I had the pleasure of going along to ADW’s first show ‘Stensual’ at the Back Loft on Thomas St on Thursday the 15th- And I was in my element. The Dublin artist is one of three (the other two being Will St. Leger and CANVAZ) street-artists whose stuff really excites me.
The venue itself is a very unassuming hall up a tight stairs down a back alley off Thomas St and was a great choice for the show. ADW’s stuff is nothing short of genius though. Thoughtful and poignant it pokes fun at Irish life and really holds up a mirror to the bullshit we’re sick of too. Prime examples being his portrait of a naked Mary Harney sprawled on a couch entitled ‘Picture of Health’ and Bertie’s butter-wouldn’t-melt caricature emblazoned with ‘celtic-tiger’ features.
Perhaps my absolute favourite of the night was a recent work by ADW which featured on the side of a well known city centre church for all of about 5 minutes entitled ‘Comedy Sketch’ which features Ardal O Hanlon’s Fr. Dougal Maguire dressed as the Pope. Clearly poking fun at the shambles by which the Catholic church is run. Here, here.
While all of the pieces on the night were for sale, and quite moderately priced I may add, ‘Comedy Sketch’ was only available as the one-off canvas edition. The canvases ranged from around €180-€280 which is quite modest, but a little out of my budget so I opted for a paper stenciled edition of 7 of Do Not Pass Go, in which two Gardaí escort Uncle Pennybags (or the Monopoly man to you and I) to prison. (Presumably a member of the golden circle, the bastard!) Other pieces that were very modestly priced included a ‘show-print’ featuring Clint Eastwood holding a spray can under an ADW logo.
Great stencils were incorporated into the venue itself with yet another Mary Harney caricature ala Charlotte’s Web on a door and an ADW bomb being responsible for a hole in the wall. My favourite part of the night was that while there were lots of self-important press people, there were also kids running around shooting bow and arrows, teens in school uniforms and random gawkers who walked in off the street. There was no sense of the usual elitism that surrounds art events.
ADW himself keeps his identity a secret, not unusual in the world of street art, for fear of repercussion from local authorities. But nonetheless I’d like to thank him/her for a good night, the great art and the free booze.
ADW will feature alongside Will St Leger and CANVAZ at the Antics Rogue show – May 1st from 2-4pm at the Market Bar on Fade St. Bring your old, rubbish art along and they’ll pimp it in return for a donation.