InfamE – Contemporary Celebrity Art
InfamE explores the virtuous circle that exists between celebrities, celebrity photographers and artists, the media and the insatiable appetite of the audience for celebrity news, gossip and pictures.
“There is an alliance between the photographers, the celebrities, the publishers and the readers of the magazines and the viewers of the programmes on television – you can’t separate any one of those pieces of the alliance. Peter Howe the author of Paparazzi and a former editor of Life Magazine.
On the surface at least, it works for everyone.
As Oscar Wilde famously said, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about”.
Probably the most celebrated adapter of the expression was another great wit from the Dublin literary scene, the Irish “drinker with a writing problem”, Brendan Behan. Behan’s infamously lively lifestyle meant that for him, more than others, there was truth in his opinion that:
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary”, something that might be particularly relevant to some of the subjects in the exhibition.
For over 25 years Kofi Allen has worked in the photographic and creative industries. He has constantly challenged and invented his own brand of imagery whilst providing a creative/social dialogue for cultural / art communities and creative industries.
He has never lost sight of making a significant contribution towards the local and global community documenting the ever-changing environment and cultural trends.
Kofi Allen’s work is best described as being ‘Iconic’ with a social intrigue seeking to reach its audiences; his subjects are able to explore for themselves their own personal potential and
are made to feel quite natural throughout Kofi’s friendly yet thorough approach to preserving images that he insists lasts beyond the shelf life span.
Kofi has notched up a serious portfolio of work, creating an historical archive
based on his experience from the 1980’s to date, working in Portraiture, Fashion, music, advertising, brand development, and creative consultancy.
Primarily renowned as a photographic director, Kofi has patiently developed and expanded his skills towards servicing the photographic / film industry, as creative director, director, and photographer.
His work has been exhibited internationally as well as at the National Portrait Gallery and the Hayward Gallery.
Alan has quickly gained a strong blue-chip client base with his limited edition work being eagerly snapped up by a wide variety of lovers of photographic art and receiving plaudits from across the contemporary art world.
Alan’s work is limited edition with a twist – he writes a narrative around the mount which describes the unfolding scene as he took the shot. Written from memory each one differs slightly in some way making the final piece totally unique!
Preferring to call himself a photographer of celebrities rather than a paparazzo, due to the bad press received by today’s “paps”, Alan will go to great lengths to work with empathy towards whoever is in front of his camera – if he’s asked not to photograph, he won’t.
Having a grounding in film, Alan chooses his frames carefully and doesn’t stand with his finger on the button knowing somewhere in the mass of images there may just be a usable frame!
The result: still images with animation, a sense of movement and life.
Charlie is a freelance London based photographer who helped set up and still runs YD Image.
Charlie’s paparazzi practice allows him to connect his fashion and portrait photography experience which has taken him from the studio to the street and back again. As well as combining fashion, news and paparazzi, his photographic range encompasses fetish, album artwork, landscapes, travel, glamour, portraiture and still life photography.
High rents and the freedom of the street and the ease of dealing with more commercial mediums such as newspapers, magazines, TV, internet and mobile phone downloads led him to cross over to agency work in 1999.
Charlie sells his pictures, video, music and art all over the world. Charlie expertly combines music with street imagery and video footage to show the viewer the joys of the celebrity strewn streets of night time London.
PAUL KARSLAKE FRSA
Self-confessed ‘modern surrealist’, award-winning artist and brother-in-law of Ronnie Wood, Paul can never be said to conform to the preconception of an artist struggling for inspiration and full of self-doubt, but instead brims with inspiration and enthusiasm. His studio in Leigh is a realm of colourful works of art from many disciplines, which are indicative of the scope of talent, this one-man exudes. In 1990 Paul had the honour of being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Paul’s art can be found in clubs, Gordon Ramsay restaurants, on motorcycles, planes, Terry Wogan’s waistcoats and the houses of the rich and famous.
From modern surrealism to photo-realism, Paul prides himself on being able to work in any style and any medium. Environmental issues, iconic heroes and human suffering are subjects which often feature in his art. Still life, animals and portraits are frequently interpreted with his own humour.
Inspired by famous personalities whose imagery, persona or music has survived, often against the odds, his collection captures the first modern fashion icon of Audrey Hepburn, the dark fascination of the Kray Twins, the enigmatic stare of David’s Eye and the eternal survivor Keith Richards.
Paul’s original painting of Keith commissioned by Keith’s wife in 1998, was seen by Johnny Depp at Keith’s home and quoted as the inspiration behind his Pirates of the Caribbean’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow.
Marty’s work is commercial, pop-oriented and driven by stardom status. He walks amongst London’s celebrities with comfort and grace. In return they sponsor him by collecting what he produces.
His works can be found in galleries in London and New York, at the Art Car Boot Fair and more recently his Elephant stood guard at Parliament Square keeping a watchful eye on the ‘new pretty boys on the block’.
Marty has lived all over London but has now returned to the East End currently residing in Stratford.
He says that he likes the other regions of the best city in the world but the East End is where life is best appreciated and more intense.
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Vitali began his study of art in 1986 after being admitted to the Department of Sculpture at the St. Petersburg Academy of Art. In 1989, he moved to the United Kingdom to study at the Norwich School of Art and shortly thereafter he moved to London.
In London, several successful exhibitions helped him establish a name within the art world outside of Russia and since then he has achieved success working with a variety of concepts and art exhibitions. His artworks can be found in museums and as part of exhibitions around the world.
In the 1990’s, VitaliV continued to expand his range of creative interests to include computer science & computer-aided graphics, which eventually inspired him to create a new pattern he describes as “Digital Style”. His combined Interest in art, computer science and mathematics has lead VitaliV to the creation of his digital style. In his philosophical approach to art, design and fashion, VitaliV suggests that a new style paradigm is emerging that helps harmonize our lifestyle with the age in which we live – the digital age.
Teresa Witz recently completed a doctorate in fine art at the University of East London. From a long standing interest in Vanitas paintings, both historical and contemporary she developed an interest in creating contemporary iconic images of celebrity personalities.
“I was particularly interested in the style, glamour, and wealth surrounding famous contemporary personalities (style leaders). In selecting certain ubiquitous celebrity icons, such as footballer David Beckham and pop stars Kylie Minogue and Cher, I was fascinated by how they continually re-invented themselves for mass consumption. Celebrities have turned themselves into brands, and they have become a multi-million pound industry.”
Teresa has exhibited widely in London and is currently showing her paintings of Olympic athletes as part of ‘The Art of Sport 2012’ at the Expo Gallery in Terminal 5, Heathrow and also in the Europa Gallery, Sutton – an exhibition of Olympic Art and V&A Posters of Olympics.