"...a deeper meaning and personal expression than could otherwise be missed if situated on a busy street."






Art Critique

Images copyright © SOME 2022

Irreverence to the capitalist core of popular culture and the art that sprang from it combined with a darker depth behind a cheerful, colourful veneer show that SOME’s work, on close examination, has a deeper meaning and personal expression than could otherwise be missed if situated on a busy street.

Graffiti and indeed street art, has become part of the collective aesthetic psyche in cities and the built environment, the once novel moments of artistic interruption have now settled in as the visual white noise of the chaotic and busy spaces we occupy. To punch through this noise, then, takes something broader and more meaningful than a quick punchline or impotent comment on political agenda. A use of personal experiences, adverse periods of darkness and referencing the chaotic abruptness and detachment of schizoid tendencies gives this body of work a sensitivity that could be overlooked if viewed through the lens of “Street”.

“Lil Bart” is a work that SOME says is part of a phase of nihilism, a mode of believing that life has no meaning, no greater function. The teenage icon of Bart Simpson represents a rebellious yet

gregarious state of being, a narcissistic impulsive drive to do as he pleases and worry about consequences later. This comedic teen is tempered with adjustments that dull the ring of innocent youth and insert a feeling of adult delinquency, he has been transformed into a rapper, linking to the likes of Lil Wayne, the barbed wire tattoo across the forehead and one on the cheek saying “love me forever” a command rather than a request, below that is a mouth filled with a golden “grill” a symbol of extravagance, Lauren Schwartzberg of Vice magazine says:

“modern celebrities and the wealthy can afford to invest and hide their money away to protect it, they also feel the need to carry their money on their teeth to remind themselves and everyone else just how successful they are.”

These gold teeth are both a display of wealth and a threat, a flash of teeth under a curled lip, the apex predator’s signature move to intimidate and warn, to say “I have power and I’m not afraid to use it!”. They also represent a hunger for more, when a sense of meaning is absent, the void can be filled with simply more of everything.

In “Coca Solidi” SOME apes perhaps the world’s most recognisable brand, Coca Cola and replaces Cola with “Soldi” (Money), with the white paint of the comfortingly familiar typography dripping and forming a textured surface in opposition to the slick tininess of the cold corporate can we all know. The ‘not-quite-but-almost’ quality of these works creates an uneasy tension between the familiar and safe world that marketeers and corporate machines wish us to aspire to under the guise of a wholesome utopia and the darker realities of consumption and addiction. Money is the only real motivation behind this brand’s modus operandi. The addictive stimulant, saccharine, caffeinated makeup of Coke and its parallels as a permissible drug vs. the illicit cocaine that informed its moniker are impossible to ignore when seeing the chemically white pigment, powdery and mixed with grimy impurity. It could be said we’ve seen it all before, that this has been done, but yet still we buy, still we consume, still we salivate at a pavlovian level to the stimulus of the red and white with the words “always the real thing” haunting us from campaigns past, except in some ways this work is the real thing and the drink is the lie.


“Sfera Abbasta” portrays the rapper of the same name in a reworking of the cover he semi-appeared on in Rolling Stone Magazine, Italy. The original, a whitewashed faceless spectre of the musician with just the trademark red hair indicating his presence, akin to the icon colours of brands and labels, a person too can be distilled into a symbol of semiotic purity that transcends linguistic description (think Red Cross, Apple etc.).

SOME takes this image and via the medium of stencil on a gold background elevates a stoic image into a playful yet disturbing exploration into the effects and interconnectivity of drugs, music and mental health. With doughnuts for eyes, a humorous allusion to the “munchies”, combined with a psychedelic Cheshire cate wide smile, SOME lends a manic quality to the image that disturbs and shows that drugs, for them, represent a journey towards “deleterious psychiatry” a no going back descent into hallucination and detachment from reality.

SOME’s work isn’t on brick and plaster but on stretched canvas, a subversion in itself. In “A Sick Smile” the iconic “smiley” (this year celebrating its 50th anniversary), itself a symbol of sub-culture and youthful rebellion, is delineated not by the slick clean lines that we are used to but a haphazard and “Fluffy” flurry of brush strokes that create an edgeless, nebulous form as if forming some fleeting fever dream or apparition. The usual sharp piercing black eyes and thin-lipped mouth are present but the drips from the spray can add a disturbing element. The smile overlayed with a frown creates a monogrammatic symbol that could be mocking the likes of Gucci or Chanel whilst creating a dissonance between the joyful hedonism of club culture and the ‘come down’ aftermath of the depression and stark delayed reality that always finds its way back to every excessive reveller.

SOME says in retrospect that this represents an ever-present feeling of experiencing happiness and sadness simultaneously, a push/pull and the dripping/melting paintwork of the facial features represent the “fragmentation of the personality typical of schizophrenics” and offer a zingy taste of both cheerfulness and the subversive.

“Side Baby Baby” shows us the height of excess, a young figure is armed with a cash cannon emblazoned with the ultimate hype brand, Supreme. This vacuous brand exploits hype culture and scarcity marketing to make young people believe they need and MUST have their products, despite often being as purposeless as a branded brick. This deep desire to possess appears to be an addiction, the serotonin rush from the acquisition of an artificially and orchestrated “rare product” in place of a real achievement is sufficient for many to feel satisfaction. Set over a background of pills and tablets this corporate control and dependency is amplified coupled with the serene look of bliss on the face of the “lucky” owner.