Every now and then you come across a new name in the art world, and on seeing their work you fall head over heels with what they do. The agipop art duo Dangerous Minds are one of those for me. One look and it was love.
Mike Lake McMillian and Alan Stuart pasts are clouded in mystery. There is talk of one being a fashion photographer, or a magazine editor, or a graphic designer or mechanize designer to the stars. Those are the few I can print. Whatever the truth, it's the now that counts. Back stories are for the theatre! Their work is playful and witty, while challenging the viewer to reconsider their world view. The duo take a measure of Pop Art, a soupçon of Post Modernism, spice things up with their obvious anarchic Punk sensibilities, shake it all up in a neon factory in a scrap yard, and create works that are perfect for our fast paced, social media driven, image obsessed world. They grab you on first look, but then you go deeper. At first it looks like it's just a pretty face, then you realize that this is the real thing. This stuff matters.
Why does Dangerous Minds' work appeal to me so much? I suppose as a huge fan of graphic novels, their graphic style hits the spot and I find the way they use each medium clever and challenging but it's more than that, something deeper. They stir something in me, and as I explore each work I find myself exploring my preconceptions and ideas around the modern world. Whether it's the use of language, stereotypes around identity or just what we think of as art, Dangerous Minds make me think, while I soak up the beauty of their creative output.
What I enjoy of that these two guys, who I've know for ages, have totally reinvented themselves as artists, and have followed their bliss. We live in an age where it's all too easy to chase the dollar in the name of standard of living, but what's the point if you don't love the life you live? Mike and Alan buzz at each event and show of the their work, and generate electricity to power a small city when they discuss their work. I am sure it's also why what they do excites me so much.
You can sense the enjoyment and thrill of what they do throbbing out of every piece. That drive to enjoy the life they live colours the artistic choices they make, and when combined with their wit and intelligence, it fuels art that I think shows a new direction for modern art. Sure it dips into the past but, much like the work of Bowie, taking from yesterday doesn't have to lead to pastiche it can lead to a something new and wonderful.
I think we could all take a leaf from Dangerous Minds, from Mike and Alan. Do the thing you love. If you do you will see just what you can do, and how much you can achieve. No matter your age, or background, being true to yourself will make you richer than any money driven life. As well as creating some amazing work, maybe the mantra for our modern world might be "be like Dangerous Minds"!
The next Dangerous Minds exhibition "As We Step Into Chaos" will be at Underdog Gallery, from April 22nd - May 7th with the private view on the evening of April 21st. I'll be there for sure.
All works by permission - Dangerous MInds
Photo - Diane Wallace 2017