London Art Spot: Suelan Allison-Modrzejewski

While some of us might be reading this first Art Spot post of 2011 slightly hungover, Suelan Allison-Modrzejewski is probably fresh on her feet because she doesn’t like the taste of the stuff that makes us tipsy. And more power to her because she’s chanelling her energy into her art (and, of course, her newborn son) instead.

Armed with her camera and a strong belief that the East London Art Scene mixed with erotic photography can make a powerful statement, Suelan’s created a colourful portfolio for her latest project:  Erotica v. Street Art. It revolves around the work of some well-known artists like ROA and Stik. But let’s hope she’s not going to ask her nude models to stand outdoors for too long this time of year and welcomes them for one of her indoor shots instead. She may even break out her beloved 1967 Canon FP 35mm camera that takes some amazing photos even though the 50mm lens is covered in mildew.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Suelan talks about the woman who has been her most powerful muse this year, lets us in on the risks she is willing to take to shoot erotica in public places and, of course, shares some of her favourite, sometimes NSFW (Not Safe For Work), images of the ladies that inspire her to appreciate the beauty and sexuality of the human body.

LLO: Where are you from originally, how long have you been in London and what it is that’s kept you here?
SA-M: I always have trouble with this question because I’ve lived in so many places. I was born in Trinidad, grew up in Guyana, spent many summers in NYC when I was a kid and then lived there for six years when I was 17 and then moved to London at 23, met my ex-husband and stayed because of him and have been here since then. But no matter where I’ve lived, New York was always home for me.

LLO: Your latest work – Erotica v. Street Art – has gathered up quite a bit of attention. Tell us about this set of images and how you came about combining these two subjects.
SA-M: Well I’m going through a very difficult divorce right now especially that we have a 9 month old baby boy and my ex-husband is heavy on the East London art scene and I love erotic photography which he has no interest in and if I’m completely honest, it started off as me trying to fit the two together to prove to him they can both co-exist and be appreciated by everyone. Then it became so much more. The graffiti artists that replied to me that I had contacted to tell them I would be using their works as my background, absolutely loved what I was doing and some even sent me specific locations to shoot at.

Exposed

LLO: This set features artists like Stik, ROA and Eine. Have you ever thought about collaborating directly with a street artist on a photo project? If so, who, what and where?
SA-M: I have thought about it and would love to do something crazy and I have talked briefly with one artist but nothing concrete and honestly I still think there’s a long way to go before not just artists, but people in general are open to erotic works of art, especially out in the open. I feel almost like I have to ease my ideas and concepts in gently and I’m not able to get the same exposure street-artists enjoy.

I am woman - hear me roar

LLO: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face to get a great shot?
SA-M: I can honestly say that I haven’t really had any barriers to getting great shots. I do pick some risky locations to shoot but I have been very fortunate that the models who work on my shoots are serious risk takers and willing to do anything to get a great picture and I really appreciate that.

LLO: Do you have a muse?
SA-M: Last year when I started photography Vee WORLDMISTRESS (she’s a dominatrix) was my muse. This year my muse is Bex Paul. She is absolutely amazing and she can pull off so many looks from haute couture to erotica. She is a dream to photograph and knows exactly what to do as soon as I lift the camera, which is great because my shoots are done in an hour tops. I hate long shoots and even more so now that I take my baby with me, so for my own projects I try only to work with models who I connect with.

LLO: Which photo are you most proud of at the moment?
SA-M: It would have to be a picture I took on a shoot last year in London Fields. It’s a shot of Bex in front of a tree as we were preparing for a shoot. It’s totally over exposed and technically wrong but so right because I can see fire in her eyes and soul.

LLO: Is there a location in London outside of the formal studio environment you’d love to shoot for a day – somewhere you haven’t tried yet?
SA-M: Yes absolutely. The Millennium Bridge. I have dreams about who and what I would shoot there, how long it would take, the risk factor… It haunts and excites me.

