KINGS AND QUEENS CELEBRATES THE ENTIRE, JOYOUS LIVE EXPERIENCE OF BEING AT A GRIME SHOW, AND THE ELECTRIC ATMOSPHERE THAT CHARACTERISES THE SHOWS. THE SERIES FEATURES THE GENRE'S HEROES AND NEW-GEN, INCLUDING STORMZY, KANO AND NADIA ROSE, AS WELL AS CANDID, UP-CLOSE PAINTINGS OF FANS IN THE CROWD. A DISRUPTIVE, DIY, SELF-SUSTAINING SCENE, GRIME IS THE STORY OF ARTISTS MAKING IT HAPPEN WITH INGENUITY AND LIMITED RESOURCES, AND FANS SUPPORTING IT AND KEEPING IT ALIVE THROUGH ITS RETREAT BACK UNDERGROUND AND TRIUMPHANT POPULAR REEMERGENCE IN THE LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS. KINGS AND QUEENS LOOKS THROUGH THE LENS OF SOMEONE IMMERSED IN THE CROWD TO EXPLORE THE DIFFERENT WAYS THESE PEOPLE TAKE PART IN THE SCENE.
THE PAINTINGS ARE INSPIRED BY THE SATURATED PRECISION OF MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE OFF-THE-CUFF, BLURRED ENERGY OF FAN PHOTOS. THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE PAINTINGS IS INTENTIONALLY LO-FI AND REFLECTS THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING A FAN AT A SHOW, CRAMMED IN WITH HUNDREDS OF OTHER MUSIC LOVERS; IPHONE PHOTOS TAKEN FROM THE HEART OF THE CROWD ARE PROCESSED AND INTENSIFIED AND PROVIDE THE SOURCE MATERIAL FOR THESE BLOWN-UP, DETAILED, HEAVILY SATURATED IMAGES.
THE SERIES WILL COMPRISE CIRCA TEN PAINTINGS, AND AN EXHIBITION IS PLANNED IN 2018 TO SHOWCASE THE COMPLETED SERIES.
Kings and Queens is a series of soft pastel paintings about grime's live scene. The paintings document and celebrate a scene that has morphed from a wholly DIY, blood-sweat-'n'-tears endeavour to a mainstream phenomenon that has won the admiration and collaboration of global artists like Drake and the attention of politicians while maintaining its anti-establishment identity in the music world.
Though grime emerged anarchically in east London from the embers of garage, jungle and other genres, the genre and its leading voices have arguably become the defining sound of UK music in the present day, as well as an urgent young political voice, courting attention around the world and influencing US artists, British politicians and everyone in between.
"Cold, cold summer" - 2017. Soft pastel/charcoal on paper | subject: stormzy
GEN WILLIAMS IS A SOFT PASTEL PAINTER FROM SOUTH LONDON. GROWING UP IN BERMONDSEY, AND THEN MIGRATING TO PECKHAM IN 2010, OVER THE YEARS SHE HAS BEEN A MUSIC JOURNALIST, A VENUE OPERATOR AND A MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHER. SHE ALSO WORKS FOR THE BPI, A THE BRITISH MUSIC BODY THAT PRODUCES THE BRIT AWARDS AND THE MERCURY PRIZE.