"There's no place like home," Dorothy says to Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion as she taps her ruby slippers in the final scenes of the 1939 cinematic classic, The Wizard of Oz. We couldn't agree more, especially when your living space is full of the art and styles you love! These best-loved characters, along with a series of Jeff Koons-inspired balloon dogs, form the debut collection of our newest artist, Whatshisname (aka Sebastian Burdon).
Launched alongside his monumental exhibition in Covent Garden, Whatshisname X Castle Fine Art is a refreshingly eclectic release from the Polish-born artist, whose work has already been showcased in Hong Kong, Los Angeles and New York. Masterminded at his studio in Tooting, London (click here for an exclusive tour), the collection includes works from his popular POPek and Gone series.
His monochromatic silhouette of the central characters of The Wizard of Oz is haunting yet beautiful, with Whatshisname creating an ethereal, dreamlike aesthetic through the graduation of shadows. In complete contrast, his yoga-posing balloon dogs are vibrant and playful; the hand-sprayed resin sculptures boast 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!
The collection is available to order or pre-order now. To find out more, contact us or browse our digital brochure below.
A former graphics designer, Sebastian is something of a wizard himself. An early adopter of 3D-printing technology, he used his technical knowledge and artistic 3D experience to transform his digital designs, later working with notable artists like Mat Collishaw, a prominent member of the Young British Artists alongside Damien Hirst. His POPek balloon dog sculptures hit the headlines in 2012 after being banned from London Underground stations for being 'offensive', and have since appeared everywhere from the Affordable Art Fair to the Cathay shopping centre in Singapore. 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.
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."
Featured by The Telegraph, Whatshisname's larger-than-life project at Covent Garden includes four monumental balloon dogs from his POPek collection. With two pooches measuring four metres tall and the remaining two measuring three metres long, they are definitely unmissable!
He says: "It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done, and it’s happening right here in central London. I’m hoping that the installation will put a smile on the face of every person who passes by. My exhibition is designed not only for dog-lovers, but also for families and everyone who enjoyed birthday parties as a child. So I’m hoping to see lots of families having a good time.”
Castle Fine Art has partnered with the Blue Cross pet charity for the duration of the project to help support sick, injured, abandoned and homeless pets across the UK. To donate for free, snap a picture with the balloon dogs and post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #castle4bluecross. We'll donate £1 for every image posted.
"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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© Copyright Washington Green Retail Limited trading as Castle Fine Art. First published 2012, last updated 2021. Washington Green Retail Limited acts as a credit broker and offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance.
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