Shedding light on Mr Controversial, a rising star in the contemporary art world  

As one of a new generation of ‘do it yourself’ artists causing a stir in the contemporary art world, Mr Controversial more than lives up to his name. He’s not desperate to be liked and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Mr Controversial blends 1950’s imagery with thought-provoking captions to create art that is nostalgic, visually arresting and instantly relatable. It demands an emotional response, while also sparking a nostalgic or dark memory.

“As if you have stumbled upon something that hits the nail on the head of your own everyday life, making the ordinary extraordinary and hilariously absurd,” he says.

Although he has no formal training, Mr Controversial draws on his experience in the advertising industry - working on crafting engaging visual communication - for his own artwork.

That energy and desire to create dark stories which grab the viewers’ attention are now driving his own controversial artwork and no longer ad campaigns.
Vintage imagery and oil paint
London-based artist Mr Controversial burst onto the scene in early 2020 with works embodying the concept of the ‘familiar surprise’.

He transforms vintage imagery relegated to the history books, breathing new, contemporary life into figures from Hollywood actresses to Civil Rights protagonists, creating imagery that tells an enticing story every time.

The core characteristics of artworks by Mr Controversial are empowered women, combined with relatable captions, usually exploring the personal frustrations of the digital age using marketing psychology.

When creating his imagery, Mr Controversial builds up layers using a combination of oil paints screen and Giclée printing, followed by a varnish. He sometimes uses diamond dust to hand-finish limited edition prints, with ‘Your Love’ a fine example.

Mr Controversial also uses reactions from his followers to test and refine his controversial art, seeking the perfect combination of relatable captions, vintage images and oil paint for each comical, satirical and sometimes dark artwork.

“As someone who remembers the world pre-internet, it’s safe to say the world is becoming a bit of a strange place,” he says, while elegantly tapping into and poking fun at our social media obsessed world with his comical, satirical and sometimes dark pieces.

Mr Controversial admits that when he creates imagery he wants to “take the piss a bit” out of the first world problems and personal frustrations occupying the digital generation’s minds.

“My approach and the way I communicate is dark, satirical, fearless, and controversial. Behind the beautiful imagery is a dark story about yourself, just waiting to be discovered,” he says.
Shifting gear with a new collection
The most recent contemporary art collection from Mr Controversial, Pulp Noir, introduced a new san serif font, new mediums, a monochrome colour scheme and a new presentation for the framing style.

The new collection maintains the beautiful vintage aesthetic, relatable captions and dark stories followers have come to expect from the London based artist, alongside that delicious, controversial twist.

“I’ve stripped everything back, from the captions to the colours... Less is more with this collection,” he says.

“I believe great artists are commentators and a voice of the times in which they create,” Mr Controversial says. “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.

"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.”