This first exhibition marks the relaunch of the Sprigg Gallery on Mare Street in Hackney. Its ethos is to work with a tightly curated list of well-established and emerging artists to present contemporary art in an accessible context. The intention of Sprigg Gallery is not to be a passive viewing space, but one where visitors can engage with a range of contemporary art through events, talks and meeting with the artists in person.
The aim is to grow a conversation around the work, to engage new audiences personally, and encourage collectors to support the lively and diverse art scene that exists, as ever, in London. It provides a platform for artists to meet new audiences, discover new patrons and develop ideas and approaches.
This first exhibition lays bare the relationship between artists and their commercial outlets; Often the artist can be seen as an almost otherworldly presence for whom finance is not a necessity; a creature free of financial impediment, a tortured genius on the fringes of society whose only sustenance is the act of making. This is of course a Victorian fantasy, and perhaps serves as a way to mitigate concerns that cultural centres like London are becoming increasingly hostile environments for artists; the effect of rising rents on the art scene are widespread and well documented.
Here we present a cross-section of artists, established and emerging, whose work straddles the desire for a purely creative practice, and the necessity of having an income.
Chris Levine’s famous portrait of the Queen came about due to a commission from the Jersey Heritage Trust, to create a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in 2004. The portrait was to mark 800 years of allegiance to the Crown by the Island of Jersey. The image has become an icon, and has been hailed as the greatest royal portrait by an artist. Julian Opie’s work reached public prominence through his commissions for the bands Blur and U2, and along with Jacky Tsai was trained in graphic art; both are frequently commissioned to create works in shopping centres.
Veteran beat poet John Giorno collaborated early on with Andy Warhol, and his recent commercial projects include a collaboration with fashion label Céline, around his solo show at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo.
Graphic artists James Dawe, Emily Forgot and Melvin Galapon each balance purely creative work with commercial outlets such as commissions for magazines and branding campaigns (each has created covers for Creative Review magazine). Morag Myerscough is known for large-scale commissions such as the Temple of Agape, 2014, commissioned by the Southbank Centre; meanwhile she drives a program of community workshops such as the current series at Dalston Eastern Curve garden.
Si Scott is widely known for his intricate hand-drawn typography, and campaigns for Adidas, Nike and bands like Massive Attack and Von balances purely creative work in pencil and print with large-scale sports commissions.
This exhibition was curated for Sprigg Gallery by Lee Cavaliere and Melvin Galapon.
Works featured from artists including (in alphabetical order):
Exhibition Run: 31 July – 28 September 2018
About The Artists
James Dawe - jamesdawe.co.uk/ www.instagram.com/open_dawe
James Dawe is a commercial Artist and Visualiser with a postmodern and eclectic approach grounded in contemporary collage and digital manipulation. His compositions often form by chance, defying gravity and the norm; pulling together objects, 3D renderings and graphic fragments from the internet and personal archives to chaotically collide forming luxuriously textured future-scapes and portraits from a parallel place.
Emily Forgot - emilyforgot.co.uk/ www.instagram.com/emilyforgot
Emily Forgot works within a variety of forms whether it be illustration, installations, print design and visual identity. Embracing the odd, the everyday and sometimes surreal Emily Forgot’s playful visual language and image making continues to innovate, evolve and surprise.
Melvin Galapon - www.mynameismelvin.co.uk
Melvin is a Graphic Artist hailing from a small town in the Northwest of England. A graduate from Central St. Martin’s, he has worked with the likes of Nike, Nokia, Wallpaper* and Creative Review to name but a few. He has been featured in various magazines & books worldwide and has exhibited in London, Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok, LA & Sweden.
Since 1962, John Giorno has been disseminating his streetwise, pioneering poetry to audiences worldwide. He lifts his poems off the page, delivering them through rhythmic performances; paintings, prints, and installations; and in LPs, mixed with music. Among his most iconic works is his “Dial-A-Poem” project (begun 1968), in which a telephone number leads to short readings by a host of writers, artists, and activists, among them Allen Ginsburg and John Cage. Giorno forged his art in 1960s New York, and was associated with numerous important figures from that period, including Andy Warhol, the Beat writers, and avant-garde performers—who all influenced his generous, democratic work. Describing his relationship with his audience, he states: “I'm giving out energy, and I'm holding up a mirror to their minds. It's not me they're looking at—it's into their own minds. That's what a great poem is.” American, b. 1936, New York, New York
Chris Levine - http://chrislevine.com
Chris Levine is a Canadian artist best known for his multimedia pieces which incorporate light installations, photography, music, and fashion. Levine works across many mediums in pursuit of an expanded state of perception and awareness through image and form.
Morag Myerscough - www.studiomyerscough.com
Morag’s mantra is ‘make people happy who are near and those who are far will come’. Born and Bred, London, Morag has always lived in the city and has been fascinated by how colour and pattern can change brutal urban environments and peoples perceptions of spaces into places. Morag is known around the world for her distinct approach making large scaffold structures adorned with neon geometric patterns and shapes often incorporating positive messaging hand painted onto plywood.
Julian Opie - https://www.julianopie.com
Julian Opie is a British sculptor and digital artist associated with the New British Sculpture movement, and best known for portraits that reduce subjects to essential lines and colour planes. Opie's graphic portrait style and his use of computer aided design has enabled him move between the fields of contemporary art and commercial design.
Si Scott - siscottstudio.com/ www.instagram.com/siscottstudio
Si Scott is an artist whose work ranges from typography to illustration, creative direction to exhibitions. His works create an air of mysticism, allure, and familiarity. Scott’s explorative nature and artistic expressions are continually leading him to exciting new territories.
Claire Scully - clairescully.com/ www.instagram.com/clairescully
Claire Scully is a multi-disciplinary illustrator specialising in drawing. Scully’s works focus on pattern and line and how images are constructed through details and the importance of the minutia within visual language. She has a keen interest in traditional drawing methods and classical techniques and their place within modern contemporary illustration.
Jacky Tsai - https://www.jackytsai.com
Jacky Tsai is an eminent Chinese pop artist, creating peculiar pieces with an inventive approach to traditional materials and craftsmanship. Tsai works to establish balance and harmony between cultural extremes, his works feature references to western pop art in combination with eastern artistry.
Von - www.hellovon.com
Whilst having worked primarily as an award winning illustrator Von has begun to make a name for himself on the gallery circuit in recent years having been collected by both high profile figures within, and outside of, the art world. Influenced by nature and popular culture his artwork is both detailed and abstract, being able to flawlessly walk the line between surrealism and documentary portraiture capturing a mood in what appears to be a fleeting moment in time.