The Solaris guide to London

I have been living in London for 15 years and I still love the big smoke dearly. So when friends ask me about what to do when traveling to the capital of Britain I am happy to give advice. So in order to not repeat myself all the time I thought I’d write up this little tourist guide for y’all…

A disclaimer: This is by no means an extensive list. Covering everything this amazing town has to offer would be impossible! So this travel guide is aimed at people being obsessed with the same stuff that I am: Shopping, Urban Art and Record Shops!

To start off I’d like to give the basic advice of allowing enough time. I’d say visit, at least for three days, not including travel. When I go on a city break, I try to fly in late on a Thursday to wake up fresh the next day and fly home on the Monday so I don’t have to rush on the weekend. Just saying’…

Regarding accommodation, I would go for an AirBnB in the East London area: Shoreditch / Hackney. That’s where all the fun is and you are not stuck somewhere in Zone 4 with no way to get home conveniently.

Airport wise, I prefer Gatwick and Luton as it’s relatively well connected. Stanstead and Heathrow are further away and a bit of a pain in the butt.

Regarding travel within London: I’d get an Oyster card as soon as possible to get the best travel deals and the convenience of touching in and out. This card can be acquired at any tube station and returned for a refund when you leave town again.

The two apps to download: UBER and Citymapper! Now you are ready to go…

Day 1 – Friday: Shopping Mania!

Fresh out of bed I’d start with a breakfast on the go at Pret-A-Manger. Yes it’s a chain but we don’t have a lot of time and the food is great. Soho and Carnaby Street are full of stores with international acclaim so I’d wander from Holborn via Neil Street into Soho and further on to Carnaby Street. As I am into my Streetwear my points of call would be Supreme, Maharishi, Patta, Palace, Oi Polloi and Foot Patrol. More common spots to hit would be Adidas Originals, Nike, Size? and Carhartt. For a more eclectic taste I’d recommend Lazy Oaf and Dover Street Market. Especially Maharishi is worth a visit as the shop has a fantastic interior design!

A word of warning regarding visiting Supreme: The Hype is strong! Schedule in around 2 hours of waiting time to enter the store, especially on a Friday when they just got new stock in.

For lunch, I would try to grab a filthy meal deal at Boots or another super market along the way. You really can’t fill your belly cheaper and we need all our money for booze and trainers later on!

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy you can grab some food at the Japan Centre on Piccadilly Square: They got very affordable Sushi and Bento boxes. 

Now that we are fed and freshly dressed we can continue to start record digging: Sounds of the Universe, Reckless Records, Sister Ray and Phonica are all in the area and cater for the vinyl obsessed.

The pubs will start filling up from 4 PM onwards so it’s a great time to wrap up your shopping spree ( no pun intended ) and start getting some beers in whilst soaking up the hustle and bustle of the city. Expect to see loads of Bankers getting absolutely shitfaced! Great people watching spots are The John Snow or The Coach & Horses.

British etiquette: No half Pints and Shandies allowed! A proper visit to the pub consists of four pints average BY LAW! Bar snacks can be consumed, I would recommend Pork Scratchings. More certified British snacks would be Wotsits, Monster Munch and Scampi Fries. Bar snacks / crisps are regarded actual food in Britain so don’t feel bad if your dinner accidentally consists of 5 pints of beer and a bag of dry roasted nuts. We all been there!

The John Snow pub actually belongs to a group of pubs run by the Samuel Smith brewery: This means it doesn’t serve big mainstream beers like Heineken or Stella but brands brewed by Samuel Smith. The good thing about it: The price for booze is very affordable and well below other pubs! So seek them out, there are a couple located in Soho!

For dinner, I’d hit Bodeans to get some filthy ribs or pulled pork. Other places to check out would be Wahaca for some Mexican Street Food and great Tequilas or any of the other chain restaurants that litter the area: Busaba Eatthai, Byron Burgers, Chipotle wraps. What can I say… I am a man of simple pleasures!

If you wanna go posh I’d recommend Yauchatcha: A trendy Dim Sum place with great food and interior…

For some late night entertainment I would just spend the night in the pub and get drunk: It’s a British classic! If you feel more cultural you might want to catch a musical or check out the Prince Charles Cinema: Their prices are really cheap and they show a lot of weird cult flicks and sing-a-longs! My favorite cinema in London… 


If you want to drink late and don’t fancy a horrible overpriced and naff Soho bar I’d go to the Crow Bar which is open until 3 AM. But be careful: The patrons do enjoy their Heavy Metal!

If you feel peckish after I’d definitely go to Bar Italia for a late night snack and coffee: This place is just legendary and a must see!

Day 2: Tourist stuff and museums

On Saturday I’d start early with a walk through Bricklane. There is loads of great Street Art to check out: Either in the Normadic Gardens, on the walls around Bricklane or at Stolen Space Gallery at the Whitechapel end of the street. In any case, check out the motorcycle shop run by London Artist D*Face called Rebel Alliance and grab some nice patches or a cool T Shirt! If your art taste is more contemporary: There is Whitechapel Gallery just down the road also.

FYI: I put a lot of stickers up in that area so keep your eyes peeled and tag me on Instagram! 😉

If you get hungry grab a beigel from the legendary Beigel Bake at the top of Bricklane. Open 24/7 on 365 days in the year! I even spotted Apex Twin there one day so you are in good company. Go for the salty Beef Beigel with mustard! A Bricklane essential…

Then onwards to London Bridge. Take the 149 Bus from Liverpool Street Station and ride all the way down to the river. Have a walk via Borough Market, past the Golden Hinde towards Tate Modern. Especially the new extension is worth a visit as you can be a bit of a peeping Tom!

From there you can continue walking up alongside the river towards the Southbank Centre, the London Eye and finally Big Ben! If you still can walk I’d cross the river and go central again via Trafalgar Square and maybe holla at Buckingham Palace if you must. That should all your tourist snaps be done then!

I’d then jump on the tube and head back East to grab some Vietnamese food in Shoreditch. But a word of warning: Don’t get caught up in some naff tourist bar after for drinks! If they have an excessive amount of neon in their windows… MOVE ON!

My recommendations for after food liquid entertainment would be Dragon Bar, Jaguar Shoes, Old Shoreditch Station and the Bricklayers Arms to name check the few cool places in the heavily gentrified area. A hidden gem is the Bar Bohemia with its entrance innocently hidden between a news agent and a Kebab shop. But don’t be fooled! Bar Bohemia is a fantastic place for cocktails in a 60ties retro setting. Highly recommended! They got loads of Absinth too… be careful!

As the night progresses I’d head up further East: Dalston is full of pubs and venues to dance the night away and get some drinks in. My recommendations: The Shakewell Arms and Dalston Superstore ( yes it’s a LGBTQ bar but Hetero friendly and a lot of fun! ) and The Alibi.

If you are a fan of the Resident Evil franchise I would definitely check out the Ridley Road Market Bar. It’s a trendy Berlin-esque bar in the middle of the notorious Ridley Road Market in Dalston where during the day many local butchers sell their wares… just so you can enjoy the sweet smell of rotting flesh whist queueing up for your Mojito at night! It’s definitely an authentic East London experience…

For a late night snack I’d recommend the awesome Lamb Shish at Umut 2000: All meaty awesomeness wrapped in home baked bread and cooked over a big fire!

If you see some elderly men walking up the street: That could be British art duo Gilbert & George who frequent the same Turkish restaurant every day for art reasons. Mangal 2 doesn’t only serve great Turkish food but has the most hilarious Twitter feed ever. Check it!  

Sunday Day 3: Chill and Sunday Roast

Sunday is fun day! As all museums and shops will be open it’s possible to wrap up any loose ends from Friday or Saturday. Just make sure you are in a good pub to eat a proper British roast around 5PM!

A great spot to hang out when the weather is good is the Columbia Flower Market. It’s very close to Bricklane so if you still want to check out Stolen Space or the markets you can easily wander over. My pub of choice in the area would be The Royal Oak for a cheeky afternoon pint and a roast!

For record lovers, the East has some great shops to discover as well: From the more obvious Rough Trade and Sister Ray to Love Vinyl, Kristina RecordsEldica and Lucky 7. And whilst you are in the area, why not say hi to NTS Radio which has its recording studio near the Dalston Overland Station.

  via NTS
via NTS

When the night falls head over to The Haggerston, a pub between Haggerston Station and Dalston. They have live Jazz on Sundays and the place is rammed with Hipsters… and I mean this in the best way possible! It’s open late so expect to get drunk and have a dance! Do it! If you are single this is a great spot to check out too #meatmarket

Now if you have been clever and listened to my advice you can sleep in a little before packing your things and heading home on Monday. I hope this guide helped you a little. Hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions, always happy to help! For further research, I would recommend TimeOut and TripAdvisor.

Essential British vocabulary:

Cheers! Thank you!

Are you taking the piss? Are you bullshitting me?

Let’s go for a cheeky half! Let’s get really drunk!

You foookin’ cunt!!! You god damn vagina!Worst insult in the British language )

Twat! Idiot!

Getting smashed / shitfaced / hammered = Getting drunk

Hair of the dog = To continue drinking when hangover

In that note… hope you enjoyed my little introduction  to the awesomeness that is London. And remember: Don’t take the piss… you cheeky twats!

Group hug, Solaris

Daydreaming with… UNKLE @Lazarides Gallery

Let’s chat about the reason I took it upon myself to visit London in January when it’s rainy, cold and horrible: MoWax boss James Lavelle was holding court in the legendary Lazarides gallery to celebrate 25 Years of UNKLE and the upcoming release of the new record ‘The Road’!

So when I got the chance to attend the private view of the show I knew I had to hop onto the next flight to The Big Smoke aka London Town.

It was great to check out all my old haunts like Maharishi, Supreme and various record shops with the exhibition being the cherry on top.

When I arrived at the venue on day two of my stay there was already an orderly queue forming outside the gallery and soon the space was buzzing with the devoted followers of all things UNKLE.

On display where pieces crafted by the usual suspects: Futura 2000 and Massive Attacks artist in residence, 3D. Both created artwork for past UNKLE albums with Futura covering the first two and Del Naja taking over for the third album ‘War Stories’.

Additional UNKLE related art was provided by Doug Foster, John Isaacs, Ben Drury, Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones to name just a few!

I really enjoyed the mix of different mediums on display: From photography, painting, sculpture all the way to scents and VR experiences, there was no shortage of things to look at.

Still, when I think MoWax and UNKLE I really like the old work by Futura best. I’m just oldskool like that!

The legendary Pointman character he created for the UNKLE logo is still my fave, so one of the stand out pieces of the show for me was this weird mechanical Pointman robot on the upper floor.

First on display at the original Daydreaming show curated by Lavelle all the way back in 2010, it’s still very impressive in the flesh… or dare I say… metal.

You can see this thing in action here.

I couldn’t really take any good shots at the show that night so I returned the next day to give the whole exhibition a second viewing. 

The fun with UNKLE always was the merchandise connected with the band: Being it rare versions of the albums, collectable toys or limited edition clothing… UNKLE never held back.

So not suprisingly there were a lot of things for sale, especially some vintage goodies straight out of Lavelles private collection!

When the main guy of a music band creates a Japanese toy of himself in BAPE garm, you know how geeky the world of UNKLE really is. That might explain why most of the people in attendance were middle-aged Streetwear nerds like me… eyeing the display of rare merchandise nervously…

On that note: Shoutout to @mowaxplease who actually got himself a plastic Lavelle to take home with, I am envious!

I promised myself to be good and not purchase any more stuff but when I saw the new screen prints created for the show I had to reconsider: Featuring six different colour variations of the legendary UNKLE camouflage created by Futura and Ben Drury, I just knew I had to get one!

The funny thing about UNKLE is that although I enjoy the music, the true appeal of James Lavelles musical project really is this incredible, Otaku like obsession with creating hard to get collectables that accompanied each album release.

Being it the UNKLESounds mix CDs that never got officially released, the awesome pop up album artwork that was promo only or the toys created with Medicom in Tokyo: You could bet each new album would come with a bucketload of swag that send Hypebeast heads spinning… but that topic is a blog post in itself!

You can get a good sense of Lavelles obsessions in this video of him chatting to The Guardian about the show. I am still cracking up watching the bit where he tries to explain all the toys to the flabbergasted interviewer…

So yeah… boys and their toys. Again, you can blame it all on Star Wars! If everybody would have kept their Hans and Leias boxed and not sold them off as kids, so much geek trauma could have been averted!

But then again, maybe we wouldn’t have gotten all this great artwork and product.

Still, geek shouldn’t be a dirty word. It’s the medal of honour that should be worn with pride! It means you know more about a specific topic than most other people on this planet which is AWESOME, right?! The only rule to follow here is to never, EVER try talking to people who are not sharing the same fire. 

This is a foolish rookie mistake that can only end in tears and humiliation!

I know I can always count on my homies from to create a nice comforting echo chamber of warm UNKLE man-love at such events. So shout out to @Mojib, @Mowaxplease, @ZMan, @WDMN, @JonesysJukebox, @M0Matt and the many others that made it down to London to worship at the altar of UNKLE just like me.

Some travelled all the way from Sweden and France so big up to JL for being a good sport and taking a snap with the U77 massive!

