Shepherd's Bush Artist Celebrates the Legacy of Punk

Illuminati Neon launches solo show – The Art of Chaos

Illuminati Neon with some of his work

Illuminati Neon, who works from a studio in Shepherd’s Bush is launching a solo exhibition entitled The Art of Chaos.

He combines hand-blown neon, montage, typography and graphic art to celebrate the legacy of punk anarchy in the UK.

His work will be on display at Castle Fine Art, St Christopher’s Place from 26 August to 26 September,

The show is inspired by the artist’s punk roots, with pieces emblazoned with lyrics, featuring icons who embodied the punk ethos - from the tattooed and pierced Queen to Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and his late friend and Motörhead legend, Lemmy - often incorporating artefacts and
memorabilia, such as vintage, Royal Standard flags and rare t-shirts.

Illuminati's provocative work has won admirers including Sir Elton John, Boy George and Sting and earned him a place in The World’s Best Emerging Artists exhibition at Saatchi Gallery.

He explains, “It’s my homage to punk - not only the way we looked, but the way we thought and treated others.

”Every piece tells a story about that transformative era; my experience of it, the people who made it and became my friends, and the honorary punks who personified its anarchy, chaos and rock ’n’ roll long before the movement had a name."

Highlights of the show include a God Save the Queen neon similar to the ones which hung on the walls of the Sex Pistols, whose punk anthem it is named after.

The exhibition also features The Krays Hardcore, a neon flanked portrait of the notorious brothers, who Illuminati has a person knowledge of, after hand-delivering the script of The Krays film he worked on with the Kemp brothers to Reggie Kray himself and befriending their sidekick, Mad Frankie Fraser.

The Art of Chaos will also see limited edition prints in each of Castle Fine Art’s 39 UK galleries, supported by a number of his neon originals.

Illuminati is even inviting buyers to create one-off pieces with him via his Pictures of You series of artworks, surrounded by polaroids, which come with a camera so collectors can personalise them with their own images.

The works were made in his Shepherd’s Bush studio, a chaotic jungle of neon, where he says the spirit of punk lives on, attracting members of the Sex Pistols and the pirate radio station he allows to broadcast from it.

The artist's home nearby glows so brightly with his neon artworks, he’s been told that pilots flying into Heathrow use it as a visual reference point.

Illuminati - aka Mark Sloper has also had a successful film career, which has seen him direct and produce documentaries telling the stories of Billy Fury, The Beatles, John Lennon, David Bowie, Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols, among many others. These luminaries, along with his late friend and
fellow neon artist, Chris Bracey, inspired him to create his first fluorescent narratives.

After a chance encounter with new wave pioneer, Adam Ant, at the age of just 11, he became captivated by punk subculture and its expression of working-class angst.

He befriended some of the movement's trailblazers and troubadours, including the Sex Pistols and The Stranglers, with whom he remains closed.

He went on to work as a cameraman and director of photography for bands like The Police and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, before joining the BBC and producing and directing a series of documentaries.

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August 16, 2021