Sunday, August 16, 2015

Photographer Series #21: antshotkatemoss

Here are a few interesting statistical tidbits for you dear reader as the ishotkatemoss project starts to enter its way into the not-so-mainstream cultural conversation:
(i) As of last week, has 479 images included in the collage; and 
(ii) The greatest number of submissions from one single artist is 22 images. Street artist, Gregg LeFevre, who we featured in Photographer Series 13, holds the record … 
that is until we were introduced to the remarkable work of British artist Ant Pearce, who sent us 92 kate images, all of which he has created over the last 9 months.

Kate #1#1x2 (59·4x84·1cm), Cotton thread sewn on paper
Influenced by Freud’s theories and the writings and philosophies of Dostoyevsky, Kafka and Camus, Ant’s practice alludes to the idea that “external authority is what brings about man’s aberrant destructive behaviors”. His work is inspired by Freud’s structural model of human consciousness, being that our minds are made up of three interconnecting entities: the id, the ego and the super-ego. He addresses such an idea through the presentation of series of Thread Drawings, with select pieces created as Line Drawings (ink on paper) and Syringe Paintings (emulsion on medium-density fiberboard). Through a web of cross-references between color, medium and form the viewer is positioned before the image in a conversation between order and chaos. As Ant specifies, ”Each work brings into visibility the sense of imprisonment and anxiety, which underlie human existence”.

His work has progressed into pieces, which explore aspects of gender, narcissism and the life and death drives, as discussed by Freud, through various imagery including the depiction of fashion icons, which of course leads us to kate.
Twenty-five different Kate images from Ant's #6 series
iskm: Why Kate Moss?
Ant Pearce (AP): My work addresses the fragility of life through aspects of human psychology - the constant flux of breaking apart and reforming. Kate Moss embodies these ideas to me. In a world increasingly littered with celebrity and vulgarity, Kate Moss is a true icon flowing with artistic talent and elegance with a twist of 'rock 'n roll'.
Kate #2#2x2 & Kate #2#3x2 (both 21x29·7cm), both Gold thread sewn on paper + cotton thread sewn on 24kt gold leaf

iskm: We have never featured someone who has made so many kate artworks. Why so many reflections on her? 

AP: Kate has a chameleonic quality, which I find bewitching and inspiring - she emits a sense of hope. As Vogue stated '…Kate Moss defies categorisation'.

Thirty different Kate images from Ant's doubled sided work

iskm:  Given that 'chameleonic' viewpoint, each time you are creating a piece are you seeing or finding something different about her, yourself or us? Do you find the need to keep coming back to her repetitive? Is it meditative? Are you trying to capture an essence that maybe you, and we (as external observers of her image), simply can't grasp?

Kate #1#3 (81x116cm), Emulsion + yatch varnish on MDF
AP: I do not feel it has anything to do with a compulsion, nor does it relate to repetition (since I always create something new and different) and it is only meditative in as much as making any thread drawing is. Although my choice of word would be 'relaxing'.
The reasons are mainly to do with my dissatisfaction with the images I end up creating. There is something I find magical about Kate Moss (as I do with Jane Birkin), which I seem unable to express. Although she is very much of the world, I feel that trying to capture her is like trying to take hold of 'air'. She has an unworldly quality about her, like a will-o'-the-wisp. No matter how many times I try and represent her, and convey the feeling she evokes, I never seem to manage it. With this in mind it is likely that I will return to creating more work based on Kate in the future.

iskm: How do you select the source kate imagery? 
AP: I was lucky enough to be given a collection of magazines that featured Kate. I chose images that captivated me either as portraits or full figures. It's a bit like being moved inside by a piece of music. I thought it would be interesting to make the Playboy series, combining image with branding, particularly after I learnt that Kate had chosen the Playboy bunny ears and costume, used in the 60th edition shoot, in the Vogue UK Christmas 2014 feature 'A few of my favourite things'.
Kate #2 #1 & Kate #2 #2 & Kate #2 #3 (each: 21x29·7cm), all Cotton thread sewn on gold mirror paper

iskm: Can you explain your process?
AP: My creation process oscillates between the desire for structure, through mapping, which I then abandon in favour of fluidity. Thus, each work is created through a combination of control and chance, conscious and subconscious. New works rely more heavily on intuition, with the formation of overlapping and intersecting angular planes resulting in a stronger sense of flux and instability.

