If you draw a line from one end of the artistic spectrum to the other. It is highly likely that the works of Roy’s People and Sam Peacock would sit firmly at either side.
Roy creates miniature people which he then photographs against a variety of weird and wonderful backdrops. He also creates miniature installation artworks which in turn can be hung or displayed. Sam Peacock on the other hand has a technique which involves burning things onto sheet metal. As artists go they really couldn’t be further apart. Yet on 6 August 2014 at the Timberyard in Covent Garden they will be exhibiting together.
The show at the Timberyard represents the first official collaboration between the Curious Duke Gallery, who represent Sam and Roy, and the Timberyard chain of coffee shops which often use their space as pop up galleries so that coffee lovers can enjoy art as they relax. I first came across them earlier in the year as the London Urban Sketchers put on a showcase of their work from around the city. The venue then in Covent Garden was tailor made for a good opening night and that is indeed what they got. Now Sam and Roy will be taking over each bringing a whole new audience to their work.
In a slight change of convention in the way that interviews are normally conducted. Sam and Roy invited both myself and fellow blogger Dutch Girl in London to ‘double interview’ them in the bar of the Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch. Also doubling as the evening of the World Cup semi-final between the Netherlands and Argentina, Roy, Sam and I joined a patriotic orange wearing Dutch Girl in becoming fans for the evening as we sat in a busy East End bar and tried to record an interview against a backdrop of chattering hipsters. That, a few pints and the loss of any structure whatsoever to the interview resulted in a thoroughly fun evening in one of Shoreditch’s coolest venues.
“There’s not a day goes by when I’m not setting fire to something” laughs Sam as he begins to explain his methodology for creating some of the work that will be on show at the Timberyard. A lot of the work on display will have been created using actual coffee from the coffee shop, burnt on to the steel canvas as just one of many ingredients that goes into creating his abstract landscapes.
Sugar too is a popular addition, the sugar that the Timberyard use “has a good burn to it” explains Sam. It is striking, I observe, that it must be unique in that the drinks served over the counter are available to enjoy in a different way on the walls. For Roy “my work is the kind of work that people look at and smile” he says. Roys People in their fantastical situations giving a different but nevertheless complimentary view for the West End’s coffee loving connoisseurs .
Both artists have taken very different routes to where they are today “the first piece of work I ever sold was a car door for 50 quid” laughs Sam. “I took it off an old Ford Cortina, burnt it, hammered it and stood over it with a sledgehammer and bashed the shit out of it when it was on fire…madness”. The resultant piece became his first sale and it was possibly at this moment that Sam learnt to appreciate the unique properties of steel, fire and paint “If you get the metal really hot and then put paint on, it blisters, instantly… so that’s what I was doing when I was 16, just blistering paint.”
Sams technique has evolved since those heady days as a 16 year old turning car doors acquired from the local junk yard from his home town of Rugby into sculptures. “I must have had about 20 car doors at my mums house” he laughs. “I’d just sit in the garden setting fire to things. Banging things, making things, making little rockscapes and landscapes.”
Now Sam spends a good portion of his creative time in the small village of Childwickbury. This is at the home of Kristiana Kubrick. The wife of the late film director Stanley. She has an annual artist get together for creatives who just want to make art. He talks of keeping a fire going and trying to burn his art for days on end. Living in a tent and battling the elements before drinking mead on an evening. It evokes the spirit of what goes into one of his pieces.
Roys entrance into the art world couldn’t have been more different. “I started taking pictures of my Grandads model train track with an iphone just trying to sell stuff” he says. The resultant images evolved to include the inclusion of houses, props and little people. Eventually folk actually started to want to buy the images themselves. “I put one on ebay and someone actually bought it, then I put up another one and someone bought that”. As Roy’s art developed he found himself moving from merely photographing scenarios with little figurines to the creation of the figurines themselves. Adapting them in whatever way became necessary to create a truly unique image or installation.
Curious Duke Gallery
Sam and Roy get on. That much is clear to see. As is their gratitude for the belief in them shown by the Curious Duke Gallery. Both have held solo shows there in the past and have been anchors of the gallery. This since being ‘discovered’ by the artistic eagle eye of curator Eleni Duke. Gushingly complimentary of each other they also appear to be pleased to be showcasing their work together. “We’ve become really firm friends” says Sam. He then goes on to extol the virtues of Roy’s work and then hints at his thoughts around a potential collaboration. “We’ve got a few ideas” but won’t be drawn more than that. “It just wouldn’t be expected would it?” jumps in Roy.
Expected or not, this show promises to be a unique offering from two unique artists in one of the City’s creative hubs, Covent Garden. Their styles may not seem on the outside to compliment each other but they end up doing so very well. The work will appeal to alternative tastes. Both within the latte drinking world of busy workers and curious tourists looking for a place to rest after a busy day pounding the streets. The relaxing and easy to enjoy work of Roy will contrast with the deeper, earthy and more abstract tones of Sam to create a special type of show.
Sam Peacock and Roys People were interviewed by Inspiring City and Dutch Girl at the Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch on Wednesday 9 July 2014. Their show ‘Steel Life’ will show at the Timberyard in Covent Garden. It is a collaboration with the Curious Duke Gallery and shows from 6th August to 14th September 2014