The 15th was an early morning. I even prepped the night before by wearing the clothes I’d be wearing on the 15th so I’d have enough time to drink more dry machine espresso from the Holiday Inn Express brown fluid maker of shame.
While on the bus we told a batch of last laughs, engaged inside jokes, and took a few last photographs of what was outside of our bus window. As we neared the air port there he was again, Banksy. “The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock”. Yet another bit for him to make me revaluate the system (though I’m perfectly good at doing this on my own as well). I reflected on how I was in high school. I was that loner girl who was obsessed with politics and savings animals (still am). I’d write any congressman/woman I could about any possible right because I could and there was no reason why I shouldn’t (still do). My favorite publication was AdBusters and my bible was Culture Jam. All publications told about how the advertising world aids in the corruption of the American mind and how telling people they don’t need useless shit is part of the monster that keeps the cog moving.
Then I was relieved because I remembered why I am in the advertising world. I’m here because I don’t like it. I don’t enjoy how it portrays woman, how it tries to wrap itself around the mind of the uneducated populous, how it enforces obesity, makes woman feel worthless, tells men they need to keep erections longer, that little girls should play with this doll while little boys play with that car, that connivence trumps hard work, and simply continue to feed product after product and so on. It reminded me that I am trying to do the same thing but with a different mission. I am here to help implant the messages that matter. To tell the families with 2 cars that you only need one with proper carpool planning, that a bicycle is a beautiful device for 1-3 mile trips, that sustainable design is appropriate for keeping your pocket and environment safe, that spending that extra dollar really means better quality and longer use, that “Don’t Mess With Texas” is a phrase that should be applied to the entire world - don’t just pick up litter in Texas! pick it up everywhere!, that treating animals in a humane way doesn’t just make for a happier animal but a healthier meal for you, that GMO food is hurting your family instead of producing more, and that overall less is more and for goodness sake! that simple is beautiful.
That was quite a rant but you know - this trip helped me a lot. It helped to remind me that I have a greater good in mind with getting a degree in advertising. After seeing the ugly and beautiful across the planet it seems that there is a constant distress and I have made it my goal to assist in creating a more comfortable environment for individuals and the planet itself. I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet but I know I am.
I’ll start off by riding my bicycle.
One can’t travel the UK without going to at least one market, right? To be frank, I didn’t expect to find any street art because I was told that the market we were to attend was a little on the “fancy” side. While walking around a corner I saw an image of faded black wave to me. I ran over because I could sense its’ welcoming smile of vandal intentions. Another Banksy to say hello.
What was interesting about this piece is that it really was located in a more upscale area surrounded by restaurants and stores. I realized that the local government probably kept this piece on purpose and that raised an interesting question to me….why? Had Banksy really become that commercialized? Had the local government really come to value his street art? Had he upped the property value of this area? His art is now a spectacle. Then, I felt a strange sense. I had made it a personal goal of mine to find his work because he was so internationally known for breaking the law. Seeing him as a celebrity was something I had never realized before. I almost felt ashamed. Exit Through The Gift Show doesn’t seem so far from the truth and here I am buying into it.
The greeting granted by the downstairs area of Poke and Mother Advertising Agencies. I have to say I agree with them.
Shoreditch Part 2
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After a wonderful 4 hours worth of very informative visits with the agencies Mother and Poke, we were free to set about London. Obviously, I took this as an opportunity to explore the outside of shops and around Shoreditch a little more to see if I could find any rarities. I have to admit it…one of my main goals was to find a Banksy and you know what…I did!
As for the images including the cat and the 2 “individuals” with square heads; I found myself wanting this environment for Richmond Virginia. Happily with all of the mural projects Richmond is starting to liven itself up a bit but really, this area was very inspiring for legal street work.
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Shoreditch was certainly an unexpected treat. As soon as we walked off of the train we were instantly blasted with color. Seeing as Shoreditch happened to be the main location of the ad agencies, it didn’t seem like much of a surprise that all of this art was around.
A classmate and myself were given ten minutes to walk around the block which was quite a tease. The above is what I was able to document before the agency tours and before lunch.
While the skatepark had a lot to offer, SoHo did not. I did manage to come across this space invader so I feel that redeemed the lack of art.
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June 9th was a free day for us to go out and explore. I didn’t really set any goals or expectations for the trip - if anything my goal was to explore spontaneously and let the wonder find me. After breakfast, fellow traveler Tyler mentioned that he was going to one of the radest skateparks around London. After watching him observe the park on the internet I realized I had to go because of the awesome art! (He helped convince me as well) I was all for this idea because this also meant that I could get an authentic taste for some “alternative” culture in London.
As we approached Southbank we were greeted with a mural by Roa. I was able to recognize his work due to the murals that he did in RVA. We walked a few feet around where this mural was and BOOM! we encountered tons of people, kids on bikes, kids on boards, hip hop DJs, and volunteers with clipboards. We walked into an event that we had no idea was going on. We learned that Southbank was actually under the threat of being taken away. The story was that they wanted to get rid of the skatepark and replace it with a Starbucks (common, right?) We were welcomed with open arms and able to explore the area just as if we owned it like everyone else. Tyler got to skate around freely for almost 2 hours and I got to observe the art at my own leisure (without getting too in the way of course).
Also note the large portraits. These images are part of the Inside Out Project. Check this out for more information.
I hope Southbank stays alive.
VINE video I made of Southbank Skate Park in London.
Traveling buddy Tyler invited me on his skating journey because he knew of my graffiti project and the internet told him that this park was blasted with art. He’s the 4th skater in this video. Thanks for sharing the wealth Tyler!
We took a visit to Oxford on the 8th to take a look at Christ College. During this trip my iPod died. This certainly isn’t the end of the world but with a bus full of sleeping buddies, I found myself stuck with using my imagination with what was out of the bus window. Happily while longing for distraction outside of the blue Twinkie, the rail car above sent me a smile.
(click image to see the following, or else the paragraph below is going to seem a little weird)
The grounds of Oxford itself didn’t have much art to offer and I was thankful that the population was generous enough to keep the history beautiful. While leaving to get back on the bus we passed this Ice Rink which appeared as if it had seen better days. Skate on.
June 6th was a traveling day. The crew stopped at KilKenny Castle to see some sites. While venturing back to the bus to hop towards our next adventure, I decided to try to find a short cut through a ditch. Without expecting to see any paint in this gorgeous historical town, I found this seemingly juvenile batch.
As for the short cut - that didn’t exist.