Fairs United Kingdom

Street art comes off the street at Moniker Art Fair

The merging of contemporary art and graffiti has never been more apparent

The London Police's sculptural work has obvious graffiti references but it would not look out of place in any contemporary art gallery

Nowhere is the merging of street art and contemporary art more apparent than at Moniker Art Fair (until 20 October). Now in its fourth year, the fair has taken up residence for the first time in the Old Truman Brewery off Brick Lane, sharing a floor with the less refined Other Art Fair. The location is a good match for Moniker—the City, and its moneyed collectors, is in spitting distance, while the East End of London is the traditional stomping ground of street artists.

The Shepard Fairey mural that hangs at the entrance of the fair, priced at £50,000, sets the tone. The painting, called Peace Mural, was originally created for a show at the Old Truman Brewery in 2007 and incorporates Fairey’s signature mandalas.

Several other installations signal Moniker’s serious intentions. Although rooted in the street in the sense that it depicts a cityscape in three dimensions, the collaboration between the artist duo The London Police and Zeus is a striking monochrome ensemble. Hosted by Amsterdam’s Look For Art Gallery, the sculptural work combines architectural paintings, smiley-faced characters and buildings-cum-lamps, with roads carrying wooden trucks that snake through the whole scene (single trucks are on sale for £750). The references to graffiti are evident, but the work would not look out of place in any contemporary art gallery. “It’s all art,” says Chaz, one half of The London Police. “It is the context that determines its label.”

Moniker Projects, run by the fair’s co-director Frankie Shea, is showing two installations. For Meet Me In The City, Jo Peel has erected a street scene complete with shop fronts—a kind of stage set that visitors can enter. In a booth at the end of the walkway, Peel is showing her stop animation video Things Change, 2012, which became an internet sensation after reaching more than 100,000 views on Vimeo. The luxury fragrance maker Chanel has since commissioned Peel to create painted animations for its flagship stores in Asia.

Further along, David Shillinglaw has created a three-dimensional wunderkammer of found objects, paintings and sculptures, which reference ancient and modern cultures. The works on show are priced between £200 and £3,000; Anton Magnani, a director of Hugo Boss, has bought three pieces.

The fair also has a plethora of two-dimensional works. Particularly eye-catching are Stanley Donwood’s black-and-white linocuts on show with TAG Fine Arts, London. The prints depict landmarks in Los Angeles, such as the Los Angeles Times newspaper building, engulfed in swirling waves of water. Donwood is perhaps better known for his Radiohead album covers, so the price tag of £199 per print (edition of 66) is a bargain.

For those who prefer their street art to be more “street”, there’s also plenty on offer. Sold Out Studios is showing skateboard decks painted by Alex Face, Mau Mau and Zee, Moniker Projects is showing Ryan Callanan’s acid smiley faces, and St Art Gallery has Ego Leonard’s pictures of oversized Lego figures.

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