Sunday, 23 August 2009

Jibbering Wreck

When initially checking out Lowbrow art online, I began with American galleries. Thanks to great links, regular updates about upcoming shows and archiving of past ones I soon got a good idea of what was going on in that world and started to know where to look.

Turning to the UK to check for a similar scene, I soon found information was thin on the ground. It became apparent to me that urban art is the more dominant outsider art here rather than the more fine art based Pop Surrealism and even Lowbrow which have a higher profile in the States. There also seems to be a different approach to promotion.

Maybe (often ongoing) connections with illegal graffiti make it hard for a lot of UK artists to go public with their work. Often I'd see something I liked, Google the artists name and draw a blank. Frequently they didn't have websites or even a Myspace. It was frustrating.

While it still seems to me that in the UK these galleries and artists don't promote themselves as effectively online as they could do, maybe you've got to know where to look. But where to look?

Recently I visited Birmingham and stayed in the inner city Digbeth area, once heavily industrial with plenty of imposing brick architecture but now going through urban renewal.

I was going to a place called the Custard Factory, a music venue but also a bit of an all round cultural event space from what I could tell.

(Huge railway arches at the Custard Factory.)

On the way to the venue I passed a graffiti covered door to some old building. Stopping to have a closer look I found I recognised some of the artists.

There was a tag by Sickboy from Bristol and paste up stuff by Kid Acne of Sheffield and Aida. I kept walking and found some more.

(Kid Acne warrior girl)

(Sickboy temple, Kid Acne warrior girl)

Slightly puzzled by what had brought these guys to some dingy Birmingham backstreet, I went back to investigate the next day.


(Sweet Toof)


Lots of nice eye candy. After a bit of wandering to take photos I also found my answer to all this activity. No it wasn't just some random street beloved of urban artists whenever they came to town. There was the tell tale sign hanging over a door - Jibbering Art. Another gallery my internet searchings had failed to discover. Sometimes you have to know where to look and sometimes you just have to leave it to luck.

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