Monday, 14 October 2013

Big Deal No.5 - a big exhibition in a car park underneath Cavendish Square, the Moniker Art Fair and the Affordable Art Fair

This Thursday I will be exhibiting two new paintings at Big Deal No. 5, a large scale group exhibition in a car park underneath Cavendish Square in central London.

The show will feature the work of more than 80 artists, international and London based.

Oil on Canvas

 0 Bed Flat , £285 per week 
Oil on Canvas

These new paintings address the spiraling cost of the rental market in London, this series is part of a body of work I have focused on since the end of 2012.  Rent prices continue to rise, with the cost of monthly payments for below average properties rarely matching the average salary in London.  As tenants we don't have the same rights as our European neighbours, we have short tenancies which mean landlords can raise the rent frequently, rental properties are seen as transitory and it is difficult to make adjustments and create 'home'.  In many countries in Europe 5-10 year tenancies, with low affordable rent prices in relation to salaries are seen as the norm.

I am driven to continue making these paintings to campaign for changes to be made, we need more social housing, the government's hefty housing benefit bill could be put to better use and cut down by creating affordable homes for people on average incomes.  This would avoid housing benefit payments going to private landlords, and instead rental payments would go back in to cover the cost of creating the social housing.  It's also worth noting that many people who claim housing benefit are actually in work, but the salaries they earn are just not high enough to cover the rising cost of rent.  There is an interesting article on which states that over the last couple of years, 90 percent of new claims for help with housing costs are made by people in work.  

These issues need to be addressed, and some sort of regulation brought in.

The paintings are inspired by real adverts in estate agent windows, the titles are taken from the language these agents use to describe what they are offering.

Twinkle Troughton will also be exhibiting paintings, and together we will also be running The Bank of Tinsel &Twinkle at the opening night, we have some new banker uniforms for the event!  Please come and share your thoughts with us on the global economy on our bank notes. 

 Big Deal No. 5 is curated by Vanya Balogh and Cedric Christie, read more about it in the Huffington Post here. 

The exhibition is supported by Geoffrey Leong, he comments:

"Supporting Arts is an important part of bringing incredible works to be evaluated and engaged with by the public, giving them the opportunity to review art in a different way. This multi media feast is curated by two renowned international artists Vanya Balogh & Cedric Christie through their continuous presence in various studios. In this case expect the unexpected, from organised chaos to uniform structure and much more. I believe this is both original and inspiring show which brings an element of fun to those who view it. There really is nothing like this in the world of arts that we see today, the engaging of artists and the public in perfect harmony." 

Big Deal No. 5
Underground Car Park
Cavendish Square

Private View: 17th October 6-9pm
Exhibition Open: 18-20th October 11am-7.30pm 

Moniker Art Fair and Affordable Art Fair

I will also be exhibiting with Jealous Gallery at both the Moniker Art Fair and Affordable Art Fair. 

The Moniker Art Fair also opens this Thursday 17th

Moniker Art Fair 
The Old Truman Brewery  
91, Brick Lane

Private View: 17th October 5-9pm
Exhibition Open: 18-20th October 11am-7.00pm 

Affordable Art Fair
Battersea Park
SW11 4NJ

Private View: 23rd October 6-9pm
Exhibition Open: 24-27th October 11am-6pm

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Text show at Jealous Gallery

I'm delighted to announce that this Friday I will be exhibiting a brand new limited edition screen print at Jealous Gallery.

Jealous are a gallery based in Crouch End, specializing in limited edition prints which they produce in their screen printing studios in Shoreditch.  I've been wanting to work with them for ages!  They've worked with some amazing artists since they opened in 2008, including Charming Baker, who's paintings I LOVE. So it was very exciting when they approached me about producing a print with them.

'The Revolution Starts Here' - My screenprints drying on the rack at the Jealous Studios

I created a design using lino cut, this is a technique I've been wanting to try for a while.  

