I had the pleasure of first meeting Sammy Forway and Ayesha Mahomed back in 2018. Walking through the arches in London one cool Autumn evening, I entered the Underdog London. Hanging from the wall was a large image of Death by photographer Sylwia Makris, daunting and incredibly chic, leading the way for an entire exhibition of edgy and wondrous art around the walls of this curving archway. Ayesha and Sammy stood there, smiling amidst the excited chattering of visitors for their opening night.
“There is no other gallery in London doing what we are.” Proclaimed Sammy, looking around the crowded gallery. “Collectors love it – and we love creating an atmosphere through the interior design, live music, and of course the art! We have great plans for where we can bring this next.” Fast forward a year and a half, and Wild Beasts Art Agency has already broken free into this world.
Wild Beast Art Agency
Wild Beasts automatically caught my eye. This wasn’t just another art agency representing and supporting their artists. Ayesha and Sammy had created something with real character, and with a clear ethos to uphold. Wild Beasts revolves around representing artists and art that inspire humanity, focusing on the human condition and conservation of Earth.
“As individuals have always been interested in these issues and our artists share our views.” Explains Ayesha. “If we strip things back to basics, art in general deals with the human condition just by the artists pouring themselves into the work they create. The viewer then interprets this; not always as the artist intended, but hopefully in an engaging way that inspires. Ecology and the environment it seems, has become a trend (though not a bad one). But we have been closet hippies for as long as we can remember, and we believe we can make a change on an individual level through art.”
Our artists deal with themes across the human condition unapologetically. The ultimate message embodies self-development. The arts foster a level of engagement that we sometimes can’t communicate verbally. If we engage each other through the arts, people will realise that we all have a voice, whether that is by creating or being affected by the arts.
To make small changes in a positive direction, even if that’s just waking up to the problems we are facing. How our existence is affecting every man, woman, child, creature and living organism on our amazing planet… that is important to realise.
Everything is Connected
Interestingly, Sammy and Ayesha’s concept is not simply split into conveying the human condition and conservation. It is exploring the spirituality and essence that connects the two. “As humans, we design our goals in the time frames of months and years, not in terms of existence and extinction. Through Wild Beasts, we will be trying to raise awareness of these points without ramming it down the throats of our viewers.”
We believe the change starts from within. With self-development, an awareness of our ego and conditioning, most people would share our interest in making this a better, more informed and conscious world.
Currently, Wild Beasts works with nine diverse artists, ranging from the UK, Poland, Germany, Italy, the USA, Canada and Australia. Together, these artists display an inspiring and harmonious array of artworks, which merge raw talent with technical abilities. “Most importantly, our artists have an ambition, much like our own, to show that there is beauty and inspiration in both the light and the dark.”
Among the represented artists are Polish creators Sylwia Makris and Tomasz Goornicki. Sylwia Makris forges unforgettable portraits, melding fashion and dark art photography. Elsewhere, Tomasz Goornicki’s thought-provoking sculptures span from marble to steel, commenting on social and political injustices through aesthetic experimentation. Sammy and Ayesha met them when metal band Behemoth celebrated their London album launch at The Underdog gallery. The launch incorporated an exhibition curated by Sylwia and Tomasz; Ayesha and Sammy were blown away. “We immediately offered them a joint show.” Laughs Ayesha. “They are not scared to create work from a darker place, with a positive output.”
Even more art
London’s own Will Teather caught Sammy and Ayesha’s eye due to his variety of fine art techniques. “His skill and mind are brilliant. In particular, he has produced two unique series: super detailed work on spheres blurring the line between painting and sculpture, and fractal paintings, interpreting historical themes and symbolism. These two [series] keep history at the forefront of our minds; an important aspect of understanding where we are today.”
Among the Wild Beasts resides Italian artist Rosso Emerald Crimson. A realist painter, she explores the vulnerability and strength of the (predominantly female) form. “Her work has wonderfully rich and opulent baroque vibes!” shares Sammy. Additionally, Australian still-life painter Kieran Ingram connects obscure objects using trump l’oeil techniques. Cleverly, he weaves in literature, natural history, archaeology and anthropology into his work.
“Brad Gray is a Germany-born surrealist painter whose fascinating, atmospheric paintings we are drawn into. He uses rich layers of colour depicting strange stories and characters of fantasy, satire and darkness. His artwork speaks to many dualities we see in life.” Moreover, Canadian artist Saint Saturday’s striking paintings grabbed the duo with their modern and sensual vibes. He portrays a raw energy and emotion, which forthrightly grabs the viewer’s attention and evokes a positive force through his powerful other worldly and entheogenic paintings.
Furthermore, Wild Beasts have recently added three new artists to their pack. Fine artist Ania Tomicka, photographer Karen Jerzyk, painter Marcello Castellani and collage artist Gustavo Amaral will soon be unveiling their artworks too.
More than just an art agency
As well as supporting artists and providing curated events, Wild Beasts also provide an art advisory service to new and experienced collectors.
“Our aim is to help new collectors find a way into art and to understand how to navigate an art purchase. We’re pretty chilled out and want our followers and clients to feel comfortable asking as many questions as they want – even if it doesn’t lead to an immediate purchase. We are not precious! Refined collectors know what they want, and we are on hand to give them in-depth advice on each artist we represent.”
We also offer curatorial services for home interiors, offices and commercial spaces. We will be working with designers and collaborating with brands to use art to complement their output and objectives.
Our aim ultimately is to enhance our artists’ careers and grow the agency into a name that is recognised globally.”
And why ‘Wild Beasts’, you may wonder? Sammy and Ayesha smile. “We see our artists as an untamed force of nature creating from the heart as an instinctual cathartic process, to make great art to inspire humanity. Our artists carry a unique aesthetic; their work is edgy and veers towards the darker, surreal side. Like us, our artists do not live by convention or follow trends. They stay true their vision and cultivate their own ideologies. Staying true to your vision no matter the difficulties you face in doing so – it’s daring, wild and almost beastly. Oh, and we also thought it sounded cool!”
Wild Beasts in 2020
Whilst the current pandemic may have hindered plans for 2020, Sammy and Ayesha are still ploughing ahead. They aim to build Wild Beasts Art Agency into a deep-rooted network across commercial and independent routes, to share their brands of art as far and wide as possible. Moving away from the permanent confinement which they experienced whist running Underdog Gallery, the pair look forward to exhibiting the Wild Beasts in unique spaces which complement their concepts. This nomadic approach promises to keep things fresh and exciting.
“London and rural UK have some beautiful spots to access! We plan our first exhibition to open in the last quarter of the year when we hope we will all be free to roam. You’ll have to watch this space for more!”
Wild Beasts will also be overseeing special commissions for interested collectors. To keep up to date on Wild Beasts coming adventures, be sure to follow their social media.