On this note let me wrap up with the official war cry of the MoWax obsessives: 

U… N… K… L… E …EE! Until next time…

For more about UNKLE and the legacy of MoWax head over to:

If you want to hear some great UNKLE tracks and remixes, check out my UNKLE tribute mix over at Mixcloud:

Solaris on tour: London calling! Part 1

It’s always great to visit London. I just love this city! But let’s be honest here: It’s not a place where you can catch a breath and chillax. The hustle and bustle of this multicultural metropolis sucks you right in and it’s great fun to over-indulge in it’s cultural offerings of which there are many!

So join me on my trip whizzing through the shows London had in store for me on my recent trip to the big smoke…

Gavin Turk at the Newport Street Gallery

However one feels about Damian Hirst, he really puts his wealth to good use by creating a stunning museum to showcase pieces from his personal collection. I love the fact that the entrance is free and that the gift shop is not part of the viewing experience.

The current exhibition centres around Gavin Turk, another YBA and Hirst contemporary. Graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1996, he rose to instant fame when the RCA refused Turk his postgraduate degree based on his graduate show piece called Titled Cave. 

It consisted of a whitewashed studio space with a blue heritage plaque on the wall commemorating his own presence as an artist, stating “Gavin Turk worked here, 1989-1991”. 

Ballsy move I say! But then again it’s always better to rock the boat and stand out than just fall in line.

Still, the show left me feeling ambivalent. His pieces might play with questions like value and originality but seeing bin bags cast in bronze felt like a tired metaphor I have seen over and over again, starting all the way back with Duchamps urinal from 1917.

Whilst I loved his legendary MA piece the waxworks and sculptures of himself fell a little flat for me also as I feel Cindy Sherman already explored this play on celebrity and identity, and with more success.

I might do his work injustice, but I felt Turks pieces came across like a lovechild of David Shrigleys crude surreal humour, Banksys social commentary and Koons self loving egomania. Not a bad mix but lacking in impact for me.

Still, the execution of the work was great and fitted the space well. More about the exhibition and the artist Turk here…

The next thing I was curious to check out was the museum restaurant Pharmacy 2. When I visited the Koons show last year the space was already closed so today was my chance to see it in all it’s pill popping glory!

What can I say, an exercise in subtleness it’s not: Stuffed to the brim with Hirst-isms like his famous butterflies and pill cabinets, it’s visually stunning for people who don’t mind to indulge. After being shown to a table by a very friendly waitress, the reasonable prices of the menu allowed for having a seat and a quick cocktail to take it all in. Definitely recommended!

Onwards to the…

Banksy Print Gallery

Although Banksy stopped working with Steve Lazarides in 2009, the gallery still owns a massive stash of Banksy prints and artwork. As I already checked out the Lazarides curated exhibition at the MOCO gallery in Amsterdam last year I couldn’t pass on the chance to have a look at this permanent exhibition next to the Mondrian Hotel on the Southbank.

No surprises here, just walls full of Banksy’s Greates Hits! Again, this exhibition was free also and it’s always great to see a Banksy in the flesh. The prints really show why Banksy is so popular: Clever visual puns and a crisp execution.

Next stop…

Tate Modern Switch House

When gallery crawling on the Southbank, the Tate Modern is a must! Especially as I haven’t had the time to see the spectacular extension yet! Dubbed the Switch House, this twisted pyramid structure stands 64.5m tall and has an amazing 360 degree viewing platform on it’s top level.

Nobody does massive as impressive as the Tate Modern, and this new building fit’s right in next to the legendary Turbine Hall!

Whilst taking in the great views I wondered how happy the owners of the luxury loft buildings next to the Switch House must have been having thousands of tourists peeking into their flats every day. 

The sign urging visitors to respect their neighbours privacy feels too little too late as the glass walled living rooms across the platform feel like natural extensions of the viewing experience. Let’s just say I am happy the Tate is not planning any viewing platforms next to my flat anytime soon!

No Southbank visit is complete without checking out the Southbank Skatepark! After a long legal battle about it’s relocation in 2016 the park is here to stay  and breaks up the row of chain store restaurants that clutter the area rather nicely!

As the sun set it was time to slowly walk over the Millennium Bridge to head towards Soho for the private view of the UNKLE retrospective at the main Lazarides Gallery. I will give this exhibition it’s own in depth review at a later date so let’s just say it was a lot of fun and very, very geeky!

My exhibition crawl ended the next day with a very special show curated by my good friends from Gammaproforma. Run by it’s curator Rob Swain, Gammaproforma is bridging the gap between art, music and print. 

Launching their new gallery Gamma/Sector 25 in SE25 with a bang, their first show “Humilitism” examines Social Media and it’s fallout featuring new artwork by SheONE, Will Barras, Swifty and many more. Of cause I had to check it out!

