Review: Art, Culture, Garston, Now. at The Old Co-Op

Old Co-Op, Garston

Garston does Culture

It was all happening at the Old Co-Op Space in Garston Last Friday

8  Artists.
8 short Hours.
80 meter square exhibition space.

The paint was squeezed to the very bottom of tubes, spray enamels were exhausted and creative sparks bounced off the walls of Liverpool’s newest studio. One artist even taking up sticks and moving outside with her panels. The walls were transformed by an assortment of street artists putting the studio, exhibition venue, and performance space firmly on the map.

Kieran Gorman put in a fast and efficient performance. A veteran of street art, his graffiti piece took shape quickly dominating the first vision of the new space. He gave us his signature dark background with a mixture of lights and tones, dripping paints to produce an electrifying image.

Originally from Edinburgh, Kieran founded Zap Graffiti in Liverpool in the mid-nineties. Zap’s focus is to promote graffiti as a positive art form, selling aerosols and offering classes to aspiring young graffiti artists.

Kieran has worked on many street art projects including County Road Regeneration in addition to shutter art in Garston, just around the corner from this new indoor work. A delight to watch, we had Liverpool’s answer to Banksy in the former Co-op supermarket on St. Mary’s Road.

Graham Smillie has been a prominent figure in the Liverpool art world for a number of years. Now based at the Old Co-op Space in Garston his practice compasses visual arts and photography. Pop culture is key to his work. Photographing bands and exhibitions at Arena for the 2014 Threshold festival are highlights from the last few years. His new work in Garston comprises of an expression of his left wing views; using the iconic communist red star. In this, he raises issues around replacing trident, evicting families from housing schemes, nursing costs, tuition fees and identifies key Political figures. His final statement:

“If you can find the money to kill people
You can find the money to help people”

That encapsulates his views on the current political leadership in today’s Britain. A strong statement piece from an artist who can turn his attention to different aspects of visual arts practice.

I was here too, presenting the studio with work of a new style. I was using text with texturing methods and building up layers of transparencies to create that old fashioned dot matrix home printer look from the 1980’s. Pixelization, stencilling and random layout formed this retro graphics piece, the statement ‘Art, Culture, Garston, Now’ was my focus. The key subject; representing a vision for regeneration in Garston.

After just one short day in this pop-up, but colossal exhibition space? A whale casually swimming out from the walls, bubbles sauntering from his blowhole; More sci-fi inspired graffiti one from a co-member at Zap Graffiti making sure there was still light in the dark; Post-Acropolictic rendering of a closed church; two bird-like figures; and ‘Religion is a Plague’; A rather colourful seascape showing us that everything is alive deep in the ocean.

And making the most of the move outside we had a quasi nature-inspired piece, finishing off with the magnificence of a tattoo-clad beauty staring directly at us.

A delight to inspire all, East Street Arts looks to bring Arts and Culture to Garston.