Sara Shamma CNN Report

May 12th, 2015



CNN’s Report on Sara Shamma’s Show “Wold Civil War Portraits”

16.2015.Oil and acrylic on canvas.60x80



The London Police: Status May 2015 Cult Issue

May 8th, 2015

The London Police have a fantastic interview featured in STATUS, May 2015 Cult issue which also features Chloë Sevigny on the cover!

Status 64 - Chloe Sevigny copy

Status 64 - Chloe Sevigny37 copy

In conversation with Ramon Maiden

May 1st, 2015

StolenSpace Gallery is excited to present “Turbo Faith, Ladies Of The Night & Dandy Delinquents” a solo exhibition by the artist Ramon Maiden. Born and raised in Roquetas – the Bronx of Barcelona, he is inspired by those from the neighbourhood. His work includes detailed transformed images that range from Vargas pin-ups, vintage postcards and calendars, holy saints, and religious characters. However, his reasoning for transformation has social, political or religious influence, yet at other times it is solely to reference Maidens own opinions of society drawn from his childhood.


SS: How did you start as an artist? Is there any particular event/artist that influenced your choice?

RM: I began in art by vocation and chance rather than by intention or dedication. Although, I remember drawing since I was little; I never thought this could lead to something more serious to acquire a professional dimension. My training and vocation is related to social work and have little to do with the art world. I refer to it as an accident since anything related to Ramon Maiden as an artist has neither been planned nor deliberate. In fact, no one was more surprised than me by the success and recognition. However, creating has always been a need for me. It was a way to express myself and to relieve tension without having to get anything back. It’s hard to say when it began. As a matter of fact, I have a feeling that it has just started and I still have a long way to go.

I also have distant memories of my childhood already drawing tattoos on historical icons. All my textbooks and school materials were covered in drawings and I still kept some of them. I also used to draw with pens on my own skin. I don’t know why, but since childhood I felt strongly attracted to the tattoo scene. However, at that time, it was something that was not really popular I must say. My training as a social worker, my passion for traveling, my family history and my experience with visual arts are all very diverse and not at all in uniform; this allows me to be very creative. It is impossible to say one name or one person that inspires me, but my mother is my most influential person. My mother is highly creative and ever since I was little, she encouraged me and supported my passion for art.

Of the dead artists, I have a special devotion to Alphonse Mucha and Dalí because all of their art have meaning and special personal stories. I met Dr. Lakra a few years ago. We shared a booth at the Barcelona convention and I also saw him a few times in Denmark and Mexico. His way in understanding the Mexican street tattoo culture is amazing. Nonetheless, his view of art in general has always been a strong influence to me.


SS: You are a self-taught artist. Can you tell us more about you’re self-training and how you chose your style?

RM: I didn’t take any art lesson so I learned everything by myself. All the techniques and medias that I developed are the result of a lot of mistakes.I always try to experiment with different methods and techniques, which is really challenging and rewarding.


SS: How did you develop your great fascination for tattoos? Apart from what you tattoo in your work, do you also tattoo people?

RM: I’ve been involved with the tattoo community for a long time. A lot of my friends are either tattoo artists or involved in artistic tattoos. Because of its meaning and reference, my art has always been well received on the tattoo scene. I have also been fortunate to collaborate with many tattoo artists, studios, conventions, publications and I suppose all of this permeates part of my work.

I perceive the tattoo as a form of artistic expression. Many of the artists I follow not only deal with tattoos, but they are also very talented in other forms of art.

About tattooing, I have been approached about it many times. But, the energy required for tattooing is very different from the one necessary to create in other disciplines. Tattooing requires a full-time commitment, but I don’t rule out taking it up some day. However, I have tattooed some of my friends. Nothing complicated, but just to know how it felt and it was really interesting.

To tattoo, you require a special attitude and commitment to the clients, appointments, and the shop. But, to work as an illustrator grants me so much freedom to work when and where I want. It also allows me to have no creative cliché to draw and paint what really pleases me.


SS: You were born and raised in a working class neighbourhood. How did this affect your life and your artistic choices?

RM: Growing up in an environment where I was taught to appreciate the little things made me the person I am now. Humility has always been one of my most cherished values. Therefore, I always try to incorporate things I do to be imbued with humility. In addition, remembering that to grow we need to appreciate what you have.


SS: You define yourself ‘a dandy delinquent’. Both ideas are very romantic ones. Can you explain more?

RM:When I speak of the delinquent concept, I do not necessarily mean those who do bad things, like thieves or offenders in general. The dandy delinquents are outsiders who live in society, but are very critical of it. The ones who try hard to change the establishment and fight about all the injustices. A “dandy delinquent” is a revolutionary with style.

I feel fortunate that people appreciate my art and would like to take this gift to change some small things. Small changes are the key to big movements.


SS: Do you listen to music while you draw? Can you tell us about the connection to ‘Iron Maiden’ did they inspire your artist name?

RM: When I was a teenager, I was a big fan of Iron Maiden. That’s why my friends used to call me Maiden in high School. It’s like a tribute to my adolescence. Now, I listen to all different kinds of music. Ranging from old classic rock n’ roll, ragtime, swing, the 80′s new wave music, and also some electronic bands. I’m very eclectic.


SS: The process of painting on wood looks quite difficult and delicate. How long does it take to paint one of your famous hands? Can you tell us more about the whole process?

RM: I used to work with paper or clean surfaces. It took me awhile to develop the technique to draw and illustrate on wood since it is not a smooth surface. It has life, texture, pores, and veins. However, work on wood was successfully due to the result of many mistakes. It is necessary to be very stubborn and persistent to succeed in media changes and prove to do something that many others have not done.

The process is long and the work begins with a freehand using pencil. I usually do a sketch on paper before, but I mostly work with pencil straight on the hand. The second step is to outline, in which I use permanent markers. Lastly, is shading, in which I use micron markers or soft pencils. Applying the varnish is kind of delicate. If you press too much there’s the risk of moving the paint and ruining the piece. Initially, making a hand took me a long time, sometimes too much. But, by developing technique and accuracy has allowed me to be much faster. I can make 2 a day.

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SS: On your website the section ‘Artworks from Hell’ especially caught our attention. We are curious to know more about this section, its name and why you mention hell.

RM: In my work, I often represent the dispute between heaven and hell. I really think that there is no need to understand heaven as the prize for what we have done while living.  Interestingly, many people I find interesting have earned a place in hell (according to the church). So, I’m sure there are more people I admire in hell than in heaven.

 La chivata

SS: You travelled a lot. Is there a place that you like and influences you more than others? Do you have a favourite one? Do the different places you visit affect your work? In what way?

RM: I describe myself as a ‘Wanderlust King’ because one of my many passions is traveling. I’m a restless ass, so I couldn’t exist without moving around. Knowing, understanding and exploring the world are one of the best ways to grow as a person and artist. When I am traveling, I collect all of my images – virtual or physical – and afterwards, I am able to use them in my creations. There’s nothing more nourishing and inspiring than mixing with other cultures, artists, and places. Luckily, my job allows me to travel regularly and I try to go out of Spain at least twice a month. I have friends all around the world and I always find some excuse to visit them. I regularly visit NYC, London, Berlin and Copenhagen. I have my places such as bookshops, museums, markets, libraries, cafés and restaurants there. The scenery and material I find there provide inspiration for new ideas.


SS: Your interest in history, ancient religions and politics is clear through the vintage posters, postcards and images you tattoo. Can you explain why you use them and what affect you want to achieve? What is the message you want to convey?

RM: I like controversy and in almost all of my pieces, I try to express and transmit some sort of political or social message.  So in many of my pieces you can see references to historical moments, religion, and social injustice, but you can also see beautiful filigrees, Victorian patterns and intricate gothic buildings.

The balance between the aesthetic result and the message is what I want to show. The message could be really diverse, but it’s always related to the way I see social justice.


SS: You state: “With ‘Turbo Faith, Ladies Of The Night And Dandy Delinquents’ I want to show the beautiful side of my childhood ‘Robin Hoods’. The elegance of those who were forgotten.” The last sentence is fascinating. Can you explain it and tell us more about your show at StolenSpace Gallery?

RM: At my show at the Stolen Space Gallery, I wanted to give a voice to all the people that have always been concerned to make things right without worrying about what other people thought of them and without seeking any recognition, follow any religion, and creed. People like my grandmother.


SS: On your website you say that you like to shake consciences. What is your aim of doing that and how you do it?

RM: I understand art as a vehicle to express my vision of the world. I feel somewhat privileged and I want to use these privileges to try to shake some consciences and in addition, change some minds.


SS: Any plans for the future you can share with us?

RM: I don’t have any long-term plans. My intention is to continue working, collaborate with other artists and to grow both as an artist and person.



D*Face: “Sticks & Stones” at ON DECK 10 Skateboard Auction

May 1st, 2015

D*Face has donated a skateboard titled “Sticks & Stones” for Montana Skatepark Association’s 10th annual skate deck art auction ON DECK The piece is a hand shaped reclaimed 1920′s school desk, biro, resin with antique skateboard wheels all framed in a perspex display box. OD10-d-face-web-2

The Montana Skatepark Association (MSA) is a growing non profit organisation of people who have recognised the value that free skateparks provide to communities in the state of Montana. The opening of ON DECK 10 and auction will be in conjunction with Missoula’s First Friday Gallery Night. All the decks (including some amazing surprises) will be available for viewing.

  • Online bidding will begin two weeks before the First Friday Gallery Night on April 13th at noon (Mountain Standard Time – MST).
  • Online bidding will end Thursday April 30th at 5pm (MST) at which time bidders will be notified and proxy bidders can be arranged for the gallery auction on May 1st.
  • First Friday Gallery Night, Friday May 1st at The Brink 5-10pm. (MST) Bidding will end according to section. Each section will be marked with an ending time. Bidding wars will be announced and moderated by an MSA member as needed.*

* Bidding wars will occur when there are active bidders bidding against each other on a deck. In those instances an MSA member will moderate a brief live auction to determine the high bidder.

All decks will remain on display throughout the month of May.

So, if you are interested in bidding on D*Face’s deck or any others, you will be able to do so online.

For further information click the links below

In conversation with Ben Turnbull

April 25th, 2015

StolenSpace Gallery proudly presents ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit (American History X – Volume II)‘ a solo exhibition from British contemporary pop artist Ben Turnbull. His new body of work follows on from ‘American History X – Volume I -The Death Of America’ Turnbull’s hugely successful 2014 show with an undiluted take on the lone teen shooter phenomenon which has haunted the U.S for at least half a century. Guns and weapons are beautifully and intricately hand carved into vandalised bubblegum stained vintage school desks, taking us on an uneasy journey of juxtaposition between innocence and something much much darker.




SS: Let’s start from the beginning. How and why did you decide to become an artist?

BT: My life so far has been an endless zig-zag of accidents and coincidences. It’s important to make use of any and all the opportunities that life throws your way. I never truly had a plan to become anything other than someone that liked making stuff. We evolve into what we hoard and collect and what we admire and appreciate. There is a kind of catharsis to my art – I believe that is what keeps me working on the projects that I take on. I find myself drawn in to subjects that people are scared to confront.




SS: You said that you learnt “your skills from working alongside practicing artisans and craftsmen in a workshop environment”. Can you tell us more about this choice?

BT:Traditions and skills are just not being passed on any more. I think my generation is the last in line to experience this. I needed to work to survive as a young adult and by learning from the previous generation in a workshop environment I discovered how to carve, use silicone and fibre glass, create giant 16 part molds and gain the confidence to make my own mark. I am forever grateful to the artisans who took the time to teach and support me. I was fortunate to have worked with these people – the trick then is to turn those skills to your benefit. That is when you are applying your art to its full effect.




SS: Can you tell us more about the process behind your work?

BT: I begin projects as a journalist. Scouring for facts and researching the details. Historical subject matter is devoured – then instead of producing an article, I create a piece of artwork. Your interests become who you are. I truly believe that you can only approach a subject seriously when you have a complete and thorough understanding of it.



SS: Your main inspiration is the American popular culture. Can you tell us how you got so fond of it?

BT: I liked the idea that America was a foreign place, oceans away, but that they spoke the same language. There wasn’t much stuff from the USA to come my way in the 70′s or 80′s – mainly comics and TV. You had to really hunt stuff down in specialist shops. I collected ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’ books, got up early on Sunday to watch ‘Land of the Giants’,found cult toys and memorabilia down at Camden Market. I was always interested in different things compared to my childhood friends – I guess it was an early indicator of looking for a different identity.




SS: The reference to the American social and political ideologies is constant in your work and it is always approached with a certain satirical wit. What is your aim in doing so?

BT: I treat this job no differently to any other I have had in the past and for me it’s all about- IDEA-TECHNIQUE-EXECUTION. Nowadays we see too much of one and none of the others. There’s a lot of stuff out there in the commercial Art world that severely lacks most of these qualities. I would be ashamed to show anything these days unless I have thoroughly edited and re-edited my thinking to come up with the best result I can.




SS: The title of your show is a Nirvana song title, as well as the title seemingly very fitting, did the music also express and inspire this volume?

BT: I actually saw Nirvana when they played on the infamous episode of the channel 4 series – THE WORD. The television studio was next door to a pub where we used to get our under-age drinking done! The truth is that aggressive music did have a big part to play in my American History X series. It’s our own likes and tastes that form us and our thinking. ‘And Justice For All’ for example was made whilst only listening to White Hills for 2 months. I became incredibly ill halfway through and this led to a different way of thinking which led to major life decision changes. Was this the music or me and my then circumstances?

Music is the art form that inspires more than any other. I’d like to think that if you looked at a piece of work in this show that you would get just one ounce of that emotion that we feel when we hear a song that moves us.




SS: Lately your work has focused on weapons that you encase in reclaimed wood or that you ironically show in the place of fire extinguishers. It seems to be that the widespread use of guns catches your attention a lot. Can you tell us more?

BT: Actually the encased gun idea was an early work which proved very successful but for the wrong reasons in my opinion. Artworks are there to be interpreted any way the viewer pleases but I brought this idea back to execute it more accurately. As I become more experienced I like to reinterpret previous ideas and make them more powerful. Its always a learning curve for me and  I think artists like to incorporate their own  trademarks and brands.

The locker is another example in this show – re twisting my vending machine idea, fine tuning it for a better finish and a more prominent statement.


H Lock


SS: In the past you also used the collage for the ‘Supermen’ series. What is the affective difference with carving wood? Which style and technique do you feel most comfortable with?

BT: Its horses for courses with me! I don’t have one style or technique. I couldn’t function that way or I’d become bored. Every theme or project deserves it’s own material or medium for the job. Superheroes work well to represent superhuman firemen, sculptures suit propaganda ideas, desks suited the portrayal of children and gun crime. Having a broader spectrum of options allows much more room for manoeuvre. I don’t feel any different with any mediums. I have my own processes with them all and I just go through them in a very formulaic fashion. It’s just my way of working, I’m an 8hr a day grafter, I’m brought up that way.


BenAHX2-16 copy


SS: The subtitle of this show is ‘American History X – Volume II’. Is there more American History you want to tell through your work? Do you plan to add more volumes later?

BT: I owe a lot to the Director of the LICA for doing these projects in a series style. (Richard Smith, who wrote the foreword for my book – Truth, Justice and the American Way). When I worked with him on a retrospective show, I informed him of this ridiculously overambitious plan on the scale of what was before us (about 10 years work, giant sculptures and a selection of works covering around 5 exhibitions with 3 different galleries!). He just said, ‘Do Volumes!’ and  that was it- American History X stuck. It was a much more clinical way of defining each topic so that lines weren’t crossed and it wouldn’t become confusing.

Keep it simple!

Volume III is already on the go – keep em peeled.



Introducing Sara Shamma & Her Upcoming Solo Show At StolenSpace:

April 22nd, 2015


Curated By Sacha Craddock

11.05.15 – 24.05.15

Unit 8, Dray Walk

The Old Truman Brewery

London E1 6QL


A major solo exhibition of paintings by one of Syria’s best known artists, Sara Shamma, opens in London in May.

A powerful and moving product of the civil war in Syria, World Civil War Portraitsis informed by Shamma’s experience of the conflict. Forced to flee Syria in 2012 after a car bomb exploded outside her flat, she now lives in Lebanon with her young family although her husband remains working in Damascus.
Presented by StolenSpace Gallery, the exhibition runs from 11-25 May at The Old Truman Brewery.
Syrian artist hopes to show human cost of conflict in new London exhibition.
Exiled painter Sara Shamma, a former leading light of the Damascus art scene, wants to open people’s eyes to the realities of the war in her homeland.
See full article on The Guardian online HERE.

Kai & Sunny: The Goss-Michael Foundation

April 10th, 2015


Stunning section of Kai & Sunny‘s new piece currently on show at The Goss-Michael Foundation for the @mtvredefine show in Dallas.

Live auction April 10th.

You can bid now on auction site @Paddle8

The show will be benefiting the MTV staying Alive Foundation and Dallas Contemporary.

Other artists include: Michael Craig – Martin, Jeremy Deller, Damien Hirst, Ryan Gander etc.

Instagram: @kaiandsunny

CYRCLE. Installation For Google Cultural Institute

April 10th, 2015

“You never know when a mural will be scrubbed out or painted over,” said Lucy Schwartz, program manager for the Google Cultural Institute, the umbrella organization that this week launched an expanded version of its searchable database of photos simply called Street Art. “Our goal is to offer a permanent home for these works so users today and tomorrow can enjoy them and learn about them.”


The project launched in June 2014 with 5,000 images and 31 partnering organizations internationally. This week Google added 55 partners who have helped to document more than 5,000 more pieces of public art, all viewable The collection includes Australia, Sweden, Colombia, South Africa —34 countries in all. It also includes mobile apps and listening tours, as well as a map on which visitors can click to browse local art.


A launch party was held at the former mochi factory in LA. The central art exhibit at the party was an “interactive, experiential, sculptural installation” by our very own Cyrcle. The plywood booth, in the shape of a hexagon, has black-and-white Jesus imagery on the outside and a padded, soundproofed room on the inside. Guests were encouraged to reveal their sins or deepest convictions, privately, into a microphone. An audio-manipulated visualizer translated their words into landscape-like imagery that appeared on a large screen outside the booth.


“I think a lot of the times when I am creating or making something, the overarching thought in my mind is, ‘What can I say or what can I do that will outlive me?’” Torres said. “Technology is now what carries history.”


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In conversation with Pixel Pancho

April 7th, 2015

StolenSpace Gallery proudly presents ‘Memory Of Our Life‘ a solo exhibition from Italian artist Pixel Pancho. This new body of work focuses on the circle of life and the different moments portrayed as we grow, learn and make mistakes, Pancho shows this parallelism within his whimsical characters. His work mirrors the same feelings and emotions we experience to conjure up reactions within the viewer.pixel_painting1SS: Your name sounds really evocative, hinting at technology and recalling at the same time something from the past. Can you tell us why and how you chose it?

PP: The name was chosen a long time ago by myself and a close friend. We were in this project together but when he left he gave the name to me, so from then I’ve been calling myself Pixel Pancho.


SS: How did you start painting? And why do you like painting in the street?

PP: I first started to paint graffiti in the middle of the countryside, where I was living in Torino. I was painting trains and the old tool houses of the farmers.


SS: Can you tell us more about your main influences?

PP: My influences come from my curiosity, life experiences, failures, beliefs and more. I love the work of Isaac Asimov, Joaquín Sorolla, and Jenny Saville to name a few.

pixel_painting5SS: Robots are the main characters of your artwork. Why are you so attracted to them? Have they been your favourite subject since the beginning of you artistic career?

PP: I  chose the robot because the human body has been drawn by many artists already, so I decided to use a parallel subject that could get the same feelings and movement as us.


SS: You always mention the ‘humanisation of the robotic form’. Can’t we talk of the robotisation of the human being instead?

PP: I guess as I explained earlier, this is a parallel between human and machine. In our culture (not myself but general culture) we believe that God created us and we destroyed God after, then Human created Robot. So should we expect to be destroyed by robots? I leave this answer for the viewer..

pixel_painting3 SS: Can you tell us more about the process of creation of your work, your technique, style and progression?

PP: I try to have as many possibilities with my materials; the more possibilities and techniques, the more my ideas are translated for the viewer.

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SS: You collaborated with various artists, such as Vhils in Lisbon. Can you tell us more about this experience? Do you prefer to work on your own or collaborate with other artists?

PP: I love work on my own but sometimes I love to collaborate with a good friend when the opportunity arises, usually this has happened naturally and I love it!


SS: How do you choose the spots where you paint in the street?

PP: It depends as sometimes I’m offered a spot and sometimes I need to search for a location according to my idea.

Pixel Pancho @juliiea 35

SS: How do you relate to and perceive the city? You painted in London. What feeling did you get from the city?

PP: The city is a cancer where people have forgotten about real life, for instance how to get food, I can’t stay too long living in a city. People living in the city become superficial and get too involved in the system, they lose the real nature and a lot of feelings. The city makes human become a parasite..


SS: Can you tell us more about your ‘Memory Of Our Life’ installation at StolenSpace Gallery?

PP: This is a project that I have had for some years. The body of work is about family relationships, life experiences and decisions we make during our life. We make decisions for our life, or does the system indicates to us which decision and route we should take? ‘Memory Of Our Life’ is based on this concept and developing these questions..


ROA: Metazoa opens tonight!

April 4th, 2015

StolenSpace represented artist ROA has been busy preparing for his solo entitled Metazoa in New York. The work for the show was being created during a residency in Jersey City with plans to also paint a mural. The show will open on April 4th.

Please email any enquiries to:

IMG_7677-Roa-Studio-3_18_15-ManaJC-RussoIMG_7668-Roa-Studio-3_18_15-ManaJC-Russo  IMG_7684-Roa-Studio-3_18_15-ManaJC-Russo IMG_7685-Roa-Studio-3_18_15-ManaJC-Russo IMG_7690-Roa-Studio-3_18_15-ManaJC-Russo   IMG_9501-Roa-Studio-3_27_15-ManaJC-Russo IMG_9527-Roa-Studio-3_27_15-ManaJC-RussoIMG_7716-Roa-Studio-3_18_15-ManaJC-Russo   Photo credit: Joe Russo for Arrested Motion.