A contemporary stencil from John D’oh on the M32 cycle path was completed shortly before the lock down and mocks the insane and irrational panic buying for toilet roll that obsessed the nation. In my lifetime I’ve not seeen anything like it. In one shop I went to in the early period of this madness I saw a woman send her young son to run into the shop as it opened and grab a couple of large multi-packs – I shouldn’t think they’ve even got through a quarter of it yet. There’s nowt as queer as folk as they would say in Yorkshire.
I haven’t seen much from John D’oh since the Cheltenham Paint festival so this was a rather pleasant surprise in a spot that I woudn’t ordinarily associate with him. In this commentary piece he brings together his slightly caustic wit and stencil skills to present us with a retro family, fully masked, clutching their trophies as if this were quite a normal situation. This piece reminds me of the satirical cartoonist Glen Baxter, which is a compliment indeed.
It seems pretty timely to be posting this stencil by John D’oh at this year’s Cheltenham Paint Festival, because it is impossible to keep Boris out of the headlines. I realise that views on this blustering champion of capitalism are mixed, and that he is immensely popular with little Britain Tories, I however remain firmly in the other corner, and as it would seem so does John D’oh.
This single layer stencil takes a pop at Boris Johnson making the case that there is no excuse for stupidity with the words:
Ignorance can be educated, crazy can be medicated, but there is no cure for stupidity.
I am pretty certain that Boris’ prime ministership will very shortly be coming to an end, but I think we can be fairly sure he’ll be making headlines for some time to come. This can only be good news for the fertile creative mind of John D’oh and the rest of us who enjoy his slightly subversive work.
Well, well, well this piece by John D’oh caused something of a stir locally, and I shall try and give a brief description of why. It first appeared down a little side lane off St Michael’s hill about three weeks ago. I had spotted it from a bus on my way to work and registered it as one to come back to to photograph. The first lesson here is always take pictures of street art when you see it, because if you wait it will be gone next time you pass by, and this is exactly what happened with this.
The following week I was on my way to five-a-side football and it was still there and I made a mental note of coming back ASAP to take some pictures. On my way home an hour and a half later it had been buffed with white paint.
At pretty much the same time, there was a story on the Bristol Live website that it might be a Banksy, and stories like this always cause a stir. The piece is actually a clever adaptation of a Banksy work painted in Los Angeles entitled ‘Playhouse foreclosure‘. The core elements are the same, but the builder is absent, and the little girl is standing on the other side of the playhouse facing the other way.
The central point of the piece however was to enter into the realms of debate over the copyright of street art. It is critical of the stance taken by Banksy (and his lawyers) who recently won a case against a museum in Milan for selling Banksy Merchandise. Banksy has always had a pretty firm position of being against copyright and intellectual property rights, so this piece is simply highlighting the hypocrisy.
Having said that, this is a really difficult area for street artists and one that causes a lot of lively discussion. I know that John D’oh admires Banksy greatly, and has in the past used Banksy’s work and inspiration for his own work. In this instance I think he is being deliberately provocative to highlight this copyright/ideology minefield.
So how did I get my pictures? Well the great thing about stencils is that they can be used again and again, and within a couple of days, John D’oh had returned and repainted the piece (you can see the white paint that had been used to buff the original). Who buffed it in the first place and why, well we might never know, but all’s well that ends well.
This piece has been lurking in my archives for quite a long time now, but what better time to dig it out than right now? It is of course by the brilliant political commentator John D’oh and was created back in July 2016, and who’d have thought after all this time we’d still be caught up in a Boris Johnson circus?
The Michael referred to in this witty Forrest Gump pastiche would of course be Gove, and surprise, surprise here they both are making headlines in the contest for leadership of the Conservative Party. What a dismal mess this country is in, and what a sad indictment that the leader of our country will be chosen not by the electorate, but by a small number of fee-paying conservatives. There is no hope other than that the appointment of a clown for PM might just bury the Tories for the next 15 years.
It is galling that the mess we are in was not created in the aspiration to make life in the UK better for all, but simply to shore up the division in the Conservative party, and guess what, they F*cked that up good and proper as well.
Back to Bristol now, after a short excursion to London, and a more familiar street art scene altogether. This is the second of two recent finds by John D’oh in Horfield skate park. I suppose it is possible that they were produced around the same time.
This stencil features Batman and a quote from John D’oh that reads ‘I son’t want Michael Gove as Prime Minister I want Batman AKA Jeremy Corbyn’. This is in reference to a televised speech made by Michael Gove in which the automated subtitles said Batman instead of ‘that man’ when he was talking about the leader of the opposition. Very funny really, and great work from John D’oh to capture it in this way. I think we’d all prefer Batman to any of the potential candidates in the Tory party right now. What an utter shower of toxic right-wingers.
I don’t head up to Horfield skate park very often, as I consider the turnover of street art and graffiti there to be pretty low and it doesn’t seem to be a particularly favoured spot for many artists. I was delighted therefore to be rewarded on a rare trip on Good Friday with this magnificent stencil by John D’oh.
The stencil works for me so very very well. It shows the unspeakably toxic Jacob Rees-Mogg standing behind Theresa May who appears to be his ventriloquist’s dummy. Brilliantly funny but also it speaks volumes about how so many of us feel about the way the European Research Group (ERG – what kind of name is that anyway? Research? swap the word ‘research’ for ‘hating’ and you might get a sense of what they’re all about) have been holding May hostage throughout Brexit negotiations. Their hard-line and uncompromising Brexit desires, and her determination to hold the Conservative party together, mean that they have dictated the terms of the failed negotiations, along with the jaw-droppingly selfish DUP.
Rees-Mogg represents everything I dislike about self-interested politicians who do not serve their people, but rather manipulate narratives that appeal to under-represented groups. I would guess he also cares more about his income security (and growth) than he does about the pressing fate of our planet. I suspect he shares Owen Patterson’s loathing of the environmental movement that might, just might, interfere with their comfortable lives for the sake of trying to reverse the shocking state of carbon emissions and biodiversity loss.
Thank you John D’oh for giving us this fabulous visual reminder of just how disgraceful the political class (and indeed party politics in general) are in the UK.