Guy Portelli’s Pop Icon
The ‘Pop Icon’ collection is the visual equivalent of a rock band’s concept album. As Guy himself would describe it, “If the 18 individual sculptures are the tracks, then the album is a hi-fidelity social history of the last six decades.”
Guy had quite a challenge on his hands to create and complete the series of artworks ready for the Mall Galleries exhibition entitled “Heart Throb: The Golden Age of the Pop Icon”. The exhibition at the Mall Galleries in June 2009 was a success, exposing the artwork to a large audience and was also covered by BBC London. Furthermore, Guy’s sculptures of John Lee Hooker, The Spice Girls and Frank Sinatra have all been displayed in Advertising Agency TMW’s window in Kings Road. There have also been further editions made of the sculptures; Blow, Starman, Guns, Gold & Gods and Meridian. A comprehensive list of future exhibitions can be found on the Pop Icon web address.
The ‘Pop Icon’ collection is the visual equivalent of a rock band’s concept album. If the 18 individual sculptures are the tracks, then the album is a hi-fidelity social history of the last six decades. The collection starts with Frank Sinatra as the first musical icon and moves through the decades with pieces such as John Lee Hooker, Amy Winehouse, Madonna and Elton John. The 18 pieces were selected because they represent a documentary on social history spanning 6 decades.
Guy Portelli has gained a reputation for classical sculpture. However, he wanted to promote the more creative aspects of his work, and set about exhibiting abstract sculptures in galleries, sculpture parks, Manchester Art House, Sausmarez Manor in Guernsey, and a major London show with Andrew Logan followed with a number of large commissions. His next passion was to create a collection that further created an identity about youth culture and fashions. He entered the Den to secure the money to create a collection of 18 pop icons for an exhibition to be held in the Mall galleries.
The den isn’t an obvious choice for an artist, but as it turned out it was the perfect platform for Guy Portelli. He was seeking to raise investment to put on an exhibition of pop icon sculptures. Portelli’s success in securing £80,000 from three Dragons proved that despite a recession, art remains an attractive proposition for investment. Although he had originally asked for £70,000, Portelli rejected a £90,000 offer from entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne in favour of the backing and contacts of the three other Dragons.
“As an artist I was excited to go onto the Den and see if the Dragons would be interested in something that is so personal to me. I didn’t want to come across as just another artist, but someone who had really looked at the market and know what people would really want to buy. The pop icon series is incredibly unique and showcases everything I have worked for over the past 20 years”.