Curator's Picks: a neon nod to Her Majesty The Queen

Our monthly series brings you an exclusive insight into the latest developments in the art world, along with behind-the-scenes updates. Our guest contributor this month is Creative Director of Castle Fine Art, Glyn Washington. Ahead of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations next month, he tells us why Illuminati Neon, aka artist Mark Sloper, is in the spotlight.

Defining an era 

 Think 1970s London, and it’s virtually impossible for your mind not to conjure up images of anti-establishment punk anarchists, taking the music and cultural scene literally by storm.   It was an era defined by turbulence, unrest and a great deal of change. During the 70s alone, Britain went through four general elections, had four Prime Ministers, multiple official states of emergency were declared and even our currency was decimalised, moving away from pounds, shillings and pence. Little wonder, therefore, that this combined upheaval gave rise to a riotous subculture, whose ethos took a loud and proud stance against authority, the government and – most relevantly here – the monarchy.

Featured art (L-R): 'Violet & Majenta Headlines Queen', £1,250, and 'Blue & Red Headlines Queen', £1,250. Hand-varnished canvas on board embellished with gems. 

Bringing punk to the palace

 Mark Sloper, the artist we now know as Illuminati Neon, found himself at the heart of this movement. The Kings Road was his stomping ground, these punks his contemporaries and friends, his formative years played out against a soundtrack of the Sex Pistols and their now infamous track ‘God Save The Queen’. His latest collection is a nod to this period, timed appropriately for Her Majesty’s Jubilee celebrations next month, and his work is already garnering significant press attention, having already been featured in the Evening Standard.

God Save the Headlines Queen

 For our limited edition release, Mark’s punk interpretation of the Queen has been executed in two different colourways, with hand-embellished with gemstones and set against a gilded Union Jack background. The body of original artwork that is soon to be showcased in Castle Fine Art galleries across the UK features hand-blown glass neon embellishment, a painstaking process that Mark has mastered over the course of many years.   This collection is as celebratory as it is true to Mark’s roots, with his teenage self shining through the compositions; his very own brand of ‘God Save The Queen’. 

Abby Marchington, Creative Project Manager at Castle Fine Art, snapped some shots of Mark's event, The Art of Chaos, at our St. Christopher's Place gallery in London. 

"Anchored in nostalgia, his art speaks of simple pleasures and conjures memories of childhood abandon, family values and close-knit communities. This collection is a visual greatest hits."

Glyn Washington

Creative Director of Castle Fine Art

Featured Artist

From the blog

As featured by the BBC! Jon Jones unveils huge Peaky Blinders mural outside Birmingham's New Street station

08/04/2022

The 50-metre installation depicts characters from the hit Peaky Blinders TV show. You can help us to raise money for Birmingham Children's Hospital by posting your photograph and tagging @castlegalleries with the hashtag #Brum4BCH.

Peter Smith | Peep Show | 2022

07/04/2022

With bright neon lights, alcoholic beverages and a dose of ingenious wordplay, this collectible release offers a glimpse inside the Impossimal underworld. Come on in and immerse yourself in Peep Show!

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