‘We’d play music on cassettes, roll spliffs using Rizla and chew gum whilst on speed’: Artist James Talon brings the rave to Hackney Road

Double Mint by James Talon. Photograph: courtesy the Old Bank Vault

Hackney Road’s Old Bank Vault opened its doors four-and-a-half years ago, and has since been known as a hub for off-the-wall cultural events and vibrant displays.

It’s no wonder, then, that this venue was chosen to host James Talon’s eye-popping new collection, Sweet Lord: Desire Realised is Sweet to the Soul.

Inspired by his raving days in the 90s, the exhibition sees Talon taking everyday consumer objects that defined his early adulthood, including sweets, condoms and floppy disk games, and blowing them up to create iconic cultural images.

DOOM. Photograph: courtesy the Old Bank Vault

Talon remembered: “On the way to illegal raves in the 90s we would play music on cassettes in the car, roll spliffs using Rizla and chew gum whilst on speed.

“We carried condoms in case we got lucky and we ate breakfast at greasy spoons where we loaded on the sauce from sachets. Then we went home, ate sweets and played computer games until the Es wore off.”

Black Jack. Photograph: courtesy the Old Bank Vault

The exhibits constitute an extension of Talon’s previous work, and resemble a sort of three-dimensional pop art, with much-loved motifs such as sherbet love hearts and ketchup packets recreated multiple times over in a way that nods to Andy Warhol, but is also refreshingly new.

The oversized artefacts, many of which were specifically commissioned for this exhibition, have been named after significant moments in the Bible to reflect the cultural and personal weight of the items.

Talon formally studied fine art early in life, but upon completion of his studies spent the next 25 years, in his own words, “pissing about in music”.

Returning to art, Talon uses his vast pop culture knowledge to inform his work, which is equal parts original and nostalgic in feel.

Sweet Lord is on display until 23 December at The Old Bank Vault, 283 Hackney Rd, London E2 8NA.