The concept was born in the winter of 2005.
James Jessop, a retired graffiti artist, known
for his huge oil painting ‘Horrific’
shown in the ’New Blood’ exhibition
at the Saatchi Gallery in 2004, conceived an
idea that would gather a diverse group of artists
for a rare opportunity to present their work
explains: ‘I wanted to do a group show
featuring artists who became involved in art
through graffiti, so I asked Gretta Sarfaty
Marchant from Sartorial Contemporary Art, whether
she would be interested in working on the project.
She was very enthusiastic, and work began on
setting it up.
is a never ending source of inspiration for
my paintings and over the years I have got to
know some of the most talented artists in the
scene. Last Christmas I invited five of my old
graffiti friends to dinner, to discuss the concept
for the show. After some beer and discussion
it became clear the show would be called 'Artistic
continues, ‘I then had a call from a writer
I had first met in 1996, called 'O.Two'. I loved
his new pieces, which had a Pollock autumn rhythm
feel and I thought he was perfect for the show.'
early 2006 'Shaze' was added to the line-up,
after Jessop met with him on a trip to graffiti's
birthplace, New York.
number of these friends and graffiti writers
have deftly made the transition from painting
streets and rolling stock, to studying at London's
leading post-graduate art colleges, such as
the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy
work of these artists is rooted, to some degree,
in their common motivation: graffiti. It’s
also bound by the vision of Jessop himself,
a graffiti artist with Saatchi credentials.
But Artistic Vandals isn’t a genre show,
or a political show, or a cult show. It could
be said it’s a show unified by its very
diversity. Whatever it is, it’s very definitely
a show of work that’s energy is carrying
it to new places.