Public spaces are now vastly dominated by commercial interests. These relatively small campaigns of positive proverbs are my attempt to carve a space amongst the thousands of media spun and advertising messages.
One hundred copies of each message are posted for a two week period often accompanied by a thousand stickers, postcards and mini print's distributed through 'flyer-packs' found in record stores, bars and shops.
Adding image and canvas can change the context of common words and phrases. Here I play with layout and typesetting to draw out and emphasis new messages.
I was challenged to produce a piece of work on the controversial quote by Christian icon Jesus the Christ. It’s a great image of counter-culture, which probably stands in all my works. The present order of things says to retaliate; don’t get me wrong, I love a good revenge film, but I couldn’t live like that in reality. I love this quote by the late US humourist Josh Billings, ‘There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.’ It echoes the idea that you stifle the power of the curse by being kind whilst challenging any bitterness.
For me the copy is core. While much of my work is graphic illustration to be appreciated at reaching distance, the medium here, the size and location of the posters, taught me to consider distance and scale with regards to how information can receive the most impact from across the street. I can’t say I know where the amalgamation of text and image came from, just one of those light bulb moments.
Spot the difference
Urbis Gallery ran a typographic ad campaign to promote the ‘Best of Manchester Awards’ for the best art, music and fashion. I wanted to engage with Urbis and steal their audience. So, I designed an anonymous spoof poster and had 100 fly-posted. At first glance it was so similar it passed off as authentic.
The gallery announced the work as, “in the spirit of the competition” and within days they initiated a search for, “Manchester’s Banksy” increasing exposure monumentally. They used a number of award winning bloggers, social media and an article in 75,000 copies of the MEN, all with a ‘spot the difference’ photo.
The artwork was subsequently exhibited as part of the awards ceremony. My campaign grew with correlating designs covertly flyered on the opening night. It was also the catalyst which initiated an approach from another organisation, securing £11,000 for similar public interventions.