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DANGEROUS MINDS ARTISTS
Every now and then you come across a new name in the art world, and on seeing their work you fall head over heels with what they do. The agipop art duo are one of those for me. One look and it was love.
Mike Lake McMillian and Alan Stuart pasts are clouded in mystery. There is talk of one being a fashion photographer, or a magazine editor, or a graphic designer or mechanize designer to the stars. Those are the few I can print. Whatever the truth, it's the now that counts. Back stories are for the theatre! Their work is playful and witty, while challenging the viewer to reconsider their world view. The duo take a measure of Pop Art, a soupçon of Post Modernism, spice things up with their obvious anarchic Punk sensibilities, shake it all up in a neon factory in a scrap yard, and create works that are perfect for our fast paced, social media driven, image obsessed world. They grab you on first look, but then you go deeper. At first it looks like it's just a pretty face, then you realize that this is the real thing. This stuff matters.
Why does Dangerous Minds' work appeal to me so much? I suppose as a huge fan of graphic novels, their graphic style hits the spot and I find the way they use each medium clever and challenging but it's more than that, something deeper. They stir something in me, and as I explore each work I find myself exploring my preconceptions and ideas around the modern world. Whether it's the use of language, stereotypes around identity or just what we think of as art, Dangerous Minds make me think, while I soak up the beauty of their creative output.
What I enjoy of that these two guys, who I've know for ages, have totally reinvented themselves as artists, and have followed their bliss. We live in an age where it's all too easy to chase the dollar in the name of standard of living, but what's the point if you don't love the life you live? Mike and Alan buzz at each event and show of the their work, and generate electricity to power a small city when they discuss their work. I am sure it's also why what they do excites me so much.
You can sense the enjoyment and thrill of what they do throbbing out of every piece. That drive to enjoy the life they live colours the artistic choices they make, and when combined with their wit and intelligence, it fuels art that I think shows a new direction for modern art. Sure it dips into the past but, much like the work of Bowie, taking from yesterday doesn't have to lead to pastiche it can lead to a something new and wonderful.
I think we could all take a leaf from Dangerous Minds, from Mike and Alan. Do the thing you love. If you do you will see just what you can do, and how much you can achieve. No matter your age, or background, being true to yourself will make you richer than any money driven life. As well as creating some amazing work, maybe the mantra for our modern world might be "be like Dangerous Minds"!
The next Dangerous Minds exhibition "As We Step Into Chaos" will be at Underdog Gallery, from April 22nd - May 7th with the private view on the evening of April 21st. I'll be there for sure.
All works by permission - Dangerous MInds
Photo - Diane Wallace 2017
DANGEROUS MINDS INTRO
So, here we are writing our first blog!
Very excited and pleased to welcome you to our blog…
After a lot of deliberation, we finally agreed on what our first blog is going to be about. We thought we would take you on a journey- the journey we have been through as Dangerous Minds Artists, the highs and lows, oh my god and wow moments….and show you what art really means to us. So, come on in and make yourself comfortable…and get ready to get inspired.
Our story began way back in 2014 when two maverick creatives decided to work together, attracted by our mutual admiration of each other’s work from which we developed a strangely productive team, based on the peculiar ways that our minds worked and the overlap of our mutual fascinations… antiquity, absurdity and the generally darker side of life…
Prior to our involuntary symbiotic collusion, we both had vast experience in all aspects of the creation of outlandish and bizarre props and installations… But Dangerous Minds Artists per se began as a reaction to, and inspiration from, the crucible of super high end event design and fabrication, and having a burning desire to create much more permanent work.
The memories are still very vivid of our first studio in Elephant and Castle… an amazing opportunity to create havoc in 5000 square feet of Zone One prime real estate… and the debut show in June 2015. Visitors had the opportunity to risk life and limb whilst coming to see a body of work that one prestigious reviewer said…”should be bought outright and kept together for posterity”…! OMG, KIN-ELL insert whatever expletive works…
With that endorsement still ringing in our ears, we found ourselves under the Damoclean sword of robber barons and developers… the dreaded bow wave of ‘Gentrification’, enveloping us and the rest of the ‘diamond geezer’ creatives, theatricals etc. in our cosy little enclave…
No sooner had Dangerous Minds found their feet, than we immediately set about wearing out our boots in the search for a new home…!
