From late October through to the end of November, Lupen Crook will be presenting his artwork in two separate exhibitions in London and Medway, initially at Barden’s Café in Dalston, London for approximately four weeks and subsequently at the Deaf Cat Gallery in Rochester, Kent for two weeks.
As part of the Schism show at Barden’s Café, Lupen Crook exhibits alongside other respected underground artists including Ella Guru, Teresa Ferreira, Joe Whitney and Joni Deehan. His work then moves to Medway for his first solo exhibition, also his first showing in Medway since a joint exhibition at the New Art Centre in 2009.
Known for the relentless semi-autobiographical honesty and dark, observational wit of his musical career, Lupen Crook’s visual art has much in common with his output as a singer-songwriter. Common symbols and themes recur in his work across both media.
In addition to standalone collections such as his playful, satirical ‘Can’t Bear’ images – a punning, therapeutic outlet for a variety of everyday frustrations – Lupen Crook divides his visual work into two broad themes: Expressions (based on real-world situations) and Impressions (works from memory or imagination).
An untrained artist, barring a short period at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in the late 1990s that convinced him that the process of being “taught” art would more likely undermine his own creative instincts, Crook focused on music for several years before taking his visual work more seriously from 2007 onwards.
His works frequently combine traditional painting with collage. “I began to source materials with little or no cost, recycling items discarded by other people, using them in my art,” he explains. These materials have been varied and inevitably low-budget – discarded newspapers, jigsaw puzzle pieces, copper coins, cigarette butts.
“By using materials that have experienced time in the real world, rather than having been produced merely for the purposes of making art, a sense of the raw and living is, I feel, brought to my work.”
Nevertheless, working initially in acrylics and more recently in oils, his work demonstrates considerable technical accomplishment. Earlier this year he formalised his visual output under the banner of Broken Arts. A catalogue of his 100+ works can be found at his dedicated artwork website http://www.brokenarts.co.uk.
Over the past three years, an increasing appetite for his work has seen many pieces sell for considerable sums to collectors both within the UK and Europe. Since 2005 he has also offered hand-crafted editions of his musical releases, including a limited edition box set that sold out within two hours in September 2010.
The Barden’s Café exhibition begins at 7pm on Thursday 20th October. The exhibition at the Deaf Cat Gallery takes place between Monday 14th November and Sunday 27th November. More information on Lupen Crook can be found at www.lupencrook.com and his visual art portfolio can be seen at www.brokenarts.co.uk
Area – South East and Nationwide