LLO: How do you find your models? Is there a certain look you gravitate toward?
SA-M: For my projects if I’m doing a casting call for a few models, I’ll usually use Model Mayhem otherwise I just use Bex. I gravitate to models with curves mostly, just because I think that’s the essence of a woman. We have curves and breasts and hips and its beautiful. If I’m looking for a male model, I’ll generally pick a tall manly man, a protector of sorts. I guess I’m traditional in that sense.

LLO: Other London-based artists you admire?
SA-M:
I love anything that Rankin does, his photographic projects, his books, documentaries… I guess I’m a Rankaholic! He really does inspire me. Currently I’m loving Miss Led as well. She’s an illustrator/painter and does some amazing large scale murals of women which can be very provocative and flirtatious. A collaboration with her is definitely on my wish list.

LLO: What are you working on now?
SA-M: Well I’ve spent Christmas with my mom in Trinidad and I’ve been bouncing some ideas around with a few people, and waiting for the right moment but that’s all I’m going to say about that…for now at least!

Thanks Suelan!

Check out more of Suelan’s work here: www.suelanphotography.com

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

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London Art Spot: Perry Sullivan

Not for innocent eyes, Perry sullivan draws on themes of sexuality, human form and politics to create a body of work that sometimes has a shock value with that can’t-peel-your-eyes-away sort of appeal. Some are disturbing, some may be offensive, but his goal is to draw on real bits of life that people can relate to rather than pretentious conceptual art that’s not always so easy to understand.

Perry is a master of line, light, shadow and form that gives life to the figures in his paintings. He will be showing them off at the Brick Lane Gallery until tomorrow so there’s still time to pop in.

For this week’s London Art Spot, he’s answered all of my (sometimes cheeky two-part) questions about his goal to make traditional figure painting appeal to a more contemporary audience, shares one of the most memorable comments from a buyer and of course gives us an eyeful of images to get a real feel for his work.

LLO: Which aspects of London life most influence your creativity?
PS:
The history. When I go to galleries and museums I think of all the people who have been a part of the city’s culture and I am pleased to be part of that in some small way.

LLO:  There’s sexuality, human form, some religious and mythological elements… Talk us through some of the common themes that flow through your work.
PS:
I would like to think the common theme in my work is humour. Being British I love to take the piss and there is a great deal of tounge in cheek in my work. I started to copy superheros from comic books as a kid. I think if I wasn’t a painter I’d be a cartoonist as I love to have a pop at deserving targets such as celebs, bankers, footballers, the church, politicians, etc. These are themes I return to time and again in my work.

LLO: If we wanted to walk around a recent exhibition of your work with an iPod, which songs would you recommend as a soundtrack to complement the mood of the show?
PS:
The Banana Splits Theme

LLO: You say you want to revive traditional figure painting and bring it into the contemporary world. How do you approach your work with this goal in mind? Which elements are most important to accomplish this?
PS:
Hang on, that’s two questions. Do I get extra brownie points or somthing? I set out to make my work say something to people who may feel that art is just people pushing paint about and slaping themselves on the back for doing so. (Frieze Art Fair). I want them to be able to connect with the painting in a real way, to know what it is they’re looking at and then go on to see deeper into the work. I think that once again humour is a helpful element and of course sex.

LLO: Do you have a muse?
PS:
Me. Sorry, did you mean someone I adore who fills me with love, hope, energy and light? Still me I am afraid.

LLO: One of your other interests is books. What are you reading now? Do you find that what you’re reading tends to have any influence on your artwork?
PS:
At this moment I am reading my Open University coursework as I am just about to start on my history degree. Just wanted to do something fun. You would think I’d say a Nigella Lawson cookbook looking at my work. But apart from those early years reading comics I don’t think what I read (outside Saturday’s Guardian) has any effect on my work.

