A gallery space sponsored by Tiger Beer and occupying the upstairs floor of a 55DSL clothing store, Studio55 embodies that peculiar collision of fine arts and consumer culture. Currently, it is playing host to another unlikely collaboration. On display is the first of its Pic + Mix exhibitions, in which an established artist works alongside another creative-type. In the inaugural pairing, Sanderson Bob, a graphic designer and art director, has selected a seemingly unlikely partner: Sam Sherborne, a blacksmith.
Collaboration is a central motif even within the pair's work. While one red-tinted piece literally describes their method of teamwork, another asks onlookers to participate in the creative process by applying paint to a metal sculpture of a human head. While making us feel like a part of the action, we also relished the chance to practice our face painting skills in time for Halloween.
If the space is one of unlikely partners, none was more unexpected than the hodgepodge of people populating the studio's small space. Hip-hop beats pumping, we were surprised to encounter refined 30-somethings sipping beer beside street-styled Gen Y-ers. Then again, the exhibition is full of diversity, featuring both sculptural and framed works. Although graphic design is most prevalent, the smithy's influence is clear, particularly in the more installation-like pieces.
Nestled just off Carnaby Street, this small collection might provide a healthy dose of culture during a hectic shopping trip. So if you're hitting the stores around Oxford Circus, consider taking a break from the bustle at Studio55.
By Rob Lederer
Studio55 is located at the north end of Newburgh Street, near Oxford Circus. Sanderson Bob and Sam Sherborne' collaborative exhibition will run until 20 November 2009.