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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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: