Originally from The Medway Towns in Kent, Lupen Crook’s presence and involvement in the underground music scene ran alongside his output of artistic creations – collages that were born from the same DIY principles that gave way to the iconic punk designs of the late 1970′s.
Formally, he studied at GCSE level before briefly attending the Kent Institute of Art and Design in Canterbury. He never completed the course. Diagnosis and subsequent treatment of Schizo-Affective Disorder followed, and though he remained creatively active during this period, little work remains. He has since spoken of ‘despising all Curriculum’ and being adverse to ‘art being taught’. He encourages creative thinking and expression as a means of self development, believing it should be incorporated into all teachings, rather than taught in isolation.
Into his twenties, Crook’s artwork and musical endeavours continued to flourish. A prolific songwriter, his musical releases earned him much critical acclaim, with many albums presented as hand-crafted and personalised editions. Nevertheless, for the most part Crook’s art-work remained almost entirely in notebooks, scrap paper, the back of envelopes and on any other surface he could find, in the mis-guided belief that ‘only real artists used canvas’.
In 2007, experimentation with wider varieties of medium began, including working on canvas and later with oils, all the while continuing to incorporate mixed media into his works. A year later a selection of illustrations and paintings were put on show by Nucleus Arts, which led to further exhibitions, including his first solo show at The Deaf Cat Gallery in 2011.
Having relocated to North London in 2010, Lupen Crook works out of a small wooden shed in his back garden where he continues to experiment and create his ‘broken art works’.