The first Southampton Secret Wars Semi-Final was always going to be the talk of the town, but even I had no idea how controversial it was going to be. Zadok Vs Gustav was a battle all Secret Wars fans were looking forward to. Even King Terry made the journey down…the Soul Cellar was packed; the artists were ready and so began the show.
I’d love to tell you all, that this was a heated battle, but the truth is Gustav was the only one representing. With Zadok disappearing in the middle of the battle, it allowed a member of his 54 crew to scrawl over his piece. Gustav, not leaving the stage or loosing focus continued with his work, closely supported by the crowd and the rest of The Undergrowth Collective.
It was clear by Zadok’s piece he had no intention to go through to the final. If the Vote for Gustav suggestion wasn’t a big enough clue his final actions in the remaining minutes did more than prove it. With a couple more minutes to go, Zadok grabbed a pink spray can, and marked the words “graffiti is dead, secret wars killed it”.
Of course rules state that this is strictly a Black on White contest and no other colours are to be used, resulting in Zadok to be disqualified. An all time first for Secret Wars. The only thing missing from the night was a classic Eastenders cliff-hanger drum roll at the end, which would have been perfect.
The night raised a lot of issues, a lot of questions and many opinions, which is what makes this event stand out from anything else out there. As with anything that reaches the masses and becomes popular, there are always going to be those who have been in the scene for years objecting to what’s going on. Whether they believe Secret Wars has in some way taken away something important from the art form, like putting it up on a stage instead of a protected building, isn't certain. But it is in no way a crash course in graffiti techniques, open to all for admission. It's an illustrator’s battle, yes many of the guys who compete do come from a graff background, but the fact of the matter is, it’s completely different. It’s as far removed from the graff scene as Paul McCartney is to Heather Mills. Secret Wars gives artists a platform to launch themselves and show what their capable of. It also introduces a whole new art form to people that wouldn’t usually get to see something like that. Am I wrong? Answers on a postcard.
Anyway, enough of that…………..
The crowd carried on partying to the sounds of DJ Muffle and R-Kid and the rest admired and discussed the work up on stage. All in all, it was another great night for Southampton.
Gustav will now meet the winner of the next Semi-Final Reeps 1 Vs s0bac on Thursday 28th February @ Soul Cellar (78 West Marlands Road, Southampton)