All photography by Calum Ross.
Exploring the primitive need for belief systems in an increasingly confusing world, Culross based artist Mike Inglis presents Transmit: a series of stark, graphic and narrative based screen prints. Juxtaposing ancient and modern religious icons from voodoo rituals, catholic symbolism and contemporary graffiti, Transmit portrays and alternative moral code for a modern disconnected population.
Connecting all the pieces together is the omnipresent ‘spaceboy‘ character. A figurative symbol of disenfranchised youth, the ghost-like character appears introverted, presented in a variety of foetal, anti-social stances. Often depicted alone or with his equally disconnected female counterpart (based on the artist Kirsty Whiten) spaceboy hides inside his space helmet, shutting out the barrage of conflicting messages surrounding and consuming the world he inhabits.
“Spaceboy is very much a part of how I feel or have felt in my darker moments,” explains Inglis, “But he is also a cypher exploring how many people feel. Viewers really relate to the character and that can only be because they recognise or relate to him. Everything I make, all the characters, contain something of me but often it’s not a dominant emotion.”
But will the enigmatic Spaceboy ever reveal his true identity? “Spaceboy will never reveal his face, it’s not important how he looks, just how he feels and how we all relate to him. How he changes in relation to the spaces he inhabits and how he makes us think about our own relationships with places and people.”
In addition to his series of screen prints is Inglis’ intriguing Cigar Box Shrine, a mixed-media assemblage piece created out of found objects and pasted text. Pushing further the theme of contemporary graffiti icons as street culture replacements for their older religious counterparts, the box highlights societies fascination with religious artefacts and the interchangeable nature many of these faiths possess. The most curious items within the Shrine are the Pharmaceutical Bottles which Inglis had blessed by a bona-fide voodoo priest in Amsterdam.
“The voodoo priest was a total revelation!” Inglis reminisces, “Although from my research I knew the true profile of the religion was very complex and most of the portrayals of Voodoo priest (Santeria) were Hollywood horror movie hokum, I still had preconceived notions. The guy was a very camp white Dutchman, incredibly helpful and warm and instantly reversed all thoughts and fears I had. We had a very interesting morning together and he performed a ceremony preparing the powders for the shrines, all the time chatting away.”
The Axolotl Gallery will no doubt be feeling the positive effects of the blessed powders, which are said to bring about spiritual benefits, as Transmit is yet another successful addition to a list of unique and highly innovative installations in their New Town gallery. Transmit will run until the Saturday the 29th May.
- Voodoo “Hoochie Coochie and the Creative Spirit”
- East Enders: The East End Academy at Whitechapel Gallery
- Thomas Voorn b Store installation
- King Khan and The Shrines
- Illustrator Interview: Anka Dabrowska