Loved all the pieces on display and it was great to catch up with old friends. As a very special treat I finally got my hands on the Gamma published book by legendary London Designer and Artists Swifty! “Funky Typo-Grafix” is full of his art and design work he did for record labels like Talking Loud, MoWax and more. Check it out here, essential reading!

So there you have it! The first part of my London travelogue… stay tuned for part 2!

Let me sign off with a massive THUMBS UP to all of you via the fourth plinth on Trafalgar Square and the genius of David Shrigley… #goodvibes!

Riddim: Nottinghill Carnival forever!

One of the things I love about the Big Smoke is it’s eclectic mix of people: There are around 300 different languages spoken on the streets of London and you can bump into people from all over the world at every street corner. That’s why this whole Brexit thing feels so silly and weird to me.

For me the biggest celebration of diversity has been the annual Notting Hill Carnival where the Caribbean community celebrates its heritage with dance, drink and (steel) drums… and the rest of London joins in!

Although the roots of the NHC go way back to the 1950’s, the carnival first hit the streets in 1966 as a celebration of cultural unity. Around 1970 the Notting Hill Carnival consisted of just a few music bands and 500 dancing spectators. But things started to get bigger around 1973 with more sponsorship, the recruiting of more steel bands, reggae groups and sound systems and extending the route. Today NHC is Europe’s biggest Street Party with around 2 Million people attending each year and the second biggest carnival just behind Rio! More exciting facts about the carnival here…

This might be why Londoners either love or decidingly avoid the carnival: Because if you can’t brave large crowds pushing you one direction, then maybe this celebration is not for you.

I personally love the NHC. Not only because I believe that the world needs more amazing street parties, but because it’s great to see some sparkles and feathers brightening up grey and brutalist London!

Still, after nearly being pushed onto a Jerk Chicken grill last year by a tidal wave of people trapped in a tight spot I had reservations attending this year. But with the sun out I had to grab my camera and at least take some pictures! Arriving late on the Monday helped me to avoid the busiest areas and I stayed away from the inner circle of the festival in central Notting Hill.

So easy vibes and still loads of sparkles and feathers all around!

Apart from the amazing floats with it’s gorgeous dancers, the sound system culture is one of the biggest draws of the carnival: Legendary sound systems like Aba Shanti, Channel One and Norman Jay’s Good Times draw huge crowds, so trying to have a dance can be of an issue. That’s why I personally prefer to just float around and let the vibe carry me, instead of having a rigid plan. Because NHC can be really chaotic, packed and too much if you don’t go with the flow!

I really must give the utmost respect to all the planners, volunteers and police men and women who still manage to keep the NHC safe and manageable. Big up yourselves!

Seeing all these massive bass bins really makes my fingers itch every time I am at the carnival: It’s surely is every DJs dream to be able to blast tunes on a system connected to these bad bwoys…  

The 7PM curfew reminded me that Tuesday unfortunately is excluded from the official Bank Holiday so I managed to be a responsible person and hit the train home to lovely East London. Still the excitement of the carnival kept me buzzing!

So if you just moved to London or plan to visit next year: Grab your whistle, get some face paint on and an ice cold Red Stripe and check out the carnival! Irie?

My official Top 5 tunes I would play at the carnival

1) “Nice Up” – Black Grass

Straight off the Document 3 compilation by Dj Andy Smith, if this tune is not making you shake your hips you might have to lubricate them with a little bit more Wray and Nephew!

2) “Anthem” – Black Rose

A nice reggae infused House banger that builds nice and slowly. But once that chorus hits…

3) “Push Push” – Rockers Hifi

A stone cold classic from 1991. Yes, I am old.

4) “Kitachi In Dub Rmx” – Kitachi

I was always a big fan of the Dope on Plastic compilation series and record label. And I really like Digi Dub too! So this is a nice rowdy track to get the crowd moving…

5) “Original Nuttha” – Shy FX

Certified London anthem from 1995. Plus I used to live in the same apartment block as Shy FX. True story!

London Gallery Crawling: Part 1

Living in London as a creative person can be a blessing and a curse at the same time: It’s absolutely fantastic to have the best of art, design and music at your fingertips, yet it can be mind-fryingly overwhelming as well.

It’s easy to develop full blown FOMO ( Fear Of Missing Out ) syndrome as the best of the best exhibiting their work in an seemingly never ending queue of awesomeness on a daily basis. It’s just really easy to get lost in the whirlwind of other people’s work and loose one’s own creative focus!

