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A black and white photograph of Danny Pockets at work, May 2017  Photograph © Teddy Webb

Danny Pockets at work Photograph © Teddy Webb

Danny Pockets RIP

Danny Pockets (Daniel Lee Cuming) 5 November 1964 – 12 March 2018

Danny Pockets, the artist, died of cancer on 12 March. Living and working in St Leonards-on-Sea, he was a painter, conceptual artist and curator with a strong following in London, Hastings and worldwide. He has an upcoming exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall. Jude Cowan Montague writes about her friend and collaborator.

A painting of the Astoria venue in London by Danny Pockets

The Astoria © Danny Pockets

In the mid-nineties he began to look at the change in the landscape of work and recreation. By painting shopfronts, abandoned amusement arcades and chip shops he made himself a chronicler of urban and industrial transition. Out of this exploration grew his paintings of music venues, dance-halls and clubs, tributes to the musical worship of a counter-cultural movement. This became his best-known series of work Houses of the Holy, a tribute to the street cathedrals of and rock ‘n’ roll.

For these colourful, highly-crafted visions of these alternative temples Danny used mixed media, shellac, spray paint, oil and acrylic, chinagraph pencil, with traditional art materials and recycled bags, boxes and boards he created poignant, expressive memories. He captured a feeling of downtime from the after-gig cafés of Camden Town to hanging at the 12 Bar and Madam Jojo’s. His work speaks to lovers of vinyl, the outdoors, conversations with friends, night life and disappearing shops. The pieces immortalise time spent with others when that communal experience was relatively uninterrupted by mobile phones and screen-addiction. They’re not just about places. They are about people.

Danny was a great figure in the underground, counter-cultural scene, in music as well as visual art. As part of an extended, ever-changing artist group who exhibit together in central London and beyond, in underground car parks, he was a welcome figure, a supporter and a leader, someone we were all pleased to see and chew over the art with, get a bit of warmth and support. He made you feel the work was worthwhile, we were worthwhile, the art was worthwhile. In July 2014 he curated Loud and Western a Big Deal Marvellous Mix-Up with Vanya Balogh in the most incredible architectural space in Fulham. One of his signature blankets hung from the ceiling shouting the empowering words YOU DECIDE, and in the sunlit yard he flanked the space with two abstract palette sculptures in sea-tones of black, blue and grey, riffing on the symbolism of the eternal circle and the venn diagram. Perhaps even more importantly to the exhibiting artists he walked around our pieces, looking and pondering, exchanging words and thoughts, giving out freely the precious gift of his care and attention.

Golden Fish Bar © Danny Pockets

Golden Fish Bar © Danny Pockets

When it came to music and sonic art Danny was a player, performer and a shaker. Whether through setting up and running Thee Sunday Sonics in 2015, and linking it to the Fat Tuesday music festival to bring London experimentalists to mix with locally based artists St Leonards-on-Sea – James Weaver will be continuing the sonic adventures with a special tribute to Danny this year – or by going further afield to organise Voodoo Hopscotch in Folkestone with Janine Crow and Ewan Golder, he was a determined and creative force in the South Coast underground. Notably in 2016, he took Thee Sunday Sonics into the Observer Building and the Printworks and put together a legendary programme of visual and sonic adventures.

His contribution to the Foundry scene in London included regular appearances on the Foundry Late Late Breakfast Show and the Pink and Blue series text-me-up with Tracey Moberly, creative audio broadcast on Resonance FM, with a posthumous follow-up next year.

He has been a publisher through his Universal Racket Press since he was a student at Chelsea College of Art and the City and Guilds of London School of Art, working with a punk and rave DIY aesthetic. He was awarded a Jerwood prize in 2010 for the exhibition ‘Arcadia’ and has exhibited internationally notably at La Biennale di Venezia and his work has been shown at the Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Royal Academy of Arts. He has curated so many shows and live events, created sculptures and installations and the blackShed Gallery in Robertsbridge exhibited his paintings in the 2017 exhibition BLLDZR:and other drifts.

Best wishes and all supportive thoughts go to Danny’s wife Sarah and his family.

Houses of the Holy, Danny Pockets’ portraits of the street cathedrals of rock and roll is on display in the Amphi corridor at the Royal Albert Hall from 19 March. It is open for public viewings on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 March 10am–4pm. Sales will support the Teenage Cancer Trust. More information here.

On Friday 16 March, Jude Cowan Montague presented a tribute show to Danny Pockets on ResonanceFM which you can listen to here.

Lauris Morgan Griffiths reviewed Danny Pockets show at the BlackShed gallery in May 2017 for Hastings Online Times. Read her article here.

He was also interviewed by the BBC during his show at the Blackshed Gallery. Watch the Youtube clip here.


Posted 14:23 Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 In: Arts News

Also in: Arts News

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