2254. Tobacco Factory

We live in curious times. In the UK we have been enduring an insane paralysis brought about by Brexit, something that has irreversibly divided the nation. In the United States, the most powerful man in the world, President Donald Trump, sets an uneasy tone which resonates globally as his uncompromising ‘business man’ approach to politics destabilises all around him in his efforts to deliver an America first agenda. And yet all this pales into insignificance in the light of two of the most pressing issues in human history… climate change and biodiversity loss.

Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, May 2019
Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, May 2019

In such moments unlikely heroes arise, and none more unlikely than sixteen year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg. This incredible painting by Bristol’s Jody, part of Upfest’s Summer Editions programme, is a worthy tribute to a young girl whose voice speaks for millions and whose direct messages have contributed to a change in how governments listen to this narrative. Of course listening and acting are two different things, but Greta seems to be in no mood to stop campaigning just yet.

Jody spent a couple of weeks creating this piece and I saw him on a few occasions while he was painting it. We chatted briefly, and I was rather pleased to find out that he has read some of my posts on Natural Adventures. He said that my reviews of his work were kind, and I rather foolishly said that I was kind to everyone, which then made me feel like I was saying that his work was not special. Well let’s put that straight right now… his work is exceptional and of the highest quality and this will I’m sure become an Iconic image of Greta. I believe that pictures and stories about it have already gone global.

Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, May 2019
Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, May 2019

It is funny how Greta Thunberg has become a world leader in taking these issues to governments and citizens and bringing climate change up the agenda. Of course, other campaigners have been banging on about this for decades, but somehow her arrival and campaigning came just at the right time, following huge public opinion shifts around the issue of single use plastics, themselves probably prompted by the amazing work of the BBC and Blue Planet 2 and of course Sir David Attenborough.

We have reached a crossroads, and nations must decide how they are going to meet the challenges of Climate change and biodiversity loss. I would say at this point (and I apologise for pointing this out) that there is a strong correlation between Brexiteers and Trumpists (small ‘c’ conservatives) and climate change denial/apathy or even charges of conspiracy. What these people have not registered or acknowledged is that climate change and biodiversity loss will not discriminate against those people they impact upon, nobody will be immune.

We will all lose unless something is done. Large businesses and their shareholders will lose money and maybe collapse; coastal cities and towns will become battered by increasing frequency of storms and rising sea levels; insurance companies will struggle to operate models that can cope with the claims made; more people will go hungry as crops ruin, trade collapses and selfishness protects the rich.

A bleak future for all of us, and the ‘flat earthers’ who don’t want to face up to these challenges put all of us at risk by their deliberating and self-protection. Fools. Look no further than the man-made islands in Dubai and the most fantastic monuments to human folly – built on funds from fossil fuels, these islands will inundate as sea levels rise. You couldn’t make it up.

Here endeth the rant.

Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, June 2019
Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, June 2019

I thank Upfest for making this happen. I thank Jody for choosing to paint this outstanding piece. I thank Greta Thunberg for giving me hope and inspiration. I have dedicated my life to the environment personally and professionally and at last I feel we might be approaching a tipping point where public opinion influences public policy.

Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, June 2019
Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, June 2019

Let’s hope that this iconic piece and iconic young woman continue to inspire us all (even those who disagree with their message, in fact especially those who disagree with their message).

Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, June 2019
Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, June 2019
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2234. North Street

Well, this picture is a bit on the slant isn’t it? Such was my excitement at just admiring this incredible piece by Loch Ness, my photography skills went to pot. Sorry about that. Loch Ness is a bit of a specialist at these long walls, managing to create a psychadelic journey through an unintelligible story, but a story nonetheless.

Loch Ness, North Street, Bristol, May 2019
Loch Ness, North Street, Bristol, May 2019

I think that there is a bit of a climate change and biodiversity story going on. A bird on a healthy tree to the left seems to be interacting with the central bear character. On the right some buildings and clouds, maybe representing emissions, take the eye to a dead or dying woodland.

Loch Ness, North Street, Bristol, May 2019
Loch Ness, North Street, Bristol, May 2019

I will be forever indebted to Loch Ness for the two hour spray paint lesson he gave me in May 2018. From that he gave me the confidence to buy my own cans and give it a go. My experimenting so far has been tricky – this is a whole lot harder than it looks – but enormous fun. I am mostly getting used to the pressure and the caps and thinking about layers for cutting in. I’m also having fun sketching out drafts and ideas, which from a non-artist is rather fulfilling. Thank you Loch Ness.

Loch Ness, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Loch Ness, Upfest, Bristol, July 2018
Loch Ness, Jessop Underpass, Bristol, December 2017
Loch Ness, Jessop Underpass, Bristol, December 2017

 

Rebellion continues

.

In Parliament Square

I’m awestruck by the protest

and I meet a friend.

.

by Scooj

  • Extinction Rebellion is a selfless movement that has a global future very much in mind. I must find a way to get involved without risk of losing my job.

2053. The Bearpit (177)

With the incredible weather we have had recently in Bristol, there has been a massive turnover of street art, so what the hell am I doing delving through my archive pictures rather than posting current street/graffiti art? I think that it tends to happen when I am looking for something specific and then stumble upon things that I have squirreled away. Anyhow, I saw this and just had to post it. It is a winter piece (obviously from the subject) by John D’oh.

John D'oh, The Bearpit, Bristol, January 2017
John D’oh, The Bearpit, Bristol, January 2017

The stencil depicts the snowman from Disney’s Frozen, and makes a pun on the name with one of the characters (Olaf = a laugh), but then draws in the incredibly serious matter of climate change. This is a skillful way of blending art, humour and the biggest issue of our time in a typically John D’oh way. I love this piece and am happy that I have now at last liberated it.