LLO: Which painting are you most proud of right now and why?
PS:
The last one I did for the Brick Lane show called ‘Lest We Remember’. I am proud of it not because of the painting as such, but of the style. I was running out of time if I wanted to get it in the show so I put the paint on quicker and looser when I realized it had a real freshness and energy. I felt that I was in charge of the paint and it was going to do what I damn well wanted it to do as there was no time for debate. I love Rembrant’s work as it got looser and looser and I thought to myself ‘I get it’. You can’t see a photo of it just yet as it’s still in the exhibition but if you get down to the Brick Lane Gallery before Oct 4th you can see it in the flesh.

LLO: What has been the most memorable comment you’ve had about your paintings? Did you agree with it?
PS:
“How much? You robbing bastard!” No really, it was at one of my exhibitions when a woman came up to me after looking at my piece ‘Soft Cell’ and with tears in her eyes said “Thats how I feel”. Well what could i say? She brought the painting. Don’t think I didn’t notice this question as well as number six was also in two parts. Iam going to put in for overtime here.

LLO: Are there any other London-based artists you admire?
PS:
Luican Freud (is he still alive?)

LLO: What are you working on now?
PS: I am working on a still life called ‘The Beautiful Game’, it’s about corruption, greed and sex within football. So rich pickings there.

Thanks Perry!

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

London Art Spot: Danielle Dewitt

As Dani says herself, you might expect artwork from a native North Carolina girl to be quite “safe” and “homely”, but don’t be fooled. Dani’s illustrations and paintings are anything but, and since she moved to London, they have become even more open and experimental, all boundaries crossed. If you’re easily offended, turn back now. There’s a few safe entries back that way.

If you’re curious about what inspires this Central Saint Martin’s graduate to expose her inner fears and thoughts in such a way that may shock her neighbours back home, read on. She’s taken some time to tell us about why her work is so sexually blunt, how London gives her creative freedom and her plan to move to Oslo later this summer.

LLO: When did you first become interested in illustration and how has your work evolved while you worked toward your BA at Central Saint Martins?
DD:
 I have always been interested in the arts from what I can remember and especially illustration because it requires so much attention to detail and patience. I wanted to be a medical illustrator at first, I am fascinated with medicine and anatomy and still hope one day I can do something within the medical stratosphere. My time at CSM has definitely given me more self-discipline in regards to my working habits. It has taught me to explore my ideas more thoroughly and to formulate clear, well-executed pieces. I have found a love for painting with oils as well, which is something I was never really that interested in before. My work hasn’t really changed much overall, I have just expanded it into a few more mediums.

LLO: Has coming from the sticks in North Carolina to big city life in London changed the way you approach your art at all?
DD:
Art in North Carolina is quite, “homely” and “safe”, well most of it. People seem scared to offend anyone with their work. Coming to London, you see that that safeness doesn’t exist here and you are free to explore and create whatever you like with out fear of community persecution or exclusion. My work is a lot more free now that I’m here, and a lot more chaotic.

LLO: Much of your work is very sexual in nature, very focused on the female body flaws and all. Can you talk a bit about the messages in these images?
DD:
We’re our most vulnerable when we’re naked. Being nude changes the way people behave. Some embrace it, some can’t stand it. All of our flaws are visible and accessible to every human eye and every particle floating in the air. Being nude bonds us with our surroundings. When I draw a figure, I see it in my minds eye in total perfection, nude and flawless. But when it comes down onto paper, it becomes all of my insecurities and flaws, all of my pain and resentment for myself. The sexual outlet is the trusting, giving, ‘exposed’ and freed self and something I want to give to my viewers, the ability to bear the scars of  their life with out fear. We women hold a lot inside of us, and mask our perceived flaws in many different ways it seems. I want to make work that liberates the body of unnecessary social constraints by bluntly stating their existence and trying to deconstruct the need for us to hide from them.

