Let me start right off by saying Mr. Monkey; its a pseudonym, a moniker, you know, a handle. As cool as it would be for any of us to actually have the second name Monkey (where did I put that deed-poll form?) its a graffiti tag name. And that’s what Mr. Monkey’s work revolves around – its street art on paper or canvas, in pencil and ink and paint. I’d speculate that he has done some work on the bare walls of some northern town but that is exactly why he’s anonymous because spraying stuff on walls is wrong… so says The Man. You’d better listen, graffiti is not an art form (No?), it doesn’t give a route of expression for those who can’t find it through conventional routes, it doesn’t add a vibrancy and character to the dreary urban canyons of our lives. No it doesn’t. It would be irresponsible of me to advocate illegal street art through this sort of medium grins and winks expansively
I mean just look at this random example from the internet. Disgraceful.
But we’re talking about legit art (aren’t we?). Mr Monkey’s main motif is the “Stone Cold Killer” monkey in blue and white (although I would argue that it is in fact an ape). I first saw his work at the Pop Up Gallery which ran for a few weeks above the Celebrate Party Shop on Roberts Street just before Christmas last year. And then again at the fantastic ChrisCooperBand album launch at Cafe Indiependent on Friday 4th April. Where the band hosted what can only be described as love-in for local culture, art and music. It was great fun. If you head downstairs in Cafe Indie and check out the walls you will be able to find amongst the other fine works, a permanent monkey by the Mr.
So what are his inspirations? He says robots, spaceships and monster trucks. Sounds like a boys toy store list, and maybe it is but if you’ve ever seen him draw a spaceship you might want to add it to your list as well. When it comes to other artists that he admires there is Chris Foss, who is known for his sci-fi book cover paintings and the concept for the fortress of solitude in the original superman films as well as (haha the research has just thrown this up) the original Joy of Sex illustrations (I’ll have to ask him if he knew that last part when I see him). Along the vein of film artists as inspiration he also enjoys the work of Syd Mead (BladeRunner and more recently Elysium) and Stan Winston the special effects supremo (Terminator, Jurassic Park, Avatar etc). When it comes to street art Mr. M. thinks a lot of a German graffiti artist called Caparso, and another from Basel, Switzerland known as Dare.
When I ask Mr Monkey what he’s up to in the coming months he gives me a list of rather unusual projects. He’s going to do a bit more painting for Cafe Indiependent. Some other commissions. He’s also working on some street art labelled snacks called Monkey Do’s, yes there’s a a gag in the name, Mr Monkey sees…? He’s also going up against a fellow artist in a competition to decorate, paint and generally artify a couple of old BMX bikes. Which will then be sold at charity auction. Can’t wait to see what they look like. I’ve seen him paint up a ukulele, I’d love to see what he can do with a bike.
OK so here is his Facebook link its called Pike Seven which is another alias. And you can follow him on Instagram -@mrmonkeysee. All the photos besides the random example are his own work so please check him out.
To finish up Mr. M told me an interesting little anecdote which adds something to the general discussion on the value of street-art. I can’t remember where he said it was from but it was the story of a Street Artist who hung around with a bunch of organised criminals. And neither could understand why the other did the things they did. The criminals would break into a place to steal hundreds of pounds worth of valuable goods, whereas the artist would break in to leave hundreds of pounds worth of valuable paint on the walls…
Makes you look at it differently doesn’t it?
Thanks Mr. Monkey for your time. If there are any local artists/photographers etc. who would like to feature their work like this on Scunthorpe Nights please let us know. We’re only to happy to do this sort of thing.