Woodcut printing was first used by artists in the 1400's, initially the subject matter was predominantly religous, but woodcuts were later used to illustrate political commentary, allegories and satire.  Discontentment with the church was growing, and the woodcut became increasingly popular as a method of communicating political messages and often illustrating dissent toward the church.  The method allowed ease of mass production, and the images were often circulated to a largely illiterate audience, woodcut prints would often comment on social issues and became a form of communication.

It was also a technique used extensively by the German Expressionist painters, and more recently Billy Childish.

For these reasons I wanted to adopt the technique for some of my text based pieces, I'm fascinated by its history, and I love the bold contrasts and organic textures the method creates.  Lino cut is a slightly easier more up to date option!  So I opted for that.

Jealous Gallery then very kindly transformed my initial lino cut design into a two colour screen print, I am really pleased with how it's turned out.

The print is limited to an edition of 20 and will be available to buy from the Jealous Gallery website shortly.

Black, White and Red All Over
Opens this Thursday 22nd August
The Private View is 6-9pm Friday 23rd August
Jealous Gallery
27, Park Road,
Crouch End
N8 8TE

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Little Dalston Builders at Street Feast

A couple of weeks ago I was commissioned by Street Feast London to create and run some kids workshops over the summer.  

Street Feast have taken up residency in a derelict, roofless warehouse space on Dalston Lane in East London for 9 weeks.  It's an amazing venue which has been made even more amazing and welcoming with lots of fairy lights, colourful graffiti and of course the Street Food traders.
"Street Feast is London’s pioneering night market. Thousands of people gather each week to eat from London’s best street food traders, chefs and restaurants, and drink festival-style pint-sized cocktails, craft beer and great wine."

I will be representing A-side B-side Gallery at Street Feast every Saturday until 14th September, the kids workshops are called 'Little Dalston Builders'.

Together, the Little Dalston Builders will be constructing and creating their visions for the future of the Street Feast site.  If the derelict warehouse could be absolutely anything what would the kids want to build there, a fairground, an ice cream factory, a farm, an adventure playground?

There will be a range of activities and all sorts of materials for the Little Dalston Builders to use, the inventions and constructions will grow and develop as each week of the Streetfeast residency goes by.  It's all about imagining, constructing, building and creating, with lots of cardboard, gaffa tape, glue, paint, canvas and wood...

Little Dalston Builders
Every Saturday at Street Feast London
Dalston Yard, Hartwell Street, E8 3DU
It's FREE!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Art Auction and The Brick Lane Village Fete

This week there are two very exciting events coming up, on Wednesday 24th July an art auction, and on Sunday 28th July The Brick Lane Village Fete.

The purpose of both events is to raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis and the Chris McMuck story.

Here's what the organisers have to say on their website:

"Chris McMuck was highly influential in creating Shoreditch as it is today. He managed & promoted some of the most popular and underground clubs throughout the early 90’s into the mid 00’s. He was a booker, promoter, PR whizz kid, music label compiler, magazine publisher, and most of all he brought a vast amount of creative people together.

In 2005 he was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

For the past 3 years Chris has been wheelchair bound and lives in 24 hour care. Irrespective of his physical restrictions, his mind is bright and we have seen him benefit hugely from the alternative care and support from a wide network of groups"

I first met Chris McMuck back in the time The Fairies Band was going strong, and Shoreditch was our stomping ground.  Chris approached us about doing a gig at the then brand new Catch 22 at the bottom of Kingsland High Street.  Shoreditch was a different place back then, with an interesting creative crowd and small circuit of bars, the Spreadeagle opposite Catch 22 was still a strip club...

Chris had boundless energy and enthusiasm, he was a genuine supporter of our band and helped us to promote the gig in any way he could.  Including sticking posters to the pavements all over Shoreditch!  He was wonderful to work with and The Fairies have stayed in touch with him ever since then.

These events have been created by a wonderful team of volunteers who have pooled their resources in support of their friend, Chris McMuck.  The aim is to raise money for local charities and raise awareness about MS, proceeds from the event will also go 'towards supporting Chris in engaging with a programme of holistic and alternative healthcare practices'.

