DO LOOK DOWN
'Do Look Down' was my debut solo show held at London
West Bank gallery between 6th June and 12th June. I essentially painted
a city (called 'Lowdown') across 40 metres of wall inside the gallery
using stencils and created a newspaper (called 'The Lowdown Times') to
go with it. The newspaper contained stories and articles about Lowdown
as if it was a real city, referencing scenes you could see on the wall.
People were also welcome to purchase a part of the city, using various
sized frames to mark off areas that I would then paint onto canvas for
You can read the newspaper in full here and you can see an online version of Lowdown by heading here. I also wrote a press release for the show beforehand, which you can read here. I wrote the press release myself and I tried not to get carried away with the kind of hyperbolic language that is all too often found in those things.
The show was an incredible ride and invaluable experience. I had had all these grand ideas for shows for years and when I was given the opportunity of a solo show, I didn't realize how many of those ideas were so complicated. To paint a really long, detailed city on the walls of the gallery a week before it opened to the public was, with hindsight, crazy. The enthusiasm of naivety, haha. We (me and my incredible girlfriend, who had learned how to spray my stencils in the months leading up to the show) simply ran out of time to create everything we had wanted.
Still, the parts of the city we had finished, in conjunction with the printed newspaper and the first floor of pieces I had painted in the studio and brought to the gallery for hanging, seemed to go down well with all the visitors. I want to try this concept again but make it easier to paint.
When the show came to a close after a week, I posted this message on Facebook to attempt to put into words what I was feeling...
The journey of this solo show has been a fantastical, immobilizing, terrifying,
tiring, self-doubting, joyfully tearing, shimmying, ramshackling, polished
and professional, art-affirming, challenging, second winds, third winds,
fourth winds, dead-on-my-feet, heartening, euphoric experience.
I must thank Tommy and Dizzi for first showing their faith and passion
in my work to offer me a show at the brilliant London West Bank. A knowing
and sincere thank you to Charlotte for being an irrepressible force of
curation, forthright organization and a mean trimmer of card. Annalise
was just as fantastic and the show was made all the stronger for your
involvement, your passion was more 'walking' than 'talking', so thank
you so much. Thank you to Angus, Ashwin, Henri, Zoe, Lindsey, Anna and
Billy for being the synapses that fired between Charlotte and action.
Thank you to www.chromeandblack.com for coming through with an emergency
pack of paint. In me you've earned a new and loyal customer, thank you
for helping me and Tommy in an emergency. Thanks also to Snik for the
can of Anthracite, as well as the words of fuel to keep on pushing, along
with Laura and Kim. Your mid-visit was a reminder of the world outside
and a breath of fresh air. A grinning cheers to Tyler for inspiring the
newspaper, as well as the rest of the fools from Oxfordshire for making
it to the show. I'm not quite sure you understand how much that meant
to me. Specifically thanks to Bone and Tyler again for getting me pumped
about the show during one of the many lows.
A massive thank you to Mydog Sighs for being a show buddy of sorts, as
we both secured a solo show at the gallery around the same time. Your
words of insight and encouragement were invaluable and your unflinching
dedication to your own work was a passive source of competition, haha!
To Myriam for the unsuspecting but surprisingly inspiring advice of "Doesn't
matter how you do just as long as you do it, that's what counts".
Those words were more valuable than I would have ever expected.
And of course to everyone that came to the show, shared news of the event
and have supported me this far with their positive words and buying my
work, thank you so much. It wasn't until I started working on this solo
show that I began to glimpse the vast network of support I have around
me. Before I knew what had happened, I was where I wanted to be. This
experience has only made me more determined to work at what I do and fight
the onset of complacency with every last tooth and nail and can of paint
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I want to thank the love of my life Zoe, who has seen and been with me through the course of this show. More than anyone else, she understands what I have gone through because she has gone through it herself. Not willing to stand on the sidelines, you were in boxing ring with me. We have mused over drawings, cut hundreds of stencils together (even cutting our middle fingers in the same place within a matter of days, talk about empathy), slaved against intimidating walls day and night with painted, cracking hands and finally collapsing onto an air bed in a race against the show opening. Without you, regardless of anything else, I can honestly say this show would have never come to fruition. This was our show!
To everyone and anyone, thank you.
Thank you so much to SEV for the photos he took at the show's opening, please check out his page! And you can place your cursor over any of the images to find out the title of a piece.
Posted 5th March, 2014