Friday, 11 February 2011


It's an expensive city.  Actually, that's an understatement.  Paris is an expensive city, Rome is an expensive city, London is prohibitively, shockingly, expensive.  That's why when nights like Thursday come around, you have to jump in with both feet.

Free drinks all night with a side of great art?  Sold. 

The night started with the launch of VNA 14 at the gallery on Brick Lane.  This is the third or fourth launch I've been too and I must say, George and his crew do an exemplary job.  For the first time since I've been reading the zine there was a queue out the door about 30 deep before the show opened.  They were only selling one special edition (the screen printed Sickboy cover, numbered out of 150) magazine per person as they know there's now value to their magazine on the secondary market. 

And, as always, there was plenty of free beer (Desperado and Becks sponsored the evening) and good tunes playing.  The magazine looks (and smells!) great.  The extras were quite nice too with a bunch of stickers and other goodies thrown in.

It's nice seeing the magazine become successful as it's clear the editors are well into art and enjoy writing about it and taking pictures in different countries to capture the scene across Europe.

Would be nice to see them get back to a London artist, thinking they should put Pure Evil on the next cover!

After a couple drinks on Brick Lane I made my way to the main event at Black Rat Projects.  Their shows always rank among my favorite with a great mix of people and art.  For this show it was a mix of both artists they manage and artists they love.  The highlight being an amazing installation Roa did in the middle of the gallery.
Henningham Press print

According to BRP:

Black Rat Projects has for the past four years been supporting and developing the careers of artists whose mediums and techniques are in many ways traditional yet whose practices are infused with an undeniably contemporary interventionist spirit. Our artists are many things but they have all been woodcutters, screenprinters, painters and etchers and we continue to mark their developments in drawing and painting with the prints we publish as Black Rat Press. With 2011’s Printmaking Today we will be releasing new editions by Matt Small, Candice Tripp and what has been our most technically complex printmaking project with Swoon to date. These works will be displayed alongside earlier BRP projects as we contextualise our archive with some of the most important artefact's of contemporary printmaking. Works by Bridget Riley, Lucien Freud, Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili and Grayson Perry are among those on display. In a celebration of process the opening night on Thursday 10th will be an inclusive insight into the fundamentals of printmaking. Stoke Newington’s local printmakers the Henningham Family Press will set up their ‘Chip Shop’ for what will be a performative addition to the exhibition.

Henningham Press prints
The Chip Shop was a fantastic addition to the show, selling screen prints on Chip wood for a pound and bringing a nice attitude and smile to the gallery. 

They had various messages they were printing on the board and were happily taking suggestions from people who they were speaking too.  I think it's always refreshing to see the art made, and realize what the process is, especially when you can then turn and see a 10 colour hand pulled screen print such as the one they were debuting by Candice Tripp.

Henningham Press prints...all three for three pounds!
It was a pleasure meeting Roa and other artists at the gallery, and I'm looking forward to heading back there soon to take it all in again.

Sometimes London really is worth the price of admission.

D-face V&A on the bottom and Obey's Peace Girl

Candace's 10 colour screen print

Banksy Napalm

Banksy NOLA - Green rain
Peace Girl

Hard to capture Roa's installation, I tried the best i could with an iPhone!

Henningham Family Press

A couple choice words for Silky and Vandalog in the toilets!
Hey Vandalog, stick this in your shitty little blog, you dork.  C'mon, that's not nice!



Swoon's print.  Edition of 28.  Amazing print.  Multi-layer collage and handworked print.  It was also HUGE.

Nick Walker

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