The king of stencils, one of Britain’s leading graffiti artists, Banksy’s ultimate rival and the man behind The Vandal. So many titles have been given to the one and only Nick Walker during his extensive career. After two decades of work our Artist of the Week is still standing tall, finding the ever new and innovative ways of refining his practice, while at the same time staying close to his signature stenciling style and Bristol graffiti background. Although he never stopped working in the streets, his transition to the gallery environment is quite notable in the past years. Nick Walker has been showcasing his work in numerous cities across the globe and currently the artist is taking his Vandal on a trip to Hong Kong, where the new body of work entitled Entropies is on display through October.
Emerging from the infamous graffiti scene in the 80’s Bristol, Nick Walker was one of the first artists to extensively use stencils in his street art practice before it became widely popular and excepted. The debate whether he introduced stenciling to Banksy or it was the other way around has in recent times gained the status of a chicken or the egg paradox to the extent of ridiculousness. And who cares anyway? To the fans of these artists, the similarities and differences in their works are clear and they are both loved and admired for their specific approach to art and social environment. Humorous and ironic, but never sarcastic or mean, the works of Nick Walker have been addressing political problems in an entertaining way for years and the public has learned to appreciate this distinct sense of humor, which was followed by the international praise and recognition. Whether they are done on the streets or found on the gallery walls his works combine the sophisticated stenciled motifs with a free-hand method, and are both joyful and thought-provoking, transgressing the horizon of expectations and constantly evolving.
At this very moment, the citizens of Hong Kong have the opportunity to enjoy the latest Nick Walker’s works at Above Second Gallery. Entitled Entropies this new sequence of artworks explores the theme of change as chaotic as it may be, along with the urban landscape of Hong Kong. The familiar figure of Walker’s Gentleman Vandal, caught in his exploration of urban environments is once again the central figure featured on the canvas works. After ten years since its creation, it is striking how Nick Walker manages to keep his vagabond character still engaging and interesting to spectators. The sequence of works on steel which draws its inspiration from the futuristic Hong Kong infrastructure, reminiscent of some scenes from Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, shows Nick Walker’s outstanding talent and his way of always bringing something new and innovative to his works.
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Images in sliders:
Nick Walker - Portrait. Photo via gothamist.com
Nick Walker - Vandal - Nelson Street, Bristol
Nick Walker - The Morning After - Sydney
Nick Walker - Street Scene #5 - Courtesy of Above Second Gallery
Nick Walker - Rust Never Sleeps - Courtesy of Above Second Gallery
All images courtesy of the artist unless credited otherwise