Hidden Gems Edition VIII

Refreshed every Friday at midday, Hidden Gems is a carefully curated selection of original art and world art news. This week, we're looking at punk in art, following the death of iconic designer and figurehead of the movement, Dame Vivienne Westwood.

As the partner of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, she dressed his band in her provocative designs which influenced not just fashion, but the whole world of culture, including art. Westwood's creativity and anti-establishment politics continue to inspire creatives today, including many of our artists who make works with a punk swagger - even one featuring an original Westwood Seditionaries t-shirt! Read on to find out more, and click here to shop more original art.

Jonny Loco

Govinder Nazran

Anxiety Attack

Stuart McAlpine Miller


Domingo Zapata

msl ori por 27782 5 monarch green 225 2022 02 28T09 36 25

Featured art: 'Monarch in Green (225)' by Illuminati Neon. Mixed media and neon, £9,950.

Mark Sloper - the punk ethos of Illuminati Neon

Mark Sloper, the artist behind Illuminati Neon, is punk through and through. He became the band mascot for Adam and the Ants when he was just 11. “I was cycling through a village just outside Bath where I lived, and I saw this bloke in a long leather coat," he remembers. "He had make-up on. I cycled up to him and said ‘Why have you got one purple eyebrow? You look really weird." He laughed and said: "I’m in a band - you should come and check us out. You might like us."

He ended up touring with the band and would go on stage to introduce them. He was semi-adopted by bass guitarist Andy Warren and used to regularly stay at his home. For his ‘work’ he got paid a night’s board and a hot dog. Mark then went to art college in Sheffield, but made regular trips to London to check out the burgeoning punk scene, becoming friendly with the Sex Pistols and The Stranglers; friendships which endure until this day.

Sloper has been influenced by graphic designer Jamie Reid, the artist who created the cover for the Pistol's singles and albums featuring décollage pictures of Queen Elizabeth II, and has made his own portraits of the late monarch. “My art punk Queens are beautifully constructed with sparkling jewels, newspaper headlines and the fabulous Queen Elizabeth II looking splendid and regal, but of course retaining a little punky attitude," says Mark.

He has also represented The Ramones and paid tribute to a song by Johnny Rotten's band Public Image Ltd. He also features a 1977 t-shirt from Vivienne Westwood's Seditionaries shop in his piece Punk Urchins; a brilliant tribute to an iconic creator.


Vivienne Westwood - from punk to Dame

Westwood's success as one of Britain's most lauded and successful fashion designers began in a very punk manner, as she had no formal background in fashion design. She left a jewellery and silversmithing course at Harrow College of Art after one term, saying: " "I didn't know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world". She could make clothes, though, sewing her wedding dress for her marriage to Derek Westwood in 1962.

The marriage ended when she met the charismatic Malcolm McLaren. She gave up her job as a teacher to work in his shop on London's Kings's Road; when she began embellishing unsold t-shirts was when her retail empire began. Vivienne then started making her own t-shirts to supplement the bought-in stock for the shop; distressed, dyed and with decorations including chicken bones. It was natural that she was asked to make clothes for the Sex Pistols, and put Jamie Reid's shocking album work for the band on t-shirts and distressed muslin shirts. Their look of leather jackets, outrageous slogan tees and bondage trousers created the basics of the punk look, and though her success as a designer started in that era, and she moved on to sophisticated tailoring, a multi-million pound international business and an honour from the late Queen, Vivienne Westwood was a rebellious punk until the end.

From the blog

The Art of Chaos | Illuminati Neon


A homage to the punk rock genre, this release includes a selection of large-scale, mixed media artworks and two unapologetically rock 'n' roll limited edition prints with a graphic that reportedly has the approval of the Queen herself!

It’s a fact – a new instalment of James McQueen’s Non-Fiction is now available


Provocative and private artist James McQueen’s hugely popular Non-Fiction collection is back with its third instalment, featuring two limited-edition mixed media artworks

Our Winter Sale has landed!


Our annual winter sale is here. Shop up to 75% off selected limited edition and original artworks.

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