Mr Draws really came up with something of a surprise at this year’s Cheltenham Paint Festival with this environmental piece of an elephant and the slogan ‘ system change not climate change’.
I caught up with Mr Draws in the centre of town and he told me that he had used a technique for the first time which is used by many artists called a doodle grid. He reported that he enjoyed it and that it had worked really well. There seems to be a bit of a mixture of techniques and styles within the piece, for example the rather abstract foliage, the well proportioned elephant and the twigs with leaves. A strange combination but one with a clear strong message.
On the news that Greta Thunberg will be visiting Bristol this Friday for her school climate strike. I have given both of my children permission to protest if they wish to add their voices to the campaign. I am rather excited and will be taking an extended lunch break to protest myself.
Greta Thunberg is an extraordinary young woman. She has managed to bring a difficult message to the world stage and has been given tremendous exposure. I believe her when she says that she will not give up, and I believe that what we are witnessing is the beginning of a movement for change the likes of which we have not seen before.
Of course there are those who say that they agree, BUT (remember everything before the but is bullshit) that it can’t be done, that her demands are unrealistic. Those people are in my view wrong and this excuse has been used as a reason for inertia for decades. Had we been taking action 30 years ago, the urgency of action now would not have felt so acute.
The best Donald Trump could come up with on Twitter was this sarcastic comment
‘She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!’
How immature, but then we know all we need to know about Donald Trump. On the other hand Greta Thunberg has behaved with utter dignity and has so much more credibility than any politician I can think of.
I subscribe entirely to Greta Thunberg’s mission and have been waiting for leadership on this issue for decades – little did I think it would come from a Swedish school girl, but then maybe that’s exactly where it needed to come from, from somebody outside the establishment.
The hard work begins now as changes to our learned way of life begin to gain traction. It doesn’t necessarily mean sacrifice, rather it means change, and much of that change will be for the better. Anyhow in its simplest form, the changes are necessary so that our children and their children can live in a world like the one we grew up in (or even better). Do we need any greater incentive than that?
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.
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, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, May 2019
Jody, Upfest, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, May 2019
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.