Richard Hambleton may not be a household name in the way his two closest contemporaries—Basquiat and Haring—have become. But his work and life story are no less compelling. As the sole survivor of this illustrious group, Hambleton has frequently disappeared from public consciousness (quite literally disappearing) only to reemerge with another critically acclaimed body of work. His roots were graffiti based with large-scale conceptual works around the globe, but as time passed, Hambleton has moved toward infrequent commercial exhibitions. Now, London’s Woodbury House Contemporary Art plays host to a comprehensive retrospective, “Richard Hambleton: Godfather of Street Art,” and there one will find 25 uncommon items. Birmingham-based premium streetwear brand Dark Circle has transformed select pieces of Hambleton’s art into stunning canvas jackets. The one-of-a-kind items have hand-picked works digitally printed onto Panama canvas. The canvas has then been fashioned into the shape of Hambleton’s own painter’s coat.
The artist’s life has been one of extremes: homelessness to a Giorgio Armani-hosted 2010 retrospective, reportedly sold out. His “Shadowman” works, mysterious hand-painted silhouettes, have entered the world of iconography. Many of these shadow silhouettes factor into the Dark Circle art pieces. The potency of Hambleton’s work shines forth—and it feels like an authentic way to honor a visionary. In addition to the jackets, Dark Circle is also offering a 16 piece capsule collection, featuring skateboard decks, t-shirts and hoodies (at a substantially lower price point than the jackets). As Woodbury House owns the intellectual property rights of this art, you won’t be seeing it anywhere else.
“Richard Hambleton: Godfather of Street Art” runs now through 16 January 2017 at Woodbury House, on view by appointment. The limited edition Shadowman Series jackets can be purchased directly from Woodbury House. The pricing is available on request, but each is expected to sell for around £4,000. They’ll be delivered in perspex boxes, as they are works of art—but Woodbury House does anticipate people will wear them, as they’e also fully-functional jackets.
Images courtesy of Woodbury House Art