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    Guest blog by Kid Acne

    HAVE A WORD - an exhibition by Kid Acne

    26 September 2019
    A 4 minute read by Kid Acne

    For the past few months I've become the "unofficial artist in residence" at Park Hill, where I'm currently painting a series of large scale slogan murals, utilising some of the undeveloped areas of the site. The project runs in conjunction with my latest solo exhibition - HAVE A WORD, which is on view at S1 Artspace (housed within the converted garage block) until the end of September.

    Kid Acne
    Kid Acne in action at Park Hill, Sheffield

    I grew up painting graffiti (and later Street Art) in abandoned places as a teenager. During the 90's I took inspiration from photos I'd see of huge colourful pieces covering giant concrete walls in "Halls of Fame", such as Trellick Tower in West London, Hulme in Manchester and Heath Town in Wolverhampton. Having the opportunity to recreate a similar vibe years later as a site-specific, self-directed art project has been a really enjoyable, rewarding and therapeutic experience.

    Unemployed Gods - one of the murals at Park Hill painted by Kid Acne

    I began painting SLOGAN pieces around 10 years ago after I decided to stop writing my own name (pseudonym, nom de plume or whatever) over and over and start writing idioms, back-handed compliments and regional dialect instead. I found them to be more inclusive and conversational with the general public, whereas my previous work was arguably more coded and ego-driven. Some of the first examples of these SLOGANS were painted at Park Hill during Phase 1 of the redevelopment and have since disappeared, as is the nature with outdoor works.

    You couldn't make it up. Mural painted by Kid Acne at Park Hill back in 2009

    For this current project, every piece of work in the exhibition and on the external walls of Park Hill are directly informed by snippets of lyrics from my fourth studio album (also called HAVE A WORD), produced by Chicago-based Spectacular Diagnostics and imminently released on LEX Records this Autumn.

    On the crest of a wave - one of the paintings at the exhibition

    The letters are intentionally bold, legible and larger than life. The style of lettering derives from my early fanzines, comics, gig posters and DIY records sleeves and has developed organically over the years. It's not a typeface as such but it's heading that way as I continue to explore the nuances of the letters and refine their shape on both a large scale and small format as an ongoing body of work.

    So be it - another mural at Park Hill

    I transcribed all the lyrics when the album was 90% recorded and pulled out any expressions and idioms I might ordinarily paint. It was surprising how many there were without initially realising it. I then added a couple of additional lyrics to complete the album, which directly referenced existing SLOGANS as a way of pulling everything together.

    The opening night of HAVE A WORD

    I then made a list of potential phrases and based on the dimensions of the wall (or canvas) began a process of elimination as to what text would fit best to each composition. I have intentionally included a handful of more esoteric and poetic phrases as a way of breaking things up to make the end result more distinctive and interesting.

    Inside the exhibition of HAVE A WORD

    The murals are all hand painted using spray-paint, masonry and acrylic eggshell. I've incorporated hand-cut stencils into the process of the smaller works, but essentially these exhibition pieces are made using the same materials as their outdoor counterparts as an intentional point of reference. I've made art and music parallel to one another for over 20 years now. Aside from designing record sleeves and tour posters, this is the first official crossover with my studio practice. Now I've figured out a process that works, It's something I intend to explore and develop moving forward.

    Inside the exhibition of HAVE A WORD

    I'd like to thank everyone at Urban Splash for their support and involvement with the project.

    The exhibition is open in S1 Artspace until 28th September 2019, 11am - 5pm. Don't miss it!

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