A collaboration between Zoe Grace and John Morrissey
27 May – 18 June 2016
Private View and Press Preview: 26 May 2016
“Let there be light” Zoe Grace
OPENING this month at London’s Soho gallery with a brand new show featuring collaborative works by conceptual street artist Zoe Grace and neon creator John Morrissey.
Featuring 20 light-box and neon pieces, the works combine the positive messages as seen in Grace’s guerilla-style road signs and John’s design work in neon, acrylic and metal.
Grace’s inspiration for the show comes from her personal life experiences. Growing up with the Primrose Hill set, Grace had a colourful early life but suffered with depression, drug addiction and homelessness. Now in recovery, Grace has a vision of spreading hope and positivity to those who need it. She explains:
“It's so easy to be negative. My art is my contribution to bringing in a bit more love and light into people’s lives. It’s my attempt to help others feel like they’re not alone. Depression, suicide and homelessness are all on the rise; society clearly has a problem. Obviously my positive messages are not a solution, but if they make people feel even just a little bit better, that’s a good thing.”
Grace began creating street signs more than a decade ago when her son first started going to school on his own. To prevent him getting lost she left signs for him at the relevant bus stops and along the roads to show him which direction to go. Other parents caught wind of the idea; it captured the attention of the public and encouraged Grace to pursue life as an artist.
Modifying found street signs, Grace would replace the official text or symbol with her own messages and artworks. Intended to brighten people’s day, Grace would leave the signs in public spaces for everyone to enjoy.
Now in this latest body of work, the text-based pieces continue with the theme of positivity, but take the shape of things that are usually less comfortable. Items such as ophthalmologist test boxes and traffic warning signs and replacing them with uplifting and hopeful messages.
Created in collaboration with Irish designer John Morrissey, Zoe’s concepts and ideas are transformed from 2D sketches to 3D pieces. Zoe begins with a very precise vision of how the final pieces will look and shares sketches, photographs and ideas for colours. John then hand-blows the neon in his Dublin workshop, or employs machinery to create the Perspex pieces. A single piece takes between one and three weeks to make.
Grace commented: “John Morrissey approached me about a collaboration and as I'd always wanted to work in neon, it was the perfect opportunity. We came up with a couple of initial pieces and included them in an exhibition at Centrepoint to launch the charity’s new learning centre. We sold out, and the orders just kept coming in. I think people like the work because it makes them feel good. The colours, the heat and the words, are all quite hypnotic.”
The collection of light-based artworks ranges from neon butterflies in a bell jar to large circular Perspex pieces such as ‘One Love’ and neon traffic cone impersonation ‘I Want to Kiss You’.
Continuing her support of homelessness charity Centrepoint, with which Zoe has an affinity as a result of her own experiences, 100% of sale proceeds from an edition of ‘Twin Hearts’ will be donated to the charity.
Already garnering a number of celebrity fans, the highly anticipated artworks promise an exciting new direction for Zoe Grace and form the basis of this must-see show.
Art Electric runs from Friday 27 May to Saturday 18 June 42 New Compton Street London WC2H 8DA www.rhodescontemporaryart.com @rhodescontemporaryart
Notes to Editors
About the artist – Zoe Grace
Signs are supposed to guide us safely through life, pointing us in the right directions and down the right paths.
Generally the signs we come across on a daily basis can appear like limiting and pessimistic rules. Defining herself as an opportunistic artist, Grace finds street signs and modifies them to contain a statement, which not only guide, but also brighten one’s day. Contrary to her light works, her modified street signs are not exhibited – they are left for the public to see and enjoy for as long as they remain.
About the Gallery
Rhodes Contemporary Art is an independently run, commercial art gallery located in the centre of London. The gallery’s aim is to develop the next generation of artists through exciting and different exhibitions, events and exclusive publications. Featuring contemporary, urban, street and pop art, the gallery embraces visually engaging exhibitions from a hybrid of artistic disciplines.