Tag Archives: politics

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.

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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

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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?)

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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

How Do Street Artists Vote?

Tomorrow the United Kingdom goes to the polls, except for those poor fools who thought that a dissenting childish megalomaniac comedian was the god-font of political wisdom and declined to register. Street artists have been sharing their thoughts on the prospects and that is a good thing as 5 years ago there wasn’t enough political agitation emanating from the walls.

K-Guy is a London based street artist who has often mocked politicians and pricked the bubble of right wing sentiment on issues such as the economy and immigration. On this occasion he doesn’t have a specific agenda other than seeming to hanker after any other choice apart from the ones we actually have, he regards our current system as moribund, pointless and redundant as nothing changes for the better. One after Russell Brand’s own heart.

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K-Guy “Vote Dodo”

What is particularly impressive is K-Guy’s technique, that piece is an illegal stencil. Earlier this week I came across a soggy pile of paper on the floor, intrigued by what this pile of paper might yield I did something I have never done before, a 50 piece street art paste up jigsaw!

London, Shoreditch, Street art, artists, politics, election 2015, UK,

k-Guy Vote Dodo Paste Up

Damn that paper was sticky and horrible.

Street artist T.Wat loves a bit of political humour and evidently hates watered down nationalistic facism. There is more than a hint of something disturbing in the fetishistic sado-masochistic paraphernalia that UKIP leader Nigel Farage rocks on the walls of Shoreditch. Of course, it is not clear if that dress sense is a good thing or a bad thing, each to their own and who are we to criticise – look at the French and Italian politicians Perhaps Farage has more in common with European politicians than appears at first glance though I suspect that wasn’t T.Wat’s point, the swastika kind of suggests not.

London, Shoreditch, Street art, artists, politics, election 2015, UK, Nigel Farage, UKIP

T.Wat – Potty Mouth!

T.Wat has puts up the “making of” video and like K-Guy he scores bonus points for putting up a complex multi-layered stencil composition without permission.

Unify placed this paste up a couple of weeks ago with the see no evil/hear no evil/talk no evil monkeys wearing the rosettes of the three main political parties, in some repscts I feel the idea is similar to K-Guys sentiments, identikit politicians basically aren’t going to effect any kind of change, they are too absorbed in their own self interest and self preservation.

London, Shoreditch, Street art, artists, politics, election 2015, UK, Unify, Paste up

Unify: “see no evil”

Another couple who I regard as talented but infrequent street artists are Expanded Eye, their artwork is generally one off well thought through and often quite sculptural in appearance. On this occasion they have produced a body politic headed by a collage combining facial features from the main political leaders but they are willing to produce a manifesto for your convenience so long as you cross their palms. Fine if you can afford to finance the manifesto you require, so we know that means..fine for the rich. Nice work by Expanded Eye.

London, Shoreditch, Street art, artists, politics, election 2015, UK,

Expanded Eye

Sarcasm is a fine weapon in any political street artist’s arsenal and this “Feed The Rich” is probably the most targeted negative political piece of art seen so far, the tag appears to be C. B. R[ant].

London, Shoreditch, Street art, artists, politics, election 2015, UK, "Feed The Rich"

C. B. R[ant]

Not many street artists dive into specific policy issues, though one artist is using walls to highlight concerns about the Badger cull with the witty slogan “If badgers could cull 70% of politicians it may reduce ridiculous countryside policies”. A second piece of street art suggests that if badgers were bears there would be a massive lobby for their protection. Possibly not the kind of issue weighing heavily on the mind of voters in Tower Hamlets, Islington and Hackney

London, Shoreditch, Street art, artists, politics, election 2015, UK,

Cull politicians not badgers. Artist unconfirmed.

London, Shoreditch, Street art, artists, politics, election 2015, UK,

Wanted – indigenous bear. artist unconfirmed.

On the subject of “special interests”, British Election night always has its comedy moments, often provided by the sight of the nutter candidates who lose their deposits (an entry fee designed to filter out crank candidates from the British Political process but the worst cranks generally have large scale party funding) but who harass and barrack the main candidates to our general delight and entertainment. The campaign for sexual liberty is progressing down a secluded path of 50 shades of something more interesting to do that vote with their campaign posters. Stylistically there is some similarity to the work of Shepard Fairey though it is unlikely he has been tied up in this project.

London, Shoreditch, Street art, artists, politics, election 2015, UK,

Sexual Liberty

So, all in all, British Street artists have been slightly more active than in the recent elections using street walls to bypass censorship and the costs associated with major political campaigns which is the point of uncurated access to an audience!  The sentiment is partly anarchy and partly disenchantment with the current system and parties with a healthy opposition to fascism and self serving capitalism.  Go and vote.

Shoreditch,London,street art,graffiti,tour,tours,walk,walks,Jonesy,spraypaint,shutter,linoprint , sculpture, environment, environmentalism, politics

Jonesy Paints Stunning Shutter In Shoreditch

Jonesy has been one of our favourite artists for a number of years and spotting artwork by him has been a favourite game on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour. He has sprung a surprise by painting a shutter, not something we have seen before from this passionate artist and craftsman.

Jonesy is a master craftsman and awe inspiring artwork in the past has included bronze castings set into walls and atop street sign poles, linoprints and paintings in pastel and oil.  His art resonates with concerns over non renewable fuels, nuclear waste and genetically modified organisms.

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Jonesy: cast bronze plaque,

In his most recent wave of artwork over the past few weeks, we have seen a number of linoprints on heavy art paper (none of your nicked-from-work photocopier paper), carved wood panel creations and a stunning sculptural installation.

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sculpture

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Jonesy: Carved wood, paint

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drawing

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Linocut print A/P

This morning on a pleasant cycling interlude we found this totally unexpected shutter painted by Jonesy.   We have never seen anything worked directly on the surface like this before from Jonesy but its real impact is simply in its painterly beauty, nevermind what surface it is on or whether this was spray cans or emulsion and roller, this is just a beautiful work of art – with a message.

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Jonesy shutter “Missing Link Hydrogen”

By the way, the “How To Build A Universe” is a relic of a previous piece of work by Edwin. It is possible to see a link between Jonesy’s new piece and Edwin’s old headline.