BARRY REIGATE: ARTIST IN THE ISSUE
You are never too old for ‘toons. Barry Reigate proves that. Not only are his drawings irreverent, fun and colourful, they are versatile. You can have them on your walls, in your gallery and you only have to look at the new issue of 10 to see how well they’ll go with your Vuitton. But what of the man behind the art?
1. He draws toons for the best of ’em, illustrating the Stella McCartney Fall ’10 campaign and featuring in exhibitions at the Saatchi, the Tate and Paradise Row, who represent him.
2. Reigate’s large scale canvases are reminisent of those cartoon fights where whirling arms and legs appear from a cloud of dust, they mix nearly recognisable characters with abstract mark-making, and clusters of coloured dots.
3. An ebullient wolf crops up rather a lot, as does a clown with swirling eyes.
4. His upcoming exhibition at Paradise Row sees the artist preoccupied with geometry. Minimal coloured forms are drawn on graph paper or made out of concrete as floor based sculptures; the same shapes invade his canvases to combine with cartoon characters.
5. He explains his preoccupation with cartoons thus; “Art, a luxury commodity, could be seen as some kind of adult toy. Something to depart from the ‘real’ world, into one of escape and play where meaning and reason slips into a different social context. In the real world you’re not allowed to be naughty, but in a cartoon world you can. You can throw knives, fall from buildings, and attempt murder.”
6. As well as being fluent in the language of popular art, Reigate is adept at appropriating images from the cannon of 20th Century good taste, such as Flavin neons and Basquiat scrawls and distorting their meaning for his own purposes.
7. It was Reigate’s father who taught him to draw characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, a skill which has seen him in good stead over the years.
8. The man is good at naming his art. Notable titles include Gonzo’s Parade, Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory ,Triumph In The Face Of Adversity and I’m A Leader Not A Follower. V, v, good.
9. As well as lengthy titles his materials lists are rather impressive. ”Acrylic, oils, oil pastel, pencil, crayon, collage, wrapping paper, spray paint, varnish, gloss paint, wax, charcoal, gloss paint, marker pen and paint brush on canvas", anyone?
10. We asked him if we could really cavort with levitating cartoon logs as per his illustrations in the new issue of 10. He said probably not.
by Zoe Wulfsohn-Dunkley