By a stroke of incredible good fortune we found a farm house in Brentwood, yes the home of TOWIE…! Fortunately the shiny orange people are scared of mud so don’t venture out this far… which means that we can carry on working in splendid isolation… with wild fallow deer and rabbits for company in what many fantasise as ‘Darling Buds Of May’, bucolic bliss. The reality can be slightly different however… water freezing in the print studio, fly tipping in the drive and three miles to the nearest shop… which is hardly worth going to.
But never the less, the absence of metropolitan distractions means that we can really get down to smashing out new work, testing new techniques and investigating ideas that would be just about impossible in the newly sanitized and utterly unaffordable London.
The pressing schedule for our Saatchi show, precludes further ramblings and reminiscences… but as it says on the show invite… FURTHER COMMUNICATION INEVITABLE!
THE DANGEROUS BLOG SPLOT
We thought we would take this opportunity to express our gratitude and acknowledge all those who were involved in making the show a success. We want to begin by thanking M&C Saatchi for all their help and gracious hospitality, Bering Ice Vodka for kindly supplying the Vodka, Jet Smarter for giving away a return journey of 2 on one of their private jets and most importantly, all the lovely people who took time out from their pressing schedule to visit the show- our heartfelt thanks to you all!
‘Illuminated Abstraction’ featured eight new neon works from the ‘Linear Musings’ series, specially created for the show, as well as works from ‘Dutch Whispers’ and ‘Order and Chaos’ collections. There was also an opportunity to acquire some unique limited edition Valentines gifts…both cryptic and provocative…! The collection was inspired by our love of duality, ambiguity, point and counterpoint.
The Linear Musing series, which attracted a lot of attention from our guests, utilises a series of subliminal elements to draw the viewer in…a nostalgic recognition of the Damask flock motif, acts as an entry point and support for a collection of other subliminal elements. These include historic references to Mills and Boone romantic novellas of the 1960’s, deconstructed magical symbols and knowing references to the cycle of life, implied in the use of funeral wreath lettering. So, what may at first may resemble a decorative panel in an amusement arcade, actually becomes a symbol laden meditation on the complexities of life.
Whilst the guests enjoyed their drinks provided by our generous sponsor Bering Ice Vodka, Sarah Williams, Head of Art Buying at M&C Saatchi engaged us in a lively Q&A session during which she asked questions ranging from our creative origins and inspirations right through to what’s coming next from Dangerous Minds Studio… Watch this space!!!
The chatty bit was followed by the picking of the raffle winners… the announcement of the lucky recipient of the pair of Red Lacquer Order and Chaos prints was followed by the announcement of the ‘online app raffle’ organised by our other kind sponsors… Jet Smarter, who gave away a pair of exclusive seats on a private jet, to the lucky winner… check them out here. As the evening came to a close, guests continued to chat, and upped the glamour quotient, delightedly taking loads of selfies in front of the shimmering neon art…
Some were keen to know what’s next for us, and all we had to say was stay tuned for further exciting developments as we prepare for a major show at The Underdog Gallery from April 21st… Further communication inevitable…!
Here’s what some of the guests had to say:
· Sarah Williams, Head of Art Buying, M&C Saatchi, “ Their use of found materials incorporated with light and the theme of duality means each piece is truly unique whilst also retaining a strong identity for the duo. I find their work captivating and their passion and drive to create, boundless. They are definitely ones to watch.”
· Meihuiliu_@dangerous_minds_artists it was great art, can’t wait for your next one. Thank you very much (Instagram)
· FLOCK @weareflock- Oh, what a lovely evening @MCSaatchiLondon with @DangerouMinds. Great work, perfect company and superb vodka tonic. (Twitter)
· Vernataylorbarker- Lovely evening at the @dangerous_minds_artists (Michael Lake-McMillan & Alan Stuart) exhibition hosted by @mcsaatchipr in Golden Square. Thank you guys for inviting me to view your amazing work. Looking forward to receiving my scarf! #art #neon #glitter #flock #skipdivers #nevermindthebolloxs #thelondonlook #stylist