Still, with the right amount of self discipline ( erm ) it’s possible to get stuff done AND enjoy the richness of London’s creative scene. So please enjoy my little recap of exhibitions I checked out lately…

Maser: Orbiting on the Periphery / Lazarides Gallery

I always enjoy shows at Rathbone Place where Lazarides currently operates it’s main gallery. Home of many great exhibitions in the past, it’s one of the top galleries for Urban Art in London, check it!

As dedicated followers of my digital adventures know I am a sucker for bright colours and shapes. So great I stumbled into the show of Irish artist Maser purely by chance! I really enjoyed his paintings and took a good long look at his technique as he used a lot of different materials and interesting approaches to getting certain effects on the canvas…

Ahhhh colours…


The Connor Brothers: Wondrous Obsessions / Hang Up Pictures

Another heavyweight of the British Urban Art gallery scene, and conveniently just up the street where I live!

I feel Hang Up Pictures are curating more withered, darker looking shows compared to Lazarides and Stolenspace who do like their art rather eye popping, so having The Connor Brothers commission a selected group of artists to create work living alongside natural history artifacts, scientific objects and antiques just totally fit the bill!

Victorian Street Art you say? Hmmm… All I know is that no art show worth it’s salt is complete without an hawt female intern or gallery manager looking concentrated into a macbook 😉

And onwards…

Felipe Pantone & Alex Yanes / Stolenspace Gallery

Ticking yet another box: Stolenspace! Founded by D*Face in 2005, for me the gallery really helped Street Art upping the ante regarding the quality and the craftsmanship of work exhibited.

Did they take a page out of Obeys playbook creating Street Art with a high-end finish? Maybe, but I always enjoy checking out what’s on…

I really like the concept of joined exhibitions and the two gallery spaces at Stolenspace are perfect for that! On my last visit the first gallery was showing ‘Way-Out’ by Alex Yanes. I saw a bit of Barry McGee aka Twist in his work  and really enjoyed his painted wood sculptures, mixing lots of materials to add detail. Especially the finish and combination of characters and type really hit my spot. And his painted Boombox was just too dope!

The main space was dedicated to ‘Data Somersault’ by Felipe Pantone. What can I say: The pieces had my eyeballs somersaulting fo sho! The vision screwing patterns, rainbow colours and retro computer aesthetic really made me think this is the kind of art that hangs on the walls of Bill Gates or Max Headroom. The mix of 80ties gradients and stern black and white symmetry really rocks!


Phil Ashcroft: Fallout / Canal Projects

Always good to support local galleries! I never been to Canal Projects so it was awesome to check out a new art space. Especially when the very talented Phil Ashcroft has his paintings on the walls: Check it out, it’s on till 10th September!

I always liked a mix of acrylic paint and vector based aesthetic: Long time member of the Gamma Proforma Crew and Scrawl Collective Phil Ashcroft was rocking it and there were a lot of familiar faces and dope beats courtesy of Dj Monkphat.

Having a friend over from Germany who is really into art was pretty cool too! She wasted no time discussing post modernism with poor Phil… or maybe they just had chat about colour matching paint and scarves? Who knows…


To finish this piece off with a bang:

Jeff Koons: Now / Newport Street Gallery

Last month was the time to FINALLY check out the gallery space build and curated by no other than Damien Hirst! What can I say… what a building: Designed by architects Caruso St John, the gallery spans 37,000 square feet and includes six exhibition spaces – one with a ceiling height of eleven metres – split over two levels. It hosts art from Hirst’s private collection is free to get in. Sweet!

Hirst is so rich, he can even afford a couple of  hawt interns / gallery managers looking into Apple products! At the same time! Plus security! Bling Bling!

For avid fans of Koons the NOW show has no surprises in store really. If this is Hirsts private collection he basically acquired the most iconic pieces from Koons catalogue: Floating basketballs, pieces from the Popeye Series, Cicciolina in the face photos and massive polished sculptures from his Celebration Series… 

That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it! The space lends itself perfectly to display Koons work, especially the two massive sculptures on show. 

I just hope her boyfriend doesn’t get chrome envy…

Koons is just the daddy of Pop, with his porn pictures soiling the clean and innocent polish of his other work in the perfect amount. His re-creations of inflatable toys or the massive Play Doh mountain and chrome sculptures really express the joy of collecting and the visual power of cute toys. Looking at his work gives me the the same kick I get from marvelling at toys from my local toy store. Just in bigger. MUCH BIGGER. Something KAWS understood and applied to his own work quite perfectly.

I can only applaud the crispness of his work. Well done assistants, well done…

Upon leaving the gallery I spotted a stencil piece in a nearby tunnel, facing the gallery. A tribute by Banksy or just a miffed art critic venting? It shall remain a mystery…

Hope you enjoyed the show(s)… till next time!


