The biggest street art event of the year so far launched last night at Shoreditch’s Howard Griffin Gallery with an entirely unique exhibition from Sheffield’s master illustrator turned street artist Phlegm.
Already well known around the streets of the capital and around the world, Phlegms work is highly distinct. Visitors to the city this time last year will have noticed his huge mural on Holywell Lane, just around the corner from this years installation at the Village Underground. More recent fans to London may have spotted his huge mural on Heneage Street just off Brick Lane, his large mural on the South Bank and his solitary character on the side of the old Foundry building at the corner of Old Street and Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch.
This show however marks a move inside for the popular artist and every available space of the gallery has been taken over with Phlegm’s unique characters as he has created a surreal world, the world of the Bestiary as envisioned by the man himself. The project took the best part of five weeks to complete working through the clock to get the installations finished. The achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider that not a single piece of the installation is for sale. This, is a show for the art lover and for the art lover alone, the entire intention is to provide a space for people to just come and enjoy the art.
The show also represents the first time that Phlegm has experimented with 3D installation, making the show come to life by creating 3D characters which come off the wall. Using a combination of clay and chicken wire he’s been able to create the moulds onto which he has painted his world. It’s been a labour of love for the artist who just wants to give something back.
Needless to say the opening of the exhibition, as has come to be expected for openings at the Howard Griffin, was suitably jam packed. Queues lined up along the Shoreditch High Street with eager art lovers wanting to see just what had been created inside. Luminaries such as the local street artist Stik made an appearance as did little homages to the likes of Banksy, Invader and fellow Sheffield based artist Kid Acne hidden away in the jars of the Bestiary. For the Howard Griffin Gallery, for Phlegm himself and for lovers of street art it’s certainly kicked off the new season with a bang.
The Bestiary at the Howard Griffin Gallery at 189 Shoreditch High Street is a free show and will run until 4th March 2014. All photographs were taken as I attended the show opening with fellow blogger Dutch Girl in London on Saturday 1st February 2014.