Street Art vs Brexit

Yesterday evening the UK’s parliament voted to show that they had not changed their mind since December on a withdrawal agreement that hadn’t changed since December.  Street artists have not been impressed with the political process over the past three months, nor indeed the past three years or so.

Artist Not Known, March 2019

“Bye Bye” says an anonymous artist who spotted a gate in Shoreditch conveniently painted EU flag blue. This flag with one member missing piece echoes Banksy’s enormous EU flag with a tromp l’oeil worker chipping away a star brilliantly greeting UK leavers as they depart through Dover.

Banksy, Street art, mural, Dover, Brexit, EU Flag, painter, ladder, stencil

Banksy, Dover June 2017

It was noticeable and disappointing how little political street art appeared during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. The most memorable from a very small entry list were these spoofs on the adverts for Banksy’s street art documentary “Exit Through The Gift Shop” lampooning Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

Boris Johnson, Artist Not Known, June 2016

Nigel Farage, Artist Not Known, June 2016

Since then we have seen a ramping up of the Brexit street art as the unthinkable went from implausible to likely to now pretty much unavoidable.

Brexit Through The Chip Shop – CodeFC, June 2017

Scrap Brexit – Uberfubs, 2018

In the aftermath of the referendum result the immediate targets for street art scorn and derision were David Cameron, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, the architects and chief pom-pom wavers for the Leave cause.

Spineless Nigel Farage, UKIP party by MCLN, August 2016

Boris Johnson buffoon, fuckwit, bellend, racist, snob by Boo Who Up North

3 Brexiteers – Derek Davis (gone), Boris Johnson (missing inaction), Jacob Rees Mogg by Subdude, April 2018

Boris Johnson is DUMBO by K-Guy

The political paralysis and consequential insertion of heads into the sand really gained a head of steam in December.

Scrap Brexit – Uberfubs, Dec 2018

Theresa May faced a vote of no confidence by her own party after cancelling the first so-called “meaningful vote” in December

Street Art, Shoreditch, London, Street Art Tour, Political Art, Joe Bloggs, Jonesy, Theresa May, Brexit,

Maygo by Joe Bloggs, Dec 2018

I was recently obliged to take a few weeks away from the walls and pavements of Shoreditch and on resuming street meanderings last weekend I was bowled over by the amount of Brexit street art that appeared in that short absence.

The duo Quiet British Accent belatedly brought George V into the debate.

Quiet British Accent – Bugger Brexit, last weekend

Theyen Rich aka Corrosive 8 deploys the sound political debating stratgey of making your opponent look simultaneously stupid and obscene, the Prime Minster’s watersports would certainly rate triple X. He also borrows the buses to nowhere from anarcho-punk artist Jamie Reid and adds a Carrie Reichardt slogan.

>Mistress Theresa’s Golden Shower – Corrosive 8, last weekend

Corrosive 8 with nod to Jamie Reid & Carrie Reichardt, last weekend

Benjamin Irritant’s rabbit asks a very pointed rhetorical question, is it great again yet?

Benjamin Irritant, last weekend

The Misfortuneteller has developed a witty street cartoon style in the past couple of years, this largest piece to date borrows its style from a closing down sale, its simplicity belying the fact that it is emphasizing the gap between the Brexiteer’s promises of “the easiest trade deals ever negotiated” against the visibly increasing isolation the country faces with borders and barriers hardening, no deals and inward investment evaporating.

Britain Closing – The Misfortuneteller, March 20219

Subdude, producer of a lot of Brexit related art over the past few years, has deviated from his usual distinctive style of political humour on flat colour blocks to deliver a hand drawn condemnation of petty sectarian spats, photos and cartoons on newspaper pages make it clear who is the target of the jibe. Apparently Subdude has put six out on the streets but so far I have only found three, one of which overlays a political cartoon illustrating Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn both facing a common dilemma, Brexit actually threatening to irreparably split both of the UK’s main political parties. Ironically, in order to placate their parties both are having to turn away from the fact that neither actually supports the position they politically obliged to adopt, we live in weird times.

Subdude, March 2019

Cigarette packet health warnings have been used as the basis for political street art for over 10 years, in fact almost since the regulations came in in 2003, think K-Guy in the mid 2000s. Wanker’s Of The World, whose mission is to identify and award that sobriquet to suitable candidates in the public eye are responsible for enormous cigarette packets mocking the main proponents of the Brexiteers. There are apparently 6, we located 5 in the past week. Ironically, the adoption of those cigarette packet warnings is actually an EU law which mandates the format, size and range of messages in all EU countries.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair “European Research Group”. Brexit Can Be Fatal, last week

Theresa May, Brexit Causes Family Arguments (who’s putting out the bins?)

Street Art, Shoreditch, London, Brick Lane, street artists, graffiti, tours, Miss KK, Sell Out, Northern Southner, Agos_Art, Catmousey9, Subdude, political art, EU art, Brexit art,

Boris Johnson, Brexit harms your children

Michael Gove, Quit Brexit Now

IN the interests of fairnessm here is a comprehensive review of all the pro Brexit street art seen since 2016:

 

Who knows what the monkeys in the chamber are going to do next, certainly they don’t!

Banksy Bristol Museum Poster 2009

This is a condensed version of a blog post that originally appeared on Graffoto blog

LINKS:

Banksy website

CodeFC Instagram

Uberfubs Instagram

MCLN Instagram

Boo Who Up North Instagram

Subdude  Instagram

K-Guy Instagram

Joe Bloggs Instagram

Quiet British Accent Instagram

Benjamin Irritant Instagram

The Misfortuneteller Instagram

Wankers Of The World website

All Photos: Dave Stuart