One of the things I love, and always have loved about this majestic city is how day turns seamlessly into evening with fascinating consequences. London’s inky nights often throw something your way you couldn’t have predicted in a sleepy haze at 6am that morning.
Last night was a case in point. I thought post-work Thursday would serve up a long overdue dinner in Granary Square with two of my very special friends. Instead, I found myself gazing up at the work of celebrated New York City street artist Bradley Theodore and his bold, vibrant images at Old Brompton Gallery, SW5.
Hobnobbing with a medley of photographers, artists and curious art lovers (and some RIDICULOUSLY good looking people may I add) I cursed myself for (a) not giving my overall appearance a bit more thought as I tugged at my Whistles skirt nervously and (b) my self-inflicted participation in Dry October.
So, the artist. Described as ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat meets Banksy’, Bradley Theodore is already well known in the US for his unique murals in the heart of New York that match key elements of art and fashion, and popular with fashion bloggers who understand the benefits a good ‘wall scout’ can bring. He is particularly eminent for his murals of fashion heavyweights Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour rendered as skeletons, and has also turned his hand to cover art for albums from the likes of Wu Tang Clan.
The purpose of last night’s exhibition was to provide London with a re-creation of all the murals Theodore has produced in NYC. I really loved the vibrancy and boldness of his work, the brilliantly thick strokes and the cobalt blue, navy and primary colours that popped and projected from the canvas. The cadaverous appearance of his subjects is both sinister and beautiful. Using the skeleton as the inner life force of his subjects is his signature and he explains, “There is no deeper delving into your psyche than the very structure of your body”.
My highlights were murals of Kate Moss, Grace Coddington and Diana Vreeland although really I couldn’t take my eyes off any of them.
Theodore believes his audience themselves should be the reviewers of his art and so he goes out of his way to make his art available for all to see in the streets of international cities. He demonstrates his commitment to bringing art to the public by inviting people into his art studio to immerse themselves in the creative process. He also conducts live paintings in cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. We had the pleasure of chatting to him last night, and he was charming and down to earth.
As I made my way back to the East End, I reflected on what an interesting, inspiring, if not completely sober, night it had been. Thank you Bradley Theodore for bringing your fashion-influenced work into my life. Thank you London for coming up trumps again.
(Oh and next time Nicola, as you carelessly fling on something for work don’t forget you never know what a London night will bring… )
*Theodore Bradley’s solo exhibition is at Old Brompton Gallery from 15-30 October 2015.