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    Forbidden Fruit – James Reka

    Reka’s latest body of work peels back the layers of what it is to be human, questioning the viewer’s moral fibre and substance, teasing at notions of desire and sexuality. The Malta-based, Australian artist penned the following statement as a written exploration to accompany his finest work to-date, digging deep to ask himself, and more broadly, humanity, if they too would honestly not have been tempted by the Forbidden Fruit in the garden of Eden…‘The fruit that was forbidden in the Garden of Eden. The apple on the tree of knowledge, of good and evil. Used as a metaphor, for indulgence or pleasure, that is considered illegal or immoral. The human condition is one bound by an almost limitless scale of opportunity and stimuli. We live in a world of relentless temptation, where the primary drivers of life; hunger, safety and passion, are intertwined in a morally defined structure of our everyday existence – we are constantly responding to these urges and drives, as our actions create an eternal juxtaposition, between satisfying the primal needs of life, enjoying the fruits of our existence and the balance of morality.’‘This exhibition, represents a broadening of my aesthetic, reaffirming the dichotomy between morality and sin. In this language, my work provides an account of the reaction that has long governed discussion on tasting the Forbidden Fruit.  Consideration of our mortality plunges us into the rediscovery of self and paradoxically, into facing challenges of self, sometimes threatening, in the presence of sincere and pure truths. Uncontrollable urges abound where all is only sin and temptation. These primal forces bring forth all the complexity of human relations, where sex and seduction, attraction and desire, degradation, and self-destruction, all symbolise tasting the “Forbidden fruit”.’‘This exhibition explores the theme of desire and the underlining flawed nature of mankind, the realisation that we are not perfect nor exempt from falling for temptation. One of the humanistic, defining elements of Homo Sapiens, at least in our societal lives, is the balance between desire and morality. Many of us, understand that we always want, what we can’t have. I have sought here to relate the Primal urges that lead us to instinctively explore oneself and one’s surroundings, the eternal catalyst of discovery and pleasure that leads us into temptation.’‘Thus, I have drawn from the metaphorical ‘Forbidden Fruit’ references that abound in scriptures and texts, from the book of Genesis. It is the fruit that was forbidden to Adam and Eve, the battle between good and evil that overcame the Garden of Eden, the same battle that subsumes our modern lives.’‘My exhibition and the evolution of the forms within, invites the viewer to challenge themselves and ask – “Would I really not have tasted the forbidden fruit?”.’‘Too easily, one can assure oneself that you would resist temptation if challenged ! However, how many times a day do you jeopardise your own “salvation”?  After all, the breadth of “sins” we commit daily threatens the pathway to our potential paradise and we risk the fate of banishment that was wrought upon Adam & Eve.’‘The representation of the Apple is a critical symbol, a metaphorical device that alludes to sinful or forbidden pleasure.Core to this body of work, is my new life in Malta, where I have been inspired by the ancient Neolithic Maltese history and culture, tracing back to pre 5000BC. My exploration of the ancient temples scattered across the islands has been a noticeable influence of my work for this exhibition. Symbology, the sacred geometry of the megalithic structures and the natural colours and soft light of the Mediterranean, have been referenced in the series of canvases.’‘My representations of the figures in the larger canvases have also been inspired by the large-bodied female “mother-figure” statues, that once were residents of the ancient temples of this historical landscape. Simultaneously I have chosen to explore new textures, mimicking the limestone grain within which these megalithic structures are created.Departing from the norms of figurative painting, this exhibition depicts a series of Still Life canvas-works, focusing on the contrast of sliced fruit and sexual organs, overlaid with abstract elements of the human form. This is an abstracted composition of organic life, inviting the viewer to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between Mankind & Nature.’‘In addition, to accompany this series I have been working on large-scale landscape sceneries, depicting an abstract view of a “Garden of Eden” – with reclining nudes portrayed in frivolous acts. These also incorporate symbols of nature and in this Eden setting I have used a richer colour palate, referencing the fruits and colours of the Mediterranean.I am also excited to include in this exhibition, a small series of sculptures, that generate a balance between the scale of the humanistic large canvas works and the more accessible. This is an exhibition for all the senses!’‘Experience the temptation of ‘Forbidden Fruit’ at Backwoods Gallery from Friday September 17th to 3rd October 2021, in my hometown Melbourne.’ – James Reka, 2021FORBIDDEN FRUIT by JAMES REKA is online now at Backwoods Gallery More

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    Art Decko – Bradford on Avon Skate Park Fundraiser Auction

