El Arte Es Basura | Artist - Art is Tra$h. Installed October 2013


It was an incongruous, and somewhat disputable term of reference for Turnpike Lane. But Francisco de Pájaro, AKA Art is Tra$h, is all about paradox.

This devilishly-creative Spanish artist had previous with our TAG street art gallery, so it was with great pleasure that we were able to invite him back; courtesy of a chance liaison at the Moniker Art Fair, and latterly Tommy from London West Bank Gallery.

So a meeting was set. And Francisco was reacquainted with Meg The Horse. When informed that permission to paint was granted, and large sections of our brutally-rendered gallery wall were ostensibly a blank canvas, TAG were able to rustle up a stampede - there was no pressure to dance with the devil on this outing. Even our passing Community Police Officers uttered "That's nice."

Pájaro is an instantly likeable individual. His work is another example of the transcendent ability of street art to harness the finesse of the finer arts, and infuse them with an urban edginess, or more critically a sense of demanding immediacy. Yet much more than many other street art practitioners, Art is Tra$h embodies the very essence of 'the moment' - his prolific output so often here today, gone tomorrow. He plays with the notion of ephemeral. Pájaro makes art from the items we discard.

With a highly-aggressive anti-graffiti enforcement program in place in his native Barcelona, together with a crumbling economy, Pájaro made the decision to take his energies elsewhere. And what was Catalonia's loss, became London's gain. All through 2013 (most often of Thursday's), this master of improvisation and spontaneity elevated the debris of our city life into flashes of genius. It's a challenge to look over some of Pájaro's reinterpretations of junk, and not see the spectre of Picasso peeking through the bulging, semi-opaque rubbish bags so often formed into screaming huddles of bewitched souls. It's not a bad paradigm to draw upon.

Yet Pájaro's metier is his own; where the viewer glimpses hints of provocation, social commentary, raw satire, even the burlesque. Here one can observe how this artist has embraced the ethos behind the Arte Povera movement of the late 1960s; reframing it within the ubiquitous, every day product of our post-modern culture - waste.

All artwork, text and images © Turnpike Art Group 2022.