Danny Pockets
(Daniel Lee Cuming)
5th November, 1964 – 12th March, 2018

Danny Pockets’ work is an aggregation of forms and ideas that transcends the material from which it is constructed. Pockets painted oil and acrylic on canvas and board and augmented his work with media such as chinagraph pencil, shellac, spray paint, recycled or found objects and often sound and light. Pockets’ art emerged from his highly developed studio practice, influenced by Robert Rauschenberg, who claimed “a painting is more like the real world if it’s made out of the real world”. Pockets frequently salvaged packaging to create a textured surface for his paint.

Around 1995, responding to a perceptible change in the urban landscape, he began ‘Congregation’ and ‘Phoenix Arcadia’, two series of paintings of shopfronts, abandoned amusement arcades, fairground rides and chip shops – the architecture of a people at play. A nation in transition.

From these series emerged the ‘Houses of the Holy’ paintings: music venues, dancehalls and clubs. These are Pockets’ best-known works, his tributes to the cathedrals of our rock ’n’ roll heritage. These rapidly disappearing iconic landmarks at the heart of our culture are the places of magic and legend that dramatically helped to shape the modern world. Pockets documented them and asked us to observe their beauty before they are lost forever.

Danny Pockets exhibited internationally, including at La Biennale di Venezia (54th, 55th, 56th and 57th) and extensively in the UK, showing at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the Royal Academy of Arts and other major galleries. He was awarded a Jerwood prize in 2010 for the exhibition ‘Arcadia’.

His Universal Racket Press has printed work for the public since the eighties when he was a student at Chelsea College of Art and the City and Guilds of London School of Art. His publishing aesthetic was driven by the spirit of punk and rave DIY culture, Marvel, DC and the Grand Masters. He curated exhibitions and live events for over twenty years. His studios were based in St Leonards-on-Sea where he lived with his wife and two of his children. He taught in London and Hastings.

Danny was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the autumn of 2016 and for eighteen months continued working, in spite of some very tough treatments, with determination and brilliance as a painter, curator, conceptual artist and photographer.

His exhibition in March 2018 at the Royal Albert Hall in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust was a celebration and a fitting tribute to a tremendous man and an exceptional artist.

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