Lazarides | Hang Up Pictures | Stolenspace Gallery | Canal Gallery | Newport Street Gallery

Their 7″ vinyl weights a ton: Secret 7s 2016

That London hosts amazing exhibitions is no secret, but this exhibition hold some secrets itself! Kickstarted in 2012, Secret 7s picks 7 tracks and releases them on 7″ vinyl. Then selected artists, designers and illustrators create unique covers for the song of their choice.

The catch: The artist, the designer and the track stay anonymous so each visitor has to guess which creative messed around with which song!

Especially when it comes to the infamous sale day where all the sleeves get sold off for charity, having the right hunch can bag the vinyl lover an original artwork by a world famous artists for the price of £50!

The list of contributors is as eclectic as the selection of songs for the 7 inch vinyl: From total newcomers to big artists, Secret 7s prides itself to be open and accessible which I think is great. And not just because I managed to get to submit an artwork to the show 😉 

So many different approaches to customizing a 7″ cover! Trying to figure out the songs as a visitor is as much fun as designing a sleeve as an artist: It’s all about dropping enough hints to make the cover relevant to the song, but not too many that it’s too obvious. 

Name-dropping all of the artists featured would be impossible. The whole list can be seen here. Needless to say it’s great to share the exhibition space with friends like Daniel Clarke, Patrick Hanke, Mark James and Stevie Gee and personal heroes of mine like Pete Fowler and Swifty, just to name a few.  

As all monies will be donated to Amnesty International there is  no need to cling onto your cash: Get yourself a piece of affordable art and support a great cause! 

Wonder which songs are on offer? Tracks featured on vinyl this year: Chvrches / Clearest Blue, Etta James / At Last, Jack Garratt / Worry, The Jam / Art School, John Lennon / Imagine, Max Richter / Dream 3 and Tame Impala / The Less I Know The Better. Quite a range of musical styles!

To create the right vibe for the private view at creative space Sonos Studio featured artist and vinyl lover Pete Fowler and friends provided the soundtrack to the kick off of this years show with their 7″ vinyl  only selection while ice cold craft beers made the rounds. Cheers! Now I really have to get that amazing Turkish Funk record he played…

So head down to Secret 7s in Shoreditch and go on your own musical expedition into the unknown… and discover more than one visual treasure!

The exhibition runs from 8th of April till 1st of May 2016 with the Sale Day being on 2nd May! Open Tuesday till Sunday, 10AM – 6.30PM at Sonos Studio, 21 Club Row, Shoreditch.

Before I am off to the record store, let me say that Secret 7s is not the only project worth mentioning when it comes to fusing art and music on 7″ vinyl…

1) Waiwiya

I came across these great designed 7″ records during the Independent Label Market this year. Apparently Waiwiya is a singles club where a subscription gives you access to seven vinyl singles designed by seven amazing artists. What a fun concept! Check out their Facebook to find out more. 


2) 45/7 Vinyl Club

Hailing from Hamburg / Germany, the aim of the 45/7 Vinyl Club is to connect 7″ vinyl lovers and present new eclectic 7″ mixes on a monthly basis via their Soundcloud. Every contributing DJ gets a unique hand painted 7″ sleeve by Secret 7s artist Patrick Hanke and they just celebrated their first limited release on vinyl:  A limited promotional only pressing of their “45/7 Theme” which already has a special place in my record collection!


3) Mondo Tees |

The illustration heavy hitters from Austin / Texas don’t only deliver when it comes to amazing and limited screenprinted posters, no they go all out too for their vinyl releases! These Batman and Superman 7″ vinyls are just a thing of beauty. Catch them if you can!

Still Here: A Decade of Lazarides

Yes, I am still struggling to take good shots in dim light conditions! Then again, this picture really captures the frenzy that ensued once Lazarides opened it’s doors for it’s 10th Anniversary show at their gallery in Rathbone Place in Central London. Pure mayhem!

Before I could even start checking out the show I needed to head to the freebie table to refill any depleted energy with bottles for Golden Lager and Streetart Marshmellows by Boomf. Tasty!

Recharged and ready for action I threw myself at the show which spread from the basement all the way up the the 3rd floor of the gallery! 

I really wonder if they put something special into the Bristol water supply as it’s uncanny how much this city contributed to global urban culture: Massive Attack, Portishead, Banksy, Nellee Hooper, Breakbeat Era and the one and only Mr Steve Lazarides!

