Opposite one of Robin Hood’s favourite residence’s to rob, Nottingham Castle, sits the aptly named Castle Bar. Here was the site for Louise Starkey’s latest exhibition; Stop Robbing The Rich. I’m sure if there was any indication in the title it was the RH scenario, but aside from that they found a unique space to hold something, and well, something I was surprised to see.
I was expecting a local event, if you like, artists brought together with nothing more in common than their city, and found instead a group of Urban Artists from all over the UK and beyond under the banner Affordable Art in the Heart of Nottingham.
Stop Robbing The Rich is Louise’s second show, and the first one in Nottingham.
She is a keen collector of Urban and Contemporary work and sometimes sells to finance her own art *habit* as she calls it!. So it was around two years ago that she sold a piece to an enthusiast in California. And usually keeping in touch with the people she deals with, as they have common passions a rapport ensued.
This particular buyer was also involved in the music industry and had got together with other likeminded people to buy an art gallery in Philadelphia.
When Louise found out about this she asked when she could have a show. He replied “May 2009” which in her own words she said she “was shocked, as I didn’t think he would take my request seriously”.
That was the start really for Louise and she hasn’t looked back. She still works full time at Nottingham Trent University, and also works as a part time chef. So her enthusiasm for her art and artists is palpable.
The show, which she called ‘Cruel Britannia’ “was to be an invasion of Urban-Contemporary work from the UK”.
Setting up Cruel Britannia at the then T & P Gallery, Philadelphia
Louise mentioned it didn’t go unnoticed and joked
“The USA fought back with a Shepard Fairey paste up outside the gallery”.
When she got the unsold work back from Cruel she decided to recycle it, mash it up, and add to it, and show in a place which was more accessible to the UK where the work originated to balance the showing.
It was The Castle Bar that she chose and although in hind sight she noted “It was slightly shabbier than I would have liked when I got in the space last week so spent three solid days painting. I wanted the show to look good but also to be a success for the artists and saw no point in making really expensive work available. I wanted people to come and have a look, see something that they might like, but not have to really think it over and be concerned about a massive financial commitment that would make things difficult”. Going on to emphasise the fact “I had original work available from £10, and have enabled people to pay for work over a period of time if it makes it more affordable”.
Opening night of Stop Robbing The Rich, at The Castle Bar
Many of the artists in this exhibition are established and well known names in urban contemporary like:
Replete who has worked with people like Cold Cut (Matt Black & Jonathan More) and their Ninja Tune label.
DON who was brought up in Borneo and in his own words
” When I came back to England felt the confines of the concrete jungle around me. But it was to be a blessing. I looked at the stone and concrete walls in a different light, I saw them as vast spaces ready to be painted and moving spaces were even better, trains…like cheetahs in the wild, were fast, got everywhere, but most importantly, were always ‘spotted’ . I quickly learnt that a jungle kid could fast settle into his new pack when he earnt himself respect from his name and ‘got up’ . I was 12.
Old habits die hard and as important to me as it was then, it is now. I’ve taught East End children at an East End school to nicely mural a wall. I’ve convinced myself that you don’t have to cling onto a carriage late at night, under tungsten light, to be seen the next day. I’ve had my knuckles slapped and paid the price.
I have conformed as much as I am able for now, bringing my art to TV and Film. Employed to TAG a Batman set. WOW one of the best cities I’ve tagged….graff stays in my soul, the movement, the colours, the people, the sounds. Beat street, hiphop and those crazy, crazy legs are going to be around for a while longer and I’ll grow with it, its time has come”.
Louise went on to say “Kev Munday recently had his first solo show in Covent Garden called ‘Making it up as I go along’ and Matt Jordan enjoyed great success with a solo show in Athens earlier in the year”. Louise is also hoping to do a solo show of Matt’s work soon.
Matt’s skull – yes they are smarties! the flash is slightly obliterating the Hirst reference.
see the links for Matt in Athens and Kev in Covent Garden
As the result of 6 months hard work. Louise was more than delighted with how it looked, and for the three days it was showing, does seem a shame that it’s gone already.
She is planning her next show for November, workload permitting, but apparently it’s all in a rather dream like stage for now, once she gets cracking though, I’m sure it will be so much more than ok.
It’s going to be called ‘Hardly Original’ and will, as she puts it “feature affordable prints from my little army of willing artists, that will have been made especially for the show and will be unavailable elsewhere”.
There were 16 artists involved in the exhibition and I hope to do a more in depth interview style post with some of them in the future.
For now though, here is a taste of the Stop Robbing The Rich exhibition with a list of the artists involved:
As Louise said later “I enlisted some of the artists I had approached for America, and approached some more. For quite a few of the local artists it was their first show….(MaxRock, Kresh)”
In no particular order;
Kresh : no link as yet but will update
All the above images have been sourced from the artist’s websites.
Back on Sunday with a look at Photographer Helen McCabe fresh from her degree with her very enigmatic work