hapshash takes a trip
To highlight and appreciate one of the most famous artists in psychedelic art, this exhibition captures and frames the beginning, end, highs and lows that the artists renamed as Hapshash and the coloured coat, made up of Michael English and Nigel Waymouth and not limiting to tens of artists who helped in development and progress as their art grew. This exhibition primarily focussed on the art the two produced in the 60's and early 70's, including their most famous and recognisable pieces such as "UFO MK 2".
Located at Idea Generation Gallery in London, the gallery was in the heart of London, less than five miles from where the groundbreaking and revolutionary art began. Running from September 9th-October 2nd, jam packed with insights, memories and most importantly art.
Nigel Waymouth standing by one of his works of art
Both Waymouth and English spent a vast portion of their life devoted to studying and learning about art and both separately ended up selling his art work, in English's case, he was briefly working for an advertising company but soon began selling his pop art after being captivated by the pop movement, and began producing art that was described to be "a potent mix of art nouveau with hard-edge sci-fi applied to disposable items such as union flag sunglasses" straight to high end shops at Carnaby Street. whilst doing all this, he was still pursuing his art by being a freelance graphic designer producing artwork for the counterculture newspaper International Times.
At a similar time, Waymouth had graduated from University College London, where he studied Economic History, and had also studied art at several London colleges. For a time, he was primarily a freelance journalist before opening a a boutique at 488 King's Road, Chelsea, in partnership with his girlfriend Sheila Cohen and John Pearse, a Savile Row–trained tailor. opened as Granny Takes a Trip, initially selling Edwardian and antique clothes which was described to be "an up-to-date feel that appealed to the young hippie denizens of what was becoming known as Swinging London. As the business was progressing, the group were also selling individual work, which resulted big bands like the Beatles (photographed wearing Grandma Takes a Trip clothes on the back cover of Revolver), the Rolling Stones and The Animals.
Not too long later they were introduced to each-other by the co-founders of the UFO Club, where they were asked to collaborate on posters advertising the club. It was said the two had "brilliant chemistry" according to Waymouth himself, and the work there two came up with together ended up being revolutionary and opened the door to a new style and a new concept that changed the perception of art forever. Throughout the next year, while they were producing posters, they finding their feet with names, at first as they published their first poster, they were Cosmic Colours. Directly after, they re-branded as Joseph and The Coloured Coat, and then releasing two more posters under that name before finally landing on their most famous name, Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, which suggested both hashish (a recreational drug) and psychedelic patterning (Joseph's "coat of many colors"). This was the beginning of the pair exclusively working together and the beginning of their progression. About a year later the two set up a small studio together where their art posters were then printed and distributed by Osiris Visions, a company owned by the International Times. According to the magazine's editor Richard Neville, "their sole inspiration was LSD and their regular 'tripping partner' was Pete Townshend.".
Far and wide, and an ageless limit of people flocked to this exhibition to relive and love the monumental art. The exhibit grasped the audience with a performance by legendary British beat poet Micheal Horovitz, which touched and added another special level to this event, leaving one to say "The life and energy in his performance was captivating and it was great to see this energy carried on through in the work of his son Adam Horovitz.". Shortly after, Nigel Waymouth took to the stage for a Q&A, giving an in depth insight to his inspiration, his desire to bring more life and colour to art and London, making people see the art differently, seeing it in a new light, now understanding more about how it was created.
Most were enticed by their love for psychedelic art and got another opportunity to fall in love again, to see it from the artist's eyes, and almost living through them to see the art be produced and their experience afterwards. The exhibition bought people together, and proved that the art served its purpose, showing present day admirers how much colour and vibrancy and excellence it bought to the streets of London.