THE ARTFUL DODGER OF PUNK
If you like your punk and art, then you don’t want to miss an exhibition in Leeds by renowned artist Illuminati
C reating beautiful punk art from his Shepherd’s Bush studio, using vintage flags, t-shirts, distressed wood, and punk neon messages, Illuminati’s work is rooted in the cultural vibes of West London where he spent his teen years skiving off school to hang out in the London punk scene.
Now, Yorshire fans of the talented artist – aka Mark Sloper – can get up close and personal to his stunning creations with the arrival of The Art of Chaos exhibition. Inspired by his punk roots, with pieces emblazoned with lyrics and featuring icons who embodied the punk ethos, his work is currently on display at the Castle Fine Art Gallery in Leeds.
From the tattooed and pierced Queen to Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and his late friend and Motörhead legend, Lemmy – Illuminati’s unique ability to channel punk subculture through his bold and provocative pieces has seduced collectors and earned him a place in The World’s Best Emerging Artists exhibition at Saatchi Gallery.
He explains: “It’s my homage to punk – not only the way we looked, but the way we thought and treated others.
“Every piece tells a story about that transformative era; my experience of it, the people who made it and became my friends, and the honorary punks who personified its anarchy, chaos and rock ’n’ roll long before the movement had a name.”
Highlights of the show include a playful and complex God Save the Queen neon – a reworking of a piece which made headlines when a cavalry officer reported that the Queen herself had asked for the Prince Phillip tattoo Illuminati had painted onto her shoulder to be replaced by a royal crest.
The works were made in his legendary Shepherd’s Bush studio, a chaotic jungle of neon, where the spirit of punk lives on, attracting members of the Sex Pistols and the pirate radio station he allows to broadcast from it.
After shining a light on other people’s stories, the artist is now ready to illuminate his own, with this electrifying exhibition.