LLO: It’s also very detailed and a lot of it is quite surreal. You’ve got a great imagination. Tell us a bit about what inspires your work?
DD:
My work is usually inspired by events in my life, past and present, the quantum world, or perhaps something that really catches my eye in the media. I go through different phases of what elements I like to use in my work, like certain patterns or styles. My world on a day-to-day basis is quite surreal to be honest, weird things always happen to me, or things I simply cannot understand. I also tend to make up stories in my head about certain people I am surrounded by, or on occasion when I’m walking around I hear harmonies of sounds I suddenly feel like I’m in a musical and that leads to more ideas and the work takes off from there. I also spent a lot of time in hospitals when I was growing up, surrounded by a lot of unique characters. Their world is sometimes completely different from ours and very bizarre at times, these experiences inspired a lot of my work to this day.

LLO: You also do some painting, animation and graphic design. Do you find that changing mediums alters your subjects and style or do you take a similar approach despite the obvious differences?
DD:
 I definitely take a similar approach when painting, not so much when it comes to graphic design. Graphic design is a sort of ‘sanitary’ medium for me where I like to make more minimalist work, while utilizing a broader range of colours. Painting is just a mess, a mash of liquid pixels and I tend to want to make more abstract works when painting, however I always seem to be lured back to creating an intricate painting inclusive of the human form.

LLO: Which piece of work are you most proud of and why?
DD:
I can’t say that I’m particularly proud of any single work I’ve made, I feel satisfied when they are completed, but usually not jumping to show them off. I have a very bad habit of destroying my work long before anyone ever sees it. I am truly resentful of my illustrations and paintings at times and have set alight many of them in the past, tossed them out the window of my car onto the motorway or simply flushed them down the toilet.

LLO: What’s the next step for you in terms of career and how you see yourself moving forward in the next few years? Do you plan to stay in London?
DD:
I’m not exactly sure what’s next. I would like to display my work in galleries all over the world, I would like someone to collect my work, I would like to sell my work, but then again what artist doesn’t! I will probably end up working more on the graphic design side of things or doing freelance jobs or perhaps working in a design firm if all else fails while still doing art in my spare time. I’m getting married in August to a one Jan Schjetne, fashion photographer extraordinaire, and will be moving to Oslo, Norway in July to settle amongst the Scandinavians. I am really excited about this and hope to create loads of new work and add some new mediums to my current work.

LLO: Do you have a favourite London gallery or place to see other artists at work?
DD:
I get really inspired at the National Portrait gallery, the Barbican and the Haunch of Venison. I love the name “Haunch of Vension” and that’s what first led me to this gallery. It’s an erie sounding name to me and this promises many good things contained within. I also like the White Cube Gallery near Old Street, and the Riflemaker Gallery they always have something good on.

LLO: What other London-based artists do you admire?
DD:
I like a lot of the YBA’s, and I love the large fun works of Anish Kapoor.

LLO: Where can we see some more of your work?
DD:
I have a website, cargocollective.com/EHFO, I update it fairly regularly. You can also drop me an email on there if you have any questions, or thoughts you want to share: dewittd@gmail.com.

Thanks Dani!

London Art Spot: Cordelia Donohoe

 

Meet Cordelia: Filmmaker, photographer, feminist. A woman with a most interesting background who has lived with the titles of hippy runaway, punk rocker and rude girl before a stint as a camerawoman on BBC News and some time spent making films and documentaries in between.  

Her work as a portrait photographer – particularly a project focussing on London’s many escorts and prostitutes – has influenced her latest artistic study of an “inner distortion that a woman goes through in order to commodify herself.”  

She’s taken a bit of time out to answer some questions for this week’s London Art Spot. Read on to hear about Cordelia’s experience of being photographed nude for the sake of her art, the way she uses photography to help her deal with her mother’s failing health and how her latest exhibition “Peeping Tom” explores the topic of voyeurism. She’s also shared her short film, “The Occupants”.     

