Here are a couple more small stencils from John D’oh over in the St George skate park, which is a spot that he likes to paint on a reasonably regular basis. The first piece leans very heavily on a famous Banksy ‘sandwich-board chimp’, with a different message – ‘Monkey pox… not laughing now are you’, picking up on the increasing number of cases of the virus in the UK. As always, topical and on the ball.
The second stencil is a visual/verbal pun in which John D’oh conflates a Rocky quote and image, with an image of a chicken from the film Chicken Run. The quote is – ‘One run can change your day, many runs can change your life’. All a bit of fun.
Liz Truss – our new (fourth horseman of the apocalypse) Prime Minister has gifted John D’oh with years worth of satirical material by appointing one of the least moderate, most right wing, inexperienced, ideological Cabinets ever. She will break this country, but at least her mates will have top jobs supporting her with her destruction.
I could go on for hours about just how bad things are, but I think I will keep my powder dry for when things start to unravel. Unfortunately, by then it might be too late for the poorest in our society.
Diff is a Bristol street artist who is horribly under-represented on Natural Adventures, and although I have published a few of his pieces before, I still have several in my archives. I will have to dig them out. This most recent piece, for Upfest is a real winner in my view.
There is something rather tender and touching about the stencil piece, and the positioning and posture of the kissing characters is just about perfect. Young love beautifully captured in a contemporary way. Such a pity this piece was only on view for two days – perhaps he could recreate it somewhere else in Bristol… hint, hint.
John D’oh has had another recent session in St George skate park, and I was able to get up there just before going off on my holiday. This fine stencil is one of several painted on the side of a skate ramp.
The artwork is deliberately retro, which seems at odds with the gentleman looking down at a mobile phone, a clever juxtaposition. It is the message that I love, and similar to one I often repeat here on Natural Adventures, encouraging people to look up and see the world around them, absorb it and enjoy the experience. A lovely stencil piece from John D’oh.
I am a huge admirer of Johnman’s incredible pieces, and although I have only seen a handful of them, each one is an absolute cracker. I particularly like this piece, because accidentally or deliberately, the scene blends into the real blue sky behind it, giving a slightly surreal feel to the whole thing.
Johnman has a gift for producing intrigue and drama in his work, and here we have a girl in a wheat field under a deep blue sky with a dove of peace. The colours suggest that this is a representation of the Ukranian flag and that it is a piece depicting the war with the Dictator Putin’s Russia. A stunning, mysterious and compassionate piece from this outstanding artist.
Alongside all the newcomers to Bristol’s Upfest festival, there is a cohort of ‘regulars’ who turn up and wow us with their talent, year after year. One of these regulars is RTC (Rich Turner) who has been present at several festivals and presented us with this magnificent British bulldog stencil piece this year.
RTC manages to produce these massively detailed and multi-layered stencil pieces that are photorealistic in their appearance. The backgrounds too are beautifully constructed with hexagons bubbles and stars all adding to the structure of the piece. What is most amazing is that it is all contained with; one of the small 1m squared board.
I have said many times on this blog that one of the great things about street art is that much of it chronicles the times we live in, either overtly in a political context or sometimes in more subtle ways through visual cues or references. This Upfest stencil piece from Daisy Mae Morris is an overt reverence to the war in Ukraine and features Volodymir Zelensky.
The piece is a take on the famous Lord Kitchener poster of the First World War and seeks to gain the support of Britons in the struggle Ukraine face against dictator Putin and his Russian army. It is a nicely done stencil and I was lucky enough to watch her doing the very final touches to the piece, but not lucky enough to stop for a chat. Great work from Daisy Mae.
My wife was a little late for work a couple of weeks ago, so I gave her a lift in the car. Our route takes us onto St Michael’s hill, and I glanced (as I always do when passing by) down a little alleyway favoured by John D’oh and by total luck he was there spraying a new stencil. Of course, after dropping my wife off, I made a bee-line for the alley way and stopped for a quick chat with John D’oh. As always it was a genuine pleasure to catch up, and great to see the artist at work. While we were talking, a bird pooped on one of the freshly painted faces… the perils of being a street artist!
The piece is a fantastic awareness work that talks about mental health, in particular depression and anxiety, a topic that resonates for me and my family, and I expect for a great many people in today’s troubled landscape. The words on the stencil piece read:
“Pretending you’re okay is easier than having to explain to anyone why you’re not.
Mental health – don’t suffer in silence
Depression is when you don’t really care about anything, anxiety is when you care too much about everything, and having both is just like hell.”
I believe this to be one of John Doh’s finest pieces. The topic aside (a massively important one), he presents four stunning colourful stencils perfectly and seamlessly joined and topped and tailed with a banner and footer. The whole thing is expertly produced and beautifully proportioned.
The stylised comic-book characters are cleverly selected to be both eye-catching and, to a degree, nostalgic. It was interesting to see that John D’oh brought elements of this piece to his collage of pieces for Upfest this year – the joy of stencil art.
I drove past the spot this morning, on a repeat wife-lift scenario, and saw that he has added another piece to his expanding gallery, so I’ll have to pop up there for another photo session soon. Utterly fabulous work from John D’oh.
While busily searching Bedminster for new Upfest walls, I took a turn down a street I don’t normally visit and at the end saw this lovely stencil from Stewy. The same piece used to be in North Street, but that disappeared some years ago. This brilliant piece portrays the musician Robert Wyatt, who’s version of ‘Ship building’ remains one of my favourite tracks of all time.
I am so pleased that I found this, because I was a little upset when the North Street one went. It is the joy of stencils, that they can be recreated more than once, extending the lifetime and footprint of a piece of art. Fabulous work by a fabulous artist of a fabulous artist.
You will know by now, that I consider John D’oh to be a fabulous stencil artist whose astute observations and commentaries record a snapshot of life in Britain, often observed through a political lens. While John D’oh speaks for many, particularly in Bristol, someone took exception to this piece and buffed all but Johnson’s face and scrawled ‘Support Boris Johnson’ next to it… there is still much work to do. If there are Johnson supporters in the poorer districts of Bristol, then there are still some messages that simply aren’t landing.
I really am so sick and tired of the worst Prime Minister we have ever had. He depresses me, because I am embarrassed and ashamed to think that people from other countries might believe Johnson to be representative of the UK’s views and aspirations. He is not. He is like Trump, bolstered by the far right of the Conservative party, pushing only their views and dressing it up as ‘what people want is…’. I loathe him and everything he stands for.
John D’oh writes “Fuel poverty… I can assure the British people that having burned £50 notes in front of homeless people I can relate and understand their suffering and see the pain in their eyes – Boris”, referencing some historical despicable behaviours of this odious man.
Keep up the great work, John D’oh, our nation needs reminding just how low Johnson will stoop to retain power.
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.