Mr Controversial Artist Biography
Mr Controversial is a thirty-three-year-old, London based artist who; transforms vintage imagery relegated to the past and brings it back to life with oil paint, silkscreen printing and relatable captions that tell comical, satirical, and sometimes dark stories. He plays with the concept of ‘The Familiar Surprise’. You’ve not seen this image before presented in this way, but it reminds you of something familiar. He creates Imagery that elicits an emotional response and triggers a nostalgic or cultural memory packaged in satirical, relatable captions and quotes.
“Each piece should be instantly relatable to the viewer, as if you have stumbled upon something that hits the nail on the head of your own everyday life, making the ordinary extraordinary & hilariously absurd.”
I want to create art that speaks to people on a personal level, (the inner you) as if I know something about them that nobody else does. If you don’t look at my art and think ‘OMG that’s so true’ or ‘That’s SO me, I can relate’ and if you aren’t blown away by the aesthetic in the imagery, oil paint. Diamond dust… then I haven’t bloody done my job!
When I’m not creating in the studio, I spend many hours in my favourite West London coffee shop sketching out ideas and playing with concepts. Many people come in and out throughout the day and I like to earwig in on conversations, deconstruct them, and almost psychoanalyze them. I then put them back together with a funny twist and use that as a basis for a piece of art, I create the imagery around the caption. A lot of my work is based on conversations I’ve personally listened in on or things I’ve seen on social media posts or comments. I always try to find the funny angle, especially with stuff that’s often quite dark. I have a fearless approach to my work, whether that’s taking the p*** out of gluten intolerance, social media influencers, online dating or our own insecurities that rattle around in our minds fuelled by advertising, consumerism, and capitalism.
In a world where nothing is truly original, I can only create art that is authentic to me. I guess that’s what makes your art truly valuable. My work: My ideas, my world view, my commentary on the world we live in. I believe great artists are commentators and a voice of the times in which they create, their work serves as a snapshot, a window into that specific time in history for future generations to make sense of when they look back.”
Mr Controversial grew up in West London. His artistic journey began when studying Photography at college, it is here where he fell in love with the creative freedom that art permits. This taste for creativity and freedom of expression led him to study a degree in film production at London Southbank University, obtaining a 2:1.
He left University hungry for fun and success, however he was met with something entirely different from what he imagined. A familiar feeling for most, being underwhelmed with life, as you become part of a system you never envisioned yourself being in. For the next 10 years he worked for digital advertising and marketing agencies in London, working on campaigns for with clients such as; Channel 4, IHG Hotels, Google and more. A period in his life which he described as “soul destroying and miserable” and “stuck in a spiral of living for the weekend”. After being made redundant he decided to pursue his creative dreams. An insufferable desire to truly express himself without having to make it “workplace friendly”, led him to explore the world of fine art.
Drawing inspiration from artists such as Bruce Nauman, particularly his neon works that focus’ on human desire. Also from Edward Ruscha, a key figure in the typography art world and artist Harland Miller.
Mr Controversial was especially drawn to Millers Letter Paintings series, “The way he plays with text, shapes, and colour. He conveys humour and irony in a minimalist way, with intricate layered letters.” -Mr Controversial about Harland Miller, Letter Paintings. This is a concept Mr Controversial likes to channel in his own work.
Particularly in his newest collection ‘ITS ALL JUST F*CKING WORDS’, which is stripping back his work even further by discarding his signature seductive imagery, seen in his Pulp Fiction collections, to lay the message bare. This collection conveys a minimalist approach to ensure 100% of the observer’s attention, is on the words written, which is further reinforced by his painting technique.
“I’ve been pursuing this since I started painting and in my previous career in advertising. How do I ensure my message lands in the fewest words possible. Also, what imagery can go with the text and reinforce the message.”
Mr. Controversial demonstrates two forms of art that often work harmoniously together, typography and pop art. Typography is the art of arranging letters and text in a way that is visually appealing. This is an ancient practice that can be traced back to 990 AC China. Its journey towards the modern day can been seen in the artwork of Jan Tschichold, who designed the penguin book covers between the years of 1947-1979, which would later be used by established artists such as Harland Miller and James McQueen. Additionally, the 60’s brought a whole new style to typography, by incorporating pop art. Pop art is defined as art based on modern popular culture and the mass media, especially as a critical or ironic comment on traditional fine art values. Artists that developed pop art and typography work include Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol, all these artists became leading figures in the pop art movement and immense influences on artist Harland Miller. Harland Miller is another example of a well-known typographer. He is a writer and artist born in Yorkshire, England, who became popular in the 2000’s. Miller is best known for his canvases of penguin books paired with sardonic statements about life.
Typography and pop art is seen leading the art market today, the artists listed above having influenced the likes of James McQueen and The Connor Brothers.
Mr. Controversial’ s success in his work continues to demonstrate the demand and popularity within this style of art. But how has this style of art remained so popular? Not only is it fashionable, by including humorous and relevant phrases of current issues and events, but it is also timeless. As the artwork serves as a stamp on issues and trends of the time. These factors combined with Mr. Controversial’s dark, seductive, and daring imagery is what makes his work unique. Playful yet scandalous, beautiful yet simple, realistic but outrageous, whilst marking a moment in history.
Within the market original works have been recorded for selling in galleries for prices ranging from £2500 - £6000 and £850 - £2500 for prints. No works have been sold on the secondary market yet, but prices have been seen climbing due to demand on primary sales.
Mr Controversial’s online presents has continued to grow. His Instagram page captivates hundreds of people’s attention and receives new followers daily, the account currently has 12.4k loyal followers and that number only continues to rise.
Turner Art Perspective are pleased to present the latest collection of work by Mr. Controversial.
The recent body of work, “ ‘IT’S ALL JUST F**KING WORDS’ are relatable truths wrapped in sarcasm and satire which describes a Hero’s journey. I would describe my collection as a ‘hero’s journey’ and the telling of my own personal experiences and what I observe in the world. There are three major stages in a hero’s journey. Stage one is the departure, longing for adventure and departing from the familiar into the uncertain. The next stage in a hero’s journey is initiation, facing trials and tribulations, navigating your new world to gain the prize and win. The final stage is returning with the price and accomplishing your journey. I example this in a piece from my new collection, titled Overnight Successes, countless miserable years in the making. I want to cast out the fake and shine light on what is real. As anyone who has strived to achieve something they’ll know that Success isn’t overnight, it’s born out of hunger, isolation, defeat, self-doubt, and grit. In this social media obsessed world we live in; people always want to show things (and life) through an Instagram filter of perfection. I try to keep it real but put a funny angle on it.”
Mr. Controversial has had two previous collections the have had unprecedented success in the art market, titled Pulp Fiction and Pulp Noir. His latest collection is titled “IT’S ALL JUST F**KING WORDS”.
This collection ranges from original oil works on canvas and paper, hand finished silk screen works and limited-edition prints that are kept to very small edition runs. Some silkscreen pieces are unique artworks.
Mr Controversial is early on in his career with an exciting upcoming future, which includes further promising exhibitions, artworks, and collaborations with large institutions.