15 Oxford Street, London UK
December 1st-23rd 2006
By Kelsey Brookes
Im pretty sure I invited myself out to London this year. No one really asked me to come out...I just kinda assumed I was invited. Logic would suggest that you should never fly half way around the world based solely on an assumption, but you also shouldn't quit a stable career as a scientist to pursue a half assed pipe dream of being able to paint for a living. Lucky for me I stuffed a sock in logic's mouth years ago hence the reason the folks at POW found me waiting on their door step with an arm load of paintings a few days before Santa's Ghetto opened this winter. For those of you who don't know....Santa's Ghetto is Pictures On Wall's annual art gallery in it's fifth year of artistic and monetary deception.
Just like last year this is the first picture I took with my camera. Unlike last year it is sunny and relatively warmer.....by relative I mean freezing to death would take about 10 minutes longer if left outside for too long. I took this on my daily commute to the Gallery. To call it a gallery really doesn't do it justice...I can't quite explain it because there is really nothing to compare it too. Its never in the same place twice, people from all over the globe come together and display their art in what is a very free and open environment, and there isn't a corner in the entire place that doesn't have something interesting happening.....It really has such a different feel to everything else I have experienced in art. It's kind of a cross between a carnival, a freak show and an art gallery...but with out all the cabbage stink.
This was the first thing I saw when I got to the gallery. This is work by Ericailcane or "Eric the Dog" from Italy. He collaborates with Blu on those massive Street pieces seen all over Italy and the rest of the world.
I was crazy happy to meet up with Washington DC based artist Mark Jenkins.....He is one busy kid traveling the world dropping tape babies where ever he goes. Such a pleasure to meet him.
This is a picture of one of Mode2's free hand figures. I just missed him putting it up but every one that saw it said he killed it. They also said he never uses any funky tips or anything but the can and the stock tip to rock all those lines .. fucking can control.
The googley eyed dork is me and that other guy is Ian Stevenson otherwise known as "I like drawing". I played fill in assistant for the day helping him finish up the Christmas Carnage scene he painted on the wall.
Things always get rushed just before the opening...but this year their was an entourage of reporters and camera men busting down the door to get in just before the crowd mobbed the place .lots has changed with these guys since last year.
Once again tiger beer......TIGER beer....it's like they know about me and my tiger thing.
The second the taped up windows were pulled down (the venue is kept secret until the show is open) there were people taking photos of the place and calling their friends. This year's Ghetto was on Oxford street....I don't know what the equivalent would be to Oxford street here in the states but Time Square might be appropriate?
This one of only 2 opening night photos I remembered to take.....give me a break, you saw all that free beer. Anyway this is my Australian buddy Morgan and his French girl under one of my paintings.
This is the other photo I took that night....beer tops....I know crap right?
Two days later (literally) I pulled myself out of bed and went back to the gallery to see if people still remembered it was there.....3-4 thousand people a day on average came to check out Santa's Ghetto.
Still taking photos of that front window...this never stopped either. I walked by this place one night at about 4 in the morning and there were still kids taking photos of the front window display.
I think this image, hung in the front window, might have had something to do with it....ya think?
This is what happens when you are POW and you open an art show on Oxford Street......you get people by the truck full..
This years parlor game was a blasphemous ring toss around the Virgin Mary's neck.....smashing!
The top painting is by d*face....who has a brilliant signature I might add...and the sculpture below it is by Joe Rush...hung upside down apparently.
This photo doesn't do Lucy Mclauchlan's amazing tree instillation justice...so great.
Mike J looking for some prey....Banksy
Wall of quilted bestiality...me.
This piece had to be the most tediously constructed on in the house.....those are rubix cubes placed just so by Space Invader.
Ian's finished painting. Those are little elves fighting reindeer.
Emma Heron's leg vending machine....kinda reminded me of that movie "Emanuel's Gift".....you know that one Oprah narrates....fucking Oprah right?
Paul Insect's latest creation is skulled up rock stars...that's Sid.
More Italian radness....by Eric the dog
This dude obviously had no idea there was a really pissed off panda with an equally pissed off hooded woman flipping him off just to his right.
This fellow's name is Tittyfreak.....yep....Titty Freak....he's from Brazil....so maybe there is some other meaning behind Tittyfreak in Portages but in English, well I'll leave it up to you to form an opinion. One thing is for sure though his art is top notch.
Guy in pin striped blazer really contemplating Faile's latest.
Everyone in the Ghetto walks around with their heads down....
This image and the below are created by Leftist tag team Peter Kennard and Kat who together created some interesting and striking images...smart cookies those two.
Mark Jenkins kills it when it comes to bodyless bodies.
My next painting?
Pure Evil, Dora and Steph.
This is POW's new location.....much bigger than last year but they have already outgrown it.
This is my new print just finished for POW. I signed them all in one go....wasn't too bad really...only 80 in this edition.
This is the man who, single handedly, is responsible for every single print that comes out of POW....his name is Ben. Ben took it upon himself to procreate since I had seen him last. This is him teaching his young boy how to take massive hits from a gravity bong....just kidding...not really....no really just kidding.
They have so much art just lying around the office.
I needed a temporary studio for a few days to get down and sling some paint....the store room worked just fine....had to be careful just where the paint was splashed though.
Here he is.....the man, the myth, the muffin....Mr. Ben, the king shit of fumes and single hinged silk screens.
Steph out at the market looking for something that doesn't smell like paint fumes...I followed her around like the paparazzi for a few days.
This is Steve Lazarides. He is quite possibly the busiest man in the world right now. You see that cell phone .it is permanently glued to his ear....and you'll notice he is bald too...that is a side effect of the constantly used cell phone melting his scalp .he had a beautiful afro only two years ago.
This is Steve's office and some of his personal collection.
This chap (and by chap I mean one of the best painters alive) is Antony Micallef.......we ran into him signing some of his prints up in Steve's office. He lives in some beach town just south of London (with no surf) and paints some of the best shit I have ever seen .in a studio full of old landscape painters that don't understand a thing he does.
Below are a bunch of random shots I snapped while walking between Museums and Pubs.....actually that's pretty much all I did....sleep, paint, museum, pub...rinse and repeat.
For more on Kelsey Brookes, check kelseybrookes.com
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