The former Londoner turned New Yorker Kosmo Vinyl is perhaps best known for his work with Ian Dury and The Blockheads and then with The Clash. Starting out at Stiff Records in 1976, he became a key figure in the London-based music scene. By the mid 1980’s, he had moved to New York City and, after marrying and becoming a father, he decided to end his professional involvement with music. “When I worked in music, my style was full on with one hundred percent commitment and I knew no other way to do it,” Vinyl says today. “I realized a family would require the same, and it wasn’t possible to do both. Although I was surprised what good preparation for raising children working with musicians was!”
Since the 90’s, Vinyl has developed into both an artist and a “cultural curator”. Focused primarily on life with his wife and two sons, he began producing works of art in what little downtime he had as a stay-at-home father. At first he made one-of-a-kind postcards, mailing them to friends around the world; then he started painting, eventually combining the two.
In 2010, he was invited to contribute to the “London Calling” exhibition and fundraiser at London’s Ideas Generation Gallery in tribute to the artist/cartoonist Ray Lowry. Vinyl’s piece “Ammunition Box#1” got such a strong and positive response that he decided to take his art seriously and devote himself to it. Soon afterwards, at the suggestion of his then teenage son Jack, he started his soccer themed art blog “Is Saitch Yer Daddy,” devoted to his favourite team and lifelong passion — East London’s West Ham United. On the popular blog, which ended when The Hammers played their last game of the 2015/16 season, he produced a piece in reaction to every game the team played.
Vinyl has had two one-man shows in England, one in London in 2013 featuring The West Ham themed “Saitches” and the other in Somerset summer of 2014 on the subject of England and The World Cup. He was also co-curator of the late Ian Dury’s first art exhibition “More Than Fair,” a retrospective shown at The Royal College of Art London. Vinyl’s debut U.S. exhibition, presented by Atlanta’s Vinson Art, at The Lighthouse Gallery in Decatur, Georgia, November 2014.
In 2015 he also has participated in the “Secret 7” exhibition at Somerset House and produced the official poster for Record Store Day (U.S.A.) 2015. In 2016 Kosmo contributed to two group shows in London: Janette Beckman’s “Punk Hip Hop Mash Ups” show at Chelsea College of Art and The Secret 7″ 2016. On June 1st 2016 Vinyl started his new artistic adventure an Instagram “installation” titled “Cisco Kid vs Donald Trump” and a selection of these works were shown at The Spring/Break Art Show, Times Square, New York City, March 2017.
In 2017 The Lyndon House Arts Center, Athens, Georgia, presented “To & Fro: The Mail Art of Jack Logan & Kosmo Vinyl” an exhibition of 46 postcards. Prints of “Cisco Kid vs Donald Trump” were shown in Washington DC in October 2017 and in Decatur, GA in early 2018. A selection of similar prints will be shown at The Rymer Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee from July 7th-31st, while in London Kosmo’s painting “For Jock Scot” is on show at the 250th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition which runs until August 19th 2018.