Bringing the energy of monumental art indoors with two new large-scale balloon dog sculptures, the second release from his popular Whatshisname X Castle Fine Art collection also includes limited edition prints inspired by some of the world's most influential films and cartoons. Animation art favourites like Lisa Simpson, Minnie Mouse and Daffy Duck all appear in this showstopping selection.
Sebastian's POPek balloon dog sculptures hit the headlines in 2012 after being banned from London Underground stations for being 'offensive', and have since been exhibited in Hong Kong, Los Angeles and New York. Unabashedly provocative, his fusion of architectural visualisation and themes of childhood, nostalgia and pop culture has created artworks that inspire happiness while exploring our adult psyches. A former graphics designer, Polish-born Sebastian has worked with famed artists like Mat Collishaw, and was an early adopter of 3D-printing technology.
The new collection follows the success of Sebastian's debut release, and saw the London-based artist explore some of history's best-loved cartoon characters. The creations of famed animation artists and studios like MGM, Disney and Pixar are shown in an entirely new light; his monochromatic silhouettes are unsettling yet beautiful, with an ethereal, dreamlike aesthetic created through the graduation of shadows. In complete contrast, his balloon dogs are vibrant and playful, with the hand-sprayed resin sculptures boasting a glossy finish for a contemporary Pop Art look. Mix with a minimalist décor to add a splash of colour, or combine with your own nostalgic items for a style statement - there are no rules!
Amongst a backdrop of political and socio-economic unrest in Poland in the 1980s and ‘90s, a young Whatshisname was drawn to the visual beauty of film. The silhouetted figures from his haunting Gone series symbolise nostalgia and letting go of our memories. He explains: “It’s showing our childhood heroes reaching out to us with an extended hand and saying, “Hello, I’m still here, do you remember me?”. Or if those are fading memories, they are saying goodbye. I try to imply the character, rather than tell the viewer who it is. I reveal as little as possible by stripping the figure of colour and making it black or grey.”
Originally created as a parody of Jeff Koons’ signature balloon dogs – which have sold for up to $58.4 million at auction – this series is inspired by the behaviour of real-life dogs, including a German Shepherd and Yorkshire Terrier from Sebastian’s childhood, and the puppy he owns now. The name is split into two parts: the ‘Pop’ refers to Pop Art and the sound that a real balloon would make, while the ‘ek’ is taken from a nickname of Sebastian’s high school friend. He adds: "While some artists approach the subject from the perspective of a toy or a balloon dog being supersized, I create my sculptures with the narrative of a balloon dog becoming a real dog."
Castle Fine Art partnered with the Blue Cross pet charity for the Covent Garden installation to help support sick, injured, abandoned and homeless pets across the UK. We donated £1 for every post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #castle4bluecross, raising a total of £1,160.
"I would describe my work as innovative, modern Pop Art. People can see the humour in them and they put a smile on their faces."
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24/03/2022Our monthly series of art insights is brought to you by Washington Green Fine Art’s founder, Glyn Washington. This month, we hear why Whatshisname is most definitely a name to remember!
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