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.
I love wheatpastes (in case you hadn’t noticed) and at Upfest 2018 we were blessed with a series of poignant and thought provoking stencil paste ups by About Ponny. I was particularly moved by these small scenes, each one depicting the marginalised or forgotten, the vulnerable or neglected.
This one, produced in sepia tones, shows two small children sheltering under a small basket, and has overtones of iconic images from the Vietnam or Cambodian conflicts. There is so much emotion and sadness and pity captured in this image. Really, truly this is an outstanding piece of art.
Over the course of the three day Upfest street art festival, visitors are treated to a huge display of artistic talent, which includes a some exceptional stencils, most of which are allocated these meter square boards at the St Francis church location. This extraordinary four or five layer stencil is by midlands self-taught artist RJ77 (there is hope for me yet).
This mysterious image is rather compelling and looking at it I want to know more. What’s the story? Is it simply a pose or is there more going on? I am a bit of a sucker for these monochromatic stencils, and I’ll have to look out for more from RJ77.
Wow, just wow, another wonderful paste up from Tian down in Stokes Croft. This one features a boxer, but I fear I don’t know which one. I have Googled Muhammad Ali, it might be him; Apollo Creed, it’s not him; Joe Foreman, it might be him when he had hair; Joe Frazier, I don’t think it’s him. And there my knowledge of boxers dries up… any ideas?
The wheatpaste itself is a beautiful stencil using his preferred yellow/sepia tones, I just don’t think I can get enough of his work and rather joyfully I have a whole load more to post over the coming weeks.
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.
Sometimes you need to be eagle-eyed. Many of you will be familiar with the work of French artist C215 (Christian Guemy) and will have seen pieces by him in Paris or London, or indeed all over Europe. It is his cats in particular that he is really well known for and here is a rather old looking and very small C215 cat in Brick Lane.
This one was so very well ‘camouflaged’ by all the other busy scrawls on the door that if I had blinked I would have missed it. His work has such a deft touch that brings his pieces to life. I am amazed that in such a small two-tone piece, the character of the cat comes shining through. A brilliantly talented artist.