Preview: Ego, Weekend Gallery, High Street, throughout March and April.
THE creepy offerings of US artist Ego are landing in 1066 Country next month for an eight-week showcase which promises to be a triumphant first foray onto UK shores.
Boasting a flair for the darker side of whimsy, much of Ego’s eye-catching work takes the viewer to an ‘other world’ populated by creepy, yet charming characters.
Heavily influenced by the more macabre side of tattoo culture, street art and underground fine art, it is perhaps fitting his first tentative steps outside his homeland will be taken here in Hastings.
With a blossoming street art scene, this corner of East Sussex provides the perfect pool in which to dip his unique artistic toe.
And, it is fair to say, the artist himself cannot wait.
“The upcoming show will be the first showcasing of my work outside of the US,” Ego told the Observer, “and I’m hoping to spread some goosebumps across the Pond and infect a whole new continent with my creepy creatures and oddities.”
As you can possibly tell, Ego’s approach to art is as eclectic as it is unique, but, despite the darker side of his personality more often than not finding itself in the artistic ascendency over his more mellow temperament, people shouldn’t be put off or fear a ghoulish
Ego explained: “I’d like to think my creations aren’t so creepy as to turn people off, rather provide a focus for their morbid curiosity.
“It’s been said of my work that, while it does, indeed, tend to be a bit dark, there is also a kind of naive innocence in the creatures that inhabit the macabre little world I’ve created.”
So, a bit like the fairies at the end of your garden only in Halloween masks, and something at odds to the more tempered offerings usually found nestled into Old Town galleries.
A treat no doubt, but one that came about by more than chance.
“I was invited to share my work with the fine people of Hastings, by Jane Brumfield, the former caretaker of Weekend Gallery, and current caretaker of Basement Gallery, in Boise, Idaho, in the US,” revealed Ego.
“Jane first saw my paintings during a visit to my hometown of Seattle, where I was having a solo exhibition at FlatColor Gallery. At that show, we met, and discussed the possibility of displaying my stuff at Basement Gallery, in Boise.
“It was at the opening of my Never/Forever exhibition at Basement Gallery that she mentioned that her sister, Christine, was to officially take over the Weekend Gallery, and that I might consider breaking the shackles of the ‘New World’.”
As a result of that chance meeting, Ego is now bringing his imagined ‘other world’ to that ‘New World’ and the forthcoming collision is likely to set sparks flying.
His work as already featured in galleries across North America - and his design regularly appear on the skin of his tattoo clients.
Whether his haunting images will soon be getting inked onto the backs of art fans here in Hastings remains to be seen, but you can guarantee his work will leave an indelible impression on most who see it.
by Richard Morris.