Popular cultural iconography has long been the eye candy of 20th century artists since Andy Warhol blazed into public awareness, declaring the abundance of symbology in advertising to be a medium of fine art. A wave of contemporaries emerged addressing the saturation of words and animated characters whose purpose is to spark our emotions through entertainment and consumerism. The endurance of Pop has found many voices in the last decades culminating in the movement of Urban Art; a new generation has been compelled to find a fresh visual language in which to document the dichotomy of the modern lifestyle.
A trail-blazer in spirit and action, the ambition of Lhouette cannot be matched in his desire to re-tell the stories of the products which we the viewer have grown up with. The childlike demeanour of Disney’s Mickey Mouse, Superman, and Warner Brothers Looney Toons amongst many others are re-invented afresh into subverted symbols of power. Defining his agenda as Post Urban Glamour, Lhouette’s brand of art eloquently fuses together the raw bite of street art against the Warholesque deference to mass production. Mostly un-politicised, Lhouette’s watchful eye shadows trend-led commodities, amongst surviving traditional virtues which affect society’s complex dialogue with consumption and environment.
Entering the art scene over 5 years ago, the artist has gained recognition through exhibits at the Houses of Parliament and seminal urban event, Moniker Art Fair. Wyecliffe Galleries has worked with an elite selection of prominent collectors including Hollywood actors and British talent to place original pieces in the homes of the rich and famous. Prestigious commissions await the artist in 2017; world renowned endorser of emerging art The Dorchester at 45 Park lane will be hosting a solo exhibition especially curated between February 1-March 26 next year.
Silhouette Vs Lhouette
Often mistaken to be of French origin, the pseudonym of Lhouette was born from the outlines of the female protagonists which found form amongst the rainbow stripes of his earliest works. Silhouetted in primary and candy colours, the women personified a cast of characters whose spunky attitudes toyed with power and femininity, still featuring in his work to this day. Angel Cakes is possibly the most recognisable of these as well as the one most frequently revisited. So much of personal emblem, the artist has her tattooed on his right forearm. Little Miss Sunshine, Drop the Bomb and Merci Madame reoccur, punctuating the early stripes and can be seen in different guises from oriental geisha to all American hero, Russian propaganda to circus performer. Often carrying weapons or ammunition, the military nod harks to the artist’s formative time in the Royal Navy. Leaving home at 17, Lhouette was charged with 6 month stints of duty, far away from the UK he experienced the cultures of the Caribbean, South America and Europe to name but a few. Influences of his travels can be seen woven into every piece, snippets of Asian dialect sit against the typography of the United States, exclaiming amongst the colours.
From the Hollywood to Video Heaven - Showtime
Staging sell out exhibitions at their celebrated space in York Road, Wyecliffe Galleries have twice presented Lhouette with the opportunity to push the scale of his work to new dimensions. Art de Populaire held in mid-2014 took the mind of the artist to the extremes in the cultures of vintage and contemporary entertainers. Presenting an arsenal of billboard style original works formed from reclaimed wooden pallets, the pieces were the precursor to the seminal Abandoned Cinema Collection. The exhibition proved to be a turning point in the artist’s career with Art Business Today Magazine reporting the pieces as;
“A stark contrast of visuals conveying a forgotten opulence surrounding theatre during the 1930’s and 40’s. This juxtaposed onto distressed and discarded wooden pallet canvas evokes a feeling of dereliction whilst at the same time touching on beauty and glamour”.
The origin of inspiration from the silver screen was born from this show, and has appeared as references to movie tickets and drive in theatres, along with screen sirens from Audrey Hepburn to the Warhol favourite Marilyn Monroe. Advancing with the times, in 2016’s exhibition Video Heaven, Lhouette created an alter to the introduction of digital technology with TVs new golden girl Twiggy the angelic symbol wearing early 3D glasses.
Founded in street art, Lhouette explores the vehicle of the medium and its ability to influence the reading of the finished article. Combining found materials such as salvaged wood, corrugated cardboard and forklift pallets, luxe materials including gold leaf and diamond dust accentuate the stencilled designs. Also often using silkscreen, Lhouette has become an accomplished technician allowing a smooth transition between raw and refined. Speaking of his approach, he has stated;
'My techniques originate from self-taught graphic design & stencil practices. I started with a mixed box of old mechanic aerosol paints and scrap sheets of salvaged wooden board. Along with a moody scanner/printer that I had acquired...the work was beautifully raw! I try to retain that essence as the work continues to develop'.
The Paste Up Series played with the concept of the modern billboard, the large-scale words competing for the attention of any passer-by. Bright hand painted flyers layer chipboard, obscuring Rita Hayworth, Audrey and Marilyn who appear in delicate greyscale. Popular original works have sealed vintage fabric samples of Star Wars and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in high lacquer resin, proving to be a cool contemporary use for old patchworks.
In late 2016, the artist has progressed to produce incredible highly desired fine art furniture pieces including a one-off coffee table created from a discarded cable drum; held up with a base of industrial axel-props, this merging of painted work and practical use is typical of an artist whose vision is expanding daily to elevate daily life objects into fine art. Oil drums have also found new use as upcycled bar tables. Continued series Colour Creates, and Sterlingare more accessible entries into acquiring this innovative artist work, where recently introduced and rare wall based Pop Sculptures are feature works to be treasured by the collectors as truly individual acquisitions.
The next two months will be game changing for this intensely talented artist – look out for Lhouette!