Dialogue painting from the Lobster Land Museum (Red Lobster Shark on Brillo box), Courtesy of the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries

“I became an artist when I became a Lobster.”- UK hyper-pop artist Philip Colbert’s Lobsteropolis inspires Tokyo!

Be true to yourself! Decide who you are by yourself!

With such a positive message, Philip Colbert’s solo exhibition Lobsteropolis, popular among young art fans and celebrities, is being held at M5 Gallery in Ginza, the center of contemporary art in Tokyo. The show is organized by Pearl Lam Galleries in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Colbert was born in Scotland and has a studio in London. He has a background in the fashion industry and has collaborated with Adidas, Rolex, BMW. His cartoon-style lobster-like characters are popular with celebrities such as Lady Gaga. He has been championed by art world figures such as Charles Saatchi and Simon De Pury. He recently had solo exhibitions at Saatchi Gallery in London and Modern Art Museum in Shanghai in 2020.

Colbert says, “I became an artist when I became a Lobster.” The concept of incorporating the lobster’s gaze provides positive relief to those who are struggling to establish their identity in a mass consumer society.

Dialogue painting from the Lobster Land Museum (Red Lobster Burger II), 2022 Oil on canvas 150 x 200 x 4.5 cm – The lobster dressed in a hamburger. Hamburgers are part of everyday life, so this work provides a sense of familiarity, relaxation which has the same effect as playing 겜블시티, and energy.

Colbert’s practice establishes a dialogue between contemporary mass culture and an art historical canon through the lens of his iconic lobster persona. He intertwines every day and digital symbolism with painterly compositions and contemporary theory.

The crustacean, hollow inside and growing with each molt, may be a fascinating symbol for the artist, who constantly battles existential anxiety and challenges what is beyond human knowledge.

The lobster was often depicted in 17th century Dutch realism paintings, as well as by Dali. Famous symbols from art history appear throughout the show, and the art fanatic will find plenty of art history to enjoy.

Collaboration painting from The Lobster Land Museum (Lobster Banana), 2022 Oil on canvas 132 x 163 x 5 cm–The banana is a symbol of mass consumption society that Warhol often depicted. At Art Basel 2019, “Comedian,” by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, a work that was simply a banana taped to a wall, made an impact.

With references to pop symbols, Colbert recycles these icons as a costume for the lobster, demonstrating art’s ability to constantly reinvent canonical works.

Lobster and Flower, 2022 Marble 62 x 40 x 55 cm Edition 2/3 Edition of 3 + 2 Artist Proofs-Is it Warhol’s flower that the lobster gazes upon? In the 1950s, Warhol looked to flowers for inspiration in his book illustrations and drawings.

Art is the cumulative of legacy of past legends. Colbert uses a philosophical surrealism approach that is not only pop, but also takes into account the context of art history. Colbert follows the works of the early, formative pop-art artists, including Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist.

Dialogue painting from the Lobster Land Museum (Red Lobster Shark on Brillo box), 2022 Oil on canvas 150 x 200 x 4.5 cm-Warhol’s Brillo Box is depicted. Why is the lobster wearing a shark’s head? It is from The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, by Demian Hirst in 1991. It is that famous work in which the shark is preserved in formalin.

Self Portrait in a Room (Blue), 2022 Oil on canvas 200 x 150 x 4.5 cm-One of a series of self-portraits. Colbert’s alter ego, the lobster, stands in front of the skeleton, symbol of Memento Mori.

The portrait series revisits the classic idea of the artist holding a paintbrush and speaks to the existential angst involved when looking for meaning within the process of painting.

Through the veneer of pop, color, and humor, Lobsteropolis pushes the limits of self-representation in a society of hyper-consumption, uplifting this grueling activity beyond the ordinary self.

Japanese art fans are said to be conservative, but young art fans are becoming increasingly attracted to Colbert’s brightness, cleanliness, and playfulness.

Posted in Art

Saori is an art journalist based in New York and Tokyo, specializing in interviews with art fairs on the east coast of the USA, street Culture in Tokyo, US and Japanese galleries, and artists. Saori has been a staff writer for Fashion at the independent paper The Asahi Shimbun, The NY Times of Japan, for 23 years, covering fashion shows in Paris, Milan, London, and New York. Saori pioneered a bilingual magazine (in English and Japanese), a first in Japan. Currently, she is writing on cross-cultural themes



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