    Some of the UK’s finest street artists have chipped in their time and materials to help raise money for a new skatepark in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire.Legends such as Will Barras, Mr Jago, China Mike and Inkie have joined forces with a team of fresh illustrators and artists like Matt Richards, Ben Allen, Olly Howe, Saki & Bitches, Peter Burke, Victoria Topping and Callum Eaton to donate artwork – mostly decorated skate decks – for an online auction via GalaBid. The bidding ends at midnight on Sunday, September 19.The campaign was started by local resident Carl Jones, whose skater son, Idris, went to the Town Council to ask for a new skatepark, after the old ramps were demolished with no plans to replace. The new skatepark will be on the same site as the old ramps and will form part of a redevelopment of the whole Poulton Park site. The auction aims to bring the organisers closer to their target of building the new skatepark that Bradford on Avon deserves.To view the artworks, place bids or donate to the cause, visit the GalaBid site – www.galabid.com/artdeckoFollow the BoA Skatepark journey here: www.instagram.com/bradfordonavonskateparkPhotos courtesy of the artists and www.instagram.com/matt_inwood More

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    DesignerCon UK Lands In London

    DesignerCon, the hugely successful US event, makes its UK debut this month. Bringing together urban art, cult toys, sneakers, fashion, NFTs and more all under one roof, this is a must-do for all modern collectors and superfans.DesignerCon is an annual art and design convention that smashes together collectible toys, customs, plush, designer apparel and so much more with urban, underground and pop art in a celebration of all aspects of design from all over the world.For all those interested in non-fungible tokens, DesignerCon will be joining NFT Art guru Ricky O’Donnell as he hosts a world exclusive live NFT event. Fans can learn how to buy, sell, collect and bask in the glory of NFT platforms and networks, or ask Ricky questions directly in an open forum.Kingdom of Trainers boss Franklin Boetang will be hosting “The Kingdom”, an exclusive showcase of creative urban brands. In this arena, you’ll also be able to join Forcefield, who launch their UK website at the event, ride a special bike track created by Mate Bikes, view a bespoke installation by KarlaCorn and shop brands such as Cabral Mercer and Sailing Soul. For toy collectors, there will be collectables available exclusively to buy at the show, celebrating the Designer Con mascot “Vincent”. Check out Bearbricks Marty Vincent by Scott Tolleson , Dissected Vincent by Jason Feeny or Kidrobot Vincent Dunny.The Mighty Jaxx Artist Spotlight will showcase up and coming talent such as Amr Design, Christopher Luke, Da Star, anti-suicide toy Grum Reapur and more.Kicking off at the ExCel Centre, the event opens this Friday, August 20th.  Tickets are priced at £50 for Weekend VIP, £20 for standard Weekend and £10 for Day Passes.VIP ticket holders will receive a variety of products and perks that general admission does not receive. From Friday VIP night, to weekend early bird entry, exclusive giveaways, VIP line access for faster entry, VIP lounge access and a whole bunch more…GET YOUR TICKETS HERE  More

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    Clown Skateboards – Guest Art Project – Adam Neate

    Adam Neate, an old friend of Clown Skateboards and self-taught artist, is next up to bat in their Guest Art Project series. Neate’s boards are a reflection of the ‘family’ that is the skateboarding community. By celebrating gender fluidity in today’s society, the triptych proclaims that love and mutual support are far more important than gender.Putting this ethos into practice, this edition of Family will be pressed at the Far Skate Foundation, a charitable organisation which empowers young people through skateboarding, and will be hand screened by Clown’s master printer Tommy.An acclaimed British painter, conceptual artist and one of the world’s best-known street artists, Adam Neate began his career painting the streets, whilst also skating them.“Those years were my art school,” says Neate. “I learnt about colour and composition simply through practice. The critics were there every day…”Now based in São Paulo, Brazil, his work is displayed in collections around the world. A fearless painter, he has developed his own language of ‘Dimensional Painting’ where the viewer moves and changes the painting depending on their vantage point, to get the full multi-dimensional effect.‘Reconnecting with Adam on the Guest Art Project was always a priority for us. When he first delivered the new artwork for the boards, we were sold with not just the art, but also the message. Skateboarding is such a great support network and loving community and we think these boards truly reflect how open skateboarding is to all communities. It is just such a perfect fit for what we are about and what we are trying to achieve through ‘IN Action’.’ – Jeff Boardman, Clown Skateboards FounderThe Family sets will be the most complex hand-printed series in Clown’s history. Each set is made using 26 screens and hand-produced in a way that does justice to the original artwork. This will be a signed and numbered edition of only 35 sets.Adam’s Family is released on the 20th July at the Guest Art Project – www.clownskateboards.com/guest-art-projectwww.instagram.com/clown_skateboardswww.instagram.com/adam_neate More

