From the streets to your space…
Anthony Burrill & Dr.D
ANTHONY BURHILL, You & Me & Us & We (2023)
A fresh rendition of Burrill’s ‘You & Me & Us & We’ (2023) artwork is a clarion call for more inclusive, community spirited social relations. As a street poster the work affords both consolation and inspiration. Whichever way passers-by cast their eyes across Burrill’s assemblage of bold pronouns and ampersands, the effect is a refreshing break from being cynically, garishly ‘implored’ or ‘shouted at’ by commercial adverts. In the face of personal and societal, local and worldly pressures, we all have moments when we say, ‘What is it I do? Is it worthwhile?’ Burrill’s answer, “I think you’ve just got to be brave and put work out there that you believe in. […] We’re all a work in progress, get conversations going, talk to as many people as possible, build relationships, bring people along with you.”
Dr.D, State (2023)
Dr.D has produced a typically adroit if harrowing new poster version of ‘State’ (2023). It points to the absurd, scandalous lack of affordable housing in this country. It’s a conviction he expressed earlier this year with a brilliant installation at Glastonbury but bears endless repetition. An ONS survey suggests that since records began the cost of private renting has seen the largest hike ever in the 12 months leading up to June 2023. It is predicted to rise even further in the near term. Social housing isn’t fairing much better with the main housing associations across the UK increasing rents by the maximum amounts allowed. And service charges aren’t covered by the same suggested 7% limit. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say housing policy in the UK is one big catastrophic, arguably criminal, fail.
A powerhouse of wit, invention and perceptive psycho-social observations, all proffered in such a way that at first sight the viewer might not realise they’ve been fed an unsavoury or unpalatable truth that, more often than not, gets swept under the carpet.
His metier is the magical, mutable, world of words. Often enigmatic, striking and saturated in colour the artist’s text-based works sow intrigue, absurdity and playfulness. For this flyingleaps outing, message and mode of address is simples: ‘check your privilege!’
Visual journalist extraordinaire, known for stingingly sharp satirical imagery that speaks truth to mealy mouthed power, calling out political cant and egregious social fails. His work can strip an issue to its drollest, barest expression. Literally sometimes.
Bold, brave, mischief making, an artist who works across many media – guerrilla intervention, paint, print, collage, performance, even TV – often with a tongue in cheek humour but always a critical social conscience examining social and personal mores.
Well over two decades of doctoring billboards and otherwise imaginatively intervening on the streets to call out media bias, social iniquity, political doublespeak, worker exploitation but as well as being achingly on point there’s a deal of fun too.
A human geographer before focussing on photography, Roberts both chronicles and affords an extensive, acutely detailed portrayal of our stratified society in terms of wealth, class, politics, pastimes and the display and perpetuation of entitlement.
MEANWHILE DONT FRET
DONT FRET’s flyingleaps collaboration posters are typically droll: In Hiding (2022) we see a face, well, a pair of eyes and nose peeping over a murky green wall. The text reads, ‘WHAT ARE YOU HIDING FROM? I AM HIDING FROM MYSELF.’ In Fly (2022) a black, smudgy airborne critter is bobbling towards its inevitable extermination accompanied by the forlorn caption, ‘I KNOW IT WILL KILL ME BUT I CAN’T RESIST IT…’. Most of us have been there! The Answers (2022) deftly critiques the baleful state of ‘me first’ thinking, a chronic inability to see beyond a partisan politics and self-interest.
And across the pond – in a collaboration with wheat paste champions UNCLE – we were chuffed to see DONT FRET’s Smiley (2022) appear in the Big Apple. The ubiquitous yellow face, the black smiley eyes and swooping grin is a pictorial trope that might at a glance be said to seed New York streets with joy. Then we’re bought back to reality reading the quavering hand painted text: WHAT IS HE SO GODDAMN HAPPY ABOUT?? This mega paste-up appeared just as the U.S. mid-term election results came in: Trumpty Dumpty was hobbled but as DONT FRET’s poster makes plain there’s still not a great deal to smile about.
So, whether you’re in cities across the UK or stateside in the Big Apple keep an eye out for DONT FRET’s socially engaged, distinctive, ironic and witty works appearing on a wall near you. All four 30X20 inch poster prints by DONT FRET are available from our website.
NEW MAGDA ARCHER POSTCARD BOX SET
Since 2017 when we pasted up Archer’s first flyingleaps street poster – POST BREXIT U.K. It’s Kinda Like Heaven! – her wry wit together with a rich, kitsch and painterly indignation have lined our streets with no less than eight much admired works. And now she’s done another. It’s a beauty. This Isn’t How I Thought It Would Be (2022) features a glowing bright red wobbly jelly on a pretty plate: so far, so good. But the classic Victorian afters sits amid a battleship grey ground that swirls nebulously around the toothsome dessert. The quavering text accentuates a profound feeling of existential angst. It’s been years since her first poster – a lot has happened, not much of it great– but the small print thereon still pertains re. the ‘Heavenly’ state of the post Brexit U.K. ‘Not really of course, it’s actually gonna be what they used to call a bleedin’ mess.’
Magda Archer Postcard Box set
Our third flyinleaps postcard box set consists of nine of Magda Archder’s vibrantly acerbic poster images, plus a 10th card showing Archer’s flyingleaps collaboration posters on the streets.
All posters are 30×20 inches.
All posters printed in 2021 are limited editions of 100 – prior to that they are editions of 300. All are 30×20 inch.
(apart from More That Unites Us (2017) and Agitate In Memoriam (2018) which were limited to a run of 100)
Dr.D aka Subvertiser
While the debate goes on as to whether flyposted and other oppositional art or visual activism has any direct effect in bringing about sociopolitical change, what it can do at its best is feed into the publics’ disposition.
Through strong imagery, cogent or quizzical text, humour, relatively speedy production and distribution, via its capacity to occupy anomalous spaces in the urban environment and through an imaginative, enacted engagement with matters of concern it can generate social media interest and help inform, even propel, opinion.
Dr. D’s targets include surveillance culture; the social effects of neoliberalism; commodification; mealy-mouthed and uncaring politicians; abuses of power in the media… Much more than bald sloganeering Dr. D’s imagery and text pieces often emerge, on reflection, as enigmatic meditations on twenty-first century existential angst.
Transgressing boundaries can reveal hidden rules. One could cite the precedents of the carnivalesque ‘telling truth to power’, vaudevillian comedy, Dada gestures in art but all of these, in a – it’s only a bunch of pucks/entertainers/artists – sense, operated in ‘sanctioned’ arenas. Dr. D’s contributions to the urban environment are rarely sanctioned and it’s this that contributes significantly to their traction and incisiveness.
The urban spectacle would have us believe that its over-riding character is, yes aspirational, but emphatically neutral and apolitical: that generally we’re going to be just fine if we carry on pretty much as we are. Dr. D’s pithy interventions, highlighting so many germane issues and employing such a variety of modes of address, repeatedly suggest otherwise.