iskm: Why do you chose to use thread? Draw? And Paint? Is there any conceptual distinction in choosing one tool of creation over another?
Twenty-eight Kate images from Ant's Playboy series
AP: I had been making installation-based work using various materials, one of which was thread. When I moved to making more accessible works I decided to continue using the thread since it gives the work a three-dimensional textural quality. The action of sewing is delicate and traditionally thought of as feminine. I am able to use it in a way that creates strong images formed within a web-like structure. Thus, adding a real sense of fragility, imprisonment and movement into the work. The same is true of the other tools I use - paint is applied with a syringe and fine needle while lines are carefully drawn in ink on paper.

iskm: Why is the straight line critical in your work regardless of the chosen tool?
AP: I work around the idea that 'man is condemned to exist imprisoned' while drawing on aspects of human psychology as discussed by Freud. The underling focus relates to 'the life and death drives' - breaking apart into smaller matter and then reforming. 
These concepts are communicated through ‘breaking' and 'reforming' the image(s), using the straight and diagonal lines formed by sewing thread onto paper, drawing with ink and applying paint with a syringe. Each piece embraces the idea of deconstruction and 'the spiritual importance of the line' as explored by Dutch avant-garde, constructivist Theo van Doesburg while the style of abstraction termed ‘painterly architectonics’, developed by Russian Cubo-Furturist Lyubov Popova, is clearly visible. Each medium has it's own quality and I often create a series of three works based on the same image using each of my creation methods. This demonstrates to the viewer how the same image appears very different while remaining the same, causing a sensation of movement between different states.
Kate #1#3 x2 (59·4x84·1cm), Cotton thread sewn on paper

ishotkatemoss pondered how kate tied back to the notion of “external authority” that brings about “man’s aberrant destructive behaviors”? Is the external authority as it relates to the choice of kate the fashion industry? Is it society at large? Is it more the idea of beauty? And then what is the associated destructive behavior? Our consumption? We asked Ant but in a way he preferred to leave the question open and give us the space to consider, question, deliberate and muse with his muse …

Kate #1#1 (81x116cm), Emulsion + yatch varnish on MDF
AP: I find Kate Moss inspiring. She gives me a sense of hope somehow. She embodies the idea of fragility and the human disposition in a positive way, something, which is broken while remaining intact - in a state of constant flux. My practice as a whole relates to the idea of the ‘external authority’ and how it brings about ‘man’s aberrant destructive behaviors’ through image and image style. I touch on the concept of the cultural super-ego, which Freud suggested influences the development of civilization and can be thought of as the introduction of ethics within society, which if not adhered to, results in punishment through a fear of conscience. 
I cannot help but feel that we often search for things that aren’t there, while not seeing what is.

iskm: Which photographers/artists would you most want to most see involved in ishotkatemoss? 
AP: Lichtenstein, Bacon, Schiele, Picasso. There is a clear linkage between my practice and these artists, particularly Bacon and Scheile. The interest in 'the flesh', the unconscious, movement and sensation. Something that Bacon refers to as 'deforming and reforming reality' while instinctively creating images within a 'deeply ordered chaos'. 
Kate #1#2x2 (59·4x84·1cm), Cotton thread sewn on paper
Given the number of artworks, it is difficult to display the intricacy and detail associated with each piece. As such, iskm suggests you delve more deeply into the work and Ant’s practice by looking at
Better yet, for those in London, you have plenty of opportunities to see some of Ant’s Kate work in person including at: Espacio Gallery (18-23 August) as part of Sweet Art's Summer Art Festival; the Art on a Postcard stand at the Moniker Art Fair (October), to raise funds for The Hepatitis C Trust; at The Other Art Fair (October); and there will be a month long exhibition being organized by After Nyne in South Kensington (November). And for those outside of the UK, Ant is represented by Artvera's Galerie in Geneva, Switzerland and internationally by White Court Art.