Both myself and Twinkle Troughton have produced art works to contribute to the Art Auction, alongside Pure Evil, Vivienne Westwood, Jim Lambie, Jimmy Caughty, Andrew Weatherall and loads loads more...check out the gallery on the BLVF website for more pics.

The event is guest list only, please do RSVP to the address on the website if you would like to come along, and please do spread the word!

My painting for the auction: '£327 per week for this Stunning Two Bedroom Apartment'
Oil on Canvas

The Art Auction
Date: Wednesday 24th July
Venue: Blackall Studios, 70 Leonard Street, London,EC2A 4QS

The Brick Lane Village Fete
Date: Sunday 28th July
Venue: St Matthews Church, Bethnal Green

Friday, 21 June 2013

Affluence and Avarice at Galerie Michaela Stock, Vienna

On Sunday, Twinkle Troughton and I will be flying out to Vienna to prepare for our exhibition at Galerie Michaela Stock, due to open on Thursday 27th June.

An Excerpt from the press release:
The title for our exhibition was inspired by the painting AnAllegory of Avarice by Albrecht Dürer (1507) which is in the Kunsthistorisches museum in Vienna. The painting serves as a warning at both the transience of life and the ultimate worthlessness of earthly fortune; it is one of many known paintings under the same title, all warning of greed and its consequences. 

Here the word 'Affluence' replaces ‘Allegory’ which offers insight into the narrative of the exhibition. Allegory is certainly relevant to some of the pieces, but ‘affluence’ reflects the hopeful references within their works as well as the critical and questioning aspect. We live in an affluent world, but her wealth lies in the hands of the fewest. And the artists do not believe affluence and wealth to be negative, but that it is used in the wrong way. 

With greed being a pivotal starting point to many of Tinsel and Twinkle’s own works, and as well as being an urgent current global issue, this title highlights our repetitive history and how art reflects yet challenges life, both now and centuries ago.

As well as exhibiting their individual paintings, the duo is heading to Vienna to stage their collaborative piece ‘The Bank of Twinkle and Tinsel’. Following on from their 2012 ‘Mini Retrospective’ exhibition and notorious Kidnapped Banker stunt in London, the exhibition at Galerie Michaela Stock will be the first time the artists have shown work in and taken their art performance works to Vienna. 

During a two week residency with the gallery, Twinkle and Tinsel will be setting up their Bank of Twinkle and Tinsel in public spaces to continue trading in their currency of thoughts, where passers-by will be able to write their thoughts on the global economy on bespoke T&T bank notes (pictured above) and receive a T&T banknote stamped and dated in return. The bank will also be open in the gallery during the opening night and visitors can participate.
You can read all about the progress of The Bank of Tinsel & Twinkle on our blog here: 
We have produced a catalogue for the Affluence & Avarice show, the artist Graham Crowley has written an essay to accompany the exhibition, a distinguished painter and previously the professor of painting at the Royal College of Art, he has boundless knowledge and energy! It has been wonderful working with Graham on this project and we are delighted that his text will accompany the show.  I will be posting the full text on here shortly, you can also read it here on the Tinsel & Twinkle blog.
I will be exhibiting several brand new paintings, all based on the theme of Greed.  My work has changed drastically over the past couple of years (more on that another time!), I am still a long way off from having a body of work which represents a new style, approach and ideas, but it's wonderful to finally be exhibiting the very small beginnings.  
Thankyou Galerie Michaela Stock for inviting us to exhibit with you!  We can't wait to show our work to a completely new and different audience.
 '£327 Per Week for this Stunning Two Bedroom Apartment'
Oil on Board, 2013

 'The Rich Keep Getting Richer, while the Poor keep Getting Poorer' (Study)
 Oil on Linen, 2013
'9 Years and 89 Days, ongoing.  Civilian Deaths 34,240, Military Deaths 2,208'
Oil on Canvas, 2011 

‘Affluence and Avarice’
27.06.13 – 20.08.13
Galerie Michaela Stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18,  
1040 Vienna/Austria

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Art Car Boot

It's been a busy couple of weeks getting everything ready for the Art Car Boot Fair!

