With the somewhat gusty weather we’ve had recently this billboard has managed to peel itself naked. And that, of course, is quite the affront to any self-respecting urban artist. So with our woolen thinking caps pulled down firmly on to our respective heads, we came up with a quick joke on the idea of the advert not being there.
We presumed the matter to be time sensitive as we weren’t sure when the ad man would be back to shove more tasteless shots of half naked women down our gullet so quickly set to work cutting a stencil. This is probably the reason why its so small compared to the actual billboard or at least that’s the story we’re sticking to. It was definitely nothing to do with the fact it was measured ‘by eye’…
With 2012 fast becoming nothing more than a memory we thought it best to glance backward before we turn our steely gaze to 2013. So today both members of id-iom are picking our favourite five projects from 2012 to pontificate about in the hope that more people will actually get to see them and appreciate just how amusing we really are…
So, in no particular order here they are:
Stand your ground
This is just one of the many pictures that I was particularly happy with that we did at the now demolished House of Pain(t). It was fantastic to have a space to work in where we could do what we want with no constraints where there were also no financial considerations. I think it just allowed us to work as freely as we liked and that led to some great work. I think this is one of my favourites as we used a stencil we had used once before and gave it a new lease of life. ‘Stand Your Ground’ definitely looked better in the flesh as the thread attached to both the gun and the door frame gave it a three dimensional quality that just doesn’t come across as well in the photograph. Gun crime and gun control are always in the news so this one always seems topical but is now no more than a pile of bricks…
A Groovy Kind of Earworm
For this little bad lad I have to look no further than my own write up:
There was an article on the BBC website the other day which put a name to an experience which i’m sure most people have endured. They are known as earworms (amongst other names) and it is when you get a tune stuck in your head that you just can’t get rid of. Sometimes you really haven’t got a clue how it happens to be bouncing round in your brain but the more you try to suppress it the worse it gets (see this article on the difficulty of killing earworms and the man who had one for five long years).
After thinking about this for a while and realising how mildly annoying earworms can be we thought it our civic duty to respond by trying to create an earworm of our own using the medium of art. And being cheeky little tinkers we thought we’d do our best to get the hugely underrated 80’s megastar Phil Collins back into people’s consciousness by forcing his 1988 version of ‘A Groovy Kind of Love‘ into as many people’s brains as possible! We are not yet experts in the field but we’re hoping that as the hoarding is blue and we mention the word blue (which is written in blue – how cunning!) this will create some kind of cognitive resonance in viewers’ heads whereby a genetically modified supercharged earworm will be created.
Ideally the song will launch automatically and start playing in your head before you can do anything about it – and hopefully be trickier to get rid of than the auto-popup screens you sometimes get when visiting dodgy websites. It’s what advertisers attempt to do every day (but they have a more nefarious agenda) but our only regret is not knowing how well the whole project will work…
The Lady of the Lake
I really thought that ‘The Lady of the Lake’ would really get us some positive attention. Even now I’m proud of all the work I had to go through to get this done. No one will ever know that there were fake jewels stuck to the handle or that I’d made a special concrete filled bucket so the sword would stay upright. Not to mention how cold that water was and the rather strange look I got from the one man watching who was sitting on a bench quietly drinking a can of Special Brew. From my write up:
It is said that when storm clouds gather over England and dark days lay ahead then the Lady of the Lake will rise from her watery resting place bearing Excalibur – to be taken by a pure-hearted champion for the people (or perhaps it’ll just be taken by the council).
Well, with Greece on the blink, Portugal up the swanny and Italy on the ropes it would appear that the time is upon us…Good people of England take cheer for now Excalibur is here it will all be sorted post haste!
My favourite thing about ‘Cliff was visibly upset’ was the video editing. You’ll just have to watch it to see what i mean. After much debate and the consideration of far more serious titles (such as ‘Tears are the noble language of the eyes’) we finally decided that ‘Cliff was visibly upset…’ was the one to go with. As these rock faces are in a position where they are subjected to the worst the weather can offer for many months of the year we thought it a suitable title.
Lord of the Concrete Jungle
‘Lord of the Concrete Jungle’ was the result of us biting of more than we could chew but (thankfully) eventually managing to come good. We blithely agreed to do a 5.5m x 2.6m canvas to adorn an upstairs wall at the Electric Social without quite realising how large that would be and the fact that we didn’t have a space big enough to work on it in. Cue much head-scratching and some fun logistical fixes to get it all done.
Just priming the huge canvas took long enough never mind painting the background, cutting stencils and projecting. Anyway it took a while longer than expected but we finally managed to get it finished and drop it by the club with a feeling of relief. I believe they had a tricky enough time mounting it and getting it up on the wall but I think that was only to be expected with this billboard sized monster…
To tell you the honest truth i had a lot of difficulty picking my favourite stuff from 2012 and that’s not because i didn’t know what i like but because the other half of id-iom truly confused me whilst i was picking them. I thought he was going to group everything that we did at the House of pain(t) together but alas he has not so some pictures that i really liked aren’t on the list. Never mind, maybe you could take a look yourself and see which ones you like best.
To start my list though i suppose i should do it chronologically and start with my favourite piece from earlier in the year and work back, it is a round up after all, so here goes.
This piece is called ‘We are all fools for love’ and was completed at the Upfest spraypaint festival down in Bristol in around June of 2012. Apart from the fact that we had a lot of feedback from this piece, my main reason for picking it is that it was the start of a looser drawing style that i’m still trying to perfect. That said the 3D lettering adds a certain something to it as well which i really enjoy. Pretty and pink, what more can i say!!
This picture in my opinion is a bobby belter, it just pleases me and i like it even more due to the fact that it was done on a whim whilst i was trying to get ready for Sand, Sea and Spray (more on that in a bit as that involves my next choice). The picture came about because like any artist knows things can sometimes get off track. There i was in the studio trying to get stuff sorted yet the only thing i end up doing is painting a picture that no one will see apart from on the internet. In a weird way that makes me happy as i realise i’m not just painting for others or for money but to entertain myself and that means i picked the right profession.
Now this picture was painted at Sand , Sea and Spray up in Blackpool on what had to be one of the worst weekends to paint outdoors without any shelter. It was absolutely chucking it down but that didn’t stop us from getting this piece finished in between rain clouds. I won’t bore you with our tireless struggle against our implements and the weather but suffice it to say it was tough. Paint was spilled. Stencils were ripped. Words were exchanged. We had to make the best of the situation.
Now for this piece i’m just going to use what we wrote on the original posting of the image as i think it says exactly what i’m trying to say now. I have to say though that although this piece is really quite simple, i think it has an elegance which i really appreciate.
Did you know that a group of tigers is known as a ‘streak’ or ‘ambush’. Which is probably a fitting name for them because by the time you’ve noticed them I reckon they’ve either streaked past or ambushed you. They are the largest of the big cats, the third largest land carnivore (after the polar bear and brown bear) and are surely the epitome of danger and grace. I’m no expert but i’m pretty sure William Blake was thinking similar thoughts when he put pen to paper with his poem, The Tyger:
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Now didn’t William Blake just nail it with that? i think so.
I’ve added this piece because this is a continuation of where the sketchier, looser style that we showed in the Upfest piece has taken us, I love the found wooden board too. Now i just have to make sure that all those hours sketching over the last year don’t go to waste, so expect to see some more stuff in this vein i think.
And i suppose i couldn’t round off 2012 without mentioning this bad boy which took us ages to make in a very cold basement early last year. As we’d never done anything like this before it was definitely a labour of love but i have to say i think its pretty special.
‘I can remember when all this was fields’ sounds pretty much like something you would expect your grandad to say as you drive past the newest and most monstrous of shopping centres doesn’t it? With the seemingly endless stream of development around London town and the proliferation of advertising messages on just about every conceivable surface which are forced into our brain (without our permission) on a daily basis it’s sometimes nice to strike back with a simple message to bring a bit of levity to an otherwise tedious day.
To think there was a time (not that long ago) when there was a little more greenery about and that every single scrap of land wasn’t pounced on for yet another massive advertising hoarding (or completely uninspired housing development.) But then again, perhaps i’m just being a little sentimental.
Anyway, after doing a little reading into billboards I came across this interesting thread on a Brixton forum about illegal billboards. It seems that billboards are sometimes set up without planning permission whilst the companies doing it know they can make more than enough in advertising revenue to remove the boards or pay the fine when the council finally get round to identifying the culprit and doing something about it. Now, whilst the billboard we went on is probably entirely legal it was covered in blue paper which is definitely fair game in my eyes. And i’m sure i’ve suffered enough at their hands over time to make this the mildest form of payback.
Title: I can remember when all this was fields
Media: Stencil and spraypaint
Size: Approx. 1.5m x 1m on billboard