by Rachel Morgan

There’s nothing quite like a great blue grinning fish to brighten up the walk to work of a Monday morning. Call me childish, but come Monday I want nothing more than to crawl back into bed with the duvet pulled over my head: I sulk and pout over my coffee like a small kid, until I see one of these grinning chaps staring back at me on Brick Lane.
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(PEZ, Redchurch St. Shoreditch, 2012)
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(PEZ, Brick Lane, 2012)

These fish belong to street artist PEZ, who has been doing the rounds in London-town of late, with the east end now slathered in some of the happiest looking 2D characters to grace the streets of Shoreditch and Tower Hamlets in a long, long time. Hailing from Barcelona, PEZ (fish) and his block colour street art is world renowned, and is seeing a resurge in popularity with today’s kids, collectors and street art lovers the world over.

The man himself had his first ever solo UK exhibition here in London, at Tony’s Gallery between April-May. Showcasing a giant inflatable ‘Happy Fish’ as well as Columbian beach bar installation (inspired by his local residence in Bogota), the exhibition was one of the best to be put on at Tony’s this year – as was PEZ’ collaboration with UK-based street artist, Sweet Toof.

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(PEZ and Sweet Toof collaboration, East-London, 2012)

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the work of PEZ, the artist started off spraying his name, which eventually morphed into the shape of a fish, becoming his tag, El Pez. His work is known for its’ child-like, block primary colour, as well as it’s playful feel – sending love and good stuff to on-lookers everywhere. To date, PEZ has sprayed walls, boxes, windows, murals, boats – you name it, he’ll have given it a go.

Coming a long way since the late 90s, PEZ continues to pass on good vibrations to us folks on the streets, with his art work being spread and showcased throughout: London, Paris, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bogota and New York to name a few. PEZ’ characters continue to morph and evolve, but the grin that plasters each of their faces remains the same – smiling since 1999.

 

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(PEZ @Tony’s Gallery, April 2012)