Me and Twinkle Troughton have been invited to run a collaborative stall this year, and we can't wait to bring The Bank of Tinsel and Twinkle to the crowds at The Art Car Boot. I’ve been going to the Art Car Boot for many years, and always loved it! It’s really good fun, it’s usually glorious sunshine and there is a buzzing, busy atmosphere.  It is always jam packed with amazing artists selling their work, it’s a brilliant opportunity to meet the artists and in that way it really is unique.  We are so excited about running a stall there!  It’s something we have wanted to do for ages.

 The Bank of Tinsel & Twinkle at Ridley Road Market, taken by Phil Whitby

We will be running our bank, read more about that on our blog here:
We will be distributing our bespoke Tinsel & Twinkle bank notes, and asking passers by to contribute their thoughts about the economy by writing them onto the notes.  The ethos of our bank is about sharing and exchange, it is a creative arena in which people can express their thoughts, opinions and feelings about what is going on with the global economy right now.  If you give us one of your thoughts, we will give you another written on a bank note, so people get to keep a little artwork and part of the Bank.

We will also be selling our prints at the Art Car Boot, and we will both be releasing brand new prints on the day, these are of the new paintings we have made for our forthcoming show in Vienna at the end of June.

Mark at Atom Printing has done an amazing job as always:

And finally we are also releasing our first ever collaborative print to coincide with our Bank.  Reflecting the ethos of the bank, it is a mathmatical sum which calculates that if we were all a little less greedy and more willing to share that affluence could be enjoyed by all.  These are A4 giclee prints on german etching paper, they will be on sale for £20 each with 20% from each print sale going to the Art Car Boot chosen charity Just For Kids Law

The Art Car Boot runs between 12-6pm, Sunday 9th June 2013

Brick Lane Yard on the corner of Brick Lane and Buxton Street, Entry: £5

For more information see the Art Car Boot website

Monday, 29 April 2013

The Relentless Rise of the Rent

The rising rental market in London is something I addressed previously in my work, in my painting 'Shoebox'. Five years on the situation is far worse - with the disparity between average salaries and the cost of renting escalating.

In this new series: 'The Relentless Rise of the Rent' I am responding to the issues and problems connected to housing and the private rental market in London.

I started by collecting images of real adverts I’d seen in Estate Agent windows, quick snapshots taken on my phone of rotten looking properties advertized for phenomenal weekly rents.  This collecting process of the Estate Agent adverts is ongoing and has provided the starting point for these paintings.

£327 per week for this Stunning Two Bedroom Apartment
Oil on Board

£319 per week for this Gorgeous One Bed Flat
Oil on Canvas

  £330 per week for this Bright and Airy Two Bedroom Flat
Oil on Canvas

Although my work has moved on and the autobiographical anecdotes and statements do not feature in these pieces the personal narrative is still very much present.  I personally find it really difficult to survive in London with the financial pressure of high rent to pay, and amongst social circles it is a subject often being discussed.  

Comparative to other European cities or towns in the UK the London rent prices are phenomenal and are rising fast.  In other countries regulations are different, with five or ten year tenancys being the norm, meaning that people can feel that their rental property is ‘home’ without living in fear of the landlord raising the rent on a yearly basis.  Tenants can make significant changes to their rental properties which helps to create the feeling of ‘home’, tenants in London often feel that their accommodation is temporary and tenancy agreements often specify that only minimal changes can be made to properties.

I wanted to create some paintings in response to this situation, being something that I am directly affected by I wanted to create a series which was an honest and heartfelt response.  I was also interested in the element of documentation, recording and describing a very current issue that in time would capture and illustrate something specific to our generation.  No doubt in five years time the rent prices I am currently recording will have increased, what will the situation be like?  Will it become too difficult to live in London without an executive pay packet?

