ART GALLERY: Toilet Art

Enamel coated metal plate, curved
Limited Edition (500)

Size: 320mm x 440mm (framed)

Price on application

Julian Assange (CCTV)

We live in a surveillance society. There are currently 5.9 million closed-circuit cameras (one for every 14 people) in Britain and that’s just the ones we know about! It’s conceivable that we will soon all be wearing body-video devices (Google are already trying it out). But how long before we will all be streaming our daily lives, live on line? Julian Assange is famous for publishing classified information, disclosing US secrets without authorisation and was directly responsible for the death of hundreds of allied lives.

It’s ironic really, but the Wikileaks founder made headlines by making public national secrets through the Guardian newspaper and the internet, while at the same time insisting on maintaining personal privacy for himself. He is currently holed up in a Knightsbridge bedsit, courtesy of the Ecuadorian Embassy.

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Porcelain signage

Vitreous enamel (also called porcelain enamel), has been used to make signage for nearly 200 years and has proved a timeless medium for advertising and sign making. No other material can match VE in terms of longevity, durability and it’s ability to keep it’s colour as bright and vibrant as the day it was made.

My CCTV plaque is made from 1.5 mm, high quality, low carbon steel and was manufactured using time honoured craftsmanship by the world famous ‘Willems Classics’ in Holland, one of the oldest and last surviving vitreous enamel manufacturers in existance.

The process is a traditional one (which means that it’s very labour intensive and is officially classed as a disappearing art). The finish is achieved by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually around 850°C (1,560°F). The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal, or on glass or ceramics.

To get different colors, they would fire a base coat of one color. The stenciling they then did would represent different colored areas, and they would just fire one on top of another until they’d pieced together the entire graphic.

If you took a porcelain sign manufactured a hundred years ago and kept it indoors, then that sign would look just like the day it came off the production line. The qualities of porcelain enamel are just unbelievable. Ultimately of course, the labor intensive process compared to paint or silkscreen printing has killed porcelain sign making and their manufacture is being consigned to history.

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This is the process Willems Classics’ use to make a plate of their logo.

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