Distortions Through a Pimp's Lens 1

 

LLO: How does living in London influence your creativity?
CD:
 I’ve lived in London all my life and since I was a small child I have been affected by the diverse influences – cultural, social, etc –  that I have seen around me. My parents were antique dealers and they started out in Portobello Market. As a child and teenager I spent every single weekend there. It was a place of hippies, punks, indie bands, carnival as well as antiques, wealth and consoisseurship. It was an extraordinary and exciting place and I remember walking down the road at say 12 or 13 years and just staring at everyone and everything, taking it all in. That is what London is for me  – a melting pot of everything. One’s senses and preconceptions are assailed every day. There are always new ideas to be had. Sometimes it gets too much and you have to hide away to develop those ideas. I have lived in almost every part of London and now since I concentrate on making art, I’m poorer than when I worked in broadcasting and I live in Tottenham right on the River Lee. I’m between rural beauty and intense poverty with a city regeneration programme going on. It is a time of big changes and it is exciting. There is a sense of community here unlike other affluent or inner city areas. I would much rather be living here than in some established suburban area. I feel as if I’m part of something. And the river and reservoirs are just so beautiful.  

Distortions Through a Pimp's Lens 2

 

LLO: Tell us about your project put together especially for the See You Next Tuesday festival.
CD:
 The photographs on show at the New Players Theatre are part of a larger project I did about escorts in London, of which there are thousands. London has been described as saturated in prostitution by the Poppy Project, who undertake research in that industry. Escorting is basically prostitution with a ‘nice’ name and like lap or pole dancing has almost become normalised. As a portrait photographer, girls started coming to me for lingerie type shots to advertise themselves on the internet. I felt very weird about it and used these shoots and my interactions with the girls to question several things. In the process of constructing glamour photographs, you make a woman a “sight” and a commodity. This took me on a journey of looking at the history of the female nude and the pin-up photograph and from that I made a body of work using some of those portrait sessions with text asking questions about what the viewer is seeing. In the V-Day exhibition, I used photographs which came from me going myself to a pimp with a photo studio. She took nude photographs of me which I distorted and reworked to express something of the inner distortion that a woman goes through in order to commodify herself. There are also some other photographs in the show which came from my befriending one particular girl who retreated into some sort of fantasy world about being an angel or a fairy; I think in order to cope psychologically with what I believe can be a very traumatic experience. To be an other-worldly creature is to be able to transform things, to have a certain magical power. To be a prostitute is to somehow be transformed into a person outside the normal body of society, to be an outcast of sorts. I thought there was an interesting connection and dialogue between those ideas.   

Distortions Through a Pimp's Lens 3

 

 LLO: Your biography on the website starts like this:
“Born in 1965
Hippy runaway in the early 70s
Punk rocker in the mid 70s
Rude girl by the early 80s”
How does this background shape your film and photography today?
  
CD: Gosh, that is a big question. I think being some sort of rebel has made me ask questions and doubt official answers. I have always wanted to go deeper and look at the underside of things. But I am always amazed that actually there are no answers, it’s the process that is everything. Every project I undertake has no real end point; it is always the beginning of a long process of thought and questioning that then mutates into new questions. I do not really consider myself to be a photographer in the classic sense, I would rather call myself an artist who uses photography. I do strange things to conventional photographs, sometimes using found photographs, or I bring in disparate objects to make sculpture with them. All this goes beyond producing that ‘perfect shot’.     

In My Father's House, Girl in the Wallpaper 

LLO: Your current show, Peeping Tom, at Vegas Gallery in Bethnal Green is “exploring the notion of voyeurism and what art has to do with prying.” How does your art explore these ideas? 
CD:
 I am looking at the notion of looking from a woman’s point of view. I do not use photographs in the conventional sense. I want to get beyond what we might understand as prurient voyeurism to look at subjectivity and identity.   

The photograph I used for that show came from a shot of an escort in my father’s house. My father was very ill and I was looking after him. I was thinking deeply about my relationship to him and my status as a daughter and a woman when I took that photograph. In the picture I merged her into the wallpaper and wrote all over her. I was thinking of the quote from the bible. “My father’s house has many rooms, and I will take you to be with me, so that you can be where I am”. Here, I’m turning the father-son thing upside-down in looking at how a prostitute is actually the same as me or as any woman. She can never be a ‘prostitute’ to me, but only a reflection of my own womanliness.    

