Doktor A’s much anticipated show ‘Mr Whistlecraft’s Tarnished Daydreams’ is showing till the end of this month at Iksentrik in Bath. Just to whet your appetite we’ve been lucky enough to get pictures of the exhibition and have a chat with Ryan, the shop and gallery owner, about what it’s been like to put on the artist’s first solo show on home turf.
‘..Tarnished Daydreams’ is the culmination of over a year’s worth of crafting, sculpting and tinkering by Doktor A and the results are a sight to behold. If you’re not yet a fan of Dok A’s steampunk stylings, then I challenge you not to become one after seeing this work in the flesh. The level of detail and sheer effort that’s gone in to each and every piece is almost intimidating. Aside from the range of figures on display there are ink drawings and paintings available to view nestled amongst antique clocks and mechanical implements. “We were still tea-dying muslin up until the morning of the opening” Ryan tells me. “Me and Bruce [Dok A] have talked about putting on a show for a long time and the work to get it organised really started in January to have everything ready in time.”
Having played host to artists including Squink, Lunartik and Jon-Paul Kaiser since relocating to Bath early last year, Iksentrik is no stranger to featuring the work of some of the top artists the UK designer toy scene has to offer. “All the shows have been amazing in their own right but this one has been particularly great because Doktor A is a friend of mine and in my opinion he’s one of the best artists out there right now” says Ryan. Indeed, if you’ve been keeping track of designer vinyl over the last few years then you can’t have failed to notice Dok A’s contribution. Originally earning a reputation amongst collectors as a formidable customiser with a refreshingly unique style, the good Doktor has gone on to release his own production figures and earn international recognition as a toy artist. All things considered, it would seem that a solo exhibit in his own country has been long overdue and fans were glad to provide a fitting reception when it finally happened. “The opening night was fantastic, I know that Doktor A enjoyed being able to meet and thank his fans. We had people travelling to Britain just for the show, there was one woman coming from Romania, others from Amsterdam and people from all over the country managed to get here to show their appreciation.”
It can sometimes be easy to see coverage of the large scale events elsewhere in the world and get to thinking that our little island just isn’t able to match up. However, if there’s one thing that ‘Mr Whistlecraft’s Tarnished Daydreams’ proves it’s that Britain’s contribution to the lowbrow and toy scene is able to stand on a level with the established heavyweights of Asia and the US. In fact, there’s a lot to suggest that we could bring something wholly our own to the table. If we are to see a repeat of such impressive shows like this one though, it’s going to take a combined effort, a sentiment echoed by Ryan. “To see Doktor A’s work in the UK all in one place, paintings, customs and everything else is a one-off. Shows like this don’t come along very often and if people want them to be able to continue then the community needs to make the effort to come out and show their support.”
So there you have it, with a show of this standard on display for the rest of the month then what more reason could you need? This is definitely not one to be missed.