The Knapp Gallery, Regents University, Regents Park, London - January / February Exhibition

by Humph Hack 20. January 2014 12:56

The two artists on show in this exhibition are both inspired by the City. Keith Mcbride celebrates the vibrancy of the capital while Katie Minoprio is enthralled by patterns made by people as they cross the plaza.

Keith Mcbride was born in South Shields in 1978. His love of London began when he moved there from the North East at the age of only 10.

He has achieved an international reputation for his amusing and quirkily iconic images of the capital, its people, architecture and environs.

He enjoys working quickly and freely with acrylics because of their versatility. Each line is intuitive. The resulting fun-filled paintings, deliberately loose in treatment, superbly capture the vibrancy of the UK capital.

Keith is among the top best-sellers of the over 3,000 artists on the site.

Katie Minoprio is a self-taught artist living in Kent. She has shown her work in galleries in London and Kent since 2005 in both group and solo exhibitions.

She recently achieved a First Class Honours degree in the History and Philosophy of Art. This period of study has had a profound affect on her attitude to painting and her chosen subject matter.

She is a very new member of the family. We look forward with interest to her new work.


The exhibition continues throughout January and February. Visitors making the short walk from the nearest bus or tube stop, will be well rewarded.



Exhibitions | Knapp Gallery

Global Graffiti - A Guide to Street Art

by Aileen Mitchell 14. January 2014 15:10

When it comes to stirring up controversy and generating a spot of artistic discussion, there's nothing that gets the tongues wagging and the tempers flying more than the art versus graffiti debate. Is graffiti actually art? Does it have any real artistic merit? Should it be displayed in legitimate art galleries?

It's a contentious issue and one that sparks heated and vociferous talk on both camps. In many ways, it's a case of the old school versus the new school – two separate lines of thought that seem destined never to agree.   

But no matter. Like it or loathe it, there’s no denying that street art or graffiti IS art, making a visual social commentary on time, place, political systems, world affairs, and important global issues just as much as the old masters.  It’s really a matter of the artistic representations of the culture and time – and now is the time of the graffiti artist.

Here are six of the most important and influential figures currently on the graffiti/street art scene.      

Mark Jenkins

Mark has made a name for himself through his street art sculptures and figures made from clear packing tape and placed in urban environments, primarily Washington D.C. and Rio de Janeiro.  More recently, he’s cunningly dressed them up and placed them in positions to give the impression of real people, discreetly recording the reactions of the shocked and surprised public. 

Frank Shepard Fairey

Fairey rose to fame with his ‘Andre the Giant has a Posse’ sticker campaign in 1989. He has since turned to professional graphic design, drawing considerable attention for his work on the ‘Hope’ poster for Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign.   He’s had his work displayed in many prestigious art galleries, including the Smithsonian, New York’s Museum of Modern Art and London’s Victoria and Albert, as well as publishing several books on art. 


This Paris-born artist’s journey into the world of art began with a happenstance finding of a camera on the Paris Metro when he was seventeen. His career as – as he puts it - a photograffeur was born, taking photos of regular people and blowing up the images into posters that he and his team put up.  One of his most famous works is a canvas and 100ft high mural on the side of London’s Tate Modern of a man pointing a gun at the camera.  


An Italian street artist from Bologna, Blu has gained notoriety from his massive wall paintings and stop motion animation pieces, often disturbing and surreal in tone. He’s painted walls in many European cities and American countries.  He once visited the German city of Wuppertal and anonymously printed 6,000 magazines full of his drawings distributed for free; this was followed by several large-scale murals.  Nowadays, much of his work is commissioned for art festivals. 


Without doubt the most famous of contemporary street artists, Bristol’s favourite anarchic artistic son, Banksy’s main modus operandi focuses on an ironic, anti-establishment social commentary tinged with social realism. 

