Tag Archives: graffiti

D*Face vs. the Chapman Brothers

What happens when a street artist gets ripped off by the Britart establishment?

dface vs the chapmans.jpgEast London artists D*Face and the Chapman Brothers are having a scrap over whose idea it was to graffiti over banknotes. In brief: Jake and Dinos Chapman made a big show of defacing £10 and £20 notes at the Frieze Art Fair this year and D*Face — who has been doing this for years — cried foul, telling The Independent:

I did a project in 2003 where I got £20 notes and defaced them before putting them back in the system. There were 20 variations of hand drawings and printing techniques in which the monarchy is satirised, with images of the Queen being hung, having her head chopped off. Last April, I marked her 80th birthday by showing her dead, with a skull and crossbones… It seems that inspiration for the Chapman Brothers’ latest work pays more than a striking resemblance to mine. But it’s just not as good and two years later. These are mainstream artists stealing from sub-cultural artists.

The Chapman Brothers have fought back, with Jake saying “Drawing on money is as original as graffiti and that is as old as the Caves of Lascaux. It’s not a great revelation to draw on money. It’s not original. What’s interesting is that because it’s unoriginal, it’s authorless. No one can claim ownership of it. It’s strange for someone to claim authorship of graffiti which is by its very nature an avoidance of the notion of authorship,” he said. He added the Frieze work could not have been inspired by D*Face’s work, because neither had ever seen any of it.

Now, subverting money is nothing new — hell, we used to get invites to the Sensateria club that were defaced dollars — but D*Face does seem to have a point. And, more importantly, he’s not getting to invoice for his work and the Chapmans are. So we asked him for a follow up quote on this story:

The point I was making when I saw the Chapman brothers ‘defaced notes’ was nothing to do with Graffiti, for them to pull a comment like that was laughable, just look at their background and mine. Nobody owns or should own graffiti, it’s power to the people, the the every man and woman’s freedom of expression, void of any need for an artistic background or gallery curator, so for 2 artists that have NEVER dabbled or even tried to do graffiti and have been carefully curated into existence they should be the last people to make a graffiti led argument.

When I saw the dead Queen note that they’d used for their press release and fed to their PR agency it it was simply a case of letting the pictures do the talking. There’s not a person out there that cannot look at the two notes and say that their note was not ‘inspired’ by mine. The fact there was a huge paste up at the bottom of their street that I put there over 2 years ago (and still remains today), makes the point of where they got their inspiration from very very clear. This is just another case of the establishment or the established stealing from the subcultures. It just so happened I know the art editor of the Independent and when she saw their note, she called me up as annoyed as I was to see this.

To claim they never heard of me is funny, my assistant works weekends in a trainer shop the Chapmans regularly go in, which is also near my studio, a few months back he had to walk with Jake Chapman to drop some shit they’d brought off to their apartment, as they walked along he mentioned he worked for me and pointed out the Dead Queen poster as reference to my works… but somehow they forgot this and who I am… convenient?

At the end of the day the simplest way to end this debate of authorship is to let the pictures do the talking, after all a picture speaks a thousand words.

We’re on the side of the angels with dirty wings…

With thanks to King Adz.

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Guernica, E2

Pure Evil and friends hit Broadway Market.

1312482617_74c957d78d.jpgPure Evil Guerinca

More Broadway Market graffiti on Flickr.

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Before it goes, Anarkitty on Englefield Road, Dalston.


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Logo Puts the ‘Limp’ in Olympics

Olympic identity appears to fall at the first hurdle. But, is it all just a clever marketing stunt?

London Olympics logo So that’s what £400k spent on Wolff Olins’s endless meetings and stale Pret sarnies bought us. Good to see that some of the money ‘freed-up’ by the arts funding cuts we mentioned earlier has been spent so wisely.

But, enough enough already with the sarcasm. More constructive critics might argue that the desire for “reaching out and engaging young people” (presumably that’s a reference to the ‘funky’ shapes and colours, a la Thompson Twins 7-inch sleeves circa 1982) could have been more usefully satisfied by — for example — actually reaching out and engaging with them. London has a unique street-art culture, and that 400k could surely have funded some ongoing recognition of and support for the nascent design talent on the streets of East London — which might have generated some real interest in the design aspects of the Olympics amongst young people. And just maybe, a better logo. A sadly missed opportunity.

