What makes the artist JJ Adams so popular?

This exciting young artist is touted as being the Next Big Thing on the British art scene. With his challenge to the heart of British cultural values – members of the Royal family displayed with full sleeve tattoos, iconic buildings such as Buckingham Palace or the Palace of Westminster depicted defaced by graffiti, Adams strikes at the heart of our cultural consciousness with his work.

Harrods

‘Harrods’ by JJ Adams

In the same way that Banksy became the art world’s darling, filling the vacuum left by the end of the love affair with the YBAs, Adams is making a name for himself, aided by Wishbone Publishing, with his phenomenal output. Born in Plymouth, Adams was raised in South Africa, remaining there until the end of the apartheid era when he returned to these shores with the aim of becoming a tattoo artist. Little wonder then that his obsession with body art spills over into his work, evidenced in his ‘Tattoo Series’ where icons of royalty, music and the silver screen are depicted with awesome full sleeve and knuckle tattoos. The ubiquity of the tattoo in mainstream culture must play a part in his appeal to the mainstream art audience, but there is more to his art than purely capitalising on a social trend. His interest in printing and in graphic design – honed when working in the South West as a printer whilst experimenting with art in his spare time – are evident in the stylised way much of his work is presented. Combining media such as printing, collage, spray paint, screen prints and hand painted acrylics, his work has attracted attention from Christie’s, Rolls Royce, Vogue and GQ magazines with its rawness, energy and passion, but also with its accessibility and broad subject appeal.

But, like Banksy, Adams is certainly not a mainstream fine artist, and similarly, much of his work remains true to the roots of his style and influences. Where Banksy’s popularity came from the street through recognition of his graffiti and its subsequent elevation to ‘art’, Adams work is equally accessible and most importantly recognisable in its representation of things ‘normal’ that have been given Adams’ treatment which, in challenging their orthodoxy, cause the audience to consider their own response to these significant cultural icons. However, being able to picture ‘Harrods’ department store with graffitied windows and point of sale, somehow appeals to the British sense of humour and perhaps more importantly makes the audience question why the imagery is such a visual shock. To have the artistic vision to produce works that speaks on such an accessible level to the man / woman in the street and yet which so cleverly strikes at the heart of our culture is evidence of Adams’ skill and gives a big clue as to why his work is generating such excitement in the art – and wider – community. Fundamentally this is what makes JJ Adams so popular and undeniably an artist to invest in!

Wonder Woman - Colour

‘Wonder Woman’ by JJ Adams

 

Sonic Vs Mario

‘Sonic Vs Mario’ by JJ Adams

Collection available within our Nottingham Gallery

12A Flying Horse Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2HN

Tel : 01159243555 ~ Email : george@georgethorntonart.com

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Fake or Fortune. The Art of David Henty in the style of Jean Michel Basquiat

A Jean Michel Basquiat painting “Untitled Skull” sold for $110.5 million during one of the most riveting auction battles in history. It is a painting that bleeds history, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled Skull (1982) portrays a black skull scarred with red rivulets, pitted with angry eyes, gnashing its teeth, against a blue graffiti wall on which someone has been doing their sums. A graffiti-esque style, erratic and easy brush strokes – the epitome of Jean Michele Basquiat’s style. This record sale catapults this deceased artist into the history books with art historians the world over branding him as a pioneer of the Neo-Expressionist art boom (circa 1980s) and one to be revered, wilder than Jackson Pollock, more profound than Mark Rothko.

 

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JEAN MICHEL-BASQUIAT, UNTITLED, 1982. ESTIMATE IN EXCESS OF $60 MILLION. SOLD FOR $110.5 MILLION

 

Almost 30 years after his death, with auction houses dealing in his work daily, the Barbican Centre (in the City of London) has put together one of the largest and most significant collections outside the U.S. featuring rare film, photography and archive material. The show captures the spirit of this self-taught artist. With Basquiat now hitting the headlines regularly his notoriety and possibly price bracket will almost certainly rise. Here in the gallery we are showcasing one artist that pays homage to his work. Welcome David Henty. A convicted forger, he has managed to capture the style of Basquiat like no other artist I’ve ever seen. Not only is the work almost identical with every brush stroke, but David Henty has managed to capture the raw, uncensored, and fiercely magnificent passion in his work to recreate undeniably outstanding copies of Basquiat’s art.

 

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Above image top – Jean Michel Basquiat original

Above image bottom – David Henty copy

 

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‘Fallen Angel’ (1981) by David Henty – Original art in the style of Jean Michel Basquiat

 

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Skull‘ by David Henty – Original art in the style of Jean Michel Basquiat

 

To view these works and many further pieces by David Henty do join us in the gallery

12A Flying Horse Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2HN – 01159243555