WHAT the HELLO: The Interview

… and BOOM. Just when we were not expecting to see this BRILLIANT artist intertwined between slaps and throws in LONDONTOWN, we came across our new friend from Down Under: What the Hello! What a refreshing way to start the New Year! See what he has to say about his art and brilliant advice he gives you future artists!

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Walking around SoHo London, I came across your sticker (what I like to think of the popsicle man with two legs and an upside down face – see image below) which caught my eye right away. The detail and subject made it stand out from most other “slaps” you come across on the streets – no matter where you are in the world. What made you come up with this idea to put out sticker art as opposed to putting “slaps” with “tags” on them?

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Haha! That’s so fantastic that you see my character as a “popsicle man”, I’d never looked at him in that way before and I like it. I always kind of thought of him as a small man looking inside a giant upside down head, perhaps his own head and being pleasantly surprised at what he’d found. All a bit deep and meaningful.. and kind of wanky, but I think I like the “popsicle man” idea better!

Thanks so much for noticing my stickers by the way, it’s always nice to hear that people are noticing and appreciating them. I guess when I started making them I really wanted to create stickers that would stand out and promote my art, so I made them big, colourful and kooky, and hand coloured them all so that each and every one is an individual piece of my art. 

I don’t think “slaps” with “tags” are really my thing anymore, I grew up doing graffiti so I get the whole “tagging” thing but I’m just more interested in the art now. I definitely want people to recognise my name “What_the_Hello”, but it’s more important to me that people recognise my artwork. 

Well with characters like yours, your work is highly noticeable! Where does your inspiration come from? What subjects are you most inclined to work with? Basically, how would you describe yourself as an artist?

As an artist I think most of my inspiration comes from pop culture both past and present. Of course I’m inspired by other artists, but also things like the cartoons I use to watch as a kid, the comic books I would read under my bedcovers at night, the artwork on lolly wrappers at the local milk bar etc. I always try to create images that give you that feeling of familiarity, not a tangible feeling, but more of a feeling that somehow it relates to you or your life.

We see that your art has infiltrated the apparel industry (see below) and you often refer to your work as illustrations. You have been named “Lurzer’s 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide amongst others” and have been featured in Rolling Stone! That is a major accomplishment! Do you have advice on how to get your art out there? tee 2

I studied Illustration at NMIT in Melbourne back in 2003 which is probably why I still refer to my artwork as “Illustration,” but I kind of do bit of everything these days from tee shirt design and graphics all the way through to mural artwork. The best advise I could give to anyone trying to get there work out there is to be as prolific as humanly possible, just be a part of everything and anything you can be a part of. Today especially when there are so many social media outlets at our disposal, it’s really important just to be seen as “doing.”

Clearly, you have traveled to spread your art which we he(ART). While I found your sticker art in London as mentioned before, I know you are based in Melbourne. What is the art scene like down under?! I’ve never been!

Melbourne has a brilliant art scene and there is so much happening here all the time, the only trick is knowing how to find it all. Besides having a thriving street art scene which is there for all to see, Melbourne has loads of little galleries and exhibitions popping up around town all the time so keeping an eye out and an ear to the ground is essential.

Fabulous! Hopefully I will get to go and check out the scene in the near future. However, last but an intricate part of being able to interact with your art, where can we purchase or see your latest works?!

The best way to see some more of my artwork is by checking out my website www.whatthehello.net or by following me on Instagram @what_the_hello. You can get your hands on some of my hand coloured stickers, original art and giclée prints at my Etsy shop via my website. 

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Well kids, there ya have it! What the Hello here to inspire us all. No matter what passion you wish to pursue, remember to follow your He(ART).

XX, DP (follow us on instagram @CultureHeARTs)

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Paper @ Saatchi Gallery

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Paper. Something we take for granted. Something we don’t realise has such value and importance. Something that gives meaning, purpose, and life, to something such as art.

Saatchi’s most current exhibition, “Paper,” examines different techniques in which artists have used paper as the main medium of their work. From statuesque figures (above), to creating water colour portraits of dictators from around the world (sorry I did not photograph it – it is kind of creepy to look at baby Hitler and baby Kim Sung II, along with Mussolini), the exhibition explores various ways artists have incorporated paper into their oeuvre.

Included as well in the show is something I never thought I would ever come across – an artist has taken paper bags, from McDonalds to Louis Vuitton (below), and has carefully cut out trees from the bag, which stand tall inside. I don’t know how to put it into words. But it is incredible. Such intricate detail in such a small space.

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Two other works in the exhibition caught my eye as well: what appears to be a room with an infinite number of kites attached to one another (below) created in brilliant colours is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but the way in which it is created, through varying heights, widths, and such, is absolutely fabulous.

