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Jaybo's Pocket Show

The Berlin-based artist unveils his debut London exhibition of miniatures.

Fran Gavin, Dazed’s visual arts editor has a new book coming out in May entitled “Creative Space, Urban Homes of Artists and Innovators” and alongside Julie Verhoeven, Fafi and Nicola Formichetti, the book features the Berlin-based artist Jaybo aka Monk. The multi-talented artist founded the German mag Style and the Family Tunes, and has turned his talent to everything from streetwear design to graphics and graffiti, his first monograph was published in 2006; “My Head is a Visual Township”. His debut London solo show opens this week at the Nancy Victor gallery, entitled The Pocket Show it is an exhibition of miniatures, his Francis Bacon-esque portraits adorning matchboxes, Coke cans and smashed cigarette packets.

Dazed Digital: Can you talk about the theme of the show and the ideas for the miniatures?
Jaybo: As far as I can remember, I have always been distracted by the leftovers, by things lying on the street, broken forms, missing parts and lost items. It matches perfectly with my paintings, generated by happy accidents and volunteered mistakes.

DD: Do you find it challenging to paint so small?
Jaybo: I am always on some new quest, this time it’s the size. As a street artist you’re always tending to work big so that the public can appreciate from afar. To work small is more spontaneous. It took time before I could handle the brush size. I also wanted to present the installation side of my work, which is definitely one of my major works in the street. My principal message for all of my work is a reaction about the pre-fab opinions in our society. The fact that I am using trash is a simple way to show that there is something to be done with leftovers… trash, ideas, opinions.
DD: It’s your first London solo show – what’s taken you so long?!
Jaybo: I underestimated the long swim between Europe and England. Well, I had a lot of problems in finding my own art interesting, because I am not interested in the finish product, but just the ways to get into it. I guess it just took me a lot of time trying to accept myself as an artist. I think that real art has nothing to do with money or galleries and that should all happen in the street. This is where it is living and dying.

DD: What do you find most inspiring about art directing Style and the Family Tunes?
Jaybo: Besides the work with my crew that will be the quest of each issue, I see every issue like songs. Some are good, some are fancy and some are hits, but at the end it’s all a question of timing. I try to find some new graphic melodies and I guess I love to find solutions.

DD: I like your quote about constantly evolving and changing your style.
Jaybo: Definitely. I love to change techniques to learn new ways of expression. I am thirsty about new knowledge. I want to be an all rounded artist because for me, art has nothing to do with techniques or style, art is something I need to breathe and to be free.

DD: What music, fashion and visual artists from Berlin and London are you excited by?
Jaybo: I love the work of Matt Small, Andy Golthworthy and down in Berlin Charlie Isoe, Nomad and Anton Unai.