Steel Nerve Exhibition
1st November 2023 – 28th January 2024
Holiday Opening Times
Closed from Sunday 24th December
Open from Wednesday 3rd January
Wednesday to Sunday
11 am – 4 pm
Rooftop Arts presents an exhibition of contemporary urban street art in association with Brandler Galleries.
Steel Nerve presents works by Banksy, Blek Le Rat, Connor Brothers, Copyright, Ben Eine, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, My Dog Sighs, and others!
12 – 18s £3
Under 12’s free
FAMOUS ARTISTS INCLUDING BANKSY TO EXHIBIT WORK IN NORTHAMPTONSHIRE FOR FIRST TIME
Famous artists – including Banksy – are set to exhibit their work in Northamptonshire for the very Fist time. Rooftop Arts Centre, in association with Brandler Galleries, is set to host “Steel Nerve” an Exhibition of Contemporary Urban Street Art.
Never before seen in Northamptonshire, a world renowned group of artists including Banksy, Blek Le Rat, Connor Brothers, Copyright, Ben Eine, Tracy Emin, Damien Hirst, and My Dog Sighs to name a few, are exhibiting works at the Rooftop Arts Centre in Corby.
The exhibition, named “Steel Nerve”, runs from November 1st to January 28th. The arts centre is open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am and 4pm.
Tickets are available on the art centre website (with advanced booking recommended) or book by telephone on 01523 267010. A limited number of tickets will be available on the door.
Rooftop Arts is a not-for-profit charity that has been in existence in the town for 10 years. Its mission has been to create a space where the community can feel a connection with the arts, and enjoy being involved in workshops and exhibitions. The Rooftop also houses 15 resident artists studios which gives the opportunity for local artists to create and share their work with visitors, and offer help and advice to emerging artists.
Speaking of the upcoming event, Dinah Kazakoff, Gallery Director, said: “We are very proud to be presenting an exhibition of this caliber in Corby as we strive to improve the cultural prole of the town, and make the arts accessible to all in the community. If you want to create your own street art the gallery will be running free workshops inspired by the exhibition for you to create your own work run by professional artists.”
John Brandler, of Brandler Galleries, added: “I am thrilled to be working with this wonderful art project in Corby, away from the usual suspects of London, Bristol and Edinburgh. The collection shows the rise and transformation from what was thought as criminal art into high art. Corby whose artistic rise with the creativity and energy of the Rooftop Arts Centre is upstaging many bigger places.”
The Rooftop Arts Centre is centrally located in Corby Town Centre with easy access to transport links.
To learn more about how to find us and travel to visit click here.
About the artists on show at Steel Nerve
Click each row below to learn more
Bambi is the tag name of the anonymous London street artist famous for her gritty stencil and aerosol spray paint work. The moniker was born from her childhood nickname, ‘Bambino’ when she first began tagging in London. Trained at Central Saint Martins, her street work can now be found throughout Central London as well as the London Boroughs of Islington and Camden.
Initially hailed by David Dimbleby as ‘the female Banksy’, Bambi has evolved into her own unique brand of artist-provocateur, tackling themes of feminism, street violence, political injustice and popular culture with wit and irony. She often creates stencils of known contemporary figures to offer pointed social and political commentary. She has produced highly visible and public murals incorporating The Royal Family, Amy Winehouse, David Beckham, and Ai Wei Wei. Her work is a brutal reflection of current events and contemporary icons.
Bambi recently gained international acclaim for her work entitled Lie Lie Land, which features Theresa May and Donald Trump dancing in the pose made famous by the film La La Land.
Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based street artist, political activist and film director whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. Active since the 1990s, his satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stencilling technique.
His works of political and social commentary have appeared on streets, walls and bridges throughout the world. Banksy’s work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. Banksy says that he was inspired by 3D, a graffiti artist and founding member of the musical group Massive Attack.
Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces. Banksy no longer sells photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti, but his public “installations” are regularly resold, often even by removing the wall they were painted on. Much of his work can be classified as temporary art. A small number of Banksy’s works are officially, non-publicly, sold through an agency created by Banksy named Pest Control. Banksy’s documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for the film. In 2014, he was awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards.
