The Dynamite Gallery Trafalgar Street, Brighton
This unique exhibition was the result of a suggestion, an idea, an almost passing thought – just trainers, by invitation, what if only one artist applied? In the end they had hundreds from all over the world
I thought at first that this piece was by @Spacegooose who uses everyday objects as the base form for spacecraft, satellites, and other intergalactic transports, but apparently not, it’s @Vincent Cooke who is an illustrator from the Netherlands. It shows the same approach to the work as Spacegooose (yes, that is a triple ‘o’) – take an everyday object and turn it into something far from ordinary – but it seems not to be his signature style.
I liked the thinking behind this one; there’s something not quite inanimate about trainers, especially the very well designed ones (see Tinker Hatfield, Abstract: the art of design; Netflix season one) , and this scorpion doesn’t seem much of a stretch.
This piece made me think of Playdoh or very vibrant chewing gum. Nice, chunky, bold pieces slotted into their places like soft bricks.
Incidentally, while the origins of the four word phrase isn’t clear, the hashtag #HelloMyNameIs began as a campaign by Dr Kate Granger, an NHS doctor with terminal cancer who observed that, during a period of hospitalisation, very few of the staff who came to see her introduced themselves. Now it’s on many of the name badges of NHS staff as a reminder to do that. Kate died in 2016.
Gallery staff walking the walk.
This is Swamp Thing made of felt and with eyes used normally for models of wolves. There was something about the material that completely negated any associations with swamps and gave him a warmth that seems to be consistent with the character itself. It had been part of an earlier exhibition that featured superheroes which, given I’ve only seen Black Panther, made picking them out a bit of a challenge. Just to be clear, the gallery owner, Henry Gomez, in shot behind isn’t making an unwelcome gesture, just caught in the act of pointing something out!
Daniel Laurence – decorative art. Kings Road arches, lower seafront, Brighton.
I’ve visited this shop/gallery several times, usually coming out with a metal crab or some other artefact. This time is was a stag beetle. The gallery is yards from the sea; the beach almost on the doorstep and seagulls patrolling the pathway. I’ve always liked the sense of unassuming originality, the idea that these are artefacts, not pieces of art to be interpreted. This is a 3D piece, the fish projected out of the support on small nails. Apparently there is one ‘in Windsor’ but the co-owner would not be specific.
The Naughty Pirates gallery, Kings road arches, lower seafront.
Although some of these seafront galleries were closed, summer having been packed up and put in storage for the next few months, this one was open and showing some remarkable threadwork. As a person having no skill with a needle at all, anything beyond blanket stitch is a miracle to me, but the idea of making art work in this way elevated the practice in my mind considerably. I’ve seen some on one of the Sky Arts programmes but close up is a different matter. I’d thought at first these pieces were made in wet inks and sharp pen lines, which is how I would tackle them.
Art Republic, Bond street, Brighton.
Always worth a visit and a re-visit, this place has originals by Banksy, Damien Hirst, Patrick Caulfield, and Peter Blake, amongst others. This time it was a couple of similar techniques that drew my eye. The moth [The Messenger by Richard Berner] is made up of many tiny drawings of tormented faces, the two largest being the skeletal figures in the centre. While the image of George Michael [Mike Edwards] comprises coloured text (typographical) drawn from the lyrics of several of his songs, which seems to be Edwards’s specialty. The technique isn’t new to me but seeing the very different ways in which it has been applied here has given me an idea for the final project of my first OCA module.
I’m noticing now an apparent increase in prints that have been ‘hand finished’, which seems to mean small applications of medium post printing. This would seem to have the effect of rendering each piece more unique than it would otherwise be, and at very little cost to the artist. What do I think of this? Is it like signing a book, even though that would only add value if the author were famous (and probably dead)? Is it the idea of the possible uniqueness that makes the difference? The idea that, unlike an unmodified print, this piece has been touched directly by the artist? Do artists who do this, make slightly different marks on identical prints or are they always the same? Does anyone buy three copies of the same piece to see if they can spot the differences?
There are more galleries to see and, thanks to my friend Annie who seems to hold a mental catalogue of them, I expect we’ll get to visit many of them. I must add that, with just one exception (not mentioned here), everyone I’ve asked about their photography policy, everyone I’ve approached about pieces of work, and everyone who has still been standing there minutes before closing time has been knowledgeable, interested, keen to talk about the work on show, and utterly without artifice.