win tickets to see RED in the West End plus dinner and a night at One Aldwych hotel. Mark Rothko is known as one of the greatest abstract expressionists of his generation (although, we should probably say that he personally refused to be associated with any particular art movement or style). Hi....
    Win tickets to see RED in the West End plus dinner and a night at One Aldwych hotel. Mark Rothko is known as one of the greatest abstract expressionists of his generation (although, we should probably say that he personally refused to be associated with any particular art movement or style). His paintings have an incredible depth, and create the feeling that however long and hard you look at them, there is something buried within these artworks that you can’t quite reach. So you sit, and look a little longer. If you’ve ever sat in the Rothko room at the Tate Modern, surrounded by some of the artist’s vast canvases, you might recognise this sensation that he was pushing us towards with his abstract blocks, created with numerous thin coats of cleverly applied colour – it’s about finding clarity, understanding and experiencing something that is physically bigger than ourselves. For a man who had been brought up in the orthodox Jewish community in Russia, but who had given up religious practice after the death of his father, painting was a sort of act of worship. The takeaway from this gallery-based experience? Clearly, Mark Rothko was a complex man. In the 1950s, as he began to experience significant success on the New York art scene, Rothko was approached by the Four Seasons to complete a commission for their restaurant. Now known as the Seagram murals, the 40 completed paintings in dark red and brown were, at the time, the largest commission in the history of modern art. However, Rothko’s decision to accept the commission was strange – especially as he told a journalist in confidence that his hope was to create ‘something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room…’ Drama, obviously followed. Some of the paintings in question are now located in that room we were discussing at London’s Tate Modern rather than in New York, which tells you something. The events that ensued became notorious and, as a story, became a prime topic for a stage play. And then an actual play: John Logan’s RED. As it returns to London’s West End, for the first time since its world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse in 2009, we (the long-time Rothko fans at artrepublic) have two tickets to give away to you, our art lovers. RED has been described by the New York Times as being a play ‘with such fierce conviction that it never lets you look away.’ The plot follows Rothko’s experience when, having just received the largest commission in the history of modern art, he finds himself consumed by warring desires for integrity and success. Having headed up the original London cast, award-winning stage and screen actor Alfred Molina (Raiders of the Lost Ark; Chocolat; Frida; Spiderman 2) reprises his role as Rothko, while breakthrough British actor Alfred Enoch (How to Get Away with Murder; Harry Potter) takes the part of Rothko’s fictional young assistant, Ken, who provokes him to make an agonising discovery about the price of fame. With this cast, and six Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Direction to its name, Red is certainly not a story to be missed. If you’d like to win a pair of tickets to the press night of RED in London’s West End, with a pre-theatre dinner and an overnight stay at One Aldwych, as well as a £100 artrepublic gift voucher, Enter our competition here. Plus 5 runners up will each win a pairs of tickets to see the play. T’s and C’s apply. Red will run at Wyndham’s Theatre form 4th May to 28th July 2018. $test =
  • Opening act: step into artrepublic’s brand-new gallery space

    It’s our 25th anniversary, and we’re doing something big to celebrate. Join us as we host a double launch party with a very special artist... artrepublic is celebrating 25 years on Brighton’s Bond Street and, to mark this anniversary, we’re expanding... next door! We’d love you to jo....
