Internationally acclaimed graffiti artists Tom Deams and Shaun Sepr have been called to Dubai to decorate the interior of The Warehouse Gym, a new urban gym concept. Spanning 20,000 square feet of raw urban workout space on two floors, the gym’s Founder Edis Alrafi, hopes to inspire fitness enthusiasts with wall-to-wall graffiti style art incorporating inspirational slogans and drawings.
Based in the UK, Deams and Sepr are excited about a project which would take traditional artists using paintbrushes a long time to complete. The boys are using spray paint and a month later, there are still bare walls waiting to be ‘dressed’. When asked who came up with the concept, Deams states that Alrafi initially came up with the idea, but is allowing the artists to use their own style and art creation. “Alrafi is after a raw, rough element in the club so it resembles the kind of derelict warehouse that we would paint in the UK,” says Deams. Each wall creatively explains the part of the gym it supports from the changing rooms, to the juice bar to the Warrior Area – definitely not for the faint of heart.
Graffiti is a passion for Deams and Sepr. “We are artists and even if you take the money out of the equation, we would still be artists,” says Deams. Their hometown of Bristol is graffiti heaven, home to the most famous graffiti artist Bansky (rumored to be called Robyn Cunningham but has never publicly identified himself). Deams seems to know him but, adhering to the artists code, is reluctant to give too much away.
Both boys are no strangers to international projects. Since first experimenting with spray paint in 1988, Deams has created pieces in the UK, Europe and Australia, while Sepr has recently completed several big projects in China. But the pair ultimately work together. Deams focuses on characters and letter forms – an individual style influenced by an upbringing in the countryside and an adult life in the city. Whereas Sepr’s inventive imagination results in the creation of surreal, humorous and dark characters often embedded with an underlying social narrative.
As the first graffiti project in Dubai, this innovative gym-cum artistic collaboration shows how the UAE is increasingly diversifying its artistic taste and even daring to go a bit – eccentric.
For more information, visit www.tomdeams.com and www.sp-sepr.com