Marks & Stencils

So after reading about the controversy(?) of a single work of art depicting the 7/7 bus bombing on show at Banksy’s pop-up gallery Marks & Stencils (yes, I wish I had thought of that name too!) I figured I would brave the elements and potential travel chaos yesterday and nip into town and take a look for myself – despite the fact that all my other engagements had been cancelled due to the snow…

"Banane de Martinique", Dran, 2010

Banane de Martinique, Dran, 2010

So off I popped to Berwick Street in SoHo – got there without any problems whatsoever – and already in the window was met by the aforementioned 7/7 work Age of Shiva by Mark Sinckler.  And striking although it is – it didn’t really do much for me.  Surprisingly I was equally unmoved by the various works on display by Banksy – although I’m not saying that I don’t like them, au contraire, I would dearly love to own an original and 0% interest is a new favourite.  It’s just that the Banksy stencils are becoming a bit too familiar and lose something (in my opinion) when taken out of context into a gallery environment.

Dran, Gourmet

"Gourmet", Dran, 2010

However, a new discovery for me (and yes, I am a street art “newbie”) was the French artist Dran who had numerous works on display – a lot of them combining sculpture, recycling and “immediate inspiration” and very compelling indeed! 

Also, the subjects ranged from the fun, through very sweet, the odd challenging one, right through to the profound – and (as far as I could see) not a single expletive in site!

On the day that I visited (Wednesday 1st December) there were quite a number of Dran’s works on display and although many caught the eye, I particularly liked the range of works on recycled cardboard boxes where a little scene had been drawn and coloured utilising the print on the box as inspiration (and no doubt as the works title). 

Tare 145g, Dran, 2010

"Tare 145g", Dran, 2010

The display of these works in the (very) dark and mysterious basement of the temporary gallery also heightened the impact of the works with the plain cardboard boxes with ripped edges and colourful splashes adding interest against the drab grey breeze block wall. 

The random installations of works in process with paints and crayons strewn around was also very clever and if I didn’t have my heart set on acquiring Similands, I might well have considered a purchase…

Oh, and qudos to Dran for a great website too!

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