LLO: What piece of photography are you most proud of and why?
CD:
 I don’t really feel proud of photographs in that sense because as soon as you achieve one thing it’s onto the next challenge. But the photograph I most love is a recent photograph of my mother that came out as a double exposure by mistake, when I used an old-fashioned plate camera.  I put the plate in twice. When the image slowly formed on the paper in the chemical bath in the darkroom, I felt such massive emotion. My mother has Alzheimer’s and she is slowly forgetting everything. To me that photograph says something very poignant about that. Something about the dream of life, about letting go, about finding peace.     

 
LLO: Which short film are you most proud of and why?
CD:
Im most proud of the short film The Occupants, which is a portrait of the people I lived with in a squat in the 90s. I was quite judgmental of some of those eccentric types, but making the film made me appreciate and like them and find us all very funny.   

    

LLO: There’s a lot of talk these days about film and other digital work eventually replacing photography. Other people argue that photography will always have a place. Where do you stand in that conversation, being someone who is involved in both mediums?
CD:
I don’t think the moving image will replace the still image. They are different beings. The moving image involves time and sound, which are other dimensions. Old fashioned emulsion film has a wonderful feel to it and a nostalgia that will always have a place in my heart, but perhaps this is because I was born in the film age. I don’t know if younger more digital generations will have this attachment to it.  If you are talking about still photographs, well photographs are not truth; they are a reflection whether on emulsion or in digital signals of something that may have once existed and they often rely on context or need other information for their power. Chemical photographs have always been manipulated and changed, just think of the fashion in fake séance photographs in the 19th Century, or the Loch Ness Monster sightings. What has really changed is the ease of using and manipulating digital photographs. Anyone with a computer can do it, and the general public trust less and less the truth status of the photograph. I think it is a good thing, I like the democratization of the image, particularly via the internet and we should always take images with a pinch of salt. As for the look of them, digital images can have a more bright and contrasty aesthetic. But technology means that you can make digital look like film. Printing technology is so advanced, most people can’t tell the difference nor do they really care.   

Nadja - First Portrait Session

 

LLO: A lot of your work centres around certain projects, theories, stories, fictions, etc. It seems very driven by exploration of specific ideas. Can you talk about where your inspiration comes from?
CD:
I think at heart it comes from my burning questions about who we are and why we live the lives we live, what is important to us and what we love. We make up stories to make this time we have on the earth understandable, workable and bearable. Sometimes those stories work and sometimes they don’t. I’m talking about gender identity, society, religion, love and work – the biggies. Film and photography have a place in these constructs, we’ve been brought up with them, and that is why I use them to question these things.  

Both my parents were outsiders; we were a very small nuclear family. I did not grow up with certainty about who we were, with a large network of family or relations to bolster that so I guess my sense of family history and identity was limited and has caused me to be so inquisitive   

Nadja as Fairy

 

LLO: Where is your favourite place in London to take your camera?
CD:
At my parents house, I love taking photographs of my mother. Perhaps it’s because I’m trying to keep hold of her. I don’t know. Of course they won’t do this, but photographs of her affect me so deeply and I know that I will cherish them for the rest of my life.  I don’t think I would use them for an art project as I don’t have enough distance on them and perhaps never will.      

Thanks Cordelia!  

For more of Cordelia’s work, check out her website: http://www.lifelikepictures.co.uk/  

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.     

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London Art Spot: Part2ism

Ever walk around London’s East End and catch sight of a nude woman in a gas mask on a yellow-painted wall? If so, you’ve discovered the artistic ingenuity of Keith Hopewell, aka Part2ism.

Since the 80s when he created his first piece of street art, his style has evolved to reflect a changing state-of-mind and the current political/economic environment. His work is a bit rebellious, a bit controversial, a bit erotic, sensuous, pornographic at times, and always thought-provoking. Experimenting with beauty in death and the ugly faces of life – like war, consumerism and religious fanaticism – Part2ism has intrigued London and other cities with floral skulls, nudes hand-painted with photo precision and unique military typography. He’s stretched the boundaries of street art to show his work in gallery exhibitions and his art was featured on the front cover of the London Street Art Anthology a few months ago. When he’s not busy being a revolutionary artist, Part2ism has also been producing rap/hip-hop music for the past decade or two.

