Fan Making and Street Art combine at the Fan Museum in Greenwich
It’s not the most obvious of collaborations! The unique little fan museum in leafy Greenwich and the urban art scene of the inner city joining together to put on a unique show of street art designed fans.
Stemming from an idea from French artist Codex Urbanus in 2015, 29 street artists have collaborated with master fan maker Sylvain Le Guen to create a unique collection of street art inspired fans, a first for the museum and for the majority of artists, no doubt a first for them too.
It’s an art that these days is rather niche, once popular, fan making is now a bit of a speciality although the little museum hidden away on a picturesque street in Greenwich is keeping the fan and invariably the art that comes with the fan alive.
Visiting the museum as part of a bloggers breakfast with a whole bunch of other blogging types this is not the sort of venue typically associated with street art. Meeting in the orangery for buttered croissants and coffee you could easily forget that it’s still only 10 minutes by DLR into Canary Wharf.
The collection has clearly been both a labour of love and a risk for the museum! The typical view of street art from the contemporaries of the museum didn’t stray too far from the tagging and illegal graffiti often associated with the art form. There was a bit of convincing to do to show that street art was something so much more and really quite different.
The resultant show features work from predominantly French and London based British artists. Artist Codex Urbanus had already arranged a similar project in the Musee de l’Evantail in Paris in 2011, now sadly closed, and Le Guen the master fan maker is also French. Fan making however once thrived in London as well as Paris and of course both cities have strong traditions in terms of art both urban and otherwise.
From the UK, some regulars on the scene such as Artista, Annatomix, Himbad, Sr.X, Louis Masai, Skeleton Cardboard, Zabou and Captain Kris took part alongside the likes of Jonesy, Butch Attai, Lily Mixe, Ben Oakley and Dale Grimshaw. The show can genuinely claim to showcase some of the best talent on the London street art scene and according to the curators that was an important consideration.
The fans themselves were made in two parts. An extended collaboration across the channel with artists given a template from which to create their work with the resultant creation being sent to Le Guen to explore how it would be incorporated into the fan with each one being different depending on the design. After the show, the fans will be returned to the artists, the collection separating ensuring that this show will be the only opportunity to see them all together.
Street Fans is a show which merges art forms and audiences. It may be a stereotype but I feel pretty confident in saying that the average aficionado of fan making is not going to be naturally drawn to seek out street art. Yet combine the two and audiences often appreciate the links and the skills needed for both. The highly successful Dulwich Outdoor Gallery is a comparable example of where two different art forms have combined with the result being a greater appreciation of both.
And so the Fan Museum has become at least a temporary stop on the street art map of the city. A show incorporating the best of two art forms and a unique opportunity to see works from some of the city’s best street artists together but on a very different canvas.
Street Fans Gallery
For more posts featuring some of the artists taking part in Street Fans, check out the ones we’ve selected below: