Keith Hopewell aka Part2ism was born in 1972 in the city of York in the north of the UK. As a kid he was into drawing monsters and spaceships, listening to Mod and Punk music, and BMX freestyling. A shift occurred in 1982, as Hip Hop culture started to sweep across the globe. By 1984, these three interests had shifted to graffiti, DJing, and breaking. In the eighties, he received attention for his aesthetic success at photorealisim and his other aerosol experiments. At the turn of the 1990s with Juice126, he formed the “abstract graffiti” crew called the Ikonoklast Movement, which included members such as Remi Rough as well. The word Ikonoklast was borrowed from the theoretical texts of Rammellzee. This was a sign of allegiance and a nod of respect to a brilliant early Graffiti icon, who was well known for his poetic and mythological semiotic theories on the subject of Wildstyle graffiti, which he defined under the term Gothic Futurism.
During the nineties, another shift occurred when his hip hop group, New Flesh For Old, and his record label of the same name, gained a lot of attention and Keith became in demand as a producer, eventually working for Ninja Tune. On their experimental label, Big Dada, Keith produced seminal underground artists such as Saul Williams, Blackalicious, Roots Manuva, Anti Pop Consortium, and many more. He even invited Rammellzee, one of the most abstract and experimental of the early graffiti icons, to collaborate on the second New Flesh album.
Concurrently, at the turn of the new millennium, Keith started experimenting with a few new street and gallery series, such as Hyper-Type, the Infinity Project, and the Tamara series. Currently he has collapsed his two aesthetic paths into a synaesthasia of abstraction expressed through his Architect-Sonics sculpture series, Automatic Wall Paintings that resemble frenetic atmospheric versions of the sculptures, and his Outelligence canvas series, which resemble a data-map expression of Spacialization.
Part2ism is well known for pushing the envelope and relentlessly challenging the boundaries of the spray paint medium and beyond. He has always, ignored the hype and trends putting an enormous amount of creative energy into building for the broader culture and forging his own direction as a visionary.
Originally operating in the north of England, Keith learned his trade as a spray can artist in the 80's under the moniker Part2 and progressed quickly into more avant garde approaches until eventually experimenting with surreal juxtapositions by the end of the eighties. Into the nineties, Keith continued to gain recognition for his skills as an Aerosol Photorealist, as well as his avant experiments with Wildstyle, abstracting it until there were no letterforms left. In the first decade of the new millennium, Keith produced some of his most ground breaking and iconic Hyperrealist work, from his huge classical nudes wearing gas masks, military jets, floral skulls and skeletons to his earlier geometric cardboard installations worldwide. He also explored a series he called Hyper-Type, which could be seen as a digital extension of Wildstyle, meshed with Escher-esque three-dimensionality, and a frenetic feeling of speed as if the letterforms were data speeding through the ether. Music and art have an important relationship in Keith's ouvre and his recent 'Architect-sonics' series presents a new sculptural direction towards a synaesthesia of sight and sound.
2012: New Horizons and Future Love Songs, Red Gallery, London. 2011: Part2ism: A Retrospective, Bar Lane Studios, York. 2010: The Architects, Atom Rooms, London. 2009: Post Human, C4 Centre For Contemporary Art, LA; Gallery 27, Mayfair, London; Artillery For Pleasure, Urban Angel Gallery, London; Prophet Or Profit, Pure Evil Gallery, London; One Foot In The Grove, Portobello Green, London; Mutate Britain, Cordy House, London. 2008: Kounter Kulture, Opus International, London; Big Issue, Black Rat Press, London; Free For Wall, Brick Lane Gallery, London; Pong Artiste’s De Jebarry, Paris; The Alternative Philosophy, Leonard Street Gallery, London; Remixed Media, The AMUTI, London; Alternativity, Studio 95, London; Part2ism: Serialtype, Dragon Bar, London; Favorite Fiends, Outside Institute/ Stolen Space Gallery, London; Best Of British, Gallery, London. 1998 Graffiti Bastards, Custard Factory, Birmingham. 1997: Ikonoklast Movement: Seven Deadly Venoms, Custard Factory, Birmingham. 1992: Icons, Circle Gallery, Croydon.
Sources: Information and texts compiled from a 2012 artist statement by Keith Hopewell; an article on 12ozProphet by Daniel Feral from August 6, 2012, and the exhibition catalog for Part2ism’s solo exhibition, New Horizons and Future Love Songs, at the Red Gallery in London, 2012.