Famous When Dead

Siobhan Grace Mcaleer || July 12th

Famous When Dead: Artwork Show

On display at the Upstairs Gallery, Entrepreneurs, Hanley until 27th July.

Having seen a teaser image for this show, but never having heard of Famous When Dead as an artist previously, I quickly went on a mission to find out all I could about him. To find out that he is from Stoke made me feel proud that our city is truly full of brilliant artists, to find out that he is still living and working from here is a bonus.

Spending some time looking through images on his website and blog, I was completely taken and couldn't wait for the show to open on friday. When friday came, it was a sweaty and long day; but arriving in the cool(er) white walled gallery we were gifted with a brilliant array of colour, and beauty. FWD's work is brilliantly executed, and just challenging enough to be interesting, pushing the boundaries, but staying with the limits of good taste.

The clean graphic lines, and beautiful finish make the work for very easy viewing. There's a warming familiarity within his work, as he uses pop culture references, that have, for me, and I think my generation as a whole, fond memories. Through all of the colour, and beauty there is however, a quiet and a darkness to the work. This makes for a deeply layered, and contemplative contemporary show.

The curation of the show is quite conventional, in terms of the hanging, most pieces at eye level, with a couple of clusters, and everything spaced well and evenly so as to be seen clearly. However, the juxtaposition of the works creates a narrative that is intriguing, and flows through the gallery taking you on an imaginative journey. There are moments of reminiscence of Damien Hirst's work and nods to the surrealists, in an understandable and accessible manner. The works are also, just so you know, very reasonably priced, and I dare say, will be worth more in time to come. FWD may be get there before his timer has run out.

Make sure you get into to see the show, because the lustre, and sheen cant be seen through a screen, as always the best way to view an image is first hand.

Go and smell it.

Famous when Dead. A stamp.

Dead famous

Elizabeth Taylor with her eyes on fire, a usual depiction guilted to admire,

A lady in cheese or cheer or cheers

With beer and sweat and tears,


people deep in quiet conversation. The rebels are here.

Luke and his Lea, Dead and dead dotty

And Winona is spotty

In beetle juice tones, collaged next to Hugh Hefner's wife

So not to be stranded, against the standard, the shine outstanding and lustre.

A standard


Stands hard.

A finish for some, with black and white torn as luscious lips pout; and she looks confused, a beautiful invigilator, in khaki and black engrossed by the window,her phone, a postcard, lost souls a living painting.

Three eyed turtles in the wrong colours but again with the lustre,

Did someone hear a Bristolian accent?

What were those letters?

Was there a shark? No,only a loaner, a property owner and depression, but only in the winter.

Pizza. Round and distracting and beautifully welcome, with fits and spits and squirts. A painting. To be consumed, and after regretted, but done all the same, the shame washed away in the confusion of gender.

Money overrides

faces obscured by that accent again, background becoming foreground, ending up in pigeon holes with jokes about fire and life and whether or not any of its worth it?

Shall we shirk it? Blank pop culture references on grandmas wallpaper a juxtaposition that brings us to the fake shit evil scum , and Elizabeth Taylor with fire in her eyes.