This morning I dragged myself up to Uni and on the way I stumbled across this little gem just before the ‘piss-steps’ on Frogmore street, Bristol.
Shameful as it is, I haven’t left the flat in a few days so I couldn’t tell you how recent this piece is, but there was scaffolding up on this building when I went to work on Thursday and now there isn’t, so all evidence suggests that it was put up some time over the weekend.
As Bristol is full of talented graffiti artists, I’d kind of shyly say this is a Banksy. It certainly matches his trademark style. The stencilling and shading is similar to those high-profile pieces like the kissing policemen and keep your coins.
I based my English Language A-level coursework on this guy and my favourite thing is decoding or reading a satirical message into the images. It’s a liberty everyone seems to like to take with his work, and I’d like to think, rather than getting annoyed at people for doing so, he actually encourages such an activity.
With this piece, the purpose isn’t that clear, maybe he’ll come back an add to it but, if only to delay writing this essay, I’m going to play the association game and apply a theory to the meaning in the two children:
Firstly, one child, of an indiscriminate gender, looks like they’re carrying a box, the shape and stings recall similar images of those which used to house the precautionary gas masks of wars past. The children are bundled up in coats and wooly hats – the childish counterpart to macintoshes and fedoras (historically stereotypical outfits of reporters and shady figures). Their hats have opposing stripes which suggests that they are closely connected in some way. Obviously they could be related, but for reasons which will soon become clear, I would suggest that they are either of the same party or from two different but closely connected groups.
They are leaning into each other, one has their hands on the other’s breast and it looks like they would be conversing in low tones. There is a sort of secretive, colluding air to the scene which is further emphasised through the second child’s frowning pout and the presence of money. The pout is a face well-known to parents, or older sibling who have witnessed it themselves, that young children resort to when they want something or haven’t got their own way.
It almost looks as if this is a bargaining, or exchange, scene as one child has money in their pocket while the other is quite clearly grasping it in their hand. The Queen’s head is visible in both instances and, in a way, it looks like she has just been used to pay off the opposite party. Finally, “Money in the hands of children” is a phrase I have heard (correct me if I’m wrong) applied to politicians or anyone of power who makes shortsighted or rash investments.
So while I have taken a certain ‘artistic’ liberty in order to put together this interpretation, can you think of any recent UK news that perhaps involves politicians colluding in order to get a risky project approved (*cough* HS2 *cough*)? Alternatively, you might remember that there is an ongoing trail involving high-profile journalists and their associates – perhaps it has something to do with this instead? Or maybe, this piece is completely unrelated to current affairs, perhaps, as the money is carelessly on display, it is a politically charged statement about the youth of today having access to too much cash-dollar and not appreciating the true value of it.
I don’t have the right to tell you which idea is true or false. I am definitely reading too much into it as it is, but have a think … it provided me with half an hour’s worth of procrastination, perhaps it will do for you too.
Ray Charles, Mess Around
– Happy procrastinating everybody