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    BodyWork – INSA

    BodyWork is a brand new collection from the UK-based artist INSA – the show opened recently at Oakland Gallery in the town’s Victoria Quarter and runs until Sunday September 5.Held in collaboration with New Brighton Street Art and Motobüro, the multi-space show features new original works including prints, paintings and sculptural pieces.At the centre of the show is a very rare 1968 Lincoln Continental MK3, Cartier Edition, which has been customised by the artist and automotive specialists Motobüro, who oversaw the restoration of the vintage car, which has taken more than six months to complete. Roughly 18 layers of candy paint, metal flake, pearlescent white, lacquer and countless hours sanding for the flawless paint job and then INSA together with sculptor Kristian Movahed created the boot piece transforming this car into a rolling art display.In addition to the Lincoln Continental, BodyWork also includes a Harris Magnum motorbike, treated with as much care and attention to detail as the car, hand-crafted wooden sculptures and light-boxes all featuring INSA’s trademark ‘graffiti fetish’ artwork.Explaining the work in the show, INSA said: “Maybe it’s lockdown or maybe it’s the fact I’ve mainly been working in the digital/public space for the last few years that for this exhibition I really wanted to make some physically tangible pieces. I wanted to enjoy the craft and hard work of making real things. To bring together my past commentary on identity, commodification and object fetishism with an appreciation of the material within it. Extracting the material from materialism. As simple as enjoying the wood of the surfboard or the metal of the car – the bodywork of physical labour.”Robert Jones, creative director of New Brighton Street Art added: “We are delighted to have been able to work with INSA on this important and significant show, which brings together some truly innovative and ground-breaking content. It not only cements our collaboration and relationship with one of the leading exponents of contemporary art, but also acknowledges New Brighton’s status as a credible and creative destination.”A graduate of Goldsmith’s, London, INSA established his art career more than 20 years ago as a graffiti writer. In 2004 he rejected the traditional graffiti style and began painting the instantly recognisable high heel shoe. Graffiti Fetish went on to appear on buildings around the world from LA to Lagos. It also appeared on luxury items including designer footwear, clothing and bespoke interiors.Always keen to push boundaries and innovate further, INSA has gained a huge following for his work globally, and which he has expanded through his recent experiments with social and digital media as well as product collaborations with brands including Nike. His work is held in the V&A permanent collection, and has also been presented at Tate Britain, London.www.instagram.com/insa_gramwww.oaklandgallery.co.ukwww.gif-iti.com More

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    Vanguard – Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement

    Vanguard in partnership with Vans presents Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement – an exhibition exploring the instrumental role of Bristol’s creatives in the development of British Street Art, from the 1980s to the present day. The seminal works, notable moments, key events and extraordinary artists belonging to Bristol’s dynamic history are highlighted in this comprehensive and compelling exhibition, which examines the creative response of the city’s pioneering underground scene throughout the UK’s turbulent social and political history and considers the drive for social change underpinning the work of many of today’s street artists. From anarchist origins in the ‘80s and ‘90s through to the explosion of the scene in the early ‘00s, the exhibition brings together one of the largest collections of original works and memorabilia ever seen in the UK. Beyond Bristol, Vanguard explores the evolving disciplines of British and Irish artists moving from the street art conversation to bridge contemporary fields by fusing traditional techniques with new technologies. The exhibition also reflects on how a new generation of global creatives are advocating for social and environmental awareness through art on the streets. From bronze sculptures to immersive displays, Vanguard reveals a host of new original pieces, as well as rare and unseen works, including bespoke edits from the iconic filmmakers and photographers who documented the unfolding scene. As part of the exhibition, Vanguard will also launch a series of exclusive releases from some of Bristol’s finest creatives, including: 
    An accompanying book featuring worldwide academics, film directors, writers, artists, creatives and specialists reflecting the evolving momentum of the movement 
    An exclusive album featuring some of the tracks which formed the roots of the world-famous Bristol Sound 
    Artist led merchandise from various artists featured in the exhibition Outside of the exhibition, Vanguard has partnered with Vans to launch an exciting city-wide, community-based outreach programme running throughout the duration, aligning with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The outreach programme hopes to promote discussion and participation at the intersection of culture and sustainable action and will include art activations, workshops, panels and film screenings. Exhibition Highlights New and unique works by Bristolian, British and international artists include: 
    New and original works from Adam Neate, Andy Council, Antony Micallef, Bill Posters, China Mike, Conor Harrington, Dale VMN Collins (formerly known as Dale Marshall), Dicy, Eko, Feek, Filthy Luker, Inkie, Lucas Price, Lucy McLauchlan, Matt Small, Mau Mau, Mr Jago, Paris, Rowdy, Sickboy, Swoon, Will Barras and Xenz 
    A life-size bronze sculpture of an old favourite from Nick Walker 
    Kineta Hill and Karen Dew’s photographic projections, Watching Paint Dry, female documenters of Bristol’s scene 
    Iconic photographs of the 80s from Beezer 
    A bespoke five-minute edit of the film Wild Style by Charlie Ahearn 
    A bespoke seven-minute film by Scottish filmmaker Doug Gillen of Fifth Wall TV with an original score by drum and bass producer and DJ Krust 
    Matthew Smith’s rare images of the 90s – the time of rave and the Criminal Justice Bill 
    Carrie Hitchcock and Yan Saunders’ unseen photographic archive 
    Legendary photographer Henry Chalfant’s unseen photographs of his time in Bristol for Spraycan Art Further details on the Vanguard book, album, outreach events and artist releases will be released shortly. Vanguard | Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement M Shed, Bristol, BS1 4RN Saturday 26 June 2021 – Sunday 31 October 2021 Admission £8 adult* / £7 concession* (*Tickets include £1 voluntary donation to Bristol Museums www.www.instagram.com/vanguardstreetartwww.vanguardstreetart.com More

