When the commercial art world starts to take itself a tad too seriously it’s a relief to find folk who can inject a bit of carefree fun and frivolity back into the creative proceedings. I call to the stand those behind the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair, which takes the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane by storm this Sunday for the fifth year running.
In their own words “The Art Car Boot Fair was an idea that grew out of a desire to pick up where Joshua Compston’s ‘Fete Worse than Death’ and Gavin Turk’s ‘Livestock Market’ and Articultural Shows’ blazed a trail in the 90’s. The Art Car Boot Fair is an original event concept devised by Karen Ashton and developed since its inception in London in 2004 through invaluable collaborations with Helen Hayward, Vanessa Fristedt and, since 2008, Debbie Malynn.” They include in their fundamental aims of the day encouragement of “direct interface between artists and their audiences in a playful and amusing fashion. We aim for the Art Car Boot Fair to be a day when the artists let their hair down and for all-comers to engage in a totally informal way, and to pick up some real art bargains to book!”
I am delighted to say that my very favourite partners in crime, Miss Led and Hicks54, will be present at the annual knockout knees up this weekend. The duo will be going to head to head in a customizing battle to end all battles, taking what the public gives them, from pencil cases to parasols, and creating hot pieces of one off art. Be sure to save up for pocket money for the original canvases, beautiful cut outs, prints, and hand painted bags that will also be on offer. The happy couple will be only two of over a whopping 80 artists taking part at the Old Truman Brewery, with other big deal names such as Gavin Turk, Peter Blake, Pam Hogg and Natasha Law.
Miss Led, that’s Joanna Henly to you and me, is no stranger to the event. Last year she spent the sun soaked afternoon straddling a kindly donated automobile from Vauxhall, working her illustrative magic in front of a heaving crowd. In fact, Miss Henly is no stranger to the art scene at all. Since winning a scholarship to set up shop as her own brand in 2007 she has not sat still; designing for Reebok, crowned the very first Queenie of Secret Wars, drawing live as part of Best Joined Up at Cargo, a Diesel instore wall design and a Selfridges Window as well as exhibiting all over London and countless private commissions for high profile celebs.. the list goes on and on.
Miss Led’s style has self-evolved to become highly identifiable. No shrinking violet and not for the prudish, Henly enthusiastically celebrates the female form in a lot of her work, with pin up lovelies and burlesque beauties flaunting themselves provocatively, shamelessly but with an overall ‘you don’t own me’ sort of attitude. These alluring ladies that pop up in her illustrations, paintings, drawings and graphic work fairly represent Henly’s own self-assured pro-female stance as a now well-established confident young artist competing in an art genre previously dominated by bigger boys.
When you see her creating these large canvasses live with a time constraint and under a spotlight only then can you appreciate the sheer extent of her talent. These highly skilled pieces are often larger than life size in scale, and in an age of photoshop over reliance it’s wonderful to know there are still artists perfecting the old school way and doing it by hand.
Her work is reminiscent of Barcelona female ‘graf star’ Miss Van, and there’s a playful sense of fairytales, childhood memories and daydreams, all tinged with just enough wicked and naughty undertones to make her work adult rather than adolescent.
Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair
Sunday 14th June
The Old Truman Brewery
London E2 6QL
What would you pay to have the lovely Miss Led or her charming gentleman boyfriend slash rival Ed Hicks customize this Sunday? Don’t just wonder! Get yourself down to The Old Truman Brewery on Sunday and turn your tat into treasure.
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