Boogie: Moli Icons 8th June – 5th July 2023 Quantus Gallery 11-29 Fashion Street London, E1 6PX
Boogie is the latest artist to join Quantus Gallery’s illustrious roster of artists. The partnership is marked by new exhibition Moli Icons, wherein Daniel David Moli – better known as ‘Boogie’ – pays homage to the heroes and legends who have inspired him over the years, including Pelé, Jean-Michel Basquiat,Andy Warhol, Mansa Musa, Amy Winehouse, Daft Punk, Virgil Abloh, Marilyn Monroe and more. The exhibition – which runs at Quantus Gallery from 8 th June- 5 th July – cements Boogie’s reputation as an artist, after a successful stint as a professional footballer. And his is certainly not your typical artist story.
Boogie was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1995, emigrating to the UK at 10 years old. He lived in Luton, where he says, “you’re either on the streets or you play football.” Thankfully for Boogie, it was the latter, and falling in love with the sport, he caught the eye of scouts while kicking a ball around with his friends.
He left home at 11 to “follow his dream” and completed an apprenticeship at Liverpool FC. Three years he later joined the Wolverhampton Wanderers; however, his career was plagued by injuries and he spent more time on the side lines than on the pitch.
When a torn anterior cruciate ligament forced Boogie to retire from the ‘beautiful game’ at 24, the surgeries and recovery threw him into a diagnosed depression for three years. But it was during his rehabilitation that he was inspired to take up painting, and the therapeutic power of art ultimately helped him come through those dark days and begin his art career. Boogie first took a brush to trainers and started selling them to friends, but soon moved on to canvases, and inspired by his idols such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, George Condo and LA-based artist Retna, soon developed his own graffiti-style of work.
Since hanging up his boots, Boogie’s painting career has gone from strength to strength. His debut exhibition appeared at Manchester’s National Football Museum in 2019, the same year he collaborated with major retail store The Couture Club – going on to do three further collaborations with the store after his first collection was a sell-out success. Fast forward to today, and Boogie’s artwork is collected across the globe, selling for thousands.
He has collaborated with renowned brands such as Puma, Funko, boohooMan and Yelir World have been very lucrative, ““I’ve made more money in my first year as an artist than in my whole football career,” he says. Despite this, he says his purpose in life is more altruistic: “I want to help and inspire others, and with art I get to do just that.” Boogie is also known for his commission work from football stars, and to date seven Premier footballers have purchased his work, including Jack Grealish – who commissioned a portrait Antonio Rudiger, and fellow England players Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard.
Moli Icons celebrates sporting icons such as Pelé, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan, but is also underpinned by a layered social and cultural commentary, including nods to his African roots. His hand-picked icons also include Nelson Mandela and “the richest man in history” medieval Malian king Mansa Musa, who travelled to Mecca in 1325 with a tonne of gold as spending money.
Moli Icons bears the influence of Pop Art (most evident in his détournement-heavy portraits of Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe), which is one of several artistic touchstones for Boogie. He also uses several interesting techniques, including wheat paste as an adhesive, the mix for which Boogie makes himself.
Visitors to the show will enjoy 25 new original paintings, limited edition prints, collectible hand embellished football boots and paint-embellished footballs. Boogie joins Quantus Gallery’s impressive roll call of artists, which includes Opake, Eve de Haan, Banksy, David Shrigley, Stony, Lauren Baker, Clarke Reynolds, Christian Furr, Frances Segelman and Rob Munday.
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