British Street artist Cartrain has been featured in Forbes Italia! “Discovering Cartrain, will he be the new Banksy?” discusses the rise of the infamous street artist. from his political art near the walls of Parliament to his artistic guerrilla warfare and his feud with Damien Hirst. Read below for the translated version!
In the dense landscape of street artists who left the city suburbs and landed in art galleries and private collections, we find one that – thanks to its creativity and its “actions” – has managed to attract media and collectors interest when not he was still of age.
We are talking about Cartrain. The common thread of his artistic activity is represented by the acute wit he uses to stimulate the mind of modern society on topics of global interest, interpreted in a direct and fluid way and consequently of easy access even to a wide audience. This is how works are born – some of which are visible today at Imitate Modern in London, one of the most dynamic galleries of emerging artists who are building solid careers – mixing street and pop culture.
George Bush and Korean leader Kim Jong-un become tales Marilyn Monroe, Che Guevara takes on the aesthetic semblance of Mickey Mouse, while the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II is used to create a sign prohibiting the consumption of alcohol. Cartrain is a complete artist, who uses different techniques including collage and stencil always managing to hit and kidnap his audience, regardless of the medium used. His career began a long time ago when, still twelve years old, he makes the walls of Leytonstone – the small town of East London where he was born, often identified as a creative area of the British capital – his own canvas.
At the age of 15 he moved to Central London, bringing his politically-based art to walls near the Parliament.
In 2008, after making itself known within the London street art community, Cartrain obtained the true media limelight by creating a work of art – for sale in a digital art gallery – in which the famous diamond-studded skull of Damien Hirst. The most famous British contemporary artist, piqued for this unauthorized reproduction, turns to the Design And Artist Copyright Society and the work is withdrawn by the same author. Cartrain’s response to Damien Hirst comes the following year, when the street artist removes a pack of pencils from Hirst’s Pharmacy installation, then exhibited at the Tate.
After this provocative gesture, Cartrain covers the English capital with posters, which, in a “wanted” style, bear this message: “You can get your pencils back when I get my work back.” Hirst you have until the end of the month to solve this problem or July 31 the pencils will be sharpened”
This gesture – still remembered today among the main thefts of works of art in the UK – costs Cartrain the arrest, but the accusations, as reported by the media of the time, are withdrawn shortly afterwards.The provocation, showing the rebellious spirit and the strong knowledge of the functioning of the media of Cartrain, guarantees at the same time to the artist an absolute notoriety, so that, as told by the Guardian, the news also reaches Banksy, who shows him his support . This episode is followed by other actions of artistic guerrilla warfare, which bring the works of Cartrain to the National Gallery, the Tate Modern and the British Museum.
The clamor generated by his being “out of the chorus” consecrates him in the firmament of contemporary art, so much so that in Asia his works are even replicated and sold on the black market. A few years later Cartrain, not domo, creates a collage with some images of Gilbert & George – a couple of million dollar artists, among the main exponents of contemporary art. The duo notes it and, being positively impressed by the genius of the young colleague, decides to host the creation of Cartrain within his own personal exhibition in the temple of contemporary art, the White Cube gallery. In 2014 George, in an interview, declares all his pride for the work of the street artist. Gilbert & George also use the image created by Cartrain to create a huge work that is exhibited during Frieze, one of the most famous contemporary art fair in the world.
A few years later, Cartrain continues with his works and his messages that led him to be considered the new Banksy. As the most famous street artist, Cartrain also has a clear idea of street art and the need to protect it from an exclusive interest of a financial nature. Heard by Forbes regarding the current condition of street art, Cartrain said: “Street art is a powerful apparatus of communication based on anonymity. Today, most street art lacks integrity. It is essential that creativity is, or goes back to being, a solemn commitment to society and that success is only a mental and spiritual state, and not a financial reward.”
Original article by Marco Rubino.
You can read the original article in Italian here.
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