The Unique Art Extravaganza of the Far Rockaway Bar in Shoreditch

The staff are being trained, the finishing touches are being applied and Shoreditch’s hippest new bar and restaurant is about to open it’s doors to the public for the first time.

But Far Rockaway is a place with a difference covered from head to toe as it is with original art from some of the brightest artistic talents around. Curated by Ben Oakley of ‘Ben Oakley’s Gallery‘ and Kevin Martin of ‘Hoxton Gallery’, the past five months have seen an abundance of art commissioned and created, establishing the Far Rockaway at the heart of Shoreditch’s artistic scene.

Named after a resort, popular with New Yorkers in the 50’s and 60’s, the venue doesn’t just boast art, a 4000 strong library of DC and Marvel Comics can be picked up and flicked through. It’s a unique place perfect for Shoreditch’s unique population and on point in a world where street art is becoming more and more acceptable and Marvel Movies smash box office records time and time again.

The Far Rockaway is Shoreditch's newest bar and restaurant

The Far Rockaway is Shoreditch’s newest bar and restaurant

On Curtain Road in Shoreditch it is packed full of art

On Curtain Road in Shoreditch it is packed full of art

For Ben Oakley it’s a special place “it’s a visual feast” he says “a place for artists and art lovers to come”. A lot of the artists on the walls are part of his gallery, in fact over 90% of artists from his gallery are represented. It’s an impressive statistic “it’s great encouragement for the artists, we want them to do well” he says, “The whole ethos of this bar is to give people opportunities”. He’s right, a lot of the work has been commissioned especially for the venue with plans to keep the art refreshed and the collection is only likely to grow.

Even two days prior to the opening art was being created with the likes of Saki & Bitches and Yvonne Wayling creating works of art at the complete opposite ends of the creative spectrum. This is one of the unique things about the Far Rockaway, the diversity of artists represented is extraordinary. Yvonne is a fine artist who paints faces on bottles and who was commissioned to create many of them for the bar, 164 in total! “I just kept getting asked for more” says Yvonne, “everyone really liked them”. It’s been project which has taken her several months to complete and the bottles now grace the end of the bar by the window looking out onto Curtain Road.

Yvonne Wayling admires her bottles in the window "it's been a rewarding experience" she told me

Yvonne Wayling admires her bottles in the window “it’s been a rewarding experience” she told me

Some of Yvonne's bottles in close up

Some of Yvonne’s bottles in close up

Saki has been on site for the past 8 days painting an entire room with her buxom cartoonlike women. Her paintings are inspired by Japanese culture and in the room she has used the colours commonly seen in Japanese festivals as a background whilst her “bitches” all have fun in various festival type moments. Her work is mainly created with a brush, using the spray can for the background skin and hair colour of the characters she has been painting. As part of the room she’s also created a cherry blossom tree covering a pillar and the roof, again a nod to Japanese culture “I’ll be really glad to get some sleep” she says after admitting to only a couple of hours a night as she strives to get the room finished. Not that she’s complaining, “it’s such an amazing opportunity” she beams, “this room is all mine, it was an honour to be asked to paint it”.

There is no doubting the commitment to art on behalf of the Far Rockaway even to the extent that a temporary wall has been created for anyone who wants to just turn up and paint. The wall will be wheeled out at the beginning of the day and inside at the end ready for the evenings trading giving yet more opportunity for artists to exhibit their talents.

Saki and Bitches puts the finishing details onto some of her ladies

Saki and Bitches puts the finishing details onto some of her ladies

Saki has spent the past 8 days creating her room which will be used for Kareoke or as a special booth for groups

Saki has spent the past 8 days creating her room which will be used for Kareoke or as a special booth for groups

The Far Rockaway promises to be a unique place with something different to see each time. Maybe that’s the whole point! To truly see the art you’ve got to keep coming back and back. It’s a good plan too because the liklihood is that you’re not going to see everything first time round. With over a 100 artists represented and many with multiple pieces it’s going to take more than an evenings drinking or afternoon brunch to spot everything on display.

But this post would be nothing without pictures and the Far Rockaway is all about the art, so for a Gallery of some of the art on show at the Far Rockaway have a look below :)

The chef's at the Far Rockaway were sent to New York to learn how to make real American Sloppy Pizza

The chef’s at the Far Rockaway were sent to New York to learn how to make real American Sloppy Pizza

Art is everywhere from the stools to the walls and from the ceiling to the kitchen

Art is everywhere from the stools to the walls and from the ceiling to the kitchen

A skelton from Benjamin Murphy peers down on the bar

A skeleton from Benjamin Murphy peers down on the bar

A recent exhibition by David Bray was bought in it's entirety by the Far Rockaway Bar

A recent exhibition by David Bray was bought in it’s entirety by the Far Rockaway Bar

Bray features strongly in the venue.  He is a talented illustrative artist

Bray features strongly in the venue. He is a talented illustrative artist

Bray was allowed free reign at the entrance of the loos to do what he wanted.

Bray was allowed free reign at the entrance of the loos to do what he wanted.

