Art You Should Know About #2: Pure Evil

In a new series, Esquire speaks with an expert to introduce you to an artist or artwork you should know about

“Having Pure Evil as a nickname is a bit of a joke,” the artist otherwise known as Charley confesses.

“It’s a license to have fun with dark imagery. It reflects the darkness that’s in the world right now. You can’t just ignore it and do a nice picture of a unicorn. Unless it’s a unicorn with a rocket launcher on its head.”

Pure Evil is one of the key British artists at the epicenter of the booming international street art scene. He has exhibited in China, Russia, Mongolia, Brazil, USA and all over Europe, and most recently had a sellout exhibition in the Saatchi Gallery with his Nightmare Series.

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That collection was inspired by Warhol and inspired the “culture of the thumbnail” – looking at the dark side of celebrity worship.

Charley is heavily influenced by American Pop Art which came after World War II, both as a celebration of the country's economic boom and a comment on its excesses. Street art and graffiti in turn came out of Pop, exploding onto trains and inner city buildings in the 70’s.

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It is this and Pure Evil’s ancestry – he is a descendent of the beheaded 16th century social philosopher Sir Thomas More – that informs his aesthetic. Like his distant relative, he likes to explore the wreckage of utopian dreams in his work.

You can buy 'Eddie Fisher’s Nightmare' (above) in a signed limited edition copy from pureevilclothing.com, or just look out for his signature evil bunny on walls  around London and the world.

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Art You Should Know About #1: Mario Wagner 
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