Doner meat becomes military camouflage as designer and filmmaker, Mark James unveils the latest in a series of over-the-counter food-inspired artworks.
Looking into a kebab and studying the cocktail of shaved lamb, onions and green chillies, many of us would struggle to find a creative response. However, those very same ingredients have been reimagined by the artist and designer, Mark James, turning the protein-heavy snack into camouflage.
The contents of the much-maligned doner kebab – a late night, post-alcohol staple in the UK and across Europe – have been innovatively repurposed to adorn a limited edition screen print and t-shirt, with the interlaced brown, white and green ingredients made to resemble urban camouflage for the nocturnal diner.
Borrowing directly from the woodland camouflage of the British army, the design is available to buy in various forms via the artist. The t-shirt is useful to help save the embarrassment of the wearer if they’re prone to spilling the real thing down their front, while the print stands alone as a great conversation piece.
A renowned music industry designer and filmmaker, James took time out from collaborating with the likes of Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and Underworld’s Karl Hyde, to create the work ahead of his latest exhibition at the new *Subject To Change gallery in Cardiff, Wales.
With a reputation for repurposing overlooked imagery and referencing modern day traditions and rituals – offering wry commentary on a society that increasingly sees people and objects as disposable -James’ reinvention of unhealthy fast food sits comfortably alongside other work including images and films made using black bin liners.
James says: “By opening an exhibition and gallery for ‘the nouveau prole’ I want to explore the times we live in, where the expansive middle classes are getting progressively poorer at the hands of a system built on want and waste. Using art and design we can interpret that in ways that are as humorous or as beautiful as they are thought-provoking.”
*Subject to Change has been established by James as a space for the development of his own practice, but also to invite other artists to experiment there. The opening exhibition, Sorry, It’s Not For You, has seen James delve into an extensive archive and choose key pieces from over a decade’s worth of personal projects and music-related assignments.
Future exhibition plans remain purposely vague, as the premise of *Subject To Change – opening in a refurbished shop in Cardiff’s Victorian, Grade 2 listed Castle Arcade with the support of Arts Council Wales – is to invite collaboration, initiate change and allow ideas in art, design and the moving image to merge.
Sorry It’s Not For You – Mark James
Sat 7 December 2013 – Fri 24 January 2014
*Subject To Change, Castle Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BW
Opening Times: Thu – Sat, 12pm – 6pm (subject to change).
WWW.SUBJECT-TO-CHANGE.CO FOLLOW: TWITTER.COM/SUBJCTTOCHANGE
For further information, images and interviews:
T: 07946 526 295
About Mark James
Born and bred in Cardiff, Mark James lives and works in his home city. An artist and graphic designer who has been based mainly within the music industry, working for Island Records for four years before leaving to concentrate on his own work. He remains a consultant to Island Records and numerous other clients who call on his experience in art direction, video direction, photography, illustration, graphic and product design. He can be found working in a variety of media, including sculpture, photography, film and print.
Credits for his art direction and design in the music industry include Super Furry Animals, Gulp, Cian Ciaran, Euros Childs, The Charlatans, Joe Goddard, Miles Kane, Rizzle Kicks, Florence and The Machine and Stereo MCs as well as designing the office interiors for Island Records.
His toy project, CardBoy, a small figure that utilises the packaging to become the head of the figure, has gained a huge fan base around the world and quickly became the must have designer toy. Acutely aware of current affairs and political and social injustice, in 2007 James released a series of screen prints, entitled Another Soldier produced in an edition of 171, each to commemorate the life of a British soldier killed in Iraq. The piece courted controversy for its anti-war message and bold imagery, with a similar reaction encountering his Chimpira football hooligan toy, condemned by the media ahead of its release on the eve of the 2004 European Championships.
His CardBoy Cartridges were chosen by the MoMA in New York to accompany their 2008 Color Chart exhibition. His first solo exhibition was held at Cardiff’s Magpie Gallery in November 2008. He has also had his work exhibited around the world, including London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Oslo, and also featured in publications worldwide. James is also co-owner of the Hunting Lodge lifestyle store in Oslo.