Busker art: 'Spikey bed o' nails' series on show at Kellie Miller Arts from today!

Kellie Miller, 20 Market St, Brighton BN1 1HH

24 July-25 August 2017

Spikey the bed o' nails artist Covent Garden - drawn and in oil on canvas artworks - by Stella Tooth.

Buskers are a constant source of fascination for me.  As for all creatives, it’s hard making a living as one.  But the joy of connecting with an audience makes it hard to contemplate doing anything else!

Spikey bed o' nails artist Covent Garden pencil on paper portrait artwork by Stella Tooth

In London, many street performers have to audition months in advance - and pay around £20 to entertain passers-by for short spot in a well-trafficked tourist area.  So I felt for one circus skills busker who told a crowd, obviously anxious to get away before the hat came round, “You’ve just had 45 minutes of West End entertainment.  If you’ve enjoyed it, please show your appreciation.”  My busker series reminds me that encouragement and recognition are vital for self-development.

Thankfully a great deal of appreciation was shown after the subject of my latest series -  ‘Spikey’ the bed o’ nails artist - finished his act.  The climax was a volunteer from the audience stepping on top of him when he was lying on a bed o’ nails and had another inverted on his chest.  It’s known as the bed o’ nails sandwich and Spikey claims to be the only artist to attempt it.

Spikey bed o' nails artist in Covent Garden mixed media on paper artwork by Stella Tooth.

When I spoke to Spikey after his act, he spilled his secrets which, suffice to say, has to do with weight distribution.  (So he was just mugging for the cameras!   Who would know?)  And then I asked him about his extraordinary hair – which interested me as a former PR as it struck me as a sort of visual pun for his job.  He delighted in telling me that he soaped it up into spikes on top weekly and then painted with different colour acrylic paint!  Well, they say artists must suffer for their art!

Spikey the bed o' nails artist Covent Garden oils on canvas artwork by Stella Tooth.

A number of these artworks – and others in my busker and Resident Artist, Half Moon Putney series - will be on display until 25 August.

Spikey bed o' nails busker mixed media on paper artwork by Stella Tooth.

 Click Buy here to see if any of the series are still available.

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