Cyclops, AKA Lucas Price, is a prolific street artist who combines contemporary photo-realism with religious iconography and street art motifs. Angry and intimate, welcome to his beautiful world of decay.
Expelled from school for experimenting with graffiti and consequentially caught up in an underworld of addiction and forgery, Cyclops has emerged from the fringes of artistic existence and is now stomping through the art world armed with a head full of questions and a palette full of paint.
Since re-emerging, Cyclops has exhibited at London’s Tate Modern as part of the 2008 exhibition Art on the Street and has completed a Master’s Degree at the Royal College of Art, initially accepted without any prior training or education.
Cyclops is interested in beauty and decay and uses a lens-based approach to capture a single moment. This approach combines the stillness of a photo-realistic image with the chaos of abstract urban scrawl to create something that is mournful yet modern and cogent.
Way of All Flesh, which previewed at The Ousiders London in November 2013, fuses Baroque-era portraiture with late vanitas paintings, vaporous street art motifs, religious iconography and utterly contemporary photo-realism. Striking female figures painted in oils, acrylic and spray paint stand alongside still-life skulls donned in Supreme street-wear caps. Backgrounds echo the interior designs of the 19th Century aesthetic movement while the bold borough colouring around the figures’ heads marries abstract urban motifs and the ideas developed at the other end of the spectrum, inside the art institution. Each piece is arresting yet powerful, beautiful but distressing, opulent yet frail.
Cyclops plays with a theme that preoccupied many Renaissance painters and poets – the fragility of beauty and the inevitability of death. No matter how beautiful something it is, it will not last. Unfortunately even his well-decorated protagonists will one day be no more.