Art in London is a contrasting collision of worlds

Art in London is a contrasting collision of worlds
Written by Daniel Andrews

They say Thursdays are the new Fridays, which is something I can vouch for. However, my tender head was certainly worth a few drinks in front of our capital’s most forward-thinking and diverse art.   

Walking from Liverpool Street station, I was getting in the mood. The crisp cold evening and the lights of the city put me in an open and eager frame of mind. 

Future talent    

Herbert Smith Freehills in partnership with WORKSINPRINT were hosting their annual art graduate award on the 6th November 2014.  The evening was a mix of corporate slickness and something a little more “scene”, as they showcased 20 graduate finalists who were all waiting with baited breath to see if they’d won the £1000 first prize. 

Themes and mediums ranged from highly conceptual digital prints through to more bizarre abstract oil paintings that examined segregation and the subjugation of civil liberties.

Having seen some highly talented artists with very bright futures, my appetite turned to something a little more disruptive, controversial and outlandish; that’s when we headed to Skull Art Exhibition in Shoreditch.

Pealing wallpaper really sets off a piece…

In stark contrast from the multi-million pound glass and steel offices of the city, the peculiar, dark, sinister and oozing-with-hipster-cool Box Studios seemed a more appropriate surrounding for this exhibition.  

Curated by the rather appropriately named Skull Appreciation Society, the display was everything you’d hope for from an underground street-grown art spectacular. Artists ranged from relatively unknown newcomers to the very gifted Tommy Fiendish. Some of his work can be seen in the image above, and on his site.

Learning lessons from the diversity of our art industry

As a young and passionate creative, it’s easy to dismiss the clean-cut corporate tinge of the first exhibition in favour of quirky skull art. However, there are some invaluable lessons to be learned from an evening like this.

Firstly, how often do you really manage to get out in our wonderful city? I fear we take for granted the wealth of creativity and innovation that bubbles away in London.

Secondly, as with client work, it's not always best to push the boundaries. We often have to work within the parameters of the corporate sphere, customer expectations, and brand guidelines.

Although very safe and a complete juxtaposition to the super trendy Skull Art Exhibition, I salute Herbert Smith Freehills for supporting the youth of our creative industry. I also praise the student finalists who have managed to deliver on brief - within the parameters of their guidelines - some highly creative and engaging artwork.

Oh, and most importantly, congratulations to Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi for winning the first prize at last night's awards.

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