by Kori Schulman
The work of Mr. Bingo is what you might expect from an artist with that name—self-described as â€œneat, well observed and silly." He likes to keep things on the lighter side and finds motivation in making people laugh.
When I first came across his popular hair portrait screened on a white t-shirt, I did smile—I even cracked up at points upon seeing his full portfolio of work, learning about Bingoâ€™s side gig as a beatbusker (more on that later) and his secret desire to be a football hooligan.
The London-based artist was not always fun and games though, he began making art at an early age, drawing on the kitchen table â€œmasculine and sometimes disturbing things like war and death and torture," or what Mr. Bingo calls â€œweird boys stuff." It was when he began his career as an illustrator that he focused an art project on Bingo and the old ladies who play it, where upon visiting the Bingo hall he scored £121 and the befitting nickname he's been with ever since.
The hair portrait that first caught my eye has since led him to a series of hair portraits that challenge you to recognize a famous person only by seeing the outline of their hair. The latest portrait in the series that includes "Guns 'N Roses" and "A New Hope" was created for the British comedy duo "The Mighty Boosh," who are just as quirky as Mr. Bingo himself.
When he isn't busy illustrating editorial pieces for Money Magazine or Microsoft ad campaigns, you can find him beatbusking on the streets of East London. An emerging urban subculture that involves impromptu beatboxing over the music of a street performer or busker, beatbusking is according to Mr. Bingo "like an unorganized jam that just goes off live right in front of whoever happens to be around."
Mr. Bingo's art and music is a bit like yin and yang — the illustrations are methodical while the music is sporadic and chaotic. On the whole though, Bingo's work is bright, entertaining and wonderfully inclusive to anyone that happens to catch a glimpse or pass by, most likely making them smile.
The Mighty Boosh Hair Portrait print is available online for £100, with 75% of the proceeds going to the Rebecca Ling Trust, a charity close to the Boosh boys.