(BST’s editor points out that it does look just a teeny bit new rave. Maybe. If you squint. Hard. After downing a litre of ‘vodka’ at a mid-week Dalston lock-in.)

Anyways. You know you’re experiencing a post-‘that kidney show hoax‘ sign-o-the-times moment when the BBC News blog speculates that the whole thing might be a set-up to get publicity, after which the plan is to replace the controversial identity with one ‘made by the people for the people’.

We believe they really do think that their design rocks. The suspicious absence of ‘approved’ comments on the official london2012 blog posting also suggests that they don’t want anyone cluttering up their special happy place with naysaying negativity. Maybe they need ‘blogging’ explained to them, as well as ‘design’.

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Freedom Through Shopping

Dalston says No.

Many Dalston residents are less than happy about plans for regeneration (or gentrification, depending on your politics and focus) of the Dalston Junction area. Regardless of local opposition, development seems to be powering ahead.

For the past couple of months, the banners and signs of the protesters have been fighting a propaganda war with official posters portraying the brave new world planned by London Transport, Mayors Pipe and Livingston, and a consortium of developers.

The battle for hearts and minds escalated over the Easter break: the blandly cut-and-paste architectural renderings of the happy happy ‘Dalston to be’ riveted to the hoardings at the 38 bus stop on Dalston Lane have accumulated some creative amends at the hands of anti-development activists.


Note the sinister concentration-camp motto over the razor wire penning in the citizens of the gated community: SHOPPING MACHT FREI.

We’ve uploaded more high resolution images on Flickr. As in Hogarth, there is much detail worthy of attention: ASBO-branded shopping bags, anyone?


If you want to visit, go soon before the Powers That Be erase all sign of it. Map here. The site is just across the road from the Dalston Peace Mural — a 1985 celebration of Hackney’s collective anti-nuclear action during the Cold War.

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Announcing Truth2

The latest issue of 100proof’s culture mag is online now.

Featuring 120 pages of the freshest urban talent from: Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, i-jusi, Sputn*kk, A1one Writer from Iran, Helen Lyon, mattblack, ASK! ELLiS, Szutka Fabryka, Blend, Paul Hartnett and shit-loads more… plus a FREE DVD offer featuring all video content from Issues 1 & 2 plus exclusive episode of the legendary ‘100proofMIXTAPE’…

What more could you want? With thanks to King Adz.

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The latest issue.

truth.jpgFriends of BST, 100proof, have just sent us the latest version of their nifty online mag. They say:

100proofTRUTH is a PDF journal, a magazine, a DVD, a website, a TV show that has grown organically out of 100proof’s work in film/tv/video, journalism, art direction, and digital/media/design.


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Blek Le Rat

“Every time I think I’ve painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well. Only twenty years earlier ….”
- Banksy

landingbleriot.jpg‘Original stencil pioneer’ Blek Le Rat has come to collect his dues. A documentary about the French street artist and his work is currently touring and includes a slide show of his work from 1981 to 2005. It would seem that Banksy‘s a mere toddler compared to this street art veteran — hence his quote on the front of the DVD.

The DVD is available to buy on 100 Proof’s site and snippets of the footage are, of course, on YouTube. Any requests for interviews/usage should be directed at the director, Kingadz@gmail.com.

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Banksy for Bono

Another nice stencil spotted in our neighbourhood.

MaidThis is nicely positioned on the side of the White Cube gallery and directly in front of our favourite posh eatery, Cru. It’s one of a pair commissioned from Banksy by Bono for his editorship of The Independent but we like it anyway.

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Poster Hack

Docteur Gecko modifies poster advertising in ways that only become apparent at night.

doctor fear.jpgThree years ago, Docteur Gecko found a new way for ‘hacking’ advertising that you find in bus shelters and his modifications can only be seen during the night when the signs become illuminated. Dark. pictures.jpg

Via Wooster with thanks to King Adz for the tip.

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