An interview with Philip Yarnell

Philip Yarnell is the 24 year old tattooer working from the seaside town Southend in Essex at Skynard. His impressive work with its strong and consistent use of imagery, muted colour pallet and his strong following is all the more special considering the fact that he has only been tattooing for two years. There is a depth and quality to his work which is far beyond his length of practice and can be seen clearly in how much interest his work amasses. Here at Sang Bleu we’ve tried to get to know Philip at little bit better by finding out more about him.


How long have you been tattooing for and how did you get into it? Your are still pretty young considering how developed your work is.

I’ve been tattooing for about 2 years now but I have been at the shop I work at for almost 3 years. I got into tattooing whilst I was still at University, I was getting tattooed at Skynyard which is now where I work. Luckily Albert Thomas the owner saw potential in my drawings (which at the time I was taking in to get tattooed). He then waited for me to finish university, and thats when I started. I think my work is still developing a lot although I’m still unsure of the direction its taking.

Where did you study fine art? Did your tutors or other students have a problems with you wanting to go into tattooing?

I studied fine art at Hertfordshire University. They didn’t have a problem with it at all, it only really came to be a possibility when I was in the last year. It also never really effected my work there as I was working on various personal art projects that have nothing [...]

Barbara Kruger at Skarstedt Gallery

The beginning stages of iconic artist and Barbara Kruger’s career are surveyed in Skarstedt Gallery’s current exhibition Barbara Kruger: Early Works and features her large scale work from the 80s.

Barbara Kruger is the American artist and social activist that creates politically motivated work that demonstrates critique on mass culture and its power over individuals. Through the play of commercial graphic and advertising techniques, Kruger challenges the mentality that is fed to us through mass media’s indoctrination and seeks to challenge its gender/power relations.

Early Works presents Kruger’s large scale black and white images that are overlaid with her bold provocative statements within red, enamel frames. The large photographs taken from media sources are cropped, enlarged and juxtaposed with her strident verbal statements that are born from political agitation and address power, identity, gender and sexuality, her works are ones of semiotic conflict.

The images she chooses to stand behind her statements are stark, powerful and familiar to any eye that has sub-consciously absorbed mass media, Kruger said herself her work seeks to ‘question the seemingly natural appearances of images’.  For Kruger, imagery is an instrument to entice and beguile with the statements then used to accost; her use of the pronoun is a distinctive draw, and then a direct assault.

Kruger’s works on display at Skarstedt feature phrases such as ‘your life is a perpetual insomnia’, ‘you kill time’, ‘you make history when you do business’ and ‘business as usual’ overlaid on heads held in hands, wolves baring teeth and businessmen’s feet. They’re evocative of the ‘decade of greed’ of the 80s in which they were produced. Nothing is more symbolic of Kruger’s attack on the moral permission of this obsession with business and power over anything else than the work with a house blowing up, a [...]

Deliquium: An exhibition of the dark movements


Deliquium is an exhibition of the Dark Movements scene that’s hosted by Milk and Lead gallery and happening at London venue, Electrowerkz this weekend.

The unique three day event sees a cross pollination of music producers and contemporary artists creating a spectrum of multidisciplinary and multisensory events including live music, visual art performances and the Dark Room’s space for erotic poetry. Industrial, Dark Ambient, Noise, Power Electronics, EBM, Goth, Dark Wave, Post Punk, Opera and Experimental Music are the underlying current that lends to the exhibitions theme and narrative.

Deliquium will submerge its spectators and participants in a cultural stream of darkness by bringing artists together whose expression and influences are deeply connected to subversive aesthetics.

More information can be found here. 

RADICAL PEOPLE – A newspaper dedicated to the apathetic and bored created by Reba Maybury

Reba Maybury, editor of Sang Bleu has just created a newspaper about Radical People living in London over the age of 50. Featuring some of British subcultures most pioneering individuals each person has hand written a story, memory or reaction to their impression of the word radical.

Featuring the kind of icons who posses an unshakable respect, the newspaper has been created in reaction to our growingly apathetic and reference obsessed world. As we all exist within a space of digital narcissism Reba found it fitting to search out the kind of people who germinated subculture as we know it now, the people whose air of respect evolves from beliefs and behaviour rather than the superficial. A way of celebrating these people who may have not received the celebrity like status of others more associated within counter cultural history but are utterly as essential.

People featured include Ron Athey, who talks about meeting Edith Massey at a LA leather bar in 1981. The eternal muse of countercultural London Princess Julia describes living in a bedsit with her best friend on  Kensington Church Street in 1978. Paul Denman the bassist of Sade relives seeing The Clash for the first time in 1977. The star of this music video Lana Pellay expresses her views of the current british conservative government and the importance of human compassion. One of the most important and influential (and first) stylists Judy Blame discusses what is radical in the most simple but stunning of terms and Jeffrey Hinton a DJ who has played at every decade defining night club since the 1970s recounts the harrowing reality of his experiences of AIDS in 1994.

