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.
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.
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.
A rare treat indeed, getting to see John D’oh in action at Upfest 2016 finishing off his five piece stencil. How on earth can this have languished in my archive for so long? I just don’t understand it. It is great to use this trawl to share it with you now.
The theme of the piece is getting connected, or at least that is how it comes across. John D’oh tells us in his recent book that the piece features friends of his to whom he pitched the idea of them talking into cans with the string between them spelling out his name. It seems to have worked out well.
The way that John D’oh frames these pieces makes them look a little bit like a cheesy girl’s comic from the 1970s, like Jackie (I only know this because my sister had a subscription). Kevin Bacon I think is included because of his links to the EE advertising campaign which has been running for a few years now.
Rounding things off is a sublime stencil of the wonderful Jeff Knight, my local Big Issue seller. An all round excellent Upfest piece.