Thursday, 9 August 2012

Mark Bode's Visit to Amsterdam July 2012

Vaughn Bode (Legend)

It's the gallery equivalent of making a dramatic entrance. Although the crowd began gathering half an hour beforehand, the brown paper over the windows of ArTicks Gallery remained up until half an hour after the latest exhibition - Da Bodé In Amsterdam, Mark Bodé's first solo show in the Netherlands - was scheduled to begin. Anticipation and excitement built as hosts emerged with drinks for the growing throng, and when the paper was finally removed from the windows, it was the equivalent of a kid ripping the wrapping off a long-awaited present.

Mark Bode (Legend)

The array of lush colours and idiosyncratic characters within more than lived up to the expectations of the guests, and Mark Bodé was surrounded by excited fans from at least three generations of graffiti enthusiasts. A warm and generous man as well as a highly respected artist, Mark had time for everyone in attendance, from Dutch graffiti legend Niels Shoe Meulman and Mick la Rock to the small children who immediately blagged paper and pens from a host, threw themselves on the floor and began drawing their own versions of the Bodé panoply.

The instant appeal of Bodé characters has remained consistent since the late 70s, when the work of Mark's father Vaughn Bodé first began appearing in comics and magazines such as Heavy Metal and Esquire. Rapidly adopted by the growing graffiti movement of the same era, the Cheech Wizard, Bodé Broads and lizards began appearing in street art all over the U.S. and beyond. Vaughn had unleashed a cast of thousands that somehow, everyone could identify with.

Mark Bode

Da' Bodé In Amsterdam features both established characters that Mark developed with his father, and new ones that have sprung from his own imagination. No Bodé show would be complete without the Cheech Wizard, one of the oldest characters. He makes no less than six appearances here, including a sepia portrait on canvas and a cameo on a NYC subway map, where only the tip of his iconic yellow hat is seen pushing between the full breasts of a contemplative Bodé Broad. A series of pieces on Amsterdam metro maps also features prominently in the gallery, and it seems that the recent trend for graffiti art on subway maps is developing into one of the most collectible and exciting forms of the 

As dusk fell over the Singel canal, Mark and gallery director Joe Spencer boarded a boat to the afterparty which was held at the Grand Cafe Batavia. The crowd in and around ArTicks Gallery showed little sign of thinning, and instead was escorted by kilt-clad hosts to the Batavia. Room 5 was filled helium balloons, streamers, and posters of Vaughn Bodé with Mark which announced the theme of the afterparty - a celebration of what would have been Vaughn Bodé's 71st birthday, July 22nd. The enjoyment was clear on Mark's face, and when two specially made birthday cakes were brought out, his eyes were even shinier than usual. The afterparty continued into the small hours of Saturday morning.

                           PHOTOS: Mr Gig Photography
ArTicks Gallery Singel 88 Amsterdam, Nh 1015AD


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