I discovered Michael Pellew at the New York’s Outsider Art Fair and I fell in love with his works. I had already noticed some of his drawings online, but it was an emotion to being face to face with Lemmy of Motorhead (rest in peace) or Lady Gaga.
Pellew has been working for over ten years at the LAND Gallery (League Artists Natural Design), a New York-based studio that grants its creative spaces five days a week for artists with disabilities.
His ability to represent a whole series of “idols” of my adolescence brought me back in time, but at the same moment, I was amazed by his frankness. The world of Michael Pellew is a mixture of music, TV and famous characters. A pop culture salad. Everything is seasoned with playful lines and rough colors to highlight a true and humorous view of the world.
Although there are few lines that define the characters, it’s in these simple traits that we can find the distinctive features of individuals, their specific identities.
I would like to be spontaneous as the protagonists of his works: they enter the scene with a simple “I’m Princess Diana” or “Hey New York! We’re One Direction”. Certainly, they know how to approach with ease and they can not do anything but hitting the observer with their charisma. If there aren’t the comics, we would probably swap Kerry King of Slayer with Scott Ian of Anthrax or Tori Kelly with Taylor Swift. They’re a kind of archetypal figures, like the Paleolithic Venuses, who become “someone” thanks to an additional identification.
Sometimes his famous character list seems to be divided into a sort of categories, but often these connections are interrupted by fake characters or unexpected pairs.
The smoothness with which Pellew works is fascinating. Humor is often shaded and fluid behind works that appear effortlessly, almost as a magic show. This simplification of the relationship brings the viewer into a positive and captivating space. In Pellew’s universe, surprise often overlaps virtuosity.
The depicted scenes in his works seem to come out of some combinations that may come to our distracted mind. A series of straight-line figures, Michael Jackson lurking a Pepsi with a monkey on his shoulder, Marilyn Manson who offers a burger with fries, scenes that make us smile, but that don’t leave us completely sure of what is just happened.
I could write thousands of aulic concepts, but I will not do that. Go see some of his work, get in touch with all the characters, let yourself be involved: I assure you it is an exciting experience.

LAND of Metal, 2016, Mixed media on paper, © LAND Gallery
The BET Platter, 2015, Mixed media on paper, © LAND Gallery
© LAND Gallery
Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 2014, acrylic on canvas
Making a Band (detail), photo from disparateminds.org
Tears for Fears is touring with Natasha Bettingfield, Billy Idol, the Thompson Twins, Adele,… photo from papaermag.com

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