Green Faces in Dalston

Funny Faces

Hi Street Art Lovers!

Today I just received an email from Steven. He took this picture in Dalston, East London. It represents funny green faces, embellished with the word ‘run’.

Do you like it? Post some comments below!


Review: Man Ray Portraits

A stunning collection of Man Ray’s avant-garde photographs

National Portrait Gallery

7 February – 27 May 2013


Man Ray Self-Portrait with Camera, 1932 by Man Ray
The Jewish Museum, New York, Purchase: Photography Acquisitions Committee Fund, Horace W. Goldsmith Fund, and Judith and Jack Stern Gift, 2004-16. Photo by Richard Goodbody, Inc
© 2008 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2012 © Photo The Jewish Museum

The first museum exhibition focused on Man Ray’s photographic portraiture is currently displayed at the Londoner National Portrait Gallery, until 27th May.

Devoted to one of the most influential artist of the Dada movement, the exhibition includes over 150 vintage prints from the American artist’s career, taken between 1916 and 1968.

The eclectic artist, best known as a painter and film maker, showed his versatility and experimentation in the field of photography with black and white glamorous portraits of beautiful divas such as Catherine Deneuve, Ava Gardner, Kiki de Montparnasse and Coco Chanel. The photographer depicted also cultural figures like his friend Marchel Duchamp, Andre Breton, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, James Joyce, Henri Matisse, Le Corbusier, Igor Stravinsky and Georges Braques.

Main themes of the photographs collection are obviously passion, love and women’s beauty.  Black and white tones of the first works are followed by innovative experiments with colour photography, such as his portrait of French singer Juliette Greco.

One of the most attracting work of the exhibition is stunning French actress Catherine Deneuve portrait. The artist took her picture in his Parisian studio in 1968. The photograph, appeared on the fashion Vanity Fair magazine’s cover, underlines the undeniable smartness of the young actress.

Catherine Deneuve, 1968 by Man Ray
Private Lender
© Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP / DACS

Here Catherine is pictured wearing stunning spiral-shaped earrings, surrounded by different wooden objects such as a jewellery box disguised as a book and a chessboard. In fact the artist was keen on chess and used to play it with his friends such as Surrealist André Breton and Dada artist Marchel Duchamp.

Ray was also a pioneer in Solarisation; a particular technique to develop black and white photographs by exposing a print or negative to a flash of light during the development. He discovered this photographic technique by chance. He was developing some photographs in the darkroom when a sheet of plain paper accidentally dropped on some papers. Nothing appeared so the artist got irritated, threw away some objects on the soaking paper and turned on the light. He obtained suggestive bright images with a black background.

An example of this technique is Lee Miller’s portrait. Lee Miller was an American model, Man Ray’s muse and his photography assistant in Paris. In the portrait below the brightness of the whites is cleverly combined with the dark tones. The model and muse’s profile is underlined by the gentle contrast between light and shade.

Solarised Portrait of Lee Miller, c.1929 by Man Ray
The Penrose Collection
© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2012, courtesy The Penrose Collection. Image courtesy the Lee Miller Archives

Man Ray Portraits is overall fresh and exhaustive. Nevertheless, a different organization of the exhibition, focused on the creativity of Man Ray’ s works, would have been more successful rather than a chronological structure. Artists’ career goes beyond the sequential order imposed by the art exhibitions’ curators.

(Photographs courtesy of National Portrait Gallery Press Office).

Interview with the Street Artist Gianluca Carrubba

Gianluca Carruba is an Italian street artist.

Born in 1979 in Puglia, a region situated in the South of Italy, he performs all over Europe since he was an adolescent.

He travelled a lot and improved his technique with fire torches in Tenerife. In the past he worked as a juggler for many Italian theatre and dance companies.

He has been living in London for five years and has become part of the Brick Lane Street Artists community. Every Sunday these jugglers meet in Brick Lane in order to delight people with their artistic activities.

Gianluca defines himself ‘Chef Joker’ because he works as a chief cook in a restaurant in Knightsbridge during the week and performs with fire torches and clubs during the weekend.

Cooking and Street Art are very similar for him. In fact, as he explains, both activities involve the creativity. He uses ‘tricks’ and creativity both in the kitchen and in the street.

He is constantly struggling to make a living with the art of juggler. He feels more comfortable under the Joker mask.

He gave us an unusual definition of street art as he told ‘Art is something that make people happy. Since life is like a mirror, if you donate happiness to the people, you will receive it as well.’

Review: Death: A Self-Portrait

A bold art collection about death, assembled by the American collector Richard Harris

Wellcome Collection

15 November 2012 – 24 February 2013

A visual collection, which ranges from ephemera to photographs, sculptures and paintings, covering almost 300 years, is currently displayed at the Londoner Wellcome Collection. From the Japanese Floating world of Ukiyo-e to the Buddhist Okimono and humanised skeleton of Mexico’s Day of The Dead, the spectator is drawn to an unusual and spectacular journey into the macabre and sublime side of the death. None want to talk about death, but anyway everybody has to face it. Death: a Self-Portrait’s deals with the concept of death to discover how different cultures exorcise the end of life.

The exhibition offers a complete and exhaustive collection of rare pieces of art. Divided in different themed rooms, different topics are displayed like the medieval Dance of Death and the fecund bond between art and eroticism. The advertising picture of the art exhibition represents a white skull with a couple of lovers kissing, strong and controversial example of Freudian’s concept of Eros and Thanatos.


The collection opens with an oriental Okimono Curios snake exploring a skull, representing a skull encircled by a snake. This decorative object embodies the Buddhist vision of the on-going existence of the spirit, which is built on the idea of the reincarnation of the soul in new states of being.


Ahead in the exhibition, we find Japanese Ukiyo-e (Floating World) Frolicking Skeletons. This artwork represents a range of skeletons indulging in different sensual pleasures. One is playing an instrument; another one is simply relaxing, showing the deep dichotomy between the inexorability of death and life’s evanescence and beauty.

Frolicking Skeletons by Kawanabe Kyosai

It is not a coincidence that in the last room of the exhibition is displayed Are you still mad at me? (2001). John Isaacs’ sculpture represents a wounded and lacerated human body. A torn body which obliges us to face the most painful and darkest side of death.


The art collector, Richard Harris, explains that he was attracted by the versatility of this theme. As he states, death is removed from our collective conscious but anthropological studies demonstrate that every culture has to face it. His aim was to collect ‘A body of work that would chronologically and culturally capture the essence of Death through its iconography, from masterpieces of fine art to the incidental.’

Death: A Self-Portrait is a unique and bizarre collection of art, which epitomizes the human urge of sublimate death in creative artworks. From the Putto blowing bubbles, symbols of the transience of life, to the white bones made Chandelier, over decades artists demonstrate that towards death the strongest reaction is the powerful creation of the art. In truth, the focal point of the whole collection is the endless human attempt to ‘overcome’ death with creativity.

(Photographs courtesy of Wellcome Collection Press Office).