Mark Powells work was acquired by the Far Rockaway at the same time as Bray's

Mark Powells work was acquired by the Far Rockaway at the same time as Bray’s

Ray Richardson drew this English Bull Terrier.  He is one of the leading figurative artists in the UK

Ray Richardson drew this English Bull Terrier. He is one of the leading figurative artists in the UK

Mighty Mo and Guy Denning.  Two incredibly different artists next to each other, both leading in their own field, which shows the diversity of the art on show

Mighty Mo and Guy Denning. Two incredibly different artists next to each other, both leading in their own field, which shows the diversity of the art on show

A tribute to Rockaway's Playland destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.  The piece is a collaboration between David Bray, Ben Oakley and the Neon artist Andy Doig

A tribute to Rockaway’s Playland destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. The piece is a collaboration between David Bray, Ben Oakley and the Neon artist Andy Doig

Plan Blue uses dyed denim to create her art

Plan Blue uses dyed denim to create her art

Word to Mother produced his work on a fake brick wall especially created

Word to Mother produced his work on a fake brick wall especially created

Fret is a 14 year old revelation.  Already established at the Ben Oakley Gallery he has a number of pieces at the Far Rockaway

Fret is a 14 year old revelation. Already established at the Ben Oakley Gallery he has a number of pieces at the Far Rockaway

Fret with work from Word to Mother in the background

Fret with work from Word to Mother in the background

Hunto painted this pillar in the mens loos with the roof decorated in vinyl and the walls in pictures it's an eclectic environment.

Hunto painted this pillar in the mens loos with the roof decorated in vinyl and the walls in pictures it’s an eclectic environment.

Rugman

Rugman

SP Zero 76 painted this cubicle door

SP Zero 76 painted this cubicle door

Squirl did the inside

Squirl did the inside

Otto Schade from chile is a regular on the Shoreditch streets and he has two pieces in the bar

Otto Schade from chile is a regular on the Shoreditch streets and he has two pieces in the bar

The other Schade piece is in the kitchen

The other Schade piece is in the kitchen

MAD by Wreckage

MAD by Wreckage

Rodrigo Branco from Brazil

Rodrigo Branco from Brazil

Shoreditch local 616

Shoreditch local 616

Louise Pomeroy took over a whole wall

Louise Pomeroy took over a whole wall

Louise Pomeroy's work in close up

Louise Pomeroy’s work in close up

American artist Above was specially commissioned to create this piece

American artist Above was specially commissioned to create this piece

A pillar by Millo with Yvonne Waylings bottles in the background

A pillar by Millo with Yvonne Waylings bottles in the background

The bar even boasts a Dan Kitchener pillar

The bar even boasts a Dan Kitchener pillar

Next to Dan's pillar be careful not to miss the holographic two fingered salute

Next to Dan’s pillar be careful not to miss the holographic two fingered salute

Giles Walker creates robotic sculpture.  For the Far Rockaway he's built two security cameras which looks like vultures

Giles Walker creates robotic sculpture. For the Far Rockaway he’s built two security cameras which looks like vultures

Barry Bish paints in oil straight out of the tube

Barry Bish paints in oil straight out of the tube

Brazilian artist Cranio has painted onto the front doors

Brazilian artist Cranio has painted onto the front doors

Lewis Bannister gives a whole new life to one dollar bills

Lewis Bannister gives a whole new life to one dollar bills

The ceiling's are full of skateboards from the likes of 'Alien Workshop' and 'Consolidated'

The ceiling’s are full of skateboards from the likes of ‘Alien Workshop’ and ‘Consolidated’

It's not only the ceilings which are covered, the bar is too

It’s not only the ceilings which are covered, the bar is too

HIN is a popular artist around Shoreditch poking fun out of the more notorious world leaders

HIN is a popular artist around Shoreditch poking fun out of the more notorious world leaders

Tokyo has created some super totems

Tokyo has created some super totems

Another Totem by Tokyo

Another Totem by Tokyo

Parlee with his 'Team America' tribute

Parlee with his ‘Team America’ tribute

Ben Naz has produced these just outside the venue

Ben Naz has produced these just outside the venue

SNUB is on the external wall

SNUB is on the external wall

A crack in the ceiling by CEPT

A crack in the ceiling by CEPT

A patriotic piece from Ben Oakley who likes to use recycled materials in his art

A patriotic piece from Ben Oakley who likes to use recycled materials in his art

Ben Oakley from the Ben Oakley Gallery has played a significant role in the curation of the art

Ben Oakley from the Ben Oakley Gallery has played a significant role in the curation of the art

Ben Oakley, Yvonne Wayling and Saki & Bitches were interviewed at the Far Rockaway Bar on Tuesday 8th October two days prior to venue opening it’s doors to the public for the first time. The name is inspired by the New York resort of the same name which was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. It promises to sell real New York cuisine, the best cocktails and a savvy selection of DJ’s

For a few more Inspiring City posts featuring Saki & Bitches try:

Saki & Bitches Street Art in London
The Orchid and White Foxes, Japanese Inspired Art Show in London