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And last but not least is this incredible maquette city (below). When I first walked by the work, I was like, “WOW. These buildings are so small, yet create such an impression. It is like a paper jungle.” And then, when you look up close, you cannot help but look at the incredible detail… but to do so you must bend down and get super close – or else you basically will have an aerial view of a town or city like you do from an airplane.

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If you are in London this show is a definite MUST. It will be opened till the 29th of September so you have plenty of time if you are in the area. No EXCUSES. The show has something to offer to all kinds of art lovers.

We He(ART) it (especially after seeing that disaster of a show at the RA)!

XX, DP

It’s ARTISTA: The Interview

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There is no doubt that from this website you can tell that since moving to London, I have become inspired by the work I see on a daily basis – not in museums, but rather on the STREETS. This artist, Kayleigh Doughty aka Artista (@ItsARTISTA) captured my eye from the first time I saw one of her works in the flesh. And after several months of following her work on Instagram and seeing it around London, I decided I would go for it and ask to do an interview (hey, it never hurts to try) ! GO FOR IT!

Read the Questions below followed by her FABULOUS answers:

1.     I have seen your work all over London and I would just like to say THANK YOU for brightening up the grey skies with your colourful additions to the streets of London. What inspires you to make your murals bright and colourful – is it just your personality in general, is it another artist, or is colour your means of reaching out to people? The use of colour in my work defiantly reflects my personality, bright colours are something i’ve always used right from the start and when painting I literally love watching all the colour hit the walls.

2.     Your work often has ice cream cones in it (yum) and turtles – what do these symbols mean to you? The cute symbols in my work often refer to experiences or people that exist in my personal life, other than that a lot of my work is based on things that are inviting, like Ice-creams and cake.

3.     How did you get started? Did you have a background in the arts or just decided one day you wanted to bring your talents to the community? I  was a creative child, winning art competitions since the age of four. Art was always something I enjoyed and the only thing people ever really said I was good at so I ran with it

4.     Are you solely based in London or do you travel around Europe and the States? Where is your favourite place to work? Im based in London, I have traveled a little bit around Europe and did spend alot of time in the states, but I was just getting a feel for those places and do intend on going back to push my work further.

5.     Which piece if your favourite work? Where is it and what is it of? I don’t really have a favorite piece of artwork, Im producing work and coming up with new ideas all the time, if I choose a favourite I feel like I’ve settled and I don’t ever want to settle I wanna keep it fresh. (FYI I too found it incredibly hard to pick a favourite – when I first asked ARTISTA this question, she asked me to choose my favourite one – so I sent it to her… and then I sent her two more – I couldn’t decide they are just so FUN, ENERGETIC, FULL OF LIFE, FRESH… you get the picture)

6.     If you could collaborate with any other artist who would it be and why? Over the last few months I have been collaborating with all types of artists, all of which have been so much fun! The one person ive always wanted to work with was Keith Haring. I was lucky to have been recognised by The Keith Haring foundation in 2009 via The Tate Modern, but one of my future goals is to do something bigger with them. Keith to me was and still is a absolute legend, he didn’t just paint brightly coloured pieces, his motives and how he connected with people was so empowering.

7.     Where can we purchase the clothes with your work I see on your instagram?! What a great way to reach a broader audience I may add! A range of my artwork can be purchased on garments via my website store @ www.kayleighdoughty.co.uk –> YOU MUST CHECK IT OUT, MAY I SAY!! (picture of AWESOME denim jacket below – how much cooler can it get?!)

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Well Kayleigh, THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking your time not only to answer the questions, but for giving us a unique insight into your work! Can’t wait to see what you have in stock for us in the future!

XX, DP (@DPAYT / @CultureHeARTs)

K and D – Elephant and Castle STREET ART Exploration

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So, as per usual, K and I went on another street art adventure, this time, to Elephant and Castle. We came across some absolutely, utterly FAB TO THE MAX pieces, yet we also came across some very politically charged ones as well.

The GRAFFITI JACKPOT area was deserted, but glorious in its own unique way. The housing estates were cleared out. Windows were smashed. Rubbish was everywhere. While some may find this dull and depressing, it is the colourful street art that brought light back to this gloomy environment.

Below are the Politically Charged Pieces we found – intense… I know:

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NOW, contrast these political pieces with the bright and brilliant colours of the magnificent murals and enlightening mottos. See for yourself:

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And with that last pic, I say we end on a positive note… LIVE YOUR LIFE. Live it to the fullest. Turn a negative situation into a positive one – even though some of you may be thinking how is “vandalising” the emptied projects positive? Well let me tell you something… Go and walk around that area. You will see how colour makes all the difference.

See for yourself, you never know when it will be gone. That is the beauty in graffiti.  One day it can be there, and the next day it is erased. I suggest you embrace it. Embrace life. Follow your He(ART).

XX, DP