    It’s our 25th anniversary, and we’re doing something big to celebrate. Join us as we host a double launch party with a very special artist... artrepublic is celebrating 25 years on Brighton’s Bond Street and, to mark this anniversary, we’re expanding... next door! We’d love you to join us for our opening party, 5-8pm on Friday 4th May, as we kick things off with a Magnus Gjoen exclusive – the launch of the artist’s brand-new sculpture. If you want a sneak peak of the former fashion designer’s latest thought-provoking artwork, and to meet the man himself, this event at the top end of the May bank holiday weekend is your chance. If you can’t make it down to Brighton’s Bond Street on the night of the launch, you’re always welcome to drop by and check out our extended gallery area, which will be dedicated to showcasing original and limited edition artworks by leading and emerging artists. This additional gallery area is especially exciting to the artrepublic team as it means we can continue to do what we love best – spotting young creative talent and building relationships with established artists – in order to bring you even more of the art that speaks to you. After 25 years in our Bond Street location, we realise this is more than just an exhibition space though. Our aim has always been to open the door to art in a way that's accessible to everyone, so we will be hosting a series of special events in the new gallery throughout the year – keep an eye out for information about these on the blog or in your email inbox. If you’re not already getting our emails, why not sign up to our newsletter and join our republic of art? We share regular updates about the latest art in the gallery, as well as interviews with our artists and information about upcoming events and launches. We’re looking forward to seeing you in our new space very soon. If you plan to come to the gallery opening, please RSVP to events@artrepublic.com. $test =
  • Meet the photographer Emory Hall

    US photographer and writer Emory Hall, is on route to Brighton with her husband Trevor Hall and Nahko Bear from the band Nahko and Medicine for the People. We wanted to find out more about Emory’s photography, travels and the band’s latest tour, so we caught up with her to discover the advent....
    US photographer and writer Emory Hall, is on route to Brighton with her husband Trevor Hall and Nahko Bear from the band Nahko and Medicine for the People. We wanted to find out more about Emory’s photography, travels and the band’s latest tour, so we caught up with her to discover the adventure these guys have been on. Nahko and Trevor Hall will be performing incorporating Emory’s photography at the Komedia in Brighton on Tuesday 24th April. It’s just around the corner from our Brighton Gallery, where more of Emory’s work will be shown, so be sure to check it out! Your travels are deeply reflected in your work, how long have you been traveling and what is the most influential place you have visited? Traveling has always been a huge part of my life and I’ve had a hunger for it for as long as I can remember.  Around the age of 19 I began traveling consistently and haven’t stopped since. Nepal has probably had the greatest influence on my life. I first travelled there when I was 20 years old and stayed for three months. I flew home to the US, booked a ticket right back, and stayed for another three. Nepal changed me in a deep and almost unsayable way, and it has taught me some of my life’s greatest lessons. It’s a strange thing to feel more at home there than I do in America. Do you think the fact that you and your husband, Trevor Hall, are both artists inspires each other to create more? Definitely. Trevor and I are both artists, but we express our hearts though different mediums and in different ways. In this way, we are constantly learning from each other and gaining new perspectives from the art we individually create. There has always been a natural and beautiful synchronicity between our creative expressions, and collaborating with him is one of my favourite things to do. I’m constantly growing and getting inspired because of it. Tell us about this upcoming tour - it's Trevor's first time performing in EU and your first time displaying your work here correct? Yes! This tour is special for a lot of reasons. It is Trevor’s first time bringing his music to Europe, my first time displaying my art in Europe, and we get to do it alongside one of our closest friends, Nahko. We’ve been blessed to be able to all travel together before, however this is our first time exploring Europe together and I can’t wait to see what adventures await. What's the one thing you're looking forward to the most getting this side of the ocean? I don’t think there is only one thing - there are so many! I’m just really excited to dive into new cultures and taste, feel, smell and experience all of the different cities we’re visiting. That is what inspires me and my art - stepping into the unknown and adventuring. You seem to run in a very creative group of people and are going to be touring with Nahko Bear later this month, do you all inspire each other? How do you support each other's creative ventures?  