At the beginning of February we launched the 2018 Rise Art Prize exhibition at House of Vans London. Alongside our international finalists we invited 3 ‘artists to watch’ to create site-specific installations at the venue. Lauren Baker, Ant Hamlyn and Marc Craig make incredible works using neon, sculpture and street art. They had the crowd wowed on the night: from Lauren's immersive neon experience and Ant's inflatable sculpture, to Marc’s live Rise Art Prize mural painted outside. Discover more about these Rise Art Ones to Watch below.
1. Lauren Baker
Lauren Baker creates eye-catching neon sculptures and prints that explore themes like the fragility of life and fields of energy. The artist has produced installations for esteemed venues like the V&A and Tate Britain. If there was anyone whose work would have 'wow factor' at our Rise Art Prize event, it was Lauren. So we asked her to showcase two of her sculptures, Universal Frequency and The White Light, at the venue.
What makes your work different from other neon sculpture?
I am a multi-disciplinary artist so I use a plethora of different materials and surfaces to create. 'Universal Frequency' is a recent immersive piece interpreting unseen energy. Light is the only energy we see and I used a combination of neon, diamond dust and expressive digital painting on a huge canvas to express the 'unseen' energy of the heart chakra.
The viewer is invited to sit in front of the art while listening to the sound frequency of the heart chakra (431.1Hz) and simultaneously feeling an electrical current, also set to the same vibration. People reported having out of body experiences!
You recently moved into a new studio and gallery in Covent Garden. What do you like about it and will you stay there?
Yes I have a studio and viewing space at 28 Floral Street. It's incredible to be based in the heart of London and I feel lucky to have the space to create large pieces. Floral Street is an interesting and creative street and right now this is exactly where I want to be - Im between my London studio and traveling for the international exhibitions.
2. Ant Hamlyn
Ant Hamlyn is a London-based artist who works across sculpture, drawing, installation, film and digital technology. We asked the artist to showcase an installation piece called The Boost Project, an interactive sculpture that inflates when you engage with its social media profiles.
How did you come up with the idea for The Boost Project?
Well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t guilty of what The Boost Project aims to suggest. A temporal sense of elation and belonging when your posts are liked online. I think anyone who posts on social media is a little guilty of every now and then, reminding the world they exist.
You work across mediums, from sculpture and installation to film and digital technology. Do you have a favourite mode you like to work in?
Something interesting happens when you mash all these mediums together and see what happens, but I do tend to gravitate towards sculpture and electronics and most of my ideas initially spark sculptural interpretations. However, drawing is very powerful and very important, you can go anywhere and design anything in a drawing and that is pure freedom.
3. Marc Craig
Marc Craig's distinctive murals can be spotted across London, from venues like Tate Britain and the Royal College of Art to the Banksy Tunnel. We love this street artist's style so much that we commissioned him to paint one live at our Rise Art Prize Awards party at House of Vans.
Tell us about the murals you painted live for the Rise Art Prize Awards.
The Rise Art Prize mural was an all-day affair starting at 10am, as I had to claim the space. You really need to get to the tunnel early to get the prime spots.
It was relatively easy from there and because I work fast, I was able to stagger the process so that I was doing the end part of the mural when guests were coming and going. I always work freestyle so it evolved quickly and I think I was done by 9pm.
What are your ambitions for 2018?
2018 is fast becoming a great year for projects. Along with my fellow creatives I know, have experienced a surge in work which was a welcome change to the usual quiet January months. I am applying to work with a well known cathedral as they have discovered some ancient graffiti and want to do a project around that.