REVIEW: A personal journey by Dusty O is vibrant, fun and fearless art exhibition
A new art exhibition at a relatively new location has been launched tonight at The Custard Factory, and I must admit, I was impressed.
Impressed by the space, the artist – Dusty O – and the ongoing push that aims to make The Custard Factory one of the creative places to be in Birmingham. It’s called A Personal Journey by Dusty O and it’s running for the next two weeks.
The new Digbeth Art Space are showing the works of Dusty O, a truly larger-than-life character and local boy made good. Stating in the exhibition’s programme that he has “played records, hosted clubs, mingled with pop stars (such as Boy George and Dead or Alive’s Pete Burns, who both feature in his art on display), took drugs and drank the bar dry,” and all while gaining the title of “Queen of Soho” in the process; he’s certainly lived a life as colourful as his artwork.
Then came the hard times and with London Clubland having turned its back on Dusty, he took up new friends and a new life. A life that saw him turning to painting and the arts.
This exhibition is a vibrant collection that reminded me in style of Picasso, if he’d taken advice with John Micheal Basquiat; with more than a hint of pop art about it as it mixes more traditional art methods such as acrylics with digital art tools to create collages that vibrate with energy and colour.
It is clearly very personal when considering some of the subject matter Dusty O takes up in such pieces as King’s Cross (20167) and Trannyshack (2016). It’s also a fun exhibition, which doesn’t take itself too seriously when you see such pieces as Tranny Mermaids (2016) or Cheeky Monkey (2015) . Set along the whitewashed walls of the Zellig public space within the Custard Factory, these pieces really popped and added some much needed colour to a drab autumnal night.
Speaking with Dusty briefly, he was more than happy to be back in his hometown of Brum and showing his work to a growing crowd of appreciative art followers in the city. I asked him about the photo of him with fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, which he includes in the programme, only for him to tell me that it was odd and taken very quickly in a guerrilla style, given Lagerfeld doesn’t like being photographed. And it’s in this story that the whole of Dusty’s art can be encapsulated – fun, fearless and taking no prisoners.
Well worth popping in and taking a look. Beats the Christmas Market now doesn’t it?
A Personal Journey by Dusty O is on at the Digbeth Art Space in The Custard Factory.