Kingsley Ifill has taken specially commissioned portraits and

Interview with Glue Sniffer

Arek  Barankiewicz better known as Glue Sniffer is the 28 year old Polish tattooer working from Warsaw. His use of intense reds, super bold lines and slightly unsettling appropriations of classic flash have been causing more and more interest over the last couple of months through the posting of his work on different internet platforms. Here we speak about the tattoo scene in Poland, what inspires him and what the ‘polish sadness’ in his work means.

How long have you been tattooing for and how did you get into it?

I started tattooing about four years ago but my first contact with a tattoo machine took place a few years before that. I used to mess around on the skin of some of my friends,  but I had decided to set aside all the “tattoo plans” and got rid of all tattooing equipment. After some time had passed I  got persuaded into coming back and started everything over from the beginning, tattooing volunteers in a room, which I was renting.

I got interested in tattoo art, when I was in high school, I liked browsing tattoo magazines.  It was about 13 years ago, so most of those Polish magazines were dominated by tribal tattoos or poorly done realistic portraits.

It’s hard to get interested in the tattoo art  when there are only horrible examples, right? Even the decision about getting my first tattoo had come after many years. I clearly remember my first visit to a tattoo shop, when my friend was getting his first piece. It’s hard to forget a visit to the tattoo studio, which was just a space separated in the beauty parlour and tattoo “artist” himself looked truly dissatisfied with the fact, that someone came in asking for [...]

‘we could be heroes’ at the photographers gallery



‘It’s not the history of art, it’s the art of history’- Bruce Davidson

A century of youth culture is traced through the group show ‘We Could be Heroes’ at the Photographers Gallery. It exhibits work by Bruce Davidson, Ed van der Elsken, Bert Hardy, Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Roger Mayne, Chris Steele-Perkins, Anders Petersen, Al Vandenberg, Weegee and Tom Wood.

The title of the exhibition sets the tone for the works within; a cry of questionable optimism and the uncertainty of greatness that is so intrinsic to the pysche of youth. It’s reference to the lyrics of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ is bittersweet of these uncertain desires, ‘though nothing will keep us together, we can beat them, forever and ever, we can be heroes, just for one day’; the sense of a battle against an order and the expiry of youthful abandon filters through to the photographs themselves.

To be young is to be a virgin to humanity. It is to experience the love, sex, art, music and culture that will abolish a class of liminal, transitional identities and create an individual. No one captures the dark romance of this human drama (and education) like Ed van der Elsken, the Dutch photographer whose work captures the agenda of the young across most of the world for the entire latter half of the twentieth Century.

Van der Elsken’s beeldroman (photonovel) of excesstiantialist post-war Paris, ‘Love on the Left Bank’ is a poem of true young love, that of heartbreak, and a selection of photographs are featured in We Could Be Heroes. It follows the story of Manuel- a Mexican immigrant – and his love for Ann, an Australian dancer and artist paving her way in Paris’ bohemian quarters.

The photographs within are timeless, raw portraits of youths [...]

Irregular Body, Regular Pleasure: Joel Peter Witken

Once I had a Master. My Master is yet to be identified.

Hidden between the deformities of the grotesque is the flawless being. This is a call for the un-perfect, the deformed, and the mutants of society. The unmediated variations allows for a vast sum of oddities, a juxtaposition of morbid flesh and sound mind. It is not the destruction of the perfect body that causes intrigue, but the means of overcoming undesirable prevalences. An amalgamation of decomposed pornography. What may not seem erotic from the outside, for some, can be a perversion of their order. The erotic is fully formed, but coordinated with sophisticated malice. The demon radiates with intensity.

A demon of sophistication, Joel Peter Witken, stager of the elaborate death and the magnificent abnormal, captured delicately posed corpses and bravely naked mutants, of whom he arranged in antique nightmares. He called out for the monstrous, physical prodigies of all kinds, “pinheads, dwarfs, giants, hunchbacks, pre-op transsexuals, bearded women, active or retired sideshow performers, contortionists (erotic), women with one breast (center), people who live as comic book heroes, satyrs, twins joined at the foreheads, anyone with a parasitic twin, twins sharing the same arm or leg, living Cyclopes, people with tails, horns, wings, fins, claws, reversed feet or hands, elephantine limbs. He continues… all people with unusually large genitals, sex masters and slaves. Women whose faces are covered with hair or large skin lesions and who are willing to pose in evening gowns. Five androgynies willing to pose together as ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.’ Hairless anorexics. Human skeletons and human pincushions. People with complete rubber wardrobes.”

This encounter between the sacred and the profane is a profound intervention on the human condition. Bodies are deformed, a portrayal of life [...]