We’ve been keeping an eye on Rugman – one of London’s most talented artists – since he did a cover for us a couple of years ago. So when we saw he was pitching up on Carnaby St to do some live painting and producing the world’s most pleasing image of a motorcycle helmet, we thought we’d stop by for a chat.
Hey Rugman, how’s it going?
It’s going great, thanks – really busy at the minute and it’s my favourite time of year for painting outside.
So what is thing you’re doing on Carnaby St?
Every year I do a live paint with the lovely people at We Built This City on Carnaby Street. This year they very kindly gave me the basement to use for the last four weeks as my studio and Pop-Up Gallery. I love chatting with the people who are buying my work and having people around while I am working is pretty cool. It’s been a great success and it’s coming to an end on Saturday when I’ll be launching my two new prints in the store. I’ll be there the whole day this Saturday so please pop along for a chat and a beer.
What’s the story behind the wonderful motorcycle helmet image?
I love images that immediately make me happy, you know the art that just satisfies you straight away? Well that’s it, this helmet is something I’ve wanted to paint for ages. I intend to do it in many colour ways and make my eyes and my soul happy. Spreading good vibes, it’s a classic.
Can you tell us more about your new publishing company?
The new venture is called ACE Club London and it’s myself and artist Heath Kane who set it up. It’s an artist-led project that at the moment comprises of quarterly shows. The idea is to bring together a collection of like-minded artists whose work we love and bring it to the environment of the members’ club. It’s a ready-made market for artists to sell their own work and also the cross pollination of buyers from all artists involved. We never set out to be a gallery and instead allow the artist a platform to sell their own original work and at the same time walk away with 100% of the money. The publishing side is something I’ve always wanted to do and runs parallel with this. It’s a very simple concept, ACE Club produce the prints and each artist will hand finish in whichever way they want. The artist actually working on top of the print as opposed to just signing it gives the buyer a truly unique piece of art and at a great price. The debut show was at The Union Club in Soho where most artists sold original work and pretty much all the prints have gone - it was a massive success. We are now in talks with a few other clubs for our next show in September 2018 and our website goes live next month.
Why did you decide to get into that? Surely your art is keeping you busy enough?
I am a great believer in power in numbers and also the idea of outward looking and outward thinking artists can encourage younger artists too. Passing on knowledge instead of stockpiling it is a positive energy to give. I also love being constantly busy.
Your T-shirts are quite often modelled (beautifully) by Tom Hardy – how do you meet up with him?
Tom is an absolute legend, a proper gent and a good pal. He likes my art and wears my tees, which obviously is amazing for me - to have an artist like him appreciate and support my work really is a great encouragement.
Interview: Josh Jones