Banksy’s name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. In a 2003 interview with Simon Hattenstone of The Guardian, Banksy is described as “white, 28, scruffy casual—jeans, T-shirt, a silver tooth, silver chain and silver earring. He looks like a cross between Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of The Streets.” Banksy began as an artist at the age of 14, was expelled from school, and served time in prison for petty crime. According to Hattenstone, “anonymity is vital to him because graffiti is illegal”. Banksy reportedly lived in Easton, Bristol, during the late 1990s, before moving to London around 2000.
Benjamin Flynn (born 23 August 1970 in London), known professionally as Eine, is an English artist based in London.
Eine became known for his alphabet lettering on shop shutters. Some of these letters have been mapped for ease of finding. He has also taken his lettering to the streets of Paris, Stockholm, Hastings and Newcastle upon Tyne.
Eine first started to explore more commercial avenues in a workshop above the Dragon Bar in Leonard Street, London (since demolished). Eine produced a number of custom clothing designs notably some custom “VANDALS” sweatshirts and started to explore screen prints, eventually founding the cult screen print company Pictures On Walls (POW) with Banksy. Eine produced many of the hand pulled prints for artists represented by POW including Jamie Hewlett, Mode2, Modern Toss and David Shrigley. His natural talent for colour combinations meant that he was able to enhance the work supplied by the artists. He left this position to continue to pursue his own solo career in 2008.
At this time Eine contributed to sticker graffiti and was prolific in East London with his neon and black EINE stickers.
Eine first came to prominence in the “commercial” graffiti scene through his symbiotic partnership with the London graffiti artist Banksy; through Eine, Banksy was able to access the underground scene and through Banksy Eine accessed the commercial world.
In his commercial work he has produced numerous lettering styles including Shutter, NewCircus, Neon, Elton, Vandalism, Tenderloin and Wendy.
In July 2010, President Barack Obama was presented with a painting by Eine, Twenty First Century City, as an official gift from the British prime minister, David Cameron. Eine was so surprised that he subsequently created “The Strangest Week”, an artwork of giant letters made out of “smileys” along Hackney Road.
Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat is a French graffiti artist. He was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris, and has been described as the “Father of stencil graffiti”. Actual name Xavier Prou born on 15 November 1951 in Boulogne-Billancourt in the western suburbs of Paris. Blek began his artwork in 1981, painting stencils of rats on the walls of Paris streets. He described the rat as “the only free animal in the city”, and one which “spreads the plague everywhere, just like street art”. His name originates from the comic book Blek le Roc, using “rat” as an anagram for “art”.
Initially influenced by the early graffiti-art of New York City after a visit in 1971, he chose a style which he felt better suited Paris, due to the differing architecture of the two cities. He also recognised the influence of Canadian artist Richard Hambleton, who painted large-scale human figures in the 1980s. In 1985, he was on the first meeting of the graffiti and urban art movement in Bondy (France), on the VLP’s . Blek’s oldest preserved street art graffito, a 1991 replica of Caravaggio’s Madonna di Loreta, which he dedicated to his future wife Sybille, was rediscovered behind posters on a house wall in Leipzig, Germany, in 2012.
French authorities identified Blek in 1991 when he was arrested while stencilling a replica of Caravaggio’s Madonna and Child, with the connection to Blek and his artwork being made by police. From that point on, he has worked exclusively with pre-stenciled posters, citing the speedier application of the medium to walls, as well as lessened punishment should he be caught in the act.
He has had a great influence on today’s graffiti-art and “guerilla-art” movements, the main motivation of his work being social consciousness and the desire to bring art to the people. Many of his pieces are pictorials of solitary individuals in opposition to larger, oppressive groups. In 2006 he began his series of images representing the homeless, which depict them standing, sitting, or lying on sidewalks, in attempts to bring attention to what he views as a global problem.
Copyright is a graffiti artist based in the UK known for his distinctive urban stencil style. Copyright’s art combines traditional subjects with contemporary art techniques, fusing together the old and the new. Copyright uses stencils to create his base image, and then adds depth and texture with spray paint and a brush.
Copyright’s striking work often focuses on strong women, surrounded by iconic symbolism, yet his bold graffiti style adds an element of brutality to his artwork.
