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CARTRAIN – the definitive blog post


We find ourselves enjoying the last week of ‘NOT FOR SALE‘, with Saturday being your last opportunity to experience this immersive gallery show. If you have a chance, let us transport you to the streets of East London from the warmth of our West London space. In the meantime, we have a few stories about CARTRAIN to whet your whistle…

He is perhaps most notable for his ongoing feud with the art world’s heavyweight Damien Hirst, which initially started when Cartrain reproduced a Hirst’s infamous skull image in one of his own artworks. In response, Hirst assembled his legal team and insisted Cartrain hand over all of his artworks featuring the image, and forfeit the money from all sales. Faced with Hirst’s extensive legal team, and with little funding or representation Cartrain had little choice but to comply.

In July 2009, Cartrain entered Tate Britain and removed a packet of Faber Castell 1990 Mongol 482 series pencils from Damien Hirst’s installation,Pharmacy. Cartrain then distributed a fake police “Wanted” poster, stating that the pencils had been stolen and that if anyone had any information they should notify the police. Cartrain made this statement:

“For the safe return of Damien Hirsts pencils I would like my artworks back that Dacs and Hirst took off me inNovember. Its not a large demand he can have his pencils back when I get my artwork back. Dacs are now not taking any notice of my emails and I have asked nicely more than five times to try and resolve this matter. Hirst has until the end of this month to resolve this or on 31 July the pencils will be sharpened. He has been warned”

Cartrain was subsequently arrested for £500,000 worth of theft, and faced charges for what could be considered biggest art theft in British history.

In addition to this famous feud, the artist has also gained worldwide press for smoking marijuana in the House of Commons, and infiltrating the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Modern, installing his artworks into exhibitions without permission or knowledge of either establishment. This latter stunt caught the attention of The Guardian art critic, Jonathan Jones, who has since championed Cartrain.

This way by far the most charming work of art I came across… this collage by an artist who’s unlikely to get a public commission steals the show” Jonathan Jones

With ‘NOT FOR SALE’ featuring more of Cartrain’s charismatic artworks, we hope you will be able to visit us on/before the 24th January, if you have any questions please get in touch via email (, phone (0207 486 9927) Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

We look forward to seeing you!

All at Imitate Modern


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