Adequate housing is a human right, outlined in the Universal Declaration of human rights.  How is it then that our homes have become consumerist commodities just like anything else?  With estate agents and landlords responding to the demand and using our 'homes' to generate the highest revenue they can.

Our exhibition in Vienna ‘Affluence & Avarice’ is about greed, and although my paintings about the housing prices might not be overtly referencing this, I think the issues are directly linked.   The reasons for the current housing crisis are complex, it is connected to the on-going global economic problems, the root of this being the negative effects of capitalism.  It’s about the increasing wealth divide.  Are landlords greedy?  It's more complex than that...The over population and demand for properties means that the landlords increase the rents to stay inline with the market…Do we need regulations in place to protect our homes?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

One week in! - The campaign to get our paintings to Vienna for the 'Affluence and Avarice' exhibition

Just recently we officially announced that myself and art partner in crime Twinkle Troughton have been invited to exhibit at Galerie Michaela Stock in Vienna this June.  This is a very exciting opportunity, and it's the first time we have been officially invited as a duo to exhibit our works abroad in a professional gallery setting. 

Our exhibition is titled 'Affluence and Avarice', all of the info about the show is on our facebook event page:
We will be exhibiting brand new paintings, which together will be presented as a collection of work with the theme of greed as its pivotal starting point.

LEFT: 'A Gannet's Stomach is Never full' by Twinkle 

RIGHT: '9 Years and 89 days, ongoing. Civilian deaths 34,240, 
Military deaths 2,208' by Tinsel (why did I choose such a long title?!)
Even as far back as last Autumn, we were busy working away on researching and submitting funding applications, there are lots of costs involved with putting on this exhibition, including shipping our work from London to Austria and paying for the printing and design of the accompanying show catalogue.  Unfortunately several funding applications later, disappointingly we didn't get the funds...With massive cuts to the arts in the UK, we now have first hand experience that funding is definitely harder to come by! and this is why we really need your help.
Therefore we decided we would set up a crowdfunding page using the Indiegogo platform, and this is it!:

One week in we now have just 23 days to raise our goal of $4700 or £3000 in English pound terms!  In return for ANY donation large or small - there are a wide variety of perks, we have been super busy creating signed photos, mugs, button badges, bespoke hand-made jackets and signed catalogues.   

The handmade Tinsel & Twinkle jacket, each one is unique and made by ourselves, only 5 available ever! (we will also be wearing these as our banker uniforms at the exhibition and when we do the bank)

The 'Don't Get Mugged Mug'

We may not be raising funds for a charity or running a marathon - but your donation will be absolutely instrumental in helping two passionate London artists to create a professional art exhibition, bring attention to the UK art scene and make their mark on Vienna.  If lots of people can donate just $5 dollars, together we can make this happen!
We would really appreciate it if you can take the time to have a look at the fundraising page, any donation large or small will make a difference, or please do share the page on facebook or twitter and help us to spread the word.
Some info about the gallery, the exhibition and the Bank of Twinkle & Tinsel:
The gallery is based just around the corner from the lively Museum Quarter in central Vienna, it is one of a series of well regarded contemporary art galleries on  Schleifmühlgasse.  Abit like the Time Out First Thursdays that all Londoners will be aware of, galleries in Vienna all coincide their private view openings four times per year on specific dates, to create a late night arts festival for the city.  The good news is that they liked mine and Twinkle's work enough to give us one of these prominent dates! 
Have a look at the Gallery one their site here:

We will also be taking the ‘Bank of Tinsel & Twinkle’ to Vienna, scheduled to appear at various times and locations in the city throughout our two week residency.  It is a bank that trades in thoughts rather than currency, and aims to create an arena for an alternative style debate and discussion on the global economic crisis.  Here is the blog we have set up which will be the place to find all of the updates and news about the progress of our bank!
We have created our own banknotes and the idea is that people write their thoughts on the economy on these notes, creating an ongoing forum for debate whilst creating a visual display.