Whilst studying photography and video production at a local college, Copyright was inspired by the endless opportunities there were to create his own artwork. Soon he was creating paintings by making stencils out of his own photographs, and later he took to the streets to use the walls of the city as his canvas.
Before long, his work was discovered by art collectors and gallerists and his paintings have now been exhibited all over the world, from London to Tokyo. His work has been featured in publications such as Harper’s Bazaar and he designed a custom cover for Reload Magazine.
Copyright’s unique style has garnered him a celebrity following, with a number of Premier League footballers becoming collectors of his work.
Copyright lives in Bristol with his wife Gemma Compton, who he has collaborated on several works with, including the exhibition ‘Union’, which celebrated their marriage.
Damien Steven Hirst, born 7 June 1965, is an English artist and art collector. He is one of the Young British Artists (YBAs) who dominated the art scene in the UK during the 1990s. He is reportedly the United Kingdom’s richest living artist, with his wealth estimated at US$384 million in the 2020 Sunday Times Rich List. During the 1990s his career was closely linked with the collector Charles Saatchi, but increasing frictions came to a head in 2003 and the relationship ended.
Death is a central theme in Hirst’s works. He became famous for a series of artworks in which dead animals (including a shark, a sheep, and a cow) are preserved, sometimes having been dissected, in formaldehyde. The best-known of these was The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a 14- foot (4.3 m) tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a clear display case. He has also made “spin paintings”, created on a spinning circular surface, and “spot paintings”, which are rows of randomly coloured circles created by his assistants.
Hirst was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1992, for his first Young British Artists exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in North London, which included his The Physical Impossibility of Death…, with the award going to Grenville Davey that year. Hirst won the Turner Prize in 1995. He was asked to represent the UK in the Venice Biennale in 1999 or to become a Royal Academian but refused. In 2012, Hirst was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his album cover for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires.
Junichi Masuda (born January 12, 1968) is a Japanese video game composer, director, designer, producer, singer, programmer and trombonist, best known for his work in the Pokémon franchise. He was a member of Game Freak where he was an employee and executive at the company since 1989 when he founded it alongside Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori.
Masuda has allowed Banksy to use some of his images in Banksy’s own work.
In 2022, Masuda was appointed to be Chief Creative Fellow at The Pokémon Company.
With the development of new Pokémon games, Masuda took new roles in future projects. He began to produce and direct games, starting with Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, and became responsible for approving new character models. His style seeks to keep games accessible while still adding increasing levels of complexity.
His work sticks to older mainstays of the series, including a focus on handheld game consoles and 2D graphics. His music draws inspiration from the work of celebrated modern composers like Dmitri Shostakovich, though he used the Super Mario series as a model of good video game composition.
Masuda approaches each of his games with the mindset that a beginner should be able to easily play it. In view of this, his games begin in an easily approachable and accessible style, with more layers of complexity being introduced as the player progresses through the game. He believes that handheld systems provide an opportunity for social interaction that cannot be found on non-handheld console systems. He has stated that the continued use of 2D computer graphics has been integral to Pokémon’s success.
Masuda’s musical style draws from a number of sources, particularly classical music and the works of Igor Stravinsky and Dmitri Shostakovich. His favorite musical genre is techno, and he has looked to the music of the Super Mario series as an example of video game music that works well. Most of his ideas draw inspiration from simply observing real life and visualizing how he would design or draw outside objects. As a rule, he does not use previous characters as inspirations for new ones, instead creating each new one from independent sources.
My Dog Sighs
My Dog Sighs’s style is characterised by the combination of melancholic and often naive portraiture with the use of found materials including abandoned food cans.
After 10 years of giving his art away for free as part of the now infamous Free Art Friday project, My Dog Sighs has this year finally found himself strapped in to a well-deserved meteoric rise. With an incredible international following in Israel, Japan and of course the UK, five sold out shows under his belt, and a strong following of staunchly loyal fans on social media; My Dog Sighs is fast becoming an important figure on the contemporary art scene.
