Urban Art

Paul Insect /   Paul Humphrey

United Kingdom 1971

Urban Art, Street Art


Paul Insect
Paul Humphrey
United Kingdom
April 18, 2014
Jean is researcher and author for Widewalls. jean.gallard@widewalls.ch

Paul Insect is a British street artist, most famous for his first solo show Bullion exhibition at London’s Lazarides Gallery, when famous Damien Hirst purchased the show days before it opened. Insect also goes by the name of PINS.

Paul was born in southeastern England. He studied graphic design for 4 years at Hastings and Salisbury art colleges. He has executed some of the most celebrated and provocative exhibitions in recent memory for which he draws inspiration from the absurdum of Dada, combined with the sleekness of modernism, yielding surreal renderings that point playfully at the deep dark underbelly of adult life. In the 1990s, Insect became known for his witty stencil and spray painted works, before transitioning to the gallery scene with color-drenched canvases, which teetered precariously between tradition and something far more messed up. Never before has chaos been channeled in such clean lines.

Along with eye-popping gallery exhibitions, Insect has established himself as one of street art’s seminal figures. Known for his visceral pop style, Insect mixes bright colors with morbid themes, Donald Duck and Pinocchio brandishing guns and bombs, while human skulls sport multi-hued Playboy bunny ears. His self-portrait in bronze, “Pixel-man” has a computer-headed body melting, clutching a keyboard, while a second set of arms are tied behind his back.

Insect’s work has evolved from Victorian graphics to Dada-esque collage. There is primitiveness to his aggressive subject matter that is almost disguised by his joyous use of color and entertaining style. Insect’s dark content lends itself to a fun, playful display of baby heads split open, Bishops on i-books and smoking joints with clown hair and mice noses, skeletal playboy bunnies adorned in bling and angels clutching syringes. His images are provoking yet light-hearted and demand a sense of morality that transcends common acceptance.

Paul Insect’s images are provoking and prodigious, dripping as much with sensitivity and gravitas as they are with sex and death. His refined interpretations of visceral subject matter depict the frustrations of a modern man, teeming with unkempt aggression and sexuality, but yearning for a higher moral purpose.

Insect has painted alongside Banksy at The Can Festival, produced album art for DJ Shadow and has worked on the separation wall in Palestine. His work can be spotted everywhere from the streets of London to LA or Stockholm to Sydney.

Paul Insect lives in London.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
20142033 Original WorksAllouche Gallery, New YorkSolo
2014NO(W)HERE*, Urban Art ExpoStarkart Exhibitions, ZurichGroup
2014Hackney Wick TakeoverV & A Museum, LondonGroup
2013Contemporary ArtVan Ham Fine Art Auctions, GermanyGroup
2013Urban Art AuctionDigard, ParisGroup
2013Art AuctionChristie's Interiors, LondonGroup
2013Post War / Contemporary Art AuctionKetterer Kunst, MunichGroup
2013Urban Art AuctionBonhams, New Bond Street, LondonGroup
2013Freedom Not GeniusMAMM - Multimedia Art Museum, MoscowGroup
201324 hour outdoor exhibitionLondon, UKGroup
2012Urban Art AuctionBonhams, Los AngelesGroup
2012Fine Prints & Multiples AuctionLeslie Hindman Auctioneers, ChicagoGroup
2012Urban & Contemporary SaleAuction at Dreweatts, LondonGroup
2012This is LondonShizaru Gallery, LondonGroup
2012Brandalism ProjectAll across UKGroup
2011Oi You! 2011Founders Heritage Park, New ZelandGroup
2011European Bailout showPost no Bills Gallery, Venice, CAGroup
2011TRIPTEASE REVUEPost No Bills, Venice, CaliforniaSolo
2010Urban Editions AuctionDreweatts, LondonGroup
2010Urban Editions AuctionBloomsbury Auctions, LondonGroup
2010Hell's Half AcreLazarides Gallery, LondonGroup
2009Vision 21 AuctionBonhams, Knightsbridge, LondonGroup
2009Grifters showLazarides Gallery, LondonGroup
2009Get Rich QuickCarmichael Gallery of Contemporary Art, Culver City, CAGroup
2009Johanson Book SigningAdobe Books, SFGroup
2009Six Degrees of SeparationBrick Lane gallery, LondonGroup
2008POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY EDITIONSChristie's South Kensington, LondonGroup
2008OutsidersThe New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, West MidlandsGroup
2008Idea Of FreedomFifty24SF, San FranciscoSolo
2008PoisonLazarides Gallery Offsite, LondonGroup
2008Dead Playboy Bunny GirlsLazarides Gallery, LondonSolo
2007BullionLazarides Gallery, LondonSolo
2007Grand Opening Group ShowCarmichael Gallery of Contemporary Art, Culver City, CAGroup
2007London Cans FestivalLondon, UKGroup
2007Santa's Ghetto ExhibitionSanta Ghetto, LondonGroup