AboutSince the unstoppable rise of Banksy over the past five years and the hype that has surrounded him, âStreet Art' and specifically stencil art in the UK, has become big business - ironically so, given that the witty lampooning of crass commercialism is the cornerstone of Banksy's art. It has led to an army of stencil disciples of various levels of expertise and has also inspired a âStreet Art' movement that encompasses a much wider range of media and styles.
SPQR is an artist from the West of England whose work has the ability to take the challenge of Banksy head on and produce a body of mostly stencil based artwork which has it's own brand of âhumour through protest'. Unlike Banksy, he has not been interested in developing hype and PR frenzy. In fact, he has actively avoided âselling out' to the more commercial and cynical end of the âStreet Art' movement.
As a result, his work retains a certain innocence and is independent of trends and fads of the marketplace and he has become greatly respected for this stance.
In his first solo show at Signal, called âMonochromatic Shades', SPQR is exploring the Art of Protest/Protest Art conundrum. He looks into the ability of Art to protest about the evils of society as he sees them. Included in his line of fire is the art world itself, with is fashions and favourites and at it's core, a hollow commercialism. Themes that recur for the artist are âsurveillance' culture, brainwashing media and the need for acts of defiance to counteract these ills. This is brilliantly achieved in his work, with a tough humour, which is distinctly lacking any sentimentality or soft edges. âMonochromatic Shades' promises to be one of the most exciting new collections of stencil work to be shown in London this year.
SPQR has shown extensively in the UK and abroad, including Italy, France and the US, as well as at Art Basel in Miami last year. He had a very successful solo show in Bristol, âCautionary Tales' in 2008, which cemented his place as one of the most special artists on the UK Street Art scene.