“My Dog Sighs’ work forms a narrative based on counterpointed poignancy that resonate with those that have the opportunity to find them. Moments of loss and then being found echo the materials used. Tin cans, once the receptacle of our sustenance, all too quickly rejected, thrown away, abandoned by a materialistic society keen to gorge on the new”
Based in Portsmouth, My Dog Sighs is one of the UK’s top street artists. His work has been exhibited at London venues including the Stolen Space Gallery and the Paradigm Gallery, as well as further afield in Brazil, Australia & the USA.
His most ambitious project to date saw him spend more than a year transforming a derelict ballroom into an immersive world inhabited by his signature Quiet Voices creations and featuring illuminated sculpture, paintings and found object-inspired artworks. Entitled Inside, the exhibition ran for two weeks and attracted more than 10,000 visitors. Other projects have included founding the global Free Art Friday scheme and producing limited edition Christmas wrapping paper for homeless charity The Big Issue. My Dog Sighs has appeared on BBC News and has been featured in The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Art Reveal Magazine and JUXTAPOZ magazine.
“In 1992 I began to combine stencils with my freehand work, which allowed me to juxtapose almost photographic imagery with the rawness which evolved from conventional graffiti styles. Stencils introduce an impact element to my work. The appeal of stencils is that they allow me to take an image from anywhere – dissect any part of life – and recreate it on any surface.”
“I try to add an element of humour or irony to some paintings to add a little light relief to the walls. Painting is a form of escapism for me and if my work allows the spectator to do the same thing, then I’ve achieved more than I set out to do.”
Nick Walker is one of the world’s best known street artists. Born in 1969, he emerged from the infamous and ground-breaking Bristol graffiti scene of the early 1980s. As a forerunner of the British graffiti phenomenon, Nick’s work has become a blueprint for hundreds of emerging artists. His work is constantly evolving and remains innovative, modern and thought-provoking.
Nick draws on the energy and imagery of graffiti but he succeeds in combining the freedom the spray can brings, with very controlled and intricate stenciling. The results are highly sophisticated and infinitely desirable. The methods he uses retain their forcefulness and integrity on the traditional medium of canvas.
Nick Walker’s instantly recognisable style and humour have gain ed him a worldwide following. In 2008 Nick had sellout shows in LA and London, where collectors queued for over 24 hours to be among the first to get his latest print edition. In 2008, his iconic Moona Lisa sold over ten times its estimated value at auction at Bonhams.
Over the years Nick’s work has been accoladed by the media and has attracted headlines worldwide, including the front page of the Independent arts magazine and the Observer’s round up oArtist’s Statement
Charles Uzzell Edwards is a graffiti and street artist, better known by his alias Pure Evil. Born in South Wales, he is the son of late Welsh painter John Uzzell Edwards.
After completing his studies in fashion and graphics in London, he moved to California’s West Coast where he worked as a designer for clothing label Anarchic Adjustment. It was during this time his enthusiasm for street art grew, and after returning to London, he began painting fanged bunny rabbits.
As Pure Evil, he has developed a unique style of painting, which taps into darkness in the world right now. He utilises a range of media including spray paint, pastels, glow in the dark and phosphorous paint, acrylics, neon, steel, stencils, tempera paint and markers, as well as various methods of screen printing.
He has exhibited globally, with notable solo shows held at the VS Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, Korsbarsgarden in Gotland, Sweden and Cindy Lisica Gallery in Texas, USA. He also produces electronic music, regularly gives workshops and participates in lectures about street art.
Charles Uzzell Edwards lives and works in London, England.
As a mother from West Yorkshire who usually earns a living painting children’s rooms with Disney characters, Rachel List wasn’t expecting international attention, but adapting her work during the pandemic led to worldwide attention after speculation that her work was in fact by street artist Banksy.
The 29-year-old self-employed artist from Pontefract found her income affected when she was unable to go inside other people’s houses to paint, so she took to the streets on her daily exercise to draw murals outside of people’s houses.
“Unknowingly, a small act to lift morale got my work out there nationally. You never know what’s around the corner”, she told The Big Issue.
Rachel first painted an NHS banner for a local business and has since created artwork all over the local area, including health workers dressed as superheroes and one of Captain Tom Moore — the war veteran who raised more than £32m for the NHS in lockdown. Rumours spread that Banksy had been to Pontefract and painted the eye-catching designs.
