Street Artist puts people back in the city

Guest Blogger Alert!

Couch are extremely pleased to bring you your second dose of guest blogging, with a rebellious arty piece from the lovely Pamela Lee – who will be posting every  fortnight on a Wednesday until February next year, so pencil her in your diary Arty Types!

By Pamela Lee

Finding contemporary art in East London is easy, we are surrounded by it – literally it is all around us, it lives on the city walls that surround us – Of course I’m talking about street art!

Slightly cliché I know, as street art is a pretty stereotypical way to open a discussion about cutting edge East London Art. But what’s not to talk about? Its edgy, it’s free, it’s got a hint of mystery and it looks good…well, most of the time.

I have been inspired to join the list of people writing about street art because of someone I met recently. He is the artist responsible for several new works around Redchurch Street and Brick lane, all easily recognisable by his signature drip art style.

Jimmy C and I met at a friend of a friend’s gig and after cycling past him several times and interrupting his painting on Whitby street we built up quite an acquaintance He’s now a good friend and in my opinion a truly inspiring artist.

As a teenager he was always known as ‘Jimmy C’, and first became credited and recognised within the underground street art circle in Australia. He studied Visual Arts for 4 years learning art history and an affinity for oil painting and described to me living a sort of, “alter ego life” for those 4 years – the art school self and then the street art self.

Most artists have a both a recognisable style and a recognisable theme. Jimmy C’s drip art style is easily distinguishable throughout his paintings and his street art.

His work looks at the human experience of the urban world, exploring our surroundings and how we’re swallowed by the city we live in. This is why he works in portraiture; he is putting the people back into the city.

…its a very different experience to paint on the streets, it is liberating

His drip art pieces are emotive and expressive. They are unique pieces of art on the street. The portrait of the bearded man on Bacon Street is a particularly powerful piece. It reminds me of the thousands of people who share my streets everyday, who I walk past without a second glance, and they walk past me even though we all share the same walls.

All his street work has something to say about our urban existence and how it weighs us down. For example, a clearly distinguishable thought in the women’s face under the strain of the city buildings on Redchurch Street.

I asked Jimmy C what the allure was of street art now that it is not as underground as it once was. He described how for the artists it is a very different experience to paint on the streets, it is liberating. The wall does not belong to them, they cannot protect it, and they are giving it up to the rest of the world.

It can be pissed on or painted over, you have to accept that, when you finish you have to let it go

Street art opens all kinds of interaction between artists, they often paint over sections or add to other artists work and it becomes a sort of dialogue. Of course, it also gives the ability to say whatever you want. For me, the growing cult popularity of the Street art runs hand in hand with the phenomenon of blogging and anonymous online voicing of opinions made accessible to the world.

Jimmy C is an example of a street artist who has twinned his rebellious talents with a very successful studio career. As an artist, Jimmy C exhibits in and is affiliated with galleries in Australia, France and London. He recently had his first print exhibition on Redchurch Street, London. He painted separately on each print so that they remain unique.

So keep your eyes open for the intricate drip art of Jimmy C on your city walls. It is mixed in amongst the Pure Evil, the Roa and the Banksy with definitely more to come.