“Blam Blam”, 2016
Our artist of the week: Agent X
It can be tricky to figure out where to start in any summary of the practice of the American-born, now Canadian-based artist Agent X, in part because it may seem on first inspection that he does pretty much everything pop-arty.
He creates representational work drawing upon such themes as Mother Nature, ballet and the Statue of Liberty, encompassing all manner of pop-culture motifs fashioned into dynamic and experimental multimedia collages and silhouettes.
“Mater Natura”, 2017
He is also, however, committed to toying with the boundaries of the figurative and abstract, sometimes going very much in one direction, and on other occasions headlong in the other. All the while, he has shown that a brusque street art aesthetic very much can be married to serious intellectualism, and that one can light-heartedly laugh at contemporary culture while also provoking just the right dose of considered thought.
“$tackin Paperr”, 2015
All the while, the formal prizes have fallen his way in great number; he claimed the winning Top Entry in the competitive Curious Art-Pie Show at London’s Curious Duke Gallery, in addition to enjoying finalist status in an assortment of other prestigious art competitions. From London and New York to Toronto and Singapore, he has also built a truly global exhibiting profile.
But who is Agent X really, and is the term oft-used to describe his art – “pop art with thought” – one that does him and his practice justice?
A multimedia artist with a message
If there is a great sense of contradiction within much of Agent X’s work, it might be instructive for us to consider the upbringing that quickly gave him an appreciation of a wide range of different perspectives.
As he told Supplementaire Art and Fashion Journal in 2015, he was born in Kentucky, and principally raised in the New Haven area of Connecticut, where he attended middle and high school. From there, he headed down south and also spent time in Atlanta. Today, he is a resident of Vancouver, which he has hailed for its “so many different cultures... I am blessed to see things from a different point of view.”
It is that sense of a “different point of view” that seems to underpin so much of his oeuvre that is so clearly imbued with socio-political messaging, even if this is also somehow never entirely the case in any one piece. He has indicated that he wishes for his work to be culturally suggestive or to show political undertones, adding: “To me, most things have to do with politics or the nature of it.”
“Pris Unit 8675308”, 2014
A fitting inheritor of the pop-art throne
Given such a patchwork quilt of influences – also including such sources as music, futurism, paparazzi, reality TV and the artists Romare Bearden, Andy Warhol, Banksy, Takashi Murakami and Damien Hirst – it’s not exactly surprising that it is a multimedia mash-up style with which Agent X has become synonymous.
Drawing together diverse cultures, also including facets of technology, fashion, race and good old-fashioned politics, Agent X’s work somehow maintains a timeless sheen while also seeming very much of-the-moment.
He’s the kind of intelligent, articulate and forward-thinking artist that we can see making real waves in the coming years of our present culturally uncertain times. He is absolutely the ‘thinking man’s pop artist’, which is why we couldn’t be more delighted to be able to have Agent X and many of his innovative, viscerally appealing and thought-provoking works as part of the Addicted Art Gallery family.
Stay tuned for Agent X’s futuristic Fall 2017 collection coming soon!