Prolific, iconic, his art is snapped up for thousands by the rich and famous and had his work dismissed as vandalism by an enraged city council. He’s also been in a documentary, storyboarded an alternate version of The Simpson’s opening titles, has a book of his work, and took over the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery for twelve weeks to display 100 art works, attracting 300,000 enthusiastic visitors. 


Identifiable from his signature icon of a black and white ball creature with wings, London’s D*Face has been, well, defacing walls, street lights, vehicles and other public surfaces since 2006.  Sticker, graffiti, billboard manipulations and murals are his trademark mediums of choice.  His work has gone global and can be found in San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, New York and Barcelona. 

These are just six street artists working their imaginative magic around the world – others such as Chor Boogie, Ron English and the more unappealingly monikered Phlegm, deserve equal mention. And the list goes on – a burgeoning phalanx of talented, creative, brilliant, perceptive, culturally-savvy and artistically astute pictorial social commentators, creating and developing this relatively new artistic movement and changing the shape of artistic history itself, with works that are important, unmistakable and vital.

What do you think of street art, and have you got any favourites yourself?

See our urban art and galleries for more inspiration. 

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Artists | The Art World

The Discovery of Nazi-Confiscated Artwork in Munich

by Aileen Mitchell 14. January 2014 15:00

Historic Discovery

The art world was recently sent into sent into a state of excitable apoplexy when a collection of 1,500 artworks, originally confiscated by the Nazis during the 1930s and 1940s, were discovered in Munich. The horde of artistic treasures is believed to include works by Picasso, Chagall and Matisse.

The pieces were originally banned and confiscated by the Nazis on the grounds that they were "degenerate", and others were stolen, or their Jewish art collectors forced to sell them for practically nothing at all.

It could be one of the biggest and most important discoveries of recovered looted art, with investigators placing an initial estimate and value on the art works at about one billion Euros (£846m; $1.35bn).

The pieces were originally found by pure happenstance in early 2011 during a routine tax investigation of Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive son of a Munich art dealer, suspected of tax evasion. Gurlitt Jnr had kept the stash of art works in a darkened room, occasionally selling some of them when he needed extra money.

A Treasure Trove Of Art

The Nazis were, in fact, not fans of practically every piece of modern art, labelling it as degenerate and banning it for being either un-German, or being the products of Jewish artists.  The works were either confiscated or destroyed and others sold off to collectors for a pittance.

They particularly hated Picasso, whose piece Guernica showed a German bombing during the Spanish Civil War. Art dealer Paul Rosenberg - who represented both Matisse and Picasso - had no choice to leave his collection behind when he was forced to flee France in 1940.

It’s reported that there are warrants for at least 200 of the artworks – one including a portrait of a woman by Matisse.  For the time being, this treasure trove of historical art is being kept under lock and key at a secure warehouse in Munich.

It’s estimated by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum that the Nazis seized approximately 16,000 works of art.  


Art History | Artists | The Art World

Martin Rolt - The ONE Show

by Aileen Mitchell 1. January 2014 09:00

As an Artist, we are continually searching for the opportunity to display and exhibit (and maybe sell) the work of which we are most proud, in the anticipation that this will be the show that makes the difference.

The show that sets us on the path to recognition and greater future success. Constantly searching for new openings. The galleries......the rejections. “Am I not good enough.......what are they looking for, what do they want?" Swiftly followed by hours (sometimes days) of rejection flashbacks and despondency. And then the recovery....."what do they know anyway, do they not recognize borderline genius when they see it?" kicks in......and on to the next. Because the next could be 'THE one'.

Then there are the endless hours spent at the solo and collective exhibitions. Very occasionally bringing great financial reward, sometimes small reward and sometimes/often no reward at all. But always rewarding at a human level, with plentiful and interesting conversation with admirers, fellow artists and 'would be' customers. Contacts abound and friendships are made and renewed. This may sound familiar to other artists...."few or no sales at all, just about covered my costs or maybe I didn't quite manage that either"......but hey, I met some great people. And next time could be 'THE one'.

The Art competitions. Why did my work not get chosen as a finalist?.......and THAT did? Aaaaaarrrgghhhhh......on to the next.