I can only speak for myself, but the music and art that comes through our community definitely inspires me. It’s amazing when we all get to collaborate - for example, I can’t wait to photograph Trevor and Nahko on this tour. Art brings people together, it creates community, and its moments like this upcoming tour that allow us to collaborate and to celebrate each other’s artistry. Has it always been your dream to be a photographer and writer? I can’t really name any specific moment where I said to myself: I want to be a photographer, or I want to be a writer. Photography and writing have always just been natural ways of expression for me that are inseparable from my heart and being. They are how I share my experience and journey with the world, and I’m just very thankful to be able to make my passions my work. What inspired you to produce your latest works? My most recent large body of work came from a month-long journey I took this past summer to Greece and Nepal - two very different places that provided me with a lot of inspiration. I had always dreamed of shooting Greece, as I’ve always been drawn to the colours and moods I’ve seen captured in other photographer’s works. In Nepal, I followed a deep desire that I had to join a pilgrimage of shamans to a holy lake in a remote region of the Himalayas. It was one of the most beautiful and crazy experiences of my life. Which piece are you most proud of? I’m most proud of a photograph I took of the shamans dancing during this pilgrimage in the Nepal Himalayas. There was so much that went into it - sweat, pain, freezing nights, fatigue, altitude sickness - as well as heart, inspiration, willpower, and amazement. What would you say is the biggest theme running through your work? Art is incredibly powerful in that it can be used to inform, to celebrate, to provoke, to question, to inspire, to reveal … The theme of my work is that it comes from my heart and it is my hope that it tells honest, impactful stories about the world we live in. In this way, I hope to inspire others, to broaden people’s perspectives, and to bring our one human family closer together. If you weren’t an artist, what career path would you have chosen? My art is my life’s breath. For me, there is no other way. I’m not sure what I would do if I had to do something other than my art, but I’m sure I would find a way to weave it in there. :) If there’s one change in the world you want your art to influence what is it? I hope that my art helps to break down the walls that society, history, culture and circumstance all too often builds between us. I hope people see through my work that every human and place has a story to tell, and that each story is beautiful and worthy of being heard. If my art can bring us closer together and foster a feeling of connectedness between so-called strangers - even for just one person - then I feel I’ve been successful. $test =
  • Cover Band: discover fresh artwork on Record Store Day 2018

    As vinyl sales return to levels not seen since the Nineties, fresh cover art by artists such as rock music photographer Michael Spencer Jones is also drawing attention. It’s time to celebrate exclusive music-art collaborations once more… What album artwork is the most iconic? Which musician ....
    As vinyl sales return to levels not seen since the Nineties, fresh cover art by artists such as rock music photographer Michael Spencer Jones is also drawing attention. It’s time to celebrate exclusive music-art collaborations once more… What album artwork is the most iconic? Which musician or band produced the most memorable cover art? From The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to FKA Twigs’ LP1, via Nirvana’s Nevermind, the eponymous The Velvet Underground & Nico and Oasis’ Definitely Maybe, some album art reaches beyond the discs it covers to become an entity all of its own. The imagery produced by the likes of Sir Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, Jess Kanda, Kirk Weddle, Andy Warhol and Michael Spencer Jones, is as much a part of the experience as the music - it moved into our collective consciousness and onto the walls of our homes. But, as music consumption went digital, for many of us cover art took a step back; because physical CDs, cassettes (remember those?) and vinyl (old-school) weren’t so prominent, to an extent the art used to sell them was relegated to posters and paste-ups. Vinyl has, however, made a major – and unexpected – comeback in the past few years, with physical sales defying critics to continue to rise a further 26.7 per cent in the past year alone. And with a demand for physical records comes… shiny new and creative vinyl sleeves! At one point, a commission to create a record sleeve for a prominent or emerging band was seen as a major career goal and achievement. As well as crossing industries to collaborate with artists working in another field, it promised high visibility for a visual artist or photographer’s work. Our own family of artrepublic artists are no strangers to this: Dan Hillier produced the sleeve for Royal Blood’s’ Falls; Storm Thorgerson worked with the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin; Terry Pastor’s art adorned album covers for David Bowie and The Beach Boys, and that’s just for starters. Today, if the popularity of the annual Secret 7” cover art competition is anything to go