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    SOS – Dscreet

    SOS is a new body of work from Australian artist, Dscreet. The well-toured owl lover previously painted extensively in London, as part of the infamous Burning candy Crew, a collective that included artists such as Cept, Pegs, Sweet Toof, Cyclops, Tek33, and occasionally SickBoy. Now repatriated in his home country and forced to spend hours alone during Melbourne’s draconian lockdown, drunkenly trawling Tinder, Dscreet finally put down his phone and picked up a paintbrush, putting the many bottles of booze he’d drained to better use. This is the result.
    SOS – Dscreet‘I spent a lot of time in isolation walking around alone, first depressed, then I found a way tolook at things differently.’‘The world was upside down so it was time to discover new places to keep my mindoccupied. To find new uses for the detritus in my brain and on the streets. This city becamea strange jail with one hour of outdoor time to breathe, no painting and no surfing allowed,few outlets for anyone like me who funnels freedom into my art. I felt like we were allsharing a special kind of crazy. At first I began to go a little insane, listening to the media,trying to make sense of it all, trying to deny my relative misery, but there were a lot ofconflicting stories coming out, no-one really knew what was going on. I meditated, didyoga, breathwork, exercise and then drank a lot of alcohol. I felt the same conflicting storyin myself, trying to stay healthy and positive then destroying the good work with the polaropposite force. Somehow a balance evolved, staring into the empty bottles, I decided toput them to good use and decorate them with the profound lyrics of those who have beendrunk and isolated before me, after all, many of us creative types spend even the mostnormal times in isolation, sometimes confused and conflicted. Sometimes there’s thosemoments of clarity at the end of a cycle.’‘In memoriam to my personal journey, through the schizophrenic stasis of the world, eachof these painted bottles represents a piece of my creative therapy and struggle throughlockdown. The other pieces represent found objects and prose I’ve salvaged from personalhikes through the streets and wilderness and songlists. The surfboard is a monument tothose opposing forces that keep clashing in the media and in our minds, ready to flowbackwards or forwards, I reached an acceptance that nothing can be taken for grantedanymore and nothing is absolute. I’m happy to be sober and surfing and painting again.’– DSCREETView the full catalogue here.COLLECTOR ENQUIRIES: [email protected]@backwoods.gallery@dscreetsheet
    SOS – Dscreet More

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    Ben Frost – Open Studio & New Artwork

    Australian pop artist Ben Frost is throwing open the doors to his Melbourne studio this week. With over 100 new artworks on display, this is the first time his new workshop has been open to the public.This Saturday April 10, the studio will be open from 12 -6pm, there is no need RSVP, but due to COVID restrictions capacity in the studio will be limited, so get down early!Artwork will be available to purchase and take home on the day and refreshments will be provided. New works include Ben’s signature painted packaging, editions of laser cut board stencils, paintings on board, and brand new XL handmade packaging on board.If you’re not able to make it to the studio, all unsold artwork will be available to order online afterwards, with worldwide delivery.Sign up to Ben’s mailing list here for the latest updates…Ben Frost Studio, 9/177 Beavers Rd, Northcote, VIC 3070, Australiawww.instagram.com/benfrostisdeadwww.benfrostisdead.com More