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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

THE NANCYBOY DECADE 1999-2009

The Book Club in Shoreditch is currently taking a retrospective look at the work of Stuart Semple aka Nancyboy, running until July 29th, we managed to get a sneak preview of the work of this critically acclaimed and pioneering British creative.

Written by Jenny Robins

thumbemitbloch
Emit Bloch - Dictaphones Vol 1

Creaturemag’s Matt Witt and Emma Tucker recently spent the afternoon talking to lo-fi folk songwriter Emit Bloch. They were kindly invited to his house for a friendly chat about his new album, information pills his influences and his past.

Emit Bloch has recently released an album, viagra 60mgDictaphones Vol 1”. An endearing and off kilter selection of country songs recorded entirely on dictaphone cassette and released by One Little Indian. The album is raw, ampoule uncluttered and accessible, full of inventive lyrical content that contrasts the vintage sound produced by the dictaphone with more modern day references.

Emit grew up on a ranch in Utah before heading to Berkeley, California then more recently making his home in North London. The following interview includes discussion on, amongst other things, Emit’s Dictaphone mash-ups, (rough recordings of well known songs mashed together), his new album, his views on song writing, evolution and a little delve into his past.

That is enough from us, this wonderful encounter is to be discovered in the following videos.

View the rest of this interview on You tube using the following links:

Emit Bloch interview – pt2 – Dictaphones Vol1
Emit Bloch interview – pt3 – Emit on songwriting
Emit Bloch interview – pt4 – Emit on evolution
Emit Bloch interview – pt5 – Emit on his past

Or check it out on Creaturemag… www.creaturemag.com

We hope you enjoy the show!

I’ve never been to the Book Club before, information pills it’s a nice place you know; high ceilings, visit this exposed brickwork, viagra buy excitingly erratic cone shaped lampshades.
On your left as you come in there’s a load of pot plants stuck to the wall like they are hovering there. Opposite and tucked away behind the door currently is Nancyboy aka Stuart Semple’s self portrait bearing the legend:

CONCRETE FOR THE BOYS
PILLOWS FOR THE GIRLS
THIS IS THE REAL WORLD
NOTHING IS TRUE

Somewhere in the territory between Banksy and Basquiat, the Nancyboy paintings collected here say everything about nothing, or nothing about everything, depending on which way you prefer it.
The paintings are a mashup of cultural and personal references, littered with bittersweet cynical catchphrases and copywrite symbols; cartoon characters, collage, self deprecating and esoteric test. Also, a pair of wonder pants. In a perfect reflection of the high end cultural recycling aesthetic of the work, curator Liat Chen was wearing a fabulous dress previously owned by Lady Gaga.
The tagline to the exhibition is “a retrospective of early works by a leading cultural phenomenon” and I think that says it really, it’s the story behind these paintings that’s really on show. Klaus Bruecker, who I met at the Pop up Pirates launch last month (after Amelia went home) was one of the earliest collectors of Nancyboy paintings on ebay way back in the heady nineties. More recently imagine his surprise when he realised the artist was in fact living in the same building as him!

Stuart Semple has done a lot of things as an artist, in the real life artworld that is, like sneak a painting into Saatchi Gallery, and be a real artist who’s critically acclaimed and stuff. But I think this show is more about his presence in the less artworld world, if that makes sense. “He got me into collecting, he got a lot of different people from lots of different backgrounds collecting.” Says Klaus. Because in the early noughties everything seemed possible and local on the internet, we were more aware of the smallness of the new connected world. Nancyboy launched his e-art career in 2000, and went on to sell over 3000 works exclusively on ebay. His work attracted much attention, celebrity collectors and spawned many imitators, combining his pop and urban decay aesthetic to express their own cultural angst in what has been called a pre-emptive movement to ‘Urban Art’.

These days every sensible artist on the make works hard on their web presence, and anyone looking to buy some great value beautiful art barely has to stretch their mousclicking finger beyond the front page of websites like etsy and society6. But even now it’s still possible to make amazing connections and to grow chance encounters into new interests and audiences. Like in the real world I guess.

The paintings here are not that different from the blog output of a witty teenager. They remind me quite a lot of the work I used to love on www.themanwhofellasleep.com when I was doing my A-levels, and also of Athena posters. Those are my circular cultural references, real pop art should do that I think; remind us infinitely of ourselves. Being an institution is not easy though. It takes love and it takes A LOT of work. The works brought together at The Book Club by the Nancyboy community are obviously loved and valued. These are not the high-profile works that have been in the big shows. These are the ebay artworks, from the homes of real humans.
And I hope what it means is that high flying pop artists don’t have to lose their roots. That all the little little art communities all over the world in small towns and small webspaces that no-one else knows about matter, and are all a part of the bigger dialogue of art forever. And at the same time are nothing, and your life work is just your hobby. One of Nancyboy’s paintings calls his standing into question:
FRANKLY, I Question it’s Honesty + Doubt it’s Art.

In September I’m going back to school to qualify as an art teacher. I think I will tell my students about Nancyboy. Because it’s important, not that anyone can make it, because that’s obviously not true. And not that they can do the same, because they never can. Each artist makes their own new path. The Nancyboy
decade saw the world change forever, and he was there watching, and commenting, and selling his paintings on Ebay. That’s what’s important.

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One Response to “THE NANCYBOY DECADE 1999-2009”

  1. Joe says:

    Some really interesting pieces on display. If you enjoyed this you visit Gift on 10 Vyner Street to see the group exhibition ‘Protect’. Paula Chambers’ work is especially good to see.

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