by, the enthusiasm for working on sleeve art remains strong. With all that in mind, what better way to shout about (and enjoy) the recent record store revival than with a whole day dedicated to the places we discover new music and unearth old gems? Record Store Day does just that. On 21 April, more than 200 independent record stores in the UK join together to celebrate their culture, with exclusive vinyl releases as well as live performances and one-off events. This year we are getting behind it with a launch of our own - Michael Spencer Jones’ new print release, ‘Be Here Now Night’, which you can see in artrepublic’s Brighton gallery. A fixture in the ‘Madchester’ music scene of the 1990s, Spencer Jones is the photographer behind some of Oasis’ most recognisable album art – Definitely Maybe, What’s The Story – as well as The Verve’s Urban Hymns. This latest print is a nighttime shot of the famed 1997 album Be Here Now, with artwork that shows Oasis (plus glowing red Vespa) in various stances around a swimming pool. With subtle differences from the daytime shot, you can hang the two images side-by-side at home and play spot the difference! Spencer Jones’ night prints are available on a white or black background – the latter is from a specially released anniversary version, from a super-limited edition of 25. Both limited editions are signed by the photographer. Be Here Now Night is released on National Record Store Day. Find out more about these prints, and our other musically inspired visual artists, by having a chat with one of our gallery art advisors, or by browsing the artrepublic music category. $test =
  • Hueman Connection: introducing artrepublic’s newest artist

    As North Californian graffiti artist and painter Hueman’s colourful figurative and abstract mash-ups arrive in artrepublic’s Brighton gallery – in the form of an exclusive print – we dig into her creative backstory. Street art aficionados may be familiar with the work of Allison Torneros,....
    As North Californian graffiti artist and painter Hueman’s colourful figurative and abstract mash-ups arrive in artrepublic’s Brighton gallery – in the form of an exclusive print – we dig into her creative backstory. Street art aficionados may be familiar with the work of Allison Torneros, who paints under the name Hueman. Even if you haven’t seen her massive, energetically colourful works in person, sprayed on walls in the US or Europe, you may have unwittingly witnessed her designs running around the basketball courts of the Rio Olympics - Hueman designed the US Women’s basketball team’s shoes with Nike - or on a custom-designed colourful X-Box collaboration with Microsoft. Since graduating from UCLA in 2008 with a degree in Design and Media Arts, Hueman has been building a following - especially since taking her work from the studio to the streets, scaling up her paintings to bring art to urban environments and audiences. Working on a much bigger scale than she was used to gave the artist new energy. In an interview with Juxtapoz magazine, she said: ‘it was like a light switch turned on [...] I was using my entire body to paint, I was talking to people, I was collaborating, I was in the sun. I felt alive again. I literally felt human. That's where the name Hueman comes from.’ Hueman’s work is absolutely saturated with that sense of being alive. This is drawn from a perfect balance of the artist’s choice of bold bright colours, her subject matter and her image-making process. You might wonder how the artist achieves that fluid-looking finish? Starting with a freestyle series of paints splashes, drips and sprays - a la Jackson Pollock(?) - she builds her refined, highly stylised images, which draw on the theme of the human condition. As a a result, Hueman’s work is packed with motion. It’s dynamic. And that is exactly the word we would use to describe the artist’s exclusive piece for artrepublic. A limited edition of 25, each individually hand-finished by Hueman, Silent Power does what its title promises. It makes you stand to attention in front of it, without needing to be told. The female figure at its centre is strong and confident - holding her ground and fixing her sideways gaze as energetic lines and textures swirl around her, creating movement and energy. The longer you look at this print, the more structures, finishes and colours emerge - you begin to really appreciate the complexity of Hueman’s creative process. Imagine this scaled up on the side of a building – even at this size, it packs a punch. Looking downwards, offering out an extended arm towards you, the position of power of the woman at its heart is emphasised. There is nothing passive about this print. It’s filled with vibrant life. Draw on Hueman’s experience of painting outdoors and bring one of her powerful pieces into your collection – it will make you, and your space, come to life. $test =
  • From LA to UK – acclaimed Japanese-American artist Audrey Kawasaki joins the artrepublic family

    What do Art Nouveau, Japanese manga comics and a particular brand of LA cool have in common? They’re all wrapped up in the the intriguing art of Japanese-American artist Audrey Kawasaki. Inspired by the beauty and mystique of the female form, Kawasaki’s images have been drawing in a big audie....
