STREET ART FROM THE EAST END OF LONDON / WEST COAST OF CALIFORNIA
Somewhere between the 1535 execution of Sir Thomas More and the year 2000, Charles Uzzell Edwards became the street artist known as Pure Evil. It’s a pairing of an odd lineage that has produced fanged bunnies and Warhol-esque portraiture famous throughout the streets and galleries of the world.
A child of Contemporary London and Silicon Valley era San Francisco, his art of primarily modern icons expresses both biographical signature and western culture critique. His pop culture symbols are sprayed across urban and gallery walls from Sao Paulo to Sydney. It’s the artistic and commercial success that has allowed his London gallery to host shows for more than 60 independent artists.
JUST WHO IS THIS PURE EVIL GUY ANYWAY ?
Pure Evil was born Charles Uzzell Edwards in South Wales in 1968. He grew up in a world of art thanks to his father, Welsh painter John Uzzell Edwards . The father’s artwork undoubtedly impacted his son, demonstrated in a range of influences from Cubism to Minimalism, from Picasso to Chagall.
The physical and cultural landscape of the 1990’s U.S. intrigued and beckoned the young Pure Evil, and upon completing his studies in graphics and fashion in London he picked up his skateboard and set off for California’s West Coast. He established himself in San Francisco, working for the Anarchic Adjustment clothing label as a clothing designer / pattern cutter / graphic designer. He produced countless t-shirt graphics for screen printing, dropped in on the West Coast rave scene, and travelled to Japan where West Coast Streetwear was a hot item. Pure Evil also became involved in the musical fabric of San Francisco and DJ'ed and was an electronic recording artist for Pete Namlook’s ambient electronic music label, FAX (based in Frankfurt, Germany).
LEAVING CALIFORNIA FOR LONDON STREET ART
Back in London, PURE EVIL fell in with the people involved in Bansky’s “Santa’s Ghetto,” and he started creating prints for Pictures on Walls. When the U.S. denied Pure Evil’s application for re-entry it was a ‘Deus ex Machina’ (Gods Machine) moment for him, where his life changed direction in a completely unplanned way. There was no return to the USA possible for 10 years. The artist set up shop in a small shed in the Black Mountains of Wales and started collaging and making stencils. After a productive period of isolation and soul searching he moved back to London and prepared for his first Pure Evil exhibition in 2006. The success of this one show enabled him to open the Pure Evil Gallery in Shoreditch in London’s East End in late 2007, and the Department Store Gallery opened 2 doors down in 2014.