Alex Young “Portraits Of Alter Egos”

Westbourne Studios
Acklam St, London W10
April 5 – May 10 2010

all photos nolionsinengland

Graffiti artists need a lot of skill to make a successful transformation to canvas. Alex Young’s new outing at the London Miles gallery shows him using not just a completely different non-graff skill set but also strong ideas too.

Tat Escarriot

Young pursues a pointillist impressionism style and skews the composition, adding inverted and blended multiple images.


Dots become drips and dribbles. In this canvas below the drips flow up and down the surface.


Although the subjects have a kind of goth appearance, it isn’t really important to know whether the brief character biogs accompanying the pieces are fictional or real life. Kitty Cutthroat, mild mannered daytime tea-drinker, burlesque glamour model by night; Kitty Peel, circus performing trapeze artist and pharmacist, if they aren’t fictional Young would be guilty of cultivating and showing off trophy cool mates. The clue to the answer lies in the title of the show.

Kitty Peel

These photos don’t do the luscious tones and textured surfaces of the work, don’t be fooled into thinking they have all the life of flat giclee prints. The other photos also fail to convey the size of the paintings, perhaps a few “contextual” gallery shots would have helped but they’d be full of Vyner St First Thursday trendies.

Jane Doe

YT is an un-reformed indie dinosaur with no inkling of scratch or mixing music but the DJ furiously working away on the decks kept up an impressive set of choons. London Miles have found a novel strategy of launch viewing for one night out in the heart of East London’s “First Thursday” circuit then transferring to their Westbourne Studios location off Portobello Road.

Glam, Kitty Cutthroat

A great show with some classy art pieces, how Odd(isy).


All usuable photos taken at the launch viewing are shown in this little write-up, if Graffoto gets the chance to pop along to Westbourne Studios during the show’s run then more photos will possibly appear in the flickr set.

0 replies on “Alex Young “Portraits Of Alter Egos””

I'm surprised you liked this show. I agree that it's technically and stylistically interesting, but I thought the whole thing was almost completely lacking in "strong ideas" when it came to symbolism and whatnot. Painting multiple images of a person isn't exactly the most unique way of saying "this person has an alter ego." The paintings looked like the sort of thing you would see in the background of an interview for the BBC if they were trying to make the interviewee look "street" or something. But there's definitely hope for Alex Young. At least the style is there, and that's half the battle. I am looking forward to seeing what he comes out with in the future.

There's ways to do portraits and there's Alex Young's way. The characters have been given goth and burlesque personnas and he has wrapped in some fairly well articulated symbolism. They look "nice" in a good way, like not crap and sometimes its worth just dropping the high faluting expections of concept, meaning or significance and just appreciate the "good".

Be careful with condemning art because the Beeb might use it as a back-drop to annex a street vibe, you never know when your pet artists might get {annointed/the kiss of death] *delete as appropriate.

Too true about the BBC at least. If I'm excited for Elbow-toe getting work in that museum in Warrington, I shouldn't be so harsh about the BBC.

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