Instead of a background of art school, portfolios and studio space; his is one of prisons, homelessness and, on a happier note, his beloved dog George.
A new London exhibition presents work inspired by the relationship between Dolan and George, which the Howard Griffin Gallery staging the show describes as ‘one of companionship and hope’.
The story goes, the gallery tells us, that George was given to Dolan ‘in exchange for the price of a strong can of lager’.
‘Since that time, George has been Dolan’s most loyal companion, ultimately enabling him to change his life’, says the gallery.
‘With George at his side, Dolan managed to escape a twenty year cycle of homelessness and prison, establishing himself as one of east London’s most recognisable artists.’
Dolan’s work is very much rooted in the streets of Shoreditch he had to call his home, and during his homeless years, were sold to passers by.
Prior to the series devoted to George, last year he exhibited a number of works exploring the buildings of the area, creating charming architectural studies that –as the gallery points out – ‘ seem incongruous to his situation.’
These drawings formed the basis of the 2013 Shoreditch Skyline project, which saw the image reproduced and sent to illustrators and artists around the world, who worked directly onto Dolan’s images in a sort of pen-pal-like collaboration.
Those who participated included Thierry Noir from France, Belgian street artisr ROA, Isreal’s Broken Fingaz Crew and Pablo Delgado from Mexico.
John and George runs from 17 July – 17 August at Howard Griffin Gallery, 189 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6HU