If only I were as quick to post John D’oh’s political commentary pieces as he is to prepare and spray his stencils… Natural Adventures would feel a bit more contemporary, but a trade-off has to happen, because there is so much high-quality street/graffiti art in Bristol, I invariably have a backlog. Within a day or two of the Rishi Sunak Spring Statement (which did little for the poorer communities facing a cost of living crisis) John D’oh had come up with this piece, although I think it was just before the furore of his wife’s non-dom status, it certainly continued to resonate.
I like it that John D’oh visits various skate parks around Bristol and beyond, because these are places where more people will get exposure to his art and his observations. It is a joy to capture and catalogue John D’oh’s work because in years to come we will be able to reflect on Tory Britain with some grounded and visceral reflections.
John D’oh delights us with his stencils. Sometimes they are highly political and a commentary on events and happenings of our time and at other times they are packed with fun and humour, and this Captain Caveman falls into the latter category.
I am a little too old to have watched much Captain Caveman, but I was certainly aware of the cartoon series. In this piece, the mischievous character is looking thrilled to be let loose with a spray can. This is a fabulous small piece from John D’oh.
This is a poignant stencil piece from John D’oh up at Horfield skate park. As is so often the case, John D’oh perfectly captures the moment and presents it to us with a political slant. His work can often include strong, assertive and for some, uncomfortable messages, but they capture a mood in a contemporary way.
The blue and yellow give this piece away as being about the Russian invasion of Ukraine by the ruthless and deluded dictator Putin. A little girl crouches in front of an urban landscape with a red cross emblazoned on it and between them is a hand rising from the ground on which there is a discarded stethoscope. The caption is too awful; ‘war ends lives before they have begun’. This piece speaks to the horrors unfolding in cities like Mariupol, where innocent people, women and children, have been murdered while seeking refuge. I do hope that Putin and his generals and political supporters get lynched when this is all over.
The side wall of Bishopston Tiles has been a bit of a honeypot recently with several fabulous stencils by John D’oh, all with an environmental theme, something that the artist obviously cares about deeply. This sensational tiger stencil must have taken forever to cut and prepare. There are at least four layers that I can see, each using a greyscale tone from black to white.
I might be doing the piece a disservice because there was some text accompanying the wall as a whole reading ‘Extinction is forever – endangered doesn’t have to mean extinct’. So a message of hope and a stencil of high quality and extreme beauty from John D’oh. Still more to come from this magnificent spot.
This old piece by John D’oh has been sitting in my ‘departure lounge’ for several years, and at last I have found the space to publish it. I am going to show my ignorance by not having any idea who the character portrayed in the piece is… a bit of popular culture that has passed me by, and maybe this is why I never posted it when I had prepared it way back.
Placed on a shopfront that I think has changed since April 2016 when the picture was taken, the text states ‘ life is sometimes just torture. As I said earlier I am not sure what the reference is, but I still like it, and the whole rather run-down scene nonetheless. As you might have spotted, I am going through a bit of a John D’oh purple patch and it has no signs of abating.
I said that I would be posting more John D’oh pieces from this wall outside Bishopston’s Tiles on Gloucester Road, and true to my word here is another. This wonderful single-layer stencil is so much more than just a cute cuddling Simpsons piece, it is a nod to the genius of Banksy with a John D’oh twist.
Some of you may recall Banksy’s amazing ‘Mobile Lovers’ which appeared on the door of a boxing club in Bristol. Well, this Homer and Marge embrace is a little pastiche of that piece and brought an instant smile to my face. On this occasion John D’oh is not being political, but his humorous look at popular culture and commentary on social behaviours is alive and kicking. Great piece – even down to the detail of placing it on a door.
Since the first lockdown, my daughter and I have watched quite a few old shows by Bob Ross, and been mesmerised by them. Our viewing is interspersed with comments like ‘how does he do that’ or ‘that is just ridiculous’. As amazing as his landscapes are, they are not really my cup of tea, but watching him create them is truly awe-inspiring. This reference piece by John D’oh is a nice nod to the talent of Bob Ross.
This stencil is one of many by John D’oh adorning the walls of Bishopston Tiles, and if you are in the area, it is well worth stopping by for a few moments to enjoy them. The words are another witty commentary on the disastrous state of deforestation, something that the COP26 climate agreement might at long last be starting to address. Our role in all of this is not to let our Government off the hook, even for a moment, and to continue to campaign hard for systemic policy changes in how we do things in the UK. Plastic bag tax was just a start, but shows what can be done.
This is the first of many posts I’ll be writing about this wall.
You will be seeing a lot of work by John D’oh on Natural Adventures over the coming weeks, for which I make no apology. I love his stencils and the contemporary commentary accompanying them that give us a sense of time and place, important for chronicling our political and societal landscape.
This piece in Burnham-on-Sea was painted a little while back, but seems so very timely, and the message is clear, it is just such a shame that we need reminding. Greta, behind the mask, has been instrumental in galvanising the popular discourse on climate change and I’m sure she will not stop now. If anything the hard work of putting pressure on governments, and holding them to account, begins now.
Now I know that this classic piece from John D’oh has been here for a while, but as I only recently visited Burnham-on-Sea for the first time, I have not seen it before, but what a fabulous shutter piece it is. Beautifully executed and witty.
It is a really cleverly constructed pastiche of the work of Lichtenstein, and comes together as such really well. It takes a lot of skill and courage to carry something like this of, but John D’oh has managed it with his customary class. An excellent piece and really worth seeking out if you find yourself in the area.
It is also worth noting the cheeky little Veee character in the left of the shutter in the feature photograph.
A timely commentary piece from John D’oh, that is rightly sceptical about our ability to face up to the challenges of climate change, when we can’t even keep our rivers clean. As somebody who has spent more than half my working life on protecting rivers and river-based recreation, it is a pity that our rivers are still subjected to the most terrible pollution, but on the other hand, we must recognise the huge improvements that have occurred since the 1980s when Britain was referred to as the ‘dirty man of Europe’. I fear, for a host of reasons, that the phrase may once again be used to describe our nation as we continue to prioritise company profits over environmental outcomes.
The single-layer stencil from John D’oh features Brian Cox (I think) pondering whether “COP26 is going to be like our rivers… full of shit”. I sincerely hope not, and we must all rally round this conference as best we can to push forward better outcomes for our planet. The hard work begins now, and it will be up to citizens to demand more from their governments, but also to take personal responsibility for modifying their own behaviours. Less talk, more doing.
A thought-provoking stencil piece – thank you, John D’oh.