    What do Art Nouveau, Japanese manga comics and a particular brand of LA cool have in common? They’re all wrapped up in the the intriguing art of Japanese-American artist Audrey Kawasaki. Inspired by the beauty and mystique of the female form, Kawasaki’s images have been drawing in a big audience Stateside over the past few years. Often painted directly onto wooden panels, her art gains extra depth and texture from the natural organic grains and patterns of the wood – each of which brings an additional unique layer to the paintings. Now, the LA-based artist’s intricate and mysterious work is available in our   Brighton gallery, and online, as Kawasaki joins our artrepublic family of artists. We’re excited to be able to share a selection of her limited edition prints, including 'Madame Una' and ‘Arianna’, which are exclusive to artrepublic in Europe. Using scrolled, turn of the 20th-century typography with a modern colour palette of soft pinks, turquoises and yellows – plus the woodgrain background – both ‘Madame Una’ and ‘Arianna’ draw upon the mysterious and marvellous space of the circus… and freaks shows. From clowns and illusionists to contortionists and strongwomen, the characters and vintage glamour of the travelling show is pulled into the modern day via Kawasaki’s own brand of graphic design-meets-illustration – a style that forced her to abandon her studies at the Pratt Institute in New York, where the focus was firmly on the conceptual. Inspired by old advertisements posters for circus performers, these two prints also subtly nod to the whimsical and fantastical nature of Japanese fashion culture, and have a fresh, tattoo-like feel to them too – something that hasn’t passed LA’s tattoo parloursby. Ink inspired by Kawasaki’s artwork have become an increasingly common sight on California’s streets (and beyond) in recent years, showing a style shift from the traditional pin-up to this more modern feminine form. If you want to bring a playful hit of circus-style home with you, our exclusive limited editions are your only chance – unless you plan on visiting the US or Asia sometime soon! Drop by our Brighton gallery and speak to one of our art advisors or, if you’re not local, check out this artist’s striking work online at artrepublic.com. Image Credit: Jordana Sheara  $test =
  • Spot The Difference: New Damien Hirst Works At Houghton House

    Does Damien Hirst ever sit still? Apparently not. The contemporary artist and collector has a brand new exhibition, Colour Space Painting and Outdoor Sculptures, at Houghton House in Norfolk. Most of us are familiar with Damien Hirst’s Spot Paintings - canvases featuring grids of spots, each....
    Does Damien Hirst ever sit still? Apparently not. The contemporary artist and collector has a brand new exhibition, Colour Space Painting and Outdoor Sculptures, at Houghton House in Norfolk. Most of us are familiar with Damien Hirst’s Spot Paintings - canvases featuring grids of spots, each painted a different colour with no apparent pattern or motive. Once described by Hirst as ‘a way of pinning down the joy of colour,’ the 1000-plus grids in the series have recently morphed into something more free-flowing - a series titled Colour Space. And they’ve found a temporary home at Houghton Hall in Norfolk. Damien Hirst, Colour Space series, in the Saloon at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins To give you a little context, the Palladian-style house was built in 1720 as a home for the first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and its interiors were designed to reflect his status. If you’re thinking lavish decor, with plenty of gilding and carving, you’re on the right lines. Not necessarily the obvious location for Hirst’s exhibition, Colour Space Painting and Outdoor Sculptures then? Well, maybe. But Walpole happened to be a prolific collector of art – he amassed one of the greatest collections of European art in Britain during his lifetime – and so the grand space is ideal for exhibiting large-scale works. Plus, as an artist known for disrupting the status quo,  Hirst’s latest pieces have a transformative effect on these traditional gilded interiors (and the well-manicured gardens of the estate, too). Damien Hirst, Colour Space series, in The White Drawing-Room at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins It’s slightly strange looking at this collision of old and new - you wouldn’t expect it to work. But, oddly, the motion of the swirling colours within these new paintings brings something fresh into the space. A burst of organic energy. And it does more than simply work, it actually mesmerises you a little. ‘I originally wanted the Spots to look like they were painted by a human trying to paint like a machine,’ says Hirst. ‘Colour Space is going back to the human element, so instead you have the fallibility of the human hand in the drips and inconsistencies. There are still no two exact colours that repeat in each painting, which is really important to me. I think of them as cells under a microscope.’ Hirst’s paintings open up Houghton’s State Rooms like portals between two (highly colour saturated) worlds and, with a couple of his kinetic ‘Levitation’ sculptures installed for good measure, all your senses get involved. You can almost hear the art, as well as see it. Damien Hirst, Myth and Legend, by the entrance to the hall at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Sciencyee Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins This experience of the unexpected extends beyond the House itself, into the grounds where several of Hirst’s most celebrated sculptures have been placed. In these perfectly groomed gardens, the last thing you’d anticipate stumbling across is ‘Charity’ - a giant painted bronze sculpture of a young girl with a brace on her leg, based on a familiar 20th-century charity collection box - or the three-tonne male anatomical model, ‘Temple’. Sculpture demands space to be viewed properly though – you’re meant to be able to walk around it and take in every angle – so in this environment that’s far removed from the traditional gallery or urban location, Hirst’s pieces look a little different. They reveal themselves in a new light. ‘It felt right to show them somewhere historic rather than in a conventional gallery space,’ says Hirst. ‘And Houghton’s perfect. It feels totally right.’ We’d agree with that. It’s definitely worth a trip to Norfolk and, if/ when you do visit, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it – just drop us a message via one of our social media channels, or pop in and have a chat with our art advisors in the gallery. Colour Space Painting and Outdoor Sculptures is open at Houghton House, Norfolk until 15 July 2018. For more information, visit houghtonhall.com $test =
  • NME's legacy celebrated by acclaimed photographic artist Mark Vessey in an artrepublic exclusive

    When Time Inc. UK recently announced that, after 66 years in print, the NME would no longer exist in print format, it created a wave of nostalgia for days gone by. And, at the same time, inspired a contemporary photographic artist’s creativity. Once an iconic music magazine, the NME was conside....
    When Time Inc. UK recently announced that, after 66 years in print, the NME would no longer exist in print format, it created a wave of nostalgia for days gone by. And, at the same time, inspired a contemporary photographic artist’s creativity. Once an iconic music magazine, the NME was considered a zeitgeist-defining bible for rock fans and had the power to inspire new music scenes and make or break young bands. Now, in celebration of the magazine’s legacy, acclaimed British photographic artist Mark Vessey is issuing a limited edition photograph entitled 'New Musical Express’, exclusively through artrepublic. Inspired by the magazine’s design and strong visual identity, Vessey chose the NME as his latest subject – for him, the spines of the magazine provided a unique way to tell the story of music culture. As such, his photograph features a stack of magazines spanning the last couple of decades, with special issues that were dedicated to the likes of The Clash, Nirvana, Radiohead, The Manic Street Preachers, Bob Dylan and The Who. This exclusive piece is part of an ongoing body of work called Collections, which takes its inspiration from Vessey’s love of vintage magazines, books, records and classic packaging design. With the collector's obsessive eye for detail and every crease and scuff lovingly captured on medium format film in his Brighton studio, the photographer takes everyday objects and allows us to appreciate them in a new light – The Face magazine, James Bond novels and Penguin books have been the subject of earlier works. With 'New Musical Express' Vessey captures a very specific moment in time, and marks its place as an artefact of 20th and 21st century popular culture. Fans of the magazine, and the artist, can pick up this limited edition ‘New Musical Express’, fresh off the printing press, at artrepublic from Thursday 5 April 2018 at 10AM . The C-Type photograph comes in two sizes - 80x80cm (edition of 50), and the rarer 110x110cm (edition of 15). View our Mark Vessey collection, including this latest exclusive print, online or at our Brighton Gallery. Call 01273 724829 or email brighton@artrepublic.com. $test =
  • Putting modern portraiture back in the spotlight

    To say that Tate Britain's new blockbuster exhibition All Too Human – Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life is causing a stir, would be an understatement. There’s a major buzz about this new London exhibit, which explores how Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud – as well as Paula Rego, Fran....