Caledonia Curry (born 1977), whose work appears under the name Swoon, is an American contemporary artist who works with printmaking, sculpture, and stop-motion animation to create immersive installations, community-based projects and public artworks.
She is best known as one of the first women Street Artists to gain international recognition. Her work centers the transformative capacity of art as a catalyst for healing within communities experiencing crisis.
She was part of a group of artists in the early 00s, including JR and Banksy, that were committed to pushing the forms and conceptual limits of the Street Art genre.
Swoon has wheatpasted her intricate portraits on city streets around the world, including New York, Detroit, San Francisco, London, Bilbao, Hong Kong, Djerba, Cairo, Tokyo, and Jogjakarta.
She has been included in public art interventions including Santa’s Ghetto (2007), a clandestine installation on the West Bank barrier wall in Bethlehem, organized by Banksy; Hecho en Oaxaca (2013), and indoor and outdoor exhibition of Street Art organized by Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Oaxaca; and Open Source (2015) a city-wide public art exhibition organized by Philadelphia Mural Arts, featuring the mural 5 Stories, created in tandem with arts therapy workshops with participants in the Mural Arts Restorative Justice Program.
Her intricate wheatpaste portraits are created by carving wood or linoleum blocks, which are then printed by hand, or by cutting through several layers of paper at once. Her imagery is drawn from friends, family and other people she has met whose lives she wants to honor. She often elevates subjects who are unseen or overlooked within the urban landscape, or marginalized within the infrastructure of the city itself.
The Connor Brothers
The Connor Brothers’ art work explores the boundary between truth and fiction, and raises questions about how we construct meaning from experience. The Artists punch a hole in our everyday construction of reality, allowing us to catch a glimpse of an altogether larger world with infinitely more possibilities.
The Connor Brothers are fictional characters created by the artists Mike Snelle and James Golding, known as The Connor Brothers.
They are best known for their Pulp Fiction series which includes a variety of Mills and Boon inspired characters and relatable quotes taken from the likes of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and many more.
Canvasses, limited-edition prints and framed versions of the modified Mills & Boon paperbacks have been sold at various art fairs in London, and there have been sell-out shows of their work at galleries in London, Los Angeles and Sydney.
Mike and James also work closely with the mental health charity, CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) by raising funds through their art. In September 2019, The Connor Brothers raised £100,000 for the charity at the Bonham’s auction house where they sold 12 unique prints.
The Connor Brothers were “extremely thrilled with the result of the auction and the meaningful impact it will have.” They went on to praise the “incredible, life-saving work” of CALM, whose work “is about raising public awareness of mental health and opening up the conversation to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems.
Tracey Karima Emin CBE RA – born 3 July 1963 is an English artist known for autobiographical and confessional artwork. She produces work in a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, film, photography, neon text and sewn appliqué. Once the “enfant terrible” of the Young British Artists in the 1980s, Tracey Emin is now a Royal Academician.
In 1997, her work Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995, a tent appliquéd with the names of everyone the artist had ever slept with, was shown at Charles Saatchi’s Sensation exhibition held at the Royal Academy in London. In the same year, she gained considerable media exposure when she swore repeatedly when drunk on a live British TV discussion programme called The Death of Painting.
In 1999, Emin had her first solo exhibition in the United States at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, entitled Every Part of Me’s Bleeding. Later that year, she was a Turner Prize nominee and exhibited My Bed – a readymade installation, consisting of her own unmade dirty bed, in which she had spent several weeks drinking, smoking, eating, sleeping and having sexual intercourse while undergoing a period of severe emotional flux. The artwork featured used condoms and blood-stained underwear.
Emin is also a panellist and speaker: she has lectured at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney (2010), the Royal Academy of Arts (2008), and the Tate Britain in London (2005) about the links between creativity and autobiography, and the role of subjectivity and personal histories in constructing art.
In December 2011, she was appointed Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy; with Fiona Rae, she is one of the first two female professors since the Academy was founded in 1768.
Emin lived in Spitalfields, East London before returning to Margate where she funds the TKE Studios with workspace for aspiring artists.