Well following on from the conclusion of the ‘Behind The Curtain’ competition which brought some impressive sixteen works to the prominent Shoreditch Art Wall in a series of four stages over a period of four weeks, we wanted to share a more in-depth look at the piece which, despite not winning the competition, really blew us away here at London Calling Blog.
This work Nick Flatt & Seeds One, certainly one of the highlights of 2015, represents the definition of photo-realism, which is certainly amazing to see executed on such a scale. For this work Nick Flatt painted the central figure entirely by brush, meticulously and quite literally building up his portrait over six days of relentless work. Accompanying the central figure are the colourful background tones and additional typography added to the piece in order to enhance the underlying message of the work, provided by Seeds One. There is a lot to take in beyond the stand-out central figure, and it is great to see such a fusion of Fine Art and Graffiti elements that combine to create this piece.
This piece which takes a look at the consumer culture we live in is entitled ‘Capitalism Is Rad™’ and was set to make a statement against gentrification and the financial gap in society, and is encapsulated by Nick’s central character who represents that glamorous all-powerful 1% who control the world’s wealth and just really doesn’t care, nothing will stand in her way, epitomized by the action of offering the finger to all in her path. Whilst Seeds’ accompanying text portrays the underlying narcissistic thoughts and attitude of this elitist force, feeling that people should buy more, get in debt, aspire to be better and frankly just consume and accept their fate, in order to maintain the status quo. For the wealthy 1% ‘Austerity Rocks©’, a choice of language designed to highlight such practices as the appropriation of terminology and cultural practices for their own use.
At this point we feel it is best to have the work explained by one of the artists themselves, with this quote most kindly provided to us by Seeds One:
“In today’s world its easy to forget there are forces at work that control us all. The ‘invisible hand’ as a friend called Elliott would say. Virtually all of the worlds money is controlled by the super rich. And they work you, all of us.. Into position via control of the media, advertising and every aspect of our lives. They create illusions of grandeur for you to aspire too. Encouraging you to try and be more like them. Making you want more and more of what they have. When you don’t really need hardly any of it.
Nick’s quite frankly spectacularly painted (it’s not a paste up) woman represents the super rich. Flicking the bird at us plebs whilst she revels in the fact she’s beautiful and has everything. Whilst my background contains lots of her thinly veiled narcissistic thoughts. That we should buy more, consume more, stay in our homes, get fitter, accept our unenriched lives as what we got. It also talks about the reappropriation of our language for their gain. Because after all, if you are super rich, then ‘Austerity Rocks©’ and ‘Capitalism is Rad™’.”
Nick Flatt at work on Day 1 of this mammoth task.
Nick Flatt’s paint palette for the piece.
The thin brushes with which Nick Flatt would methodically build up the superb central figure.
Seeds One & Nick Flatt at work on Day 3.
Nick Flatt at work on Day 4, with the work really starting to come together.
Seeds One & Nick Flatt finishing the piece on the evening of Day 6.
The incredible finished mural.
The title and focus of the piece ‘Capitalism Is Rad™’.
This snapshot sums up the ethos of the piece with the “$pend” accompanied by the ‘finger’ hitting home the message of this incredible piece.
Love the effect on the Diamond broach.
Scale shot which also demonstrates everyone just wanted their picture taken with this piece.
All four pieces from the final stage of the ‘Behind The Curtain’ competetion.