Two weeks ago a friend of mine advised me to visit a vernissage in the first district of Vienna. Actually all I knew was „Pure Evil will do a live painting“ and that it will take place in spaces of „Dialog im Dunkeln„. The event wasn’t announced at all and I didn’t really know what to except, but it turned out to be quite exciting.
After finally having found the location, I still wasn’t quite sure to be at the right place. Everybody was pretty well-dressed, and couple of people I didn’t even know shook hands with me. Anyway, after clearing up the problem with the guest list and taking a glas of sparkling wine, I finally had a look at the exhibition.
The space was amazing! It was a huge basement made out of bricks, apparently being the crypt of the monastery Schottenstift, filled up with lot’s of Street Art hanging on the walls and people in dresses and suits talking all kinds of languages (as well as taking down couple of pictures pretty fastly).
I didn’t quite had the chance to talk to the organisers Stephen and Tom but luckily I was introduced to the artists Pure Evil and Crossie so I asked them some questions about the exhibition and their work.
Check out my interviews with the artists and the great shots of the exhibition by Dimitri Aschwanden on flickr.
artpjf: Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your work.
Crossie: I mainly work with stencils and paint onto canvas, wood, mirror, paper and antique pages. I previously worked as a knitwear designer and therefore hugely influenced by my textile / fashion background. I’m not interested in being pigeon holed, I do what I do.
I’m currently exploring winged creatures of all kinds. I’m especially drawn to butterflies – I love their fragile beauty & vibrant colours.
artpjf: What do butterflies mean for you as a recurring motive of your works?
Crossie: I’ve just moved back to London after living in gorgeous Birghton which is on the South coast of England. Like the stripes of a stick of Brighton rock – I love things to look visually pleasing, with flashes of colour. I’ve always wanted to collect butterflies in cases – but it seemed so cruel. This way I’m the creator & the captor. Just like a butterfly collector the art collector is also seeking beautiful specimens for his collection.
When talking about my work you could say my butterflies have a distressed edginess to them.
I love bleeding lines and blended colours. The musical layers build up to create pattern & texture. I love the idea of giving them a second life. I find them in dimly lit secondhand bookshops off the beaten track and hidden away. By extending their life, and bringing them out, they are preserved in my artwork.
My chapter & verse date back to between 1906 – 1910. There’s something quite rebellious in destroying the books which strangely appeals. My aim is to create something more beautiful out of them. There’s a history to those pages, I like to wonder who may have picked them up, read the words or played the notes. The musical pages add a different dimension and a kind of secret language to my Glitter & Twisted pieces as the notes dance across the page.
Some have Notes & Annotations – I wonder who would have used them to play music? I find this all very fascinating. There’s a sort of organised chaos in my painting. The fragile way that the glitter adheres to the fast drying spray paint is reminiscent of their delicate wings, as I only have moments before the paint dries.
artpjf: Tell us about your latest show in Vienna with Pure Evil. How did that happen? I was pretty amazed by the bigness of the show. The space was fantastic!
Crossie: A friend of mine organised our show in Vienna – I agree with you the show was fantastic! And the venue blew me away, all very impressive in the vaults of a church and lots of fun!
artpjf: What was your best experience in Vienna or the most appreciable impression of the city?
Crossie: I fell in love with Vienna for all sorts of reasons – the old cafes and smiley folk. The Rococo & Baroque architecture I found utterly exquisite – and there’s so much of it! The love of the Arts and all things cultural. I think one of my favourite experiences was visiting Kunsthistorisches Museum for the Gustav Klimt exhibition. What an incredibly ornate building full of beautiful paintings. Hugely inspiring.
Crossie will have her first solo show ‚Metamorphosis‘ at the Pure Evil Gallery, London on 5th April.
Interview Pure Evil:
artpjf: Please introduce yourself briefly.
P.E.: I am an artist called PURE EVIL… I do graffiti and street art and run my eponymous gallery PURE EVIL in Shoreditch, London.
To understand a bit about Pure Evil it is illuminating to know that he is a descendant of Sir Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor who wrote the controversial work Utopia and who was later beheaded by King Henry VIII. With this busy background (Sir Thomas was later canonised) it is only natural that Pure Evil should explore the darker side of the wreckage of Utopian dreams and the myth of the Apocalypse, a belief in the life-changing event that brings history with all its conflicts to an end.
Pure Evils ancestry is alleged to include eight saints: Vladimir the Great, Saint Anna of Russia, the Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb, Saint Stephen of Hungary, Saint Margaret of Scotland and Saint Mathilde together with Saint Thomas More, Humbert III of Savoy and several European royal families.He was also a descendant of the Old English Chieftain Ailric, Kings Thane to Edward the Confessor, who held Cawthorne and much of South Yorkshire before the Conquest.
artpjf: How did you got down to the exhibition in Vienna @ Dialog im Raum? The whole show seemed to have a private function and it wasn’t really announced in any way as far as I know… Could you enlighten me in this point?
P.E.: I have a buddy in Vienna who I have worked with before, and he invited me to present my artworks to a select group of art lovers in Vienna.. I think the city is amazing and it has a long historical association with Art, so I thought..LETS GO..Doing the show in what is probably the crypt of a 666 year old church appealed to my dark humour…
artpjf: You run a gallery in London situated in the heart of Hoxton. Concerning your art do you see a considerable change in the effect of your artworks while being a gallery owner and an artist at the same time?
P.E.: Its so funny being an artist AND running the gallery when people come in and want to discuss PURE EVIL art with me, not knowing that I am the guy who makes the art . Its a good testing ground for my paintings, I can paint something in the morning and sell it in the afternoon in my own gallery… I also work hard to promote other artists, so far we’ve done 50 solo and group shows with emerging artists. PHEW. One funny story was putting a Darth Vader mask on top of a typewriter in the gallery because I needed space. Somebody came in and went „WOW THATS AMAZING“ and suddenly the accident became art.. DARTH TYPEWRITER.. SOLD FOR £666…
On your website
you state: „Principles before Profit?“. What principles do you mean exactly?
P.E.: Not being a sellout, not ripping off people, not lying or stealing, being honest and helping other people…
artpjf: In what do you pay most attention in art?
P.E.: I like to see where culture is heading and in a small way I try to divert or influence culture with my own art. Its all about having FUN. Going skateboarding sporadically helps. Its a great leveller.. It helps me to control my aggression.
artpjf: Upcoming projects?