It’s a writers’ maxim, of course: don’t be precious about your work. But it’s also the title of Kid Acne’s current exhibition at the Millennium Gallery here in Sheffield.
Mrs Egg and I went to have a look-see. I have to admit a fair bit of cynicism on my part: Mr Acne is a darling of the brown-nose glitterati, and the street art of his I have seen has never really impressed me all that much. Of course, that’s all without some degree of context. Having said that, this piece made me laugh. Anyhoo, onto the show. Kid’s style hasn’t changed over time, though the subject matter and themes have. The contrast between the earlier, lighter cartoons and the later “stabby women” murals and sets is pretty clear. The parallels with the semi-pornographic fantasy art of the 70s and 80s is quite obvious too, though the “stabby women” are in no way erotic figures and actually seem to have a more developed world to play in.
One of the points that interested us both was the idea of impermenance in art. “Kill your darlings”, remember? Things like the Park Hill work above won’t be here forever. You can’t be precious about it. (Although you can recreate it in a bid to be nostagic and keep the past alive – cf that bloody ridiculous neon effort on the other side of Park Hill…)
The other thing was that, as my partner pointed out, Kid Acne has a great technical ability. He really can draw. You only have to look at his sketch books to understand that. The reinventions of old Beastie Boys LP covers are technically outstanding, but its the quick, unpublished sketches that really are worth looking at. Perspective, placement, figure drawing – all there. This is one of my partner’s big bugbears with modern artists – very few of them have any actual technical ability, and their art is based almost completely on shock tactics and self-promotion.
Right. Now to crack on with MC2 again.