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  1. Wealth
November 25, 2010

Hang On!

By Spear's

Why bother hanging art on your walls when your walls can be the art? Stephen Hill gives paintings a pasting

Why bother hanging art on your walls when your walls can be the art? Stephen Hill gives paintings a pasting
‘WALLPAPER AS ART?!’ I hear you gasp in astonishment. ‘Now, how could that possibly be?’

It was one of Oscar Wilde’s best, when lying on his deathbed in a sleazy Paris Hotel, he opened his eyes for the last time, and observed drily: ‘Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.’ And that rather sums up wallpaper as we know it. In those ghastly BBC morning pot-boilers where pseudo estate agents reckon to find some couple the house of their dreams, then listen in to their conversation electronically and clandestinely as they tour the property, it’s a racing certainty that she or he, or they both, will say: ‘Pity about the wallpaper in the bedroom/lounge/dining-area/kids’ bedroom,’ or possibly in all the rooms of the affrighted and blighted property, ‘It’ll just have to go!’ In fact, there’s nothing quite so awful as other people’s wallpaper, although other people’s kids can run them a close second, but at least they’re not stuck to your wall.

Now, thank the Lord, wallpaper can be acquired that is real Art: that is hand-painted Art, which can be hung, permanently, framed possibly, on any wall in the svelte home of your dreams, courtesy of the artist Johnny Langton-Lockton. Johnny began as a furniture-designer at the Crucial Gallery in Notting Hill, crucial in the early ’90s, where he designed personalised Rasta-Baronial thrones for anyone with a Rasta-Megalomania attitude.

His best example was stolen from a roof in Soho, however, where the thieves had to demolish a door, and unbelievably got it down to ground-level without killing themselves. It hasn’t appeared on the Stolen Art Register since, as so often happens with Art stolen-to-order.

Johnny went on to develope his own distinctive narrative paintings of a character called Bunny Le Grand, a rabbit in a frock-coat who, with two dinner-jacketed minders called ‘Out-to-Lunch’ and ‘Not-in-Charge’, became a cult-like figure in Las Vegas and Hollywood, until Bunny fell off a cliff, and he is still missing too.

Johnny is also an artist with colour technology of his own adaption from mainstream business, like BMW motors and their incredible colour-finishes, which inspired his backgammon boards to be found in private collections from here to the Arctic and the other Circle and around the girth of the Orb as well; when he had to find the right weight for the counters, he found that they could be cut from solid aluminium bars in darkest Andover cheaper than even the Indians could make them. And as for his party hats fashioned out of sumptuously-coloured fine clothe, well, they would have adorned Old Chaucer’s pilgrimage to Canterbury, and added to the merriment.

But now it’s the art-wallpapers which are his next new, and possibly best, passion yet. They can be supplied in three styles: Classic, Renaissance or Bespoke. It’s your choice, off-the-peg or private commission. Choose your colours, styles, borders and sizes to suit your tastes, rooms or moods, and Johnny does the rest, all apart from the hanging that is – he’s squeamish about hanging, and anyway prefers to let every craftsman have his due.

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‘All pictures are just POSH wallpaper,’ says Johnny, airily, but decisively. His wallpapers employ colour state-of-the-art technologies and his own selections of durable paper, so each piece is an individually-crafted original painting. Each picture is 21 inches wide and 100 inches high, so don’t even consider them if you are still living in a garret. Each sheet of POSH wallpaper is signed individually and numbered at the bottom, and connoisseurs would know that the un-worked tops and bottoms are part of the composition, part of the art.

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