We first met Dan Kitchener in 2012. He was one of the first artists we came across at the very start of this blog when he was painting a giant wall on the now shuttered Sclater Street, it was an apocalyptic scene designed to catch the eye.
Fast forward four years and he’s back, only a little further down from where we first met on Heneage Street at the 5th Base Gallery. Outside is another giant mural, he says it’s three storeys high, and I’m inclined to believe him. This time the image is of a Japanese Geisha, a portrait inspired by his muse, Yumi.
In the intervening period he’s painted around the area a lot. London is the local hub for the artist who is based out of Southend but who also paints around the World. Most recently his travels have taken in Japan, and you can see that heavy Japanese influence come through in his work.
Dan is also all about playing with light. A lot of his images are around making the light dance on the wall or canvas of whatever it is he’s creating. Rainy city street capes and bustling car lined avenues seem to be particular favourites, these are images he recreates time and again on the streets.
And there’s something too about going bigger and better than before. Dan tells me about how he gets a buzz about painting the big walls and seeing the resultant creation when the scaffolding is pulled away. Walls created in recent years around the area include multiple spots in the likes of Shoreditch, Camden, Tooting and Brockley.
He’s even tried something different for this show at the 5th Base. Trying to express movement even more. Like a snapshot, his muse Yumi is captured in moments of change, of movement. Other portraits are more traditional, pristine even, but some are in between like a camera with the wrong shutter speed setting as it takes a picture of a person who suddenly moves.
Dank, as he is also known, is a popular artist. This series of works has taken a year to produce, not continuously he later clarifies, but still a good old chunk of time. His work is instantly recognisable and an example of an artist who is not only a staple of the London scene but who has gained some serious kudos abroad too.
Queen of Neon by Dan Kitchener ‘Dank’ is showing at the 5th Base Gallery on Brick Lane from 1 April 2016 to 6 April 2016. The 5th Base Gallery can be found on Heneage Street just off Brick Lane and the nearest station is Aldgate East.
Dan Kitchener Gallery