If you missed ‘Art Raid’ during the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2007, I’m bring it back for one night only. But this time it’s to raise money for a young graffiti artist called Konk that has been fined €13,500 by the courts. The artist is back in High court on 20th Oct and may face jail.
Tickets are available from All City Records on Crow Street, Temple Bar. €20 will give you a chance to get your hands on some of the best work by International and Dublin street artists like Asbestos, Maser, D$, xpir, Motorboy, Turtlehead, I Love Lamp, Loki, An?, Jim Fitzpatrick, Canvaz, Will St Leger, Konk, Jor. Even celebrities like Jonthan Rhys Meyers are giving work for free.
Jo Hancock who was on Greenpeace climb team and Glastonbury crew died on Friday in a road accident.
I met Jo for the first time in Dublin in April when she arrived in Dublin to do a direct action on the Spire, on O’Connell street. She called me when she arrived and I knew straight away we get on well. On the morning of the direct action Jo was buzzing with excitement, Frank attached a weather balloon filled with Helium to her and we headed for the Spire and flew a banner up the monument. Later that day when we took everything down we saw all the TV news that we’d made. Here is Jo in action with Greenpeace
She was a great climber, a really gutsy activist and we all loved her. I’m really going to miss you Jo, thanks for being a friend and a fearless activist.
The first piece of true ‘artivism’that I did was on the landmine issue. I had been campaigning on Climate Change, Deforestation and other issues for ages, but landmines were different. In comparison to say, climate change which involves a worldwide effort of cutting our addiction to fossil fuels, land mines are man-made by a small number of weapon companies, so ban them outright! Countries like China, US and Russia have dragged to heels for decades to agree to stop manufacturing, stockpiling and planting landmines.
I wanted to do something to mark the International Landmine Awareness Day on the 4th of April each year. I picked the 1st of April as my planting day because if I got nicked by the cops I would use April Fool’s day as a pathetic excuse for placing dozens of fake bombs around a Irish city.
I bought 100 enamel plates and spray painted them army green, then me, xpir and D$ stenciled a skull & cross bones and the words ‘landmine’ onto them in white. I also put a sticker underneath that gave the finder facts about the landmine issue worldwide.
Sunday morning, 1st April we set off, planting 100 around Dublin’s parks and green spaces. I got a friend to come down and take some pictures. The first place we planted them was Merrion Square, just across the road from the Dáil (Goverment’s Building). We then spilt up and xpir and D$ planted some around Phoneix Park, including (outside the American Ambassador’s house and The President’s Mansion).
At lunchtime we met up again fro lunch and my phone rang, (it was a close friend that knew about this project) She said that Merrion Square was closed off and crawling with cops searching the grass on their hands and knees. I thought it was a April fool trick until I went down there and it looked like a crime scene with Police tape and everything.
So I asked a Garda (Irish Police officer) what was going on and it turns out, an American tourist spotted a ‘landmine’ and called the emergency services, when the cops arrived they told him that they were obviously not real and even said it was a good idea!
Artivism, was my first ever show. I had been working for Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment and had been itching to do creative work again after a two year break. I saved some money, bought canvases and spray paint and started to produce some stencils of the thoughts that were going through my head.
The first thing I noticed about Ireland after being away from 10 years was how much money there was about the place. People seemed to be obsessed with designer clothes, luxury brands and status. I wondered what heroes like Michael Collins or Padraig Pearse would think if they were to see how absorbed the Irish people had become in their new found (EU supplied) wealth.
Back in 1999, I was working for working for a design company in London. The people were nice, but the hours sucked. I always missed friend’s birthdays and nights out because I spent all day and night working at a Macintosh moving company logos around a computer screen till they looked vaguely interesting.
So I left. canceled my pension, moved out of my apartment, paid off my bills and took of to Thailand and India for a few months. Having never been outside of Europe before and seeing extreme poverty in India changed the way I saw the world. When I returned to London, I decided to give up design for a while and do something that would make the world a better place. I volunteered with environmental pressure group, Greenpeace and soon I was doing non-violent direct actions with them. I especially liked doing the stencils onto whatever nuclear power plant, oil rig or building we were targeting.
While working on the Save or Delete campaign, we were lucky to get Banksy to do a poster for the campaign. I lived in Old street so I saw Banksy’s work everywhere. It was the first street art that I’d seen that changed the way I thought about things and that’s what made the difference. I went out around London stenciling the ‘Save or Delete’ campaign slogan everywhere, I also realized how effective stencils are at getting a message into people’s heads.