GRAFFITI ARTIST PURE EVIL BARES ALL IN A SENTIMENTAL SOLO SHOW
Pure Evil debuts his very personal solo show, and a complete departure from his previous work. With his new exhibition ‘Temple of Broken Hearts’ on now at London Newcastle Project Space.
Pure Evil gave this personal statement: “In January, our beautiful little daughter Bunny passed away in her sleep. It was brutal. Our grief hasn’t gone away but it has changed shape… Since then, my wife and I have been on a spiritual path, and we have been in touch with our daughter, through meditation. She is coming back to us. We have been exploring the idea of past life regression, and reincarnation… We believe bunny will come back to us soon. I believe that death is just a doorway to other lives, and this is something that is compatible with a lot of Buddhist teaching, and also with science…energy cannot be created or destroyed, it just changes…
I had the opportunity to speak with him and find out more about his process behind the show, and his new body of work.
You mention the healing process you’ve achieved from meditation but also in the act of creating “Temple of Broken Hearts’. How long have you been working on the show?
3 weeks.. It’s been hell. BUT when you are going through hell , keep painting .
Did you begin painting or creating the pieces while your were in Asia or in London?
I got back to London and just jumped into it , sketched out a basic plan of attack and then jumped into the trenches and started battling away at it.
The style of your solo show is a complete departure from anything you’ve done in the past. With Asian influence having a great impact such as Chinese Dragons and Buddhist Temples. Is this something you can see yourself exploring further?
I definitely think I have a bit of a thing for dragons, they are so great to paint. The thing is, I’m going to get this show together , and then take a good look at it , and my next steps will be based on what I learn from it.. I’m going on a bit of a tangent and I have been battling with it in the same way as I have been battling to meditate. One minute I’m completely in the zone , the next minute I start thinking about floorboards, or Keanu Reeves , or a book I’m reading (Karl Ove Knausgaard) and I get totally distracted . The painting process is like meditating and it’s like life. Getting in the ZONE takes a lot of hard work , it’s not just about sitting on your arse in the lotus position.
You’ve said in your statement how cathartic the process has been and the healing power that art has had throughout this journey. Was there a particular piece in the series that’s more personal or which was more difficult to create?
The Dream Eating Dragons piece was my favourite , because it was really quite detailed for me . I kind of started it thinking ‚shit, what am I doing’ and then halfway through , things really clicked and I loosened up and really started to enjoy it . When I started adding colour it was a lot softer than I had expected, because I was using watered down inks, not spray paint. It made sense in the context of old Chinese scrolls and I think I might have had a bit of a breakthrough.. Theres a Chinese character that means ‚realisation’ but the literally translated the symbol means ‚open window , see mountain’ . I had that moment with that piece.
One in which you feel a greater attachment too than the others?
If I had to burn them all but one , dream eating dragons would be spared from the flames. When my father died , he left some paintings that were never going to be completed, and some ones that were damaged. I know about burning paintings.
You’ve been extremely successful with gallery shows, and exhibitions throughout your career. Do you still consider yourself a street artist?
The street art side of what I do feeds into the gallery work I do. Doing my quota on the street is part of it all.. It’s taught me how to be Zen about art. You might do an amazing piece in the street that takes you 3 days to do and somebody might just paint over it. You have to learn not to be attached to things , just move on.
Gallery setting or on the street …is there one which you prefer?
If it’s The Saatchi Gallery or the Magda Danysz gallery , I will take those over a pissy corner in Barcelona any day . Sorry , I know I’m supposed to say ‚street art c’est chic’ but at the moment I am just enjoying doing canvases and installations and working in neon an perspex and stained glass.
If you had free reign as a graffiti/urban artist to paint anywhere in the world, where would be your dream place to see your work?
I’d like to fly over the Eiffel Tower with a B52 and drop paint bombs on it and watch the drips run down it.
Lastly, as a result of your experience, spiritual journey and new path that you’ve begun where do you see Pure Evil and your work going/transitioning from here? What’s next?
I want to reach enlightenment.
Words by Tracy Kawalik and Pure Evil
Photos by Tracy Kawalik and Pure Evil