For this week’s London Art Spot, he talked to us about his famous Tamara series, his influences and why he chose the name Part2ism.

LLO: You’ve been noted as a pioneer in photorealist graffiti. How long have you been a graffiti artist and where did you create your first “photorealist” piece?
P2:
 I used to write and spray MOD-related logos like the The Who and The Jam everywhere in the 80s when I was 11 or 12-years-old. When I saw what was happening on the New York subway, I really had to get involved and never questioned why. The mid-80s, for me, was an exciting time, but a bit of a fun thing. I was young like most writers in the UK at that time and was influenced by the US heros. But, before the 80s were over, I became more obsessed with developing my own corner in the culture. I experimented with a lot more avant-garde concepts. The photorealism developed slowly over 1989-1990. Before then, it was about portraits that were not painted as articulately. 

LLO: Your style has changed quite a bit over the years.
P2: Ha ha, true. I’m a human being and I suppose it’s not much different from eating different meals. You get an intuition and follow it because it feels right. Your art should represent your true self and it doesn’t feel right to me if you ain’t moving forward with your work. People have called me the “Renaissance Man” which is great for the ego, but bad for future productions if you take it too seriously. I believe keeping your work relevent and challenging conventional ideas stops the mind from going soft.

LLO: Have you seen a change in the way people have perceived your work over the years?
P2:
No, I still have to work twice as hard as most people. It’s great for my work but very tiring (laughs).

LLO: Why did you choose the name Part2ism? What does it mean?
P2:
 It’s just a play on the name Part 2 which was my writing name. I hate being categorised, so adding -ism makes Part 2 a practice. I kinda operate more in the middle ground between graffiti, street art and contemporary art from a bit of an outsider position and am not really accepted by any of them. There was always the label “alternative art” which categorised street work in New York in the 60s, 70s and 80s, but that just reminds me of the music industry; when they don’t know how to box a particular sound, they just label it “alternative” or left-field. They really suggest that what you do doesn’t fit, which can’t really benefit the artist. I’m just an artist period! I utilize a bit of everything and add it to my hybrid. categories are really for the media and not us. Keeps people’s minds neat, tidy and rigid if things are more formulaic.

LLO: How does living in London influence your creativity?
P2:
Most cities outside London don’t have such an abundance of pubic space to work on, so London is unique in this way. A lot of the time I get out of London when I’m looking for inspiration. I get my ideas a lot clearer in the country and when they come, I know exactly where in London to execute the idea. I’ve always spent a lot of hours walking around London no matter how far apart places are; this is how you learn what’s what in the capital.

LLO: Do you prefer exhibiting in galleries or on the street?
P2:
 I don’t discriminate; art is applicable everywhere on any medium. 

LLO: Your series Tamara got a lot of attention. Can you tell us a bit about these pieces, who Tamara is and what they mean?
P2:
  Those paintings are loosely based around the idea of consumerism consuming itself. Tamara [Seabrook] was my girlfriend at the time. We both thought works exploring the body, erotics and death were missing in the modern spray cannist scenes, so we got to work. Tamara worked a lot with erotics and photography and I was exploring these realms too, so we brought it all together.

LLO: Which piece of work are you most proud of and why?
P2:
  Oh gosh; this changes all the time. Maybe the Floral Skull right now, because it’s started me working in a totally new way. It’s the foundation for all the new work I’ve got coming out later this year.

LLO: Which other London-based artists do you admire?
P2:
I’m digging R.O.A. at the moment. He’s not from London, but he’s definitely brought something different to the melting pot…

LLO: Where can see your work now?
P2:
My next show is in New York, but Londoners keep your eyes out on the streets shortly!

Thanks Part2ism!

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