Theft From Above
Theft From Above: a homage, a poking of the Hornets’ nest, an honest exploration of authorship and inspiration or outright daylight robbery? Given Mason’s past history with urban arts other man of mystery, the similarities and motifs in this new body of work are less than subtle. Indeed they are glaringly obvious and are bound to illicit howls of derision and cries of ‘rip off’ and opportunist.
“This latest collection is in some ways an exploration of the art world itself, like the Emperor’s new clothes. Art is what the art elite tell people it is. Thirty years ago galleries and dealers would have had a Banksy piece buffed over if it appeared on a wall outside their gallery and called the police if they saw some urchin lurking with a spray can in hand, and now, well, now, they’d step over their dying Granny to get at one of his pieces and I find that amusing. The work is now hailed as ‘important’ and new labels such as ‘sloganist’ have been invented to enable the addition of a zero or two to the price tag. I’m sure Banksy is laughing his socks off, and good luck to him!"
"As an artist whose work is generally highly precise, highly technical and time consuming, I got to wondering if maybe I’m trying too hard? So I’ve created this body of work with that in mind, and to be fair, it was still time consuming, but as for technically challenging, it wasn’t. I know the Banksy purists will be apoplectic and that’s great. Art should illicit emotion, even if it’s ‘let’s kill Mason’.
“Matisse was a master at what he did and Picasso was a master at what he did; still didn’t stop Picasso nicking ideas off Matisse. His white dove had its egg hatching birth in Matisse’s studio. Banksy is without doubt the undefeatable master at what he does. And me? I’m (with all modesty) a master at what I do, so nicking his ideas can only make them better right?".
It’s hard to tell if Mason is courting controversy for the sake of it, but either way, there is no doubting his commitment to what he does. If he’s going to annoy a whole section of the art community, he’ll do it with great enthusiasm and flair, and maybe that in itself is partly where his art exists; the artist as provocateur, holding a mirror up to the art world itself.
Whatever his motivation, “Theft From Above” (and you can take from that title what you will) has all the hallmarks of a little piece of Urban art history in the making. It’s Mason’s world and we are all just happy to be living in it.
"If you like my work, buy it and cherish it. If you hate my work, buy it and burn it.
My New York apartment needs a new bathroom”
Theft From Above - Show Poster (2021)
42 x 59.5 cm
All profits go to Dexter's Odyssey, a charity supporting families when their child has been diagnosed with cancer.