Mike Ballard is a hard artist to categorise. Having started out in graffiti and street art, Ballard also dabbled in music production, often citing the act of sampling as a huge influence on his work. He now employs paint, collage, light installation, film and sculpture, moving seamlessly across genres and spaces.
Some of his most publicised work has been the creation of immersive spaces through the use of an almost baroque mural style. In 2009 Ballard produced 'The All of Everything' at the University of the Arts London's former Art Gallery space in Mayfair, which was set to be demolished soon afterwards. A staggering black and white pattern covered the floors, walls and ceilings, taking inspiration from everything from Caravaggio to Marvel in a darkly psychedelic hip-hop aesthetic.
'The All of Everything', Mike Ballard, 2009
The impermanent nature of this piece linked back to Ballard's time as a graffiti artist, echoing the transience that permeates this medium. Though Ballard's current work has evolved far beyond the simple classification of 'street artist', the Hoxton area in London still holds some of his iconic pieces. Crane.tv travelled with Mike to the site of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', which happens to be on the outside walls of a garage owned by Errol McKeller, a nominated Olympic torch-bearer. Errol has been fighting the council to keep Ballard's art on his garage walls. He told Crane.tv that, '[the council] have to work out what they're trying to tidy up here and I think that's where the confusion lies - they're just tarnishing everything that comes out of a paintbrush as graffiti'.
As well as entering us into a debate on the merits of street art, Mike also gave Crane.tv a preview of the work he will be showing at his upcoming exhibition. 'Stations of the Elevated' will showcase his new collage work and use of light boxes. Comparing his street art to these pieces, it is clear to see Ballard's evolution. We recommend that you don't miss out on this opportunity to view the work of a truly dynamic modern artist whose work is finely attuned to the spirit of the city he lives in.
Text by Angelica Pursley for Crane.tv
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