Splashing out on Prints, Cards, T.Shirts and other great ideas to promote my work. Someone is bound to recognize the potential genius in me....aren't they?

Websites. I have my own, haven't we all. But is anyone looking? And why should they? I guess not too many potential art lovers and buyers are sitting at their PC or laptop right now and thinking to themselves "I need to search for art.... I know, I'll randomly search under Martin Rolt Brighton Artist'. You get my drift?

And then there is this alleged credit crunch, sent to test our resolve................Aaaaarrrggghhhhh.!

Technology, not my strongest point, but I make an effort.

Some of these on-line galleries and sites look pretty cool. Do they work though? Do people really invest in paintings they have never seen before other than on a 12 inch PC monitor ? Are they 'Artist friendly'?

Some of these sites appear to be a short cut to the promised land. Fantastic!! Offering much to the artist and for just a 'relatively' small fee you too can join in and be part of the fun. Future riches, recognition and fame awaits. Sounds good, I'll give it a try. sales, no interest, no enquiries. So, the site has my 'relatively' small fee up front, now, why on earth do they need to promote my work. Hmmmmm.....never thought of that.

Do they not realize that we humble artists, walking the financial tight-rope without a safety net, need a bit of a leg up now and again. It would appear not.

And then I happened upon the website. Nice presentation, all UK artists and custom, fancy tools to enable customers to visualise the painting on the wall at home or in the office. This looks more like it...!! and even better, other than some time and effort in producing good quality photographs of your work, showing it at it's best, with varying angles, close ups and in situ, uploading onto the site, it's totally free to the artist. No up front costs. That's what I'm looking for, someone sympathetic to the artist, yet presenting great and affordable work to all art lovers out there in a secure and trustworthy environment. Benefiting all, from the artist to the art collector to the occasional and even the new art enthusiast.

The site has fantastic artwork from very talented UK artists, covering the whole artistic spectrum of style, colour and size. All of the artwork can be viewed online, each artist having his or her own individual page where the paintings can be seen in situ from photographs at differing angles and close ups where you can see the paint and media textures. Or using the clever website tool which allows the viewer to see the painting and how it would look in the home or office. You can even change the colour of the walls to match your own, to see the full impact that the soon to be acquired masterpiece will have and how it will enhance the ambience of the room in which it will hang.

For me, and call it beginners luck if you will, within a few weeks of submitting my work and being accepted as a worthy 'site' artist I had countless hits (and continue to do so) plus two sales to my name. One of my buyers I had the pleasure of meeting at the point of sale also. So taken was he with my painting 'Rise and Shine' on the website that he made special arrangements with the site owner and made the extra effort to travel, see and collect the painting from myself. It is always rewarding to see and hear a persons reaction and pleasure at first viewing of a painting. Something that has been a labour of love to yourself, these reactions are the antidote to any pain previously felt, and previously mentioned. In this case, my second sale was to the actor Adrian Lester who starred in 'Hustle', 'Bonekickers', 'Primary Colours and 'The Day after Tomorrow' to name a few. So as you can imagine, this came as something of a pleasant surprise when I eventually realized who I had met and who had bought my painting.

Adrian kindly penned a few lines for me to use on my page on the website :

Hello Martin, I wasn't sure I wanted to buy a painting until I saw Rise and Shine on the web. I checked the picture over using the Artgallery testing website and really liked what I saw. The picture as shown on the web is vibrant. But, In reality it is even more so. It seems to pull the viewer in. I'm very happy with it and every intention of picking up some more in future. Yours, Adrian Lester

So you see, for me, this really could be 'THE one' show. The show that makes the difference. 'The future is unwritten'......Joe Strummer once said. But you have to make your own future through time and effort (maybe a hint of self belief and borderline genius), in order to steer a course and path that someone may happen upon, who really can help along the way, to finally make that difference. So, watch this space......and watch this site.

Martin Rolt's art gallery »


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