The Prodigy frontman and artist, Maxim and mixed-media artist, Dan Pearce have collaborated on the powerful and poignant, pandemic Hope project, which will see the May 20 launch of 50 limited edition sculptures, containing an exclusive, four-track Maxim EP as well as the release of an accompanying short film, featuring Maxim, his new music and starring Pearce’s son, to tell the story behind the pair’s sculpture.
The project will launch with a VIP private view at London’s new 99 Projects gallery on 19 May, and the Hope exhibition be available for public view until 7 June. The acclaimed artists spent a year over lockdown creating the ambitious, multi-platform collaboration, which is inspired by the “Hope” that everybody is clinging onto, as we gradually ease out of the devastation wreaked by Coronavirus.
They will be donating one sculpture to NHS Charities Together, one to young people’s mental health charity, YoungMinds and one to homeless charity Shelter, to raise funds for those most affected by the outbreak – themes which are explored in their moving film. On May 20, the pair will release an edition of 50 sculptures created together, depicting a little boy – based on Pearce’s son – wearing a gas mask and preparing to pull the pin on a clear, resin grenade, containing a heart, which represents the vaccine and the hope that will help us navigate our post-lockdown worlds. The grenade is a recurring symbol and theme in Maxim’s art, which includes highly sought-after paintings, prints and sculptures created during his 18 years in the art world. The pieces demonstrate Dan’s skills in 3D modelling and Maxim’s experience floating objects in resin.
Their short film touches on the mental health implications the virus has had on children, showing Pearce’s 11-year-old son, Jackson living through the pandemic. It also references the pandemic’s impact on homelessness – with a moving cameo from Maxim, playing a person living on the streets – as well as austerity, with touching food bank scenes. It closes with a strong message of kindness, giving and the ‘hope’ that it is named after, showing the little boy in a gas mask about to pull the grenade pin – mirroring the sculpture itself.
The soundtrack to the film is also titled ‘Hope’ and will be released along with three other tracks on a Hope EP, on bespoke memory cards inside the sculptures, exclusively for buyers of the sculptures on 20 May. The music will then be released to the public three months later, via digital outlets like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon on the Red Room Arts label.
Dan explains: “We’ve known each other for a few years as we both exhibited art at the same galleries and attended each other’s exhibitions, so we always chatted about doing a collaboration. “Lockdown gave us that opportunity and we wanted the project to deal with this difficult year, while demonstrating the positive message about the role hope now plays.”
Maxim adds: “Making this has been exciting. And it was really special to have a cameo, playing somebody who was homeless and was also an angel. “We are in times of uncertainty, but I believe the answer to our problems is the four letter word, ‘love’.”
The sculptures will be released as a limited edition of 50 in assorted, hand-painted colours with ten special editions, which will have Swarovski Crystals added by Dan and Maxim. They will be available via galleries including Enter Gallery and Clarendon Fine Art, as well as the artists’ respective websites. Five of the exclusive hand-painted sculptures will be available in TAP Galleries at Selfridges.
The short film is the acting debut of Jackson, and its director John Smith who met Dan as one of his art clients – said: “Jackson had an innocence and no acting school baggage. He just understood what the part was about – a boy struggling amidst his covid nightmare.” Dan’s work is collected by everybody from Idris Elba, Boy George, Anthony Joshua and 50 Cent, to will.i.am, Rag N Bone Man and a host of Premiership footballers. He was named “one of the UK’s most collectable, emerging artists” by Shortlist and his work employs spray paint, handpainted acrylics, lenticular, neon lights, 3D objects, screen-printing, textured resin, gold leaf and collage, as well as his own photography and street art.
Art was originally a means of winding down between tours with charttopping band, The Prodigy, but Maxim has cemented his reputation as an acclaimed, mixed media artist and designer. Grenades carried on the breeze by a raft of red balloons; clown-faced butterflies brandishing Samurai swords, and gun-toting cats are just a few of the surreal fantasy worlds created by Maxim, using everything from spray paint, resin, acrylic, ceramics and bronze to objects like bullets, blades and pills.
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