    To say that Tate Britain's new blockbuster exhibition All Too Human – Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life is causing a stir, would be an understatement. There’s a major buzz about this new London exhibit, which explores how Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud – as well as Paula Rego, Frank Auerbach and Walter Sickert – captured the intensity of human experience on canvas. Not something that’s all that easy to do. While the approach and style of the artists featured in this headlining art show differ widely, one thing they all have in common is a fearless approach to representing their subjects. Bold, honest and confronting are three more words we might choose to use. As are textural, tactile and, well, impressive. A focus of the Art world for quite some time, the build-up to, and launch of, the exhibition has put figurative painting firmly back in the spotlight. Here at artrepublic, we’re no stranger to modern portraiture – and not because we’ve watched Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year. We’ve long had a stand-out roster of contemporary masters of portraiture, including the likes of Marco Grassi, Ant Carver, Ben Slow and SNIK, each of whom brings something fresh to the table. Fine art meets graffiti style in the works of Italian artist Marco Grassi, who paints the female form with realistic intensity but aims to draw out identity of his female subjects at the specific moment in which they're painted. His dedication to figurative painting, and lack of desire to follow trends, results in works that are slightly surreal but deeply evocative. Rather than detract from the figures depicted in his prints, the gold leaf finish that Grassi often favours throw added light on the subject, seeming to bring the portrait itself forward in space. Similarly colourful, but varying stylistically, you may find the work of Art Carver gracing the walls of East London the work of London… or even in Philadelphia, where he created a large-scale mural of teenage model and Instagram sensation Inka Williams. Taking inspiration from both the New York graffiti scene and more traditional portraiture, Carven has has also cited the likes of Lucien Freud and the YBA’s Jenny Saville as personal favourites. Although these influences seem contradictory – formal art school realism versus street art’s free-flowing rebellious streak – Carver has merged them successfully to create highly textural portraits, using both spray and oil paint. The prints we have available at artrepublic - such as ‘Serenity’ and ‘Paradise’ - showcase his subjects with a raw, unflinching intensity. Another fixture of the London street scene, up-and-coming London artist Ben Slow is known for creating distinctive and expressive portraits on canvas – which translate beautifully to silkscreen prints, such as ‘I Didn’t Mean It Like That’ and ‘Of Great Stature.’ Whether he’s bringing fine art to the streets – keeping it local by celebrating characters who have made an impact on their community – or in the studio, layering his main material, ink, with spray paint, stencils and acrylic paint, Slow creates portraits that tell real human stories, and draw empathy for his subjects, both through and beyond the artwork. It’s the eyes that draw you in. Every time. Last, but by no means least, we at artrepublic are also big fans of celebrated stencil art duo SNIK. No doubt wary of constant references to Banksy every time stencil art is discussed, SNIK are on a mission to prove that stencils can also be used to achieve a high level of realism and detail. Working with different mediums, techniques, paints and varnishes, and painstakingly drawing and cutting multiple layers by hand, the duo create slick, sharp – and almost photo-realistic – images such as ‘Fading Glow.’ When you know what goes into each of these artists’ artworks, you can’t help but look at their prints with an whole new layer of respect. We can't wait to see where they take modern portraiture next, but if you’re a fan of the figurative, you should take it home while you can. 'All Too Human' is at Tate Britain until 27 August. Discover Marco Grassi, Ant Carver, Ben Slow and Snik prints to buy online or visit Brighton gallery. $test =

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