Thankyou so much for taking the time to read this, and thankyou in advance for any support you may be able to give.
Best wishes,
Tinsel x

Monday, 8 April 2013

Big Fish Eat Little Fish - 'The Rich get richer while the poor get poorer'

Engraving dated 1557 by Pieter van der Heyden after a drawing by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Latin text at the bottom reads ‘Big Fish eat Little Fish’ and ‘the rich oppress you with their power’

I stumbled across this when I started looking into medieval engravings and woodcuts.  Engravings and woodcuts often illustrated political commentary, for example statements of dissent toward the church, and were distributed widely to communicate messages to a largely illiterate audience. 

The ‘Big Fish Eat Little Fish’ engraving is after a drawing by Breugel, which illustrates an ancient proverb and known saying: ‘the rich get richer while the poor get poorer’.  The drawing alludes to greed, a gruesome image of the big fish being sliced open to reveal that it has gorged itself on the other smaller fishes. The fishes pouring from its mouth and insides, themselves also eating smaller fishes.  Emperors and kings live at the expense of their subjects, merchants abuse their positions of wealth and power to oppress the weak.  One interesting detail about this drawing is that there is a symbol of the imperial orb on the sword, referring to the monarchy or state.

The fact that the big fish lies beached and gutted illustrates the moral of the story, that the accumulated wealth at the expense of others is now useless and that greed does not pay.

Greed, the increasing wealth divide, and the negative impact of capitalism have been themes central to my artistic practice for the last year or so, and greed will be the focus of mine and Twinkle Troughton's forthcoming duo exhibition at Galerie Michaela Stock in Vienna, titled  'Affluence and Avarice'.  Research naturally led me to 16th century Flemish painter Pieter Breugel whose subversive images contain strong messages of social protest.  A painting I made last year ‘But why does the Wealth Divide just keep getting bigger?’ uses Breugel’s ‘The Triumph of Death’ as a starting point.

What fascinated me about ‘Big Fish Eat Little Fish’ is the resonance it has today.  Increasingly the concentration of wealth is ending up in the pockets of the fewest, in effect reducing the spending power of the majority and having negative implications for our economy in general.  Bankers bonuses and high executive pay packets have been a discussion point in the media for months, interestingly in Switzerland recently voters overwhelmingly backed proposals to curb executive pay. (link)

 With current welfare reforms and cuts to public services it seems that the people in power are contributing to the increasing wealth divide and helping to tip the balance in favour of the people with the most.  For example the government expenditure on targeting and demonizing the ‘Benefit thief’ is far greater than the allocation of funds to target corporate tax evasion.  Yet, the money the government loses from benefit fraud is a miniscule fraction of the amount lost to tax evasion.  So basically they are looking after the rich and targeting the poor. (interesting article on this here) 

I decided to use the 16th century engraving as a starting point for a series of paintings about this issue.

Admittedly I’m naturally quite neurotic about how I approach my painting!  Usually questioning everything and wanting there to be a reason for every decision I make…  After thinking on it for a while I decided to step back from all of those thought processes, and decided simply to revive the original and create my interpretation of the image in paint.  See below some iphone snapshots of as yet untitled studies so far.

It is my intention to use paint in an intuitive and experimental way, trying out different techniques and brush marks, to make the physical process of my art making as much an explorative endeavor as the rational thinking behind my work.

When I first came across Gerhardt Richters’ Baader Meinhof series years ago I was in awe of their intensity and powerful political presence.  Simply by translating those images into paint, he creates a new perspective on the subject and different arena for reflection.  I hope that my ‘Big Fish Eat Little Fish’ paintings might attempt to simply revive an ancient engraving and proverb to comment on a contemporary issue.

 'Hanged' by Gerhardt Richter, 1988
 'Dead' by Gerhardt Richter, 1988
 'Man shot Down' by Gerhardt Richter, 1988