With so many images to see you simply must:
Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Last week we stumbled upon an ebay listing from “imusthaveitkate” that we thought of great interest:

Item Id:
End time:
Aug-02-15 06:04:38 PDT
Seller information
100% Positive feedback

Item specifics
Seller Notes:
“In Superb Unmounted Condition, Colours are Bright and Sharp, has West Country Prince stamp and Banksy Copy Stamp Limited Edition of just 50 examples in Red/Yellow Colours, very slight indent bottom right but outside of mounting area so would not be seen when mounted, very tiny corner crease, again will be unseen if mounted, main image is perfect and sharp. I have receipt and can prove this is 100% with online history provenance, so please bid with confidence.”
Self-Representing Artist?:
Modern - Limited Edition
Original/ Repro:
Kate Moss
Pop Art

I have for auction a very nice piece by Banksy of Kate Moss in the style of Warhols' Monroe, in Red/Yellow colours, limited edition of just 50 examples, stamped to the rear with the West Country Prince and Banksycopy stamps, size is approx. 70x70cm, colours are superb, nice and bright/sharp, has a small indent bottom right, which is in the mount boarder, so would not be seen when mounted up, and the top left corner has a very small crease, again not noticed if mounted up, I have shown these in the photos, as you can see they are very  very minimal, but wanted to mention it.
I have receipt of purchase, I can prove this is 100% authentic with online history/provenance etc so please bid with confidence.
A wonderful example of a Banksy, an artist who's works are very sought after.
Any questions about this piece please ask, happy for inspections and collections, more than happy to post worldwide to ebay registered addresses only, tracked where requested/paid.
Happy bidding.

Included with the ad were 11 additional images of the print:

The piece had a starting bid of £0.99 (roughly US$1.54) which caught us off guard as you may recall from our ‘Pushing the boundaries andseeing what happens’ post of late-January, 2015 that a similar Banksy piece was being offered for 'only' $145,000. That is a pretty steep discount for a “100% authentic” and “wonderful example of a Banksy, an artist who's works are very sought after.”

So, we did a little bit of research on the web and found some interesting facts: BANKSYCOPY prints 'are the exact dimensions and colours as the originals, as they have been scanned from the original prints. They are stamped "BANKSYCOPY" on the reverse to prevent being sold on the market as originals. The only difference between these and the originals is that they are not signed or numbered by Banksy but come with their own numbering system and stamp.'

We also stumbled upon an interesting dialogue on a Banksy forum taking place on the Urban Art Association regarding the reproduction of such 'high quality' Banksy copies, which began with the following statement from ‘sundowner’, and includes some responses (with typos and misspells included) we have selected from just the first page of the, count them, 32 pages of responses:

Sundowner: … Banksy's images have been reproduced countless times the world over, but this is surely going a step too far in terms of reproducing the original print editions? The (ebay) listing states they are reproductions and go so far as to have a "Banksy Copy" stamp on them, but personally I think this is overstepping the mark and I am sure POW (iskm: 'Pictures on Walls', Banksy’s official outlet for the sale of his prints) will have an issue with this. Does this not violate ... copyright ... even though it says they are reproductions? …

curiosgeorge:  If they do then so does every other repro Banksy on ebay... Copyright and Banksy :) ... I wonder if a lot of forum members reading this are thinking should i be going mad at this? or buy some images i like just for the image alone rather than price tags?

craigf: Hmmm, I would expect they do violate copyright and being such clear copies doesn't sit well with me. To easy for one be sold already framed with the implication its the real deal

trevorm: Too true. 'Somebody' should stop this. There's an obvious implication of a fraud in the making

shaky1181: I'd love to see banksy take someone to court...

rolex: Don't think he'l turn up some how. This is why people get away with doing stuff like this.

mmmike: I like it. I hope someone does a high end (but cheap) canvas version. I bet Banksy doesn't care.

brushstrokes75: … Ebay won't remove anything if Banksy (or his representation) don't ask them too ... Sometimes you like an image, don't want or don't have thousands to spend on it. Here you can get a quality copy … I actually like the fact it stamped copy on the back with their own blindstamp which makes it more legal in their illegality … I don't see what the problem is. As I recall, most people here keep saying that it's only about the image. So, why pay £2K for a print if you can buy the same quality image for £30 lol

chaserwr: … I want it.... Is it really the same quality as the original? I guess the screenprint isnt that difficult.

mojjac: You could have the whole Banksy portfolio for less than the cost of one unisgned print.

freeview: This is damaging and could really devalue ligit prints

mojjac: I would have thought that if you loved the art for the message that it conveyed then its material value would not matter?

