Sunday, 19 December 2010

Dran (or rather, we're all completely mad)

An apparently innocuous day in wintery London turned into another good story as I once again underestimated the lure/hype/value of street art.

Dran, the Toulouse based artist whose work dominated the Mark and Stencils show (though the papers and fans called in the 'Banksy' show as he had 4 pieces there) was releasing a print today and was going to be in store to sign one of the few books he released at this year's show.

There was a run of 50 of the color version of the print (done on newspaper and plastered on cardboard) and an alternative run of 100 of the black and white version (hand pulled screen print unsigned) being released at 11am this morning.

Not realizing the appeal of anything Pictures on Walls, I woke up, ran some errands, took in some of the snow and leisurely made my way over to POW, arriving around 11:30.  For the next 90 minutes I shared stories with the same fools like me who were standing in a blizzard (for England anyway) waiting to meet the artist who had captured imaginations with a well thought out gallery show and two stunning print releases that sold extremely well despite a very high price point (500 quid).

Idiots.  All of us.

Queue at Marks and Stencils during a blizzard

All i do these days is stand in line in Soho
So again, some great people in line and the snow storm was a footnote as we all got along and talked art and our idiocy for standing in the snow.  Most had been there since 9ish to get the coloured version which was only sold online in London.  This was going for 200 pounds at the store.

Once I eventually got in the shot I was given the option to buy the cheaper b&w unsigned print and a book.  I was told Dran would under no circumstance sign the print so I bought a book as well and got in the next queue for the signing.

Plenty to stuff to look at while in line as POW has changed all the artwork in the show to take advantage of Dran's relatively new found popularity.  It's amazing what hype can do and being sponsored by the gallery that prints Banksy's prints certainly helps a budding artist.

What was fascinating about being in the store waiting to get a book signed was that his friends/team brough down a homemade screen press and started printing hand pulled one colour bookmarks.  It was fascinating to watch the process and an awesome insight to how it's done.  The bookmarks were 10 quid but all that money was going to charity.

The homemade screen print

A few of the images which were NOT for sale...down on various mediums

The screen print which was printing the bookmarks

Dran signing books

Great guy Dran.  From Toulouse, young fella who seemed as surprised and happy with the success of his show as anyone.  This was his incsription in my book.

This is the bookmark they were printing.  Awesome image showing a book shining light on a child's face

The black and white print.  Edition of 100.
After perversly enjoying my time in the queue I decided to take advantage of being in Soho and checked out both Lazarides galleries.  The one on Greek St has a Modern Toss show on (which are always entertaining) but the star was the show on Rathbone place.

It was a group show featuring Jonathan Yeo, JR, Vhils, David Choe and a few other artists.  I thought Yeo stole the show.  According to his biography:

Jonathan Yeo (b 1970) is a British artist specialising in portraiture and collage. He is represented by Eleven in London and Lazarides worldwide. He didn’t go to art school but took up painting while recovering from Hodgkins Disease in his early 20s. He became known as a contemporary portraitist in the late 1990s, exhibiting frequently at the the National Portrait Gallery . His best known work includes a world weary Tony Blair painted at the very end of his premiership, an iconic painting of Erin O’Connor which was used widely to advertise the NPG and now familiar images of Prince Philip, Dennis Hopper and Grayson Perry.

After a presidential commission was cancelled, Yeo instead made a collage of George W Bush which was unveiled at Lazarides Gallery, London, in 2007. Made entirely from pornographic magazines, it marked a new direction in his work, and subsequent subjects to receive the collage treatment include Hugh Heffner, Mary Whitehouse , Wyndham Lewis, Lucian Freud and Paris Hilton . The exhibition "Blue Period" in 2008 included nudes as well as portraits made the same way, and there have been subsequent shows in London, New York, Bethlehem and Walsall.

Tiger Woods by Yeo

Woods closeup

Woman by Yeo.  My favorite piece at the gallery.

Vhils.  Interesting seeing his gallery work as, like Invader, he's very much associated with large scale outdoor installations



All in all, another fascinating day of London art.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comment Evan, and interesting to see the hype picking up around Dran. The artist talks about the relationship between himself and his protagonist at


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.