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Manipulating art: major exhibition with Cafe Art’s James Gray

Updated: May 14, 2018

Cafe Art has an artist in Face Value 2, a fantastic exhibition, which has opened in London which connects two artists though one painting.

The concept is this: one artist does a painting, print or sculpture and then gives it to a total stranger to make their mark and add to it.

Cafe Art's James Gray was given a Screenprint on paper by William Blanchard who called it UN FAIR. James had not met William and was just given the print with no instructions on what to do. At first look it didn't look like it was James's at all. His usual style is thick paint on canvas and only later does the subtlety sink in. James said that he had actually put one of his trademarks on it - glitter was added to the star-shaped eyes and the words UN FAIR. Very clever and I believe it was a huge success as it complimented the piece in a subtle way.

This is the second Face Value exhibition and it was curated by Gary Mansfield who discovered art in prison in the 1990s. Gary has paired many well known artists, including Ben Eine (who started a picture and finished another one) and Jake & Dinos Chapman.

James Gray (left) with Cafe Art volunteer Patrick in front of UN FAIR - All the glitters... (Nee: UN FAIR) by William Blanchard & James Gray.

Mansfield, who is also an artist, says "This exhibition is a way of exploring human vulnerabilities and seeing how the artists react to having someone else take control of their work. We've got some exciting collaborations going on the many of the artists don't even know about - most of those involved haven't got a clue who's working on their piece!"

So Many lives have been changed by other people, in both positive and negative ways. The drive behind this exhibition is to express the impact that one person can have on another."

James Gray, who has been homeless and is now a full-time artist, said it was a challenge to work on the piece he was given as he doesn't usually work on paper these days. He wanted to add silver glitter but the local supplier had run out of the glitter paint so he settled for gold. He was please the item sold at the Private View last night, saying: "I just helped sell my print to someone who went to the same school as me in Scotland. What are the chances of that. Great night, great charity. Got a chance to meet Katie Piper which was amazing."

The exhibition is raising money for The Katie Piper Foundation and is in Jealous Gallery East, 53 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PT. Hours Mon-Sat 11am - 7pm, Sun 12 noon - 6pm.

Face Value 2 is the second exhibition curated by Gary Mansfield who approached Cafe Art last year. Art pieces were created and then added to by another artist resulting on a very interesting exhibition.
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