Guest: How could this devalue legit prints? Stuff like this has been on eBay for years. Most people now ask for a COA (iskm: Certificate of Authenticity) before they buy and you aren't going to get one of those for these. I don't see the issue, it’s all about if you want the image on your wall or the signature for bragging rights.

Time for iskm to jump back in … given that a COA is actually referenced for this copy as well, so we wondered, if you have a certificate specifying that the providence of the piece is a copy, does it make the piece authentic? We felt it best to inquire from the ebay seller and make sure they were aware it was a copy:

Dear imusthaveitkate,
Just want to clarify, this is not an authentic banksy print, right? ...
- iskm

We also directed them towards the additional information regarding the prints, in case they needed to reference what we found. A swift response was received from imusthaveitkate:

Dear iskm,
Thank you for the information, I was aware of this, hence the photo showing the Banksycopy stamp. Many thanks for your time.
- imusthaveitkate

Ah, but the point we were making was not what the seller knows but what someone looking, reading and trying to understand providence would think. Of course, is art passing itself off as the same art forgery? What about if in the act of creation it acknowledges that it is a copy?
Is such a copy, particularly in reference to pop-art a reproduction or actually a new piece of art unto itself? Is a copy of a copy of a copy art?
From Gene Korman's Marilyn photograph, to Warhol to Banksy, to the ebay listing
What if you can justifiably prove it is a copy by having authentication that it is a copy!?! What did imusthaveitkate think about this, we wondered?

Dear imusthaveitkate,
We wanted to check as you do specify that it is "Unknown" whether it is an "Original" or "Repro". Also, found the following statement in your listing confusing yet interesting: "I have receipt of purchase, I can prove this is 100% authentic with online history/provenance etc so please bid with confidence."
Just wondering that if it is a copy, how is it authentic? An authentic copy is still a copy is it not?
- iskm

Unfortunately, no response was received.
Looking at banksy’s own site,, it is written: "You're welcome to download whatever you wish from this site for personal use. However, making your own art or merchandise and passing it off as ‘official’ or authentic Banksy artwork is bad and very wrong."

We turned back to the forum and kept on reading:
hubblebubble: I guess the question is - does the seller seek to trick the purchaser by passing off the piece as "'official' or authentic Banksy artwork"? The seller is obviously hoping to profit from confusion ... I'm not a fan of this kind of behaviour, but I think it's pretty clear these works are not by our mysterious friend Mr B. Just sayin' :)

mattgold: I understand the ill feeling people have for this (copies)... and it doesn't sit completely well with me. But I have to admit, if I had the opportunity to get a Hirst ‘Valium’ reproduction printed in high quality for similar (even a bit more) I'd jump on it. Call it hypocritical... and you'd be right.

johnnyh: it will not effect the value of the orig prints etc. Never has. You can always buy a copy of anything but it does not effect the originals price whether that be a handbag, watch or a piece of art. Warhol is a perfect example of this with the Sunday B issues versus the originals. Massive price difference and they claim done on the same press … For those who cannot afford an original and there is nothing wrong with that. You can have one on your wall.
So I do not have a problem with the prints I do however have a problem that they are unlicensed as this is just someone making a quick buck off someone else's talent. Which in my humble opinion is wrong.
Banksy currently decides with POW what his issues sizes are signed or unsigned etc and that is his right. If he wants a zillion copies of that in IKEA etc he can do it but he decides not to and in my view that should be respected … Art is more than pictures. Collecting art is more than collecting images. Not saying it should be restricted and its not.
Look up any Banksy or any other artist’s image on the net and you can see it. This however is a copy of someone else's work …

Oh, by the way there were 7 bids on the kate moss banksycopy and the winning bid: was £42.00 (approx. US$65.59 + shipping). iskm kind of wishes we bought it, just so we could chop it up and make some art out of its pieces!

Oh wait, why do we need to buy it to do this … 
Is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy art?

Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.