Looking at the walls it becomes clear why Steve Lazarides get credited with being one of the major players in the urban art business: 3D, Aiko, Anthony Lister, Antony Micallef, Banksy, Brett Amory, Chloe Early, David Choe, Doug Foster, Faile, Frank Laws, Gary Taxali, Herbert Baglione, Hush, Ian Francis, Invader, Joe Rush, Jonathan Yeo, JR and many more represent the extensive scope of Lazarides art portfolio.

Pretty sure this is some new work by 3D of Massive Attack…

Seeing all this art on the wall reminded me of the heyday of Pictures On Walls, another one of Lazarides Art ventures. I still remeber the excitement buying my first ( and only ) #Banksy via POW and the queues that would form outside their print shop in Old Street. Their website is still up but I wonder if they release any new prints. 

Climbing up the stairs revealed some tasty #banksys… some of them from the very early days. I must say I prefer his prints to his canvases. I still remember being at his first show in London, upstairs at the Dragon Bar near Old Street Roundabout. An artwork was around £300 and apart from that amount being quite a lot of money for me back then the rats on white plain canvas just never really appealed to me. Ha! If I only knew back then what I know now… *sigh*

What can I say, with the latest investment into his business Lazarides is going from strength to strength!

Here is to the next 10 years…

Still Here: A Decade of Lazarides | 12.2.2016 – 24.3.2016

Wednesday–Saturday 11am–7pm. Admission is free.

Lazarides Gallery | 11 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HR

Royal Academy Summer Show 2015 Bloggers Evening

 Sorry not listening… on Instagram ok?

This Friday my blogging mentor Sara from got me into the Instagrammers and Bloggers special preview night of the The Royal Academy’s Summer show, awesome! 

I was surrounded by smart phone addicted weirdos just like me… FINALLY no need to pretend to want to make eye contact, just straight up Instagramming! Bliss!!!

After a lovely free alcoholic beverage some facts were dropped. Firstly: The RA organises this summer show for 247 years now. Secondly: Everybody can enter their work globally and be part of the show. Thirdly: Every artwork is for sale so one can snatch him or herself an artwork by a future Hirst or Emin if lucky! 

Did you know that? I didn’t! You learn something new every day.

This year the show has been curated by Michael Craig-Martin, artist and lecturer who’s pupils went to to become some of the most famous YBA’s like Damien HirstGary Hume or Sarah Lucas.

We were warned that Mr Craig-Martin is quite fond of bold colours and that he even painted one gallery space in bright pink… well, fine by me! 🙂

After that announcement I was more than ready to hit the holy halls of the Royal Academy and after finishing the drinks the blogging crew spilled into the many galleries of the grand building…

The first highlight was the multicoloured psychedelic staircase. It was a bit like ascending to Asgard via the rainbow bifrost bridge…  ( yeah that’s a Marvel Thor reference )

How is the show itself you ask? Well, why don’t you check out yourself… it still runs till the 16th of August! Personally I found it hit and miss, but that’s just normal for a show this size. But with such a variety on display there surely is something up those walls for everyone… and some brightly coloured eye candy on top! Below some of my personal highlights…

The only drawback visiting an exhibition with a fellow blogger: The competition never sleeps! Check out her Instagram account @hellothemushroom

RA Summer Show 2015
JUNE 6 – AUGUST 16, 2015

Royal Academy of Arts
Burlington House, Piccadilly
London W1J 0BD
Hours: Tue–Sun 10-6, Fr 10-10

Sprayed Exhibition at Gagosian Gallery

 Ok I take this… can you wrap it up for me please?

Saturday is the day to get stuff done son! It’s perfect for cleaning the flat, doing the shopping or grabbing fellow blogger extraordinaire Sara Doucette from to check out the latest art shows in town!

As I am quite fond of everything involving aerosols the exhibition of choice this time was “Sprayed” at the Gagosian Gallery in Kings Cross.

Always loving being at the Gagosian… the space is great and really brings the best out of the art that has been curated. 

Whilst there were great pieces on show by artists like Koons, Warhol, Klee, Murakami and Polke I still missed the inclusion of legendary artists like Futura2000 and other early pioneers of aerosol art who went their own way reinventing what was perceived as “Graffiti”.

The reason behind this might be to avoid making this just another Graffiti exhibition, still I feel especially Futura should have been included. Same goes for 3D from Massive Attack who’s mixed media pieces would have fitted into the context perfectly. 

Still the show is well worth checking out and runs until 1st of August 2015.

WORKS FROM 1929 TO 2015
JUNE 11 – AUGUST 1, 2015

Gagosian Gallery
6-24 Britannia Street
London WC1X 9JD
Hours: Tue–Sat 10-6