Art Show Review

Skeleton Cardboard: Not In Use

71 Redchurch St
1 August 2015, one day only

Photos: NoLionsInEngland except 71RCS where stated

Every now and again someone comes along whose art stands apart from the rest of the street art canon. A few years back quirky skeletons started to live a somewhat traumatised and confused life on Shoreditch wall. Thus began an unconsummated love affair with the work of street artist Skeleton Cardboard.

He has worked big

And he has worked small

He has done stickers

and paste ups on vintage paper

He has collaborated with other artists

Skeleton Cardboard vs Nathan Bowen

“D7606 – your cheque is in the post”

We have found even free skeleton cardboard art on the street (but of course guests on my daytime job street art tour are always given the excitement of keeping those cool free art pieces)

Sarah & Lisa, 2013

This weekend we spied an open door in a Shoreditch cottage and we were beckoned in, “this is someone’s front room but be welcome” we were told, Skeleton Cardboard was having a pop up one day art show in someone’s house.

Photo: 71RCS

Now, the idea of an art show in the home is not specially new, what is different on this occasion is that those events are usually staged in an art world “insider’s” cool loft; the owner is either the artist, a friend or perhaps a gallerist. Skeleton Cardboard’s host is no art world insider at all, merely someone living in Shoreditch who didn’t chase Skeleton Cardboard off aggressively enough and once he had a toe in the door SC made himself at home.

Photo: 71RCS

Certain influences in Skeleton Cardboard’s work are quite obvious, day-of-the-dead; Basquiat. Skeleton Cardboard re-contextualises the health & safety warnings and propaganda that we all encounter in our daily lives and with an understated intelligence and wit he illuminates previously unsuspected sinister aspects. You look at his charming skeleton characters with their “death words” and think “yeahhhh, spooky, I hadn’t thought of it like that before;”

Photo: 71RCS

Photo: 71RCS

The atmosphere inside the “gallery” was warm and welcoming, none of the snooty aloofness of the posh west end galleries or the “we tolerate you lurkers, chatters and free beer gluggers until the first excuse to throw you out because our real priority is the 10 people on our email list who actually buy shit”.

Photo: 71RCS

Rich, to whom thanks are due for the photographs that accompany this blog post, has lived on Redchurch Street for years and like your author fell in love with Skeleton Cardboard’s work. A chance encounter with Skeleton Cardboard’s work in Monty’s Bar led to Skeleton Cardboard being invited to place a mural on a garage door to Rich’s property about a year ago.

Rich has over the years tolerated and enjoyed some fantastic street art on the externals of his property including a spectacular ROA squirrel, works by C215, Elbow Toe, Anthony Lister, Jim Vision and currently Skeleton Cardboard, Cityzenkane and James Bullough. Rich is sadly moving out of Redchurch St as the home goes the way of most property on Redchurch St – redevelopment. This pop up show by Skeleton Cardboard is sort of one final hurrah for a very cool Shoreditch spirit. This event was really reminiscent of the old days when the gap between the art on the streets and the work in the galleries wasn’t the gaping conceptual chasm that it is these days. In Rich’s words “For me, this was a fitting end to an incredible time living here. And for 24 hours it felt like Shoreditch used to. RIP 71RCS”.

Couldn’t say it any better.

Photo: 71RCS

Link: Skeleton Cardboard facebook

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