D*Face has an almost peerless right to be regarded as father to London’s street art scene and guests of Shoreditch Street Art Tours will know that I position him as globally significant. This great new self penned book lays out clearly the evidence to justify those garlands.
D*Face “One Man And His Dog” Book
- 500 colour illustrations
- 344 pages
- 290 x 240 mm
- ISBN 9781780672779
- Published November 2013
- Laurence King Publishing Ltd.
- Weight 1 tonne 😉
There are plenty of stories lifting the curtain on D*Face escapades which make fascinating reading, such as the driver turning up to deposit six 1 tonne poured cement spraycan sculptures around central London tourist spots wearing a German army officer’s hat with plastic doll’s legs sticking out the sides.
Limited Edition boxed version, photo: Laurence King Publishing
The 2010 installation of the Zombie Oscars in Hollywood struck me at the time as one of the ballsiest illegal street piece installations and I am not sure there has been much to challenge that status since.
Zombie Oscar, Mels Dinner
Few of the revelations are quite as astonishing as what D*Face’s wife carved in ice on a 2006 trip to the Arctic circle but you’ll have to read the book to get that little nugget!
Banksy is eventually mentioned as a friend, partner and collaborator though one gets the impression that D*Face remains a little sore at Banksy’s sudden universal withdrawal from social contact in 2007.
There is a revealing anecdote regarding a war dividend painting he did on a building site hoarding which featured a collage of corporate logos of companies profiteering by securing privileged post war access into Iraq. An advertising agency who claimed to like D*Face’s work were a bit put out at their client’s logos being corrupted in this way, so their course of action options were Plan A follow a due process, engage lawyers, issue cease and desist letters, follow up with compliance and enforcement notices etc, or plan B, send down a young girl on an internship with a roller and a bucket of paint and have her paint it out. D*Face’s self confessed anger overwhelms any admiration of the ironic “do it yourself” punk approach the agency adopted!
“I thrive on the visual, ephemeral feast that surrounds us City dwellers, from the overlaid and torn flyposters to the tagged doorways, the jammed rotating billboards displaying parts of two adverts at the same time and the chopping of sounds I hear while cycling through traffic. I am naturally drawn to my visual environment.”
At several points we get a sense of the inherent conflicts of being a street artist, a gallery artist and a gallery owner, particularly where it comes to relationships with the law! In 2008 I was intrigued by D*Face’s switch to showing with Black Rat press and in the book we now learn that showing with an outside gallery frees D*Face to concentrate on producing the art and secondly, Black rat offered a step enhancement in screen printing refinement above and beyond what had become the Pictures on Walls standard in-house product. The resulting “aPOPcalypse Now” was a stunning show that I found simultaneously mesmerising and disorientating (pics here).
Having said the book reveals all, there are perhaps a few things curiously overlooked. Apart from a note in the shouts at the back I didn’t find any mention of the 2003 Finders Keepers exploits. I’m going to extrapolate, infer and guess a bit here but Finders Keepers was about the punk do-it-yourself approach, some of the key Finders keepers members have recently shown with Stolen Space and appear to be still in touch with D*Face, others plough a far more independent, righteous and outside-the-system furrow quite distant from the path D*Face has followed, so perhaps there is some breakdown of the old intente cordial there.
There is even a full page sticker kit, I wonder if anyone will ever be mad enough to remove the stickers..just keep the book out of the hands of 5 year olds.
In among all the material which revives memories for me of stuff I lived and experienced as a fan looking in from the outside, I was surprised to find strands to D*Face’s work which I have no recollection of, such as the butterflies and insects which are clearly influenced by Damien Hirst.
“Trying to explain to US border police why you have an industrial drill with you for a holiday is no easy task,”
If you like the work of d*Face or have found this review interesting, you might like to do a little time travel and see a bit of previous stuff written by NoLionsInEngland (ok…yes, that’s me too!) on the door closing 2013 solo show at the old Stolen Space premises a,d, as noted before a small number of my flicks from the 2008 aPOPcalypse show are here.
This is a large and heavy book, there are hundreds and hundreds of fascinating photos in there of both outdoor and indoor work. Clear some shelf space and pick up a great read.
Book text copyright: Dean Stockton
Book photos copyright: as stated in the book
Publisher link: http://www.laurenceking.com/en/the-art-of-d-face-one-man-and-his-dog
Photos NoLionsinengland except where noted
PS – stickers photographer’s own 😉