Jewelry designer Stephen Webster -- known for his rocker inspired collections -- has just opened a new graffiti and street art exhibition, City of Fire, curated by Arrested Motion, at his west coast store right in the heart of Beverly Hills.
The show features work from a range of artists including James Jean, whose lyrical "The Horn" (priced at $25,000) features an image of a large creature on panels of wood held together by metal studs and Ron English, whose "Obama Hulk" portrays the President as a muscle-bound superhero. The exhibition's artists attended the exhibit’s launch on June 5 along with stars Rose McGowan, Taraji P. Henson and fashion designer Magda Berliner, who all crowded the designer's second-floor gallery space while a disc jockey spun tunes. McGowan's boyfriend, Davey Detail, also featured, is from the three-man group Cyrcle who collaborates on street campaigns and gallery work.
Webster's new exhibit will be on display until July 31 at 202 N. Rodeo Dr. He took over his two-story space on Rodeo Drive to transform into a gallery to have "an iconic view down Wilshire," he said.
In the past the space held a pop-up restaurant, classical music events and other art shows.
"It’s giving my clients other experiences of things that I like," he told the Hollywood Reporter at the opening.
The show also features pop-culture inspired work by the artist Trustocorp. The pieces depict fake tabloid magazine covers ("We're Not OK") with headlines reading, "Exclusive: Lindsay Lohan dead at 27! Lilo looks gorgeous as she overdoses on the Sunset Strip!" and "Zombie Kim Kardashian Eats Herself."
Back in his art school days in the late '70s in the U.K., Webster says he was into the rebellious punk scene and regards graffiti and street art as styles that mesh well with his rock and roll edged aesthetic. "Good street and graffiti art has it's roots as thought provoking and visually stimulating messaging in an urban environment," Webster said in a speech.
He also holds a royal warrant to Prince Charles. Though the prince doesn’t necessarily shop for Webster’s jewelry, Webster retains his warrant status by doing work with the Prince’s Trust, a charity founded by Prince Charles in 1976, which works with 13 to 30-year-olds who struggled with school or are long-term unemployed. Webster's newest collection for men and women features rings and necklaces designed with skulls, crosses and gothic iconography.
Webster is also in talks of doing a TV series about his life and work. His mantra is to have no regrets at 50 (also his twitter handle, @Noregretsat50). Above the City of Fire exhibit rests a permanent "No Regrets" lounge which houses work from internationally acclaimed artists.
"When I turned 50, I did a collection called No Regrets," he said. "I like to step out of the box of the fine jewelry world." He had just flown in from Las Vegas where he'd won a 2012 Couture Design Award at the Couture jewelry and watch trade show for a fanged-serpent cocktail ring titled "The Temptation of Evil."