Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Narbi Price - Shan't Quit

Fancy seeing some hyper-realistic paintings and lithographic prints of Whitechapel, London this Wednesday evening? Then get yourself down to Vane Art Gallery tonight where we'll be at the preview of local artist Narbi Price's first solo exhibition, Shan't Quit.

We caught up with Narbi earlier for a quick 5 minute exclusive interview:

F6.Studio: Hi Narbi, are you excited for your very first solo debut?

Narbi Price: Yeah I think so. I haven’t got any idea what to expect really, I’ve been very careful not to have a solo show until I felt ready for it. I don’t ever get really excited but yeah, I think I am a bit!

F6: The context and history behind your artwork is interesting, finding out what's now a car-park or a loading bay was in-fact the site of 'Jack the Ripper's' murders in 1888, it gives it an almost eerie quality. Is that juxtaposition between the the past and the present something that inspires you?

NP: Yeah I think as well as them being of historical importance for one particular reason, i.e. the Jack the Ripper thing, I’m equally interested in the innumerable other things that have happened in the sites…so that’s why there’s no indication unless you have that prior knowledge like you’ve read the press release or whatever, that that’s what they are. So as a body of work, each one of the paintings has the initials of the victims. If you had them all together you could figure it out, or as the show’s called ‘Shan’t Quit', which is a line from the really infamous 'dear boss' letter Jack the Ripper wrote to the news corporation. The full line is “I’m down on whores and I shan’t quit ripping them until I do get buckled”, so it’s taking those two words out of that context to provide a kind of framework for the work, but it doesn’t kind of rub it in your face. I think as soon as you know that they are of particular sites it kind of changes them a lot.

F6: Asides from the juxtaposition between past and present, what else do you feel inspires your work?

NP: There’s always a historical context of recent works so looking around the studio, that black door one (points to painting nearest his desk), that’s ‘Number 304, Holloway Road’ where the record producer Joe Meek lived worked and died. He was really influential in avant-garde techniques so he done Telstar and produced the Tornados, but he used to produce Tom Jones and stuff like that, so he was like a repressed, depressed guy and he was massively paranoid, and he went crazy and killed his land lady and killed himself there in that house. But now it’s just a posh flat and there’s a greengrocers next to it, and there’s no way you’d know it. The painting next to it is a place in Norwich called Lollards Pit, to look at it it’s just a beautiful little boating river that goes underneath that bridge, and you know people practice their rowing up and down there, but it’s also the site where in around the 14-1500’s there was a huge pit where they used to throw witches and Jews and burn them.

F6: There's obviously a lot of dark undertones to your work.

NP: Yeah, yeah it doesn’t all have to be dark, I mean that painting there (points to painting of alleyway) you could ruminate on the dark histories of this dark alleyway in London, everything from someone being murdered maybe, someone having a piss or whatever, but it’s actually the exact location Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues was performed, so the yellow square is where he was stood.

F6: It seems as though you're inspired strongly by locations, but say you could invite five inspirational people dead or alive to a dinner party, who would you choose and why?

NP: Ooh that’s tough. Erm…R. D. Laing, he’s an existential psychiatrist because he looks like he was great fun, he was a bit of a character. Ken Dodd, you know you’ve got to hang out with Ken Dodd don’t you? Tony Hancock, Ray Galton who wrote 'Steptoe and Son' and Alan Simpson, is that five? That would be great should we get them round?

F6: I think we should, we should invite them tonight! Well it's been a pleasure speaking to you and good luck with the exhibition later, we look forward to seeing it!

'Shan't Quit' previews Wednesday 18th September at 6.00pm, Vane (Floor 1), Commercial Union House, and the exhibition is on until Saturday 26th October.

To see more of Narbi's work check out his website at, and if you're interested in keeping up-to-date with his most recent work give his Facebook page a like ( and follow him on Twitter ( 

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