Wandering down Brick Lane on a warmish autumnal day, I marveled at how little it’s really changed. Although, back in the 80’s there wouldn’t have been an art fair here alongside the curry houses, fabric shops and the Beigel bakery.
When arriving somewhere, as always, the first thing to do is get a drink. I purloined a tea from the outside cafe at Moniker and got started. A signpost informed me that a ‘Taxidermy Workshop’ was £70. I made my way towards it passing all the various art stands en route. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed and anywhere I so much as paused, I was invariably drawn into conversation.
I took in some drawings. Still in vogue, I thought, and then noticed some rather sinister looking witch-like sculptures standing on plinths. ‘Hello’ said an eager youthful chap standing beside his work. ‘Hi’ I said. ‘There seems to be a rather macabre element to this show; I’ve noticed quite a lot of darkness to the art – is it fashionable now?‘ ‘Well, art isn’t really about fashion’ he explained. ‘You may find that galleries imitate each other – but artists don’t’. I guess it’s a reaction to the recession for all us poor young things!’
A few metres down, Lorenzo leant towards me grinning: ‘Do you like my work?’ ‘How do you do them?’ I asked in response. ‘I take a magazine cover and remove all the colour and imagery around the model, that is why you just see the lines of her face here. Basically I bring the human back – I rescue her!’
‘What about these?’ I said pointing to a reproduction Constable landscape with what looked like little brown wooden fences stuck onto it. ‘I put things on a very famous painting to distract the viewer from the focus of the picture. With Constable it was all about infinity which represented hope, so you notice I place this (pointing to a latticed piece of wood) on the background – therefore I eliminate that sentiment. ‘That’s nice’ I said, moving on and thanking him for the explanation.
Walking around a corner, I came face to face with a lengthy table of people stuffing things. Butterflies lay pinned to boards, suspended in glass frames. I looked more closely and noticed a lady holding a small white furry thing in her hand. A man with a large camera turned to me, chuckling: ‘Fancy stuffing a mouse?’ he said. ‘It doesn’t really appeal’ I answered as I looked for the exit.