Carl Cox by Mark Vessey at Enter Gallery Brighton

BrightonArt & Culture

Carl Cox by Mark Vessey at Enter Gallery Brighton

Rave icon Carl Cox distills his 150,000+ vinyl record collection for a fascinating new piece of pop art from Mark Vessey...

Carl Cox is a veritable legend of the electronic music scene, a legendary figure, the sort of fella for whom the term ‘icon’ should truly be reserved for. Beginning as a mobile DJ playing disco at the age of 15; growing into the world of hip hop, electro and rave groove; living through and serving as catalyst for the explosion of acid house in the late 1980s; becoming one of the original superstar DJs of the 1990s; heading back underground into the world of techno; and since becoming known as the ‘King of Ibiza’ as tech-house dominated the contemporary world of dance music … the three-deck wizard has literally done it all. And is a thoroughly lovely bloke to boot.

Surrounded by the record collection of his Barbadian father as he grew up in 1960s south London, his influences and understanding of music were shaped by the sounds of rhythm and blues, country, reggae, soca and jazz; evolving over the course of the next decades to incorporate a passion for all from funk and soul to Detroit techno, ‘80s electro pop to disco and rare groove. At 61 years of age, his vinyl collection now stands at more than 150,000 records. From Fleetwood Mac to 808 State, Barry White to Mantronix, a considered curation of that collection now forms a new piece of work from acclaimed British photographic artist, Mark Vessey.

Carl Cox by Mark Vessey at Enter Gallery Brighton

Carl © Mark Vessey.

Born in east London in 1982, Vessey studied photography at Brighton University, having been inspired by pop artists such as Haring and Warhol, as well as counterculture photographers including Nan Goldin and Ryan McGinley. His ongoing body of work is informed by the notion of collections, Vessey having a love for vintage magazines, vinyl records and books that are tied to the worlds of 20th and 21st century popular culture. Following on from works that include a similar collaboration with Norman Cook, and a tribute to Kate Moss that was chosen by St Pancras Editions as one of a series of limited edition artworks to be exhibited at St Pancras Hotel, Mark Vessey unveils his latest work, Carl, at Brighton’s Enter Gallery on 20 July.

“Each record I chose has a story behind it,” explains Cox, “and it was very emotional choosing the records that helped shape my journey. Watching Mark work really makes me understand how you can look deeper into art, and it makes me realise what a privilege and responsibility I have when sharing my love of music with the dancefloor. Every single one of these records are not promos; I literally went to the record store and stood there and went through the music … this collection is the best of the best.”

Carl Cox by Mark Vessey at Enter Gallery Brighton

© Mark Vessey.

Carl Cox by Mark Vessey at Enter Gallery Brighton

A photographic print from a limited edition of 50, with a certificate of authenticity signed by both Mark Vessey and Carl Cox, Carl will be available in editions of: 80cm x 80cm C-type photograph; 95cm x 95cm C-type photograph; 110cm x 110cm C-type photograph; and the 150cm x 150cm original photograph which will be on display at the launch.

“It has been an honour to work with Carl Cox, to have his trust and time to explore his archive,” Vessey reveals. “Carl Cox is unique in sewing together multiple generations through his passion for music. Each one of his vinyl holds a piece of his story. My hope in photographing them together is that they visually reflect his love and shared history back to us.”

Having previously created works that include specific genres of dance music and magazines from Mixmag to i-D, as well as books and even bottles of perfume, Mark’s work casts a nostalgic eye on the world of popular culture that echoes the iconic works of his influences. “Mark has an extraordinary eye for detail; he’s truly a visual storyteller,” says Helen Hiett, Enter Gallery’s head of buying. “His work not only narrates the love story of an artist’s journey but also evokes the memories and stories people share when they listen to these albums. While Mark’s art is known for its collectability it’s the smiles and stories his work inspires that make it truly special for me.”

A singular insight into a singular artist, Carl by Mark Vessey will be launched with a private view event at Enter Gallery, Brighton on Saturday 20 July between 19:00 and 20:30. Until then, here’s some of the momentous records that Carl Cox chose for this unique collaborative artwork.


Luther Vandross, The Night I Fell In Love

Luther Vandross, The Night I Fell In Love.

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Fleetwood Mac, Rumours.

Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us

Public Enemy, It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back.

Mtume, Juicy Fruit

Mtume, Juicy Fruit.

Soul II Soul - Jazzie's Groove

Soul II Soul, Jazzie’s Groove.

Candi Staton, Young Hearts Run Free

Candi Staton, Young Hearts Run Free.

808 State, Ooops

808 State, Ooops.

Carl Cox – Phuture 2000 (Part 2)

Carl Cox, Phuture 2000 (Part 2).

Steel Pulse - Handsworth Revolution

Steel Pulse, Handsworth Revolution.

Lonnie Liston Smith, Loveland

Lonnie Liston Smith, Loveland.

The Players Association, Born To Dance

The Players Association, Born To Dance.

Scritti Politti, Provision

Scritti Politti, Provision.

The Jimmy Castor Bunch, It’s Just Begun

The Jimmy Castor Bunch, It’s Just Begun.

Massive Attack, No Protection

Massive Attack, No Protection.

Grace Jones, Night Clubbing

Grace Jones, Night Clubbing.

Talking heads, Remain in Light

Talking heads, Remain in Light.

Gwen Guthrie, Good to Go Lover

Gwen Guthrie, Good to Go Lover.

Prince, Sign of the Times

Prince, Sign of the Times.