Search

Joe Machine captures gangland’s Kray twins on canvas for Whitechapel’s Lollipop gallery

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:21 12 November 2015

Artist Joe Machine's 'Bedtime Stories' of the Krays

Artist Joe Machine's 'Bedtime Stories' of the Krays

Lollipop Gallery

A unique collection of artwork based on “bedtime stories” about the Krays opens tomorrow (Fri) in the heartland of London’s East End where the notorious gangland twins held court.

Artist Joe Machine wasn’t even born when the Kray twins went down for life for murdering rivals while running extortion rackets and crooked nightclubs in the 1950 and 60s.

Artist Joe Machine Artist Joe Machine

Yet his life is dominated by “The Firm” which ended up behind bars in 1969 and the keys virtually thrown away.

“Other kids were getting bedtime stories about Rupert the Bear,” Joe tells you. “Mine were mainly my dad’s recollections about 1960s gangland.

“I remember the tales of the shadowy Kray twins he described as wearing ‘suits as sharp as a razor’ and fighting and shooting other villains in the smoke-filled, beer-dark clubs of the East End.”

1967 Blind Begger killing of George Cornell by Ronnie Kray [portayed by artist Joe Machine] 1967 Blind Begger killing of George Cornell by Ronnie Kray [portayed by artist Joe Machine]

Mythology is at the centre of Joe Machine’s work. Now his pictures of gangsters in acrylics on canvas and blockhouse on wood go on show at Whitechapel’s Lollipop Gallery in Commercial Street—in the heartland where the Krays and their henchmen once held court.

The figures in his paintings are his symbols or icons of the darkness and light that he feels is fundamental to the human experience.

“I heard somewhere that the origins of European royalty began in the ancient world as nomadic bandits and outlaws,” he recalls.

The Krays... 'Lesson to a Liberty Taker' The Krays... 'Lesson to a Liberty Taker'

“Teams of villains rode from town to town killing and burning and offering ‘protection’ from their own exploits to towns that would pay them.

“Once the bandits were in, they took over the town, establishing themselves as rulers.

“In time, they became royalty—whether this is true or not, the story reminds me of the ‘royal family of the underworld’—The Krays.”

The Krays... as Joe Machine sees them The Krays... as Joe Machine sees them

His exhibition which runs till December 13 includes prints, woodcuts, scrapings and large format paintings, all for sale. Titles listed read like a Who’s Who of London’s gangland:

Ronnie & Reggie Sparring as Boys

Freddie Foreman

The Krays at Vallence Road

The Krays—Lesson to a Liberty Taker

Reggie and Frances

Ronnie Kray—Barfight with Knife

The Krays—Tooled Up and Ready

Ronnie Kray

Member of a Rival ‘Firm’ with Razor Slash

The Killing of George Cornell by Ronnie Kray

Ronnie Kray Cutting a Man in a Pub

Reggie Kray after Jack McVitie Murder

The Krays, The Firm, Tea at Vallence Road

The Krays—Straightening Out the Opposition

Diana Dors with Razor

The Krays—Reggie, Ronnie and Charlie

Ronnie Kray With Hatchet

The Krays Drinking in a Pub

The Double-R Club

The Krays Fighting in a Pub

East End Justice

The Killing of Jack ‘The Hat’

Mad Frankie Fraser

The Krays—Carve Up at the Billiard Hall

Reggie’s Cigarette Punch

The Twins with mum Violet

Latest East London Entertainment Stories

07:00

Works by British artists collaborating with Mexican artists go on public show in Bethnal Green on Monday in the fifth annual “comrades in art” competition.

Mon, 18:00

Meet two sisters passionate about olive oil who don’t let you leave their family-run restaurant feeling hungry—then you must be in Wapping.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The true story of two male penguins in New York’s Central Zoo is to be brought to life in a new children’s show at a Limehouse theatre.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A new ‘poet in residence’ has been appointed at the historic Tower of London for 2018.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The alternative London Remixed music winter festival returns to Bethnal Green’s Richmix arts centre tomorrow for two nights.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

New acts have been added to the support line up for headliners The National at All Points East festival this summer.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Catfish and the Bottlemen are the final headline act to be announced for the new All Points East festival in Victoria Park this summer.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Cabaret queens and drag delights descend on Bethnal Green to honour LGBT people of colour.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now