The original Joe 90 is a 1960’s British kids TV series that followed the adventures of a nine year old boy, Joe McClaine, who led a double life as a schoolchild/superspy. In my gritty 2016 reboot he’s a dyslexic 24 year old fast food employee from East London, Joe McClaine who leads a double life as anonymous grime rapper/crime fighter MC Joe 90. To set it apart from anything else out there it would be broadcast flipped 90 degrees to the left in a 16:9 format just to really hammer home the 90 mentioned in the title and give it more interest to the aging man-child audience at which it is aimed who would nod sagely with their bearded heads canted onto their shoulders at Joe’s savage lyrics as he defeats yet another Shoreditch evildoer .
If you’ve got the inclination then I’ve got the crime
‘I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks, Let’s make lots of money’. So sang the Pet Shop Boys in their seminal 1986 track ‘Opportunities’. They also went on to inform us that if we’ve got the inclination then they’ve got the crime (you can check youtube if you don’t belive me):
Anyway, there we were driving around the Isle of Man with our older brother and some of his kids when this song came on the stereo. Somehow the line resonated in my tiny brain and the next thing you know a plan had formed. I just needed to get home to execute it before the idea faded. I had the beginnings of the idea down on paper when we got stuck trying to figure out what font to use. Luckily that was when my mum walks in with an armful of wrapping paper and lightning struck once again and it was decided we’d use her spidery handwriting as the basis for the piece. A swift scrawl and an extra couple of moves later with a red crayon and some silver leaf and we were on the home straight. And that’s how easy it can be. Sometimes.
You may have already seen something very similar to this image and that’s because we used it as the basis for a large scale wall piece we did on Sclater Street in the East End a few weeks ago. This piece was actually painted first and the wall was based on it rather than the other way round.
The Letter Box Bandit comes from a newspaper article I read, about someone who was going around stealing post out of peoples letter boxes. You have to wonder why you would bother doing such a thing because most of the letters I receive are bills or adverts. It just seems a complete waste of time. Supposedly this thief was quite determined though and carried his campaign of thievery on for years. Maybe he had a list of all the local birthdays…
Although there wasn’t a picture accompanying the article I was wondering what kind of person would be a letter box bandit and I came to the conclusion he would look like some sort of odd school teacher who has nothing better to do with his time after he’s been let out of school at 3 in the afternoon. He’s got a few hours before his wife or friends finish their work and he doesn’t want to spend it in the pub as he’ll just be drunk before anyone gets home, so he decides to embark on a criminal crime wave and become the letter box bandit…
Title: The Letter Box Bandit
Materials: Acrylic, spray paint, paint pen and charcoal
Please email if interested
With 2012 fast becoming nothing more than a memory we thought it best to glance backward before we turn our steely gaze to 2013. So today both members of id-iom are picking our favourite five projects from 2012 to pontificate about in the hope that more people will actually get to see them and appreciate just how amusing we really are…
So, in no particular order here they are:
Stand your ground
This is just one of the many pictures that I was particularly happy with that we did at the now demolished House of Pain(t). It was fantastic to have a space to work in where we could do what we want with no constraints where there were also no financial considerations. I think it just allowed us to work as freely as we liked and that led to some great work. I think this is one of my favourites as we used a stencil we had used once before and gave it a new lease of life. ‘Stand Your Ground’ definitely looked better in the flesh as the thread attached to both the gun and the door frame gave it a three dimensional quality that just doesn’t come across as well in the photograph. Gun crime and gun control are always in the news so this one always seems topical but is now no more than a pile of bricks…
A Groovy Kind of Earworm
For this little bad lad I have to look no further than my own write up:
There was an article on the BBC website the other day which put a name to an experience which i’m sure most people have endured. They are known as earworms (amongst other names) and it is when you get a tune stuck in your head that you just can’t get rid of. Sometimes you really haven’t got a clue how it happens to be bouncing round in your brain but the more you try to suppress it the worse it gets (see this article on the difficulty of killing earworms and the man who had one for five long years).
After thinking about this for a while and realising how mildly annoying earworms can be we thought it our civic duty to respond by trying to create an earworm of our own using the medium of art. And being cheeky little tinkers we thought we’d do our best to get the hugely underrated 80’s megastar Phil Collins back into people’s consciousness by forcing his 1988 version of ‘A Groovy Kind of Love‘ into as many people’s brains as possible! We are not yet experts in the field but we’re hoping that as the hoarding is blue and we mention the word blue (which is written in blue – how cunning!) this will create some kind of cognitive resonance in viewers’ heads whereby a genetically modified supercharged earworm will be created.
Ideally the song will launch automatically and start playing in your head before you can do anything about it – and hopefully be trickier to get rid of than the auto-popup screens you sometimes get when visiting dodgy websites. It’s what advertisers attempt to do every day (but they have a more nefarious agenda) but our only regret is not knowing how well the whole project will work…
The Lady of the Lake
I really thought that ‘The Lady of the Lake’ would really get us some positive attention. Even now I’m proud of all the work I had to go through to get this done. No one will ever know that there were fake jewels stuck to the handle or that I’d made a special concrete filled bucket so the sword would stay upright. Not to mention how cold that water was and the rather strange look I got from the one man watching who was sitting on a bench quietly drinking a can of Special Brew. From my write up:
It is said that when storm clouds gather over England and dark days lay ahead then the Lady of the Lake will rise from her watery resting place bearing Excalibur – to be taken by a pure-hearted champion for the people (or perhaps it’ll just be taken by the council).
Well, with Greece on the blink, Portugal up the swanny and Italy on the ropes it would appear that the time is upon us…Good people of England take cheer for now Excalibur is here it will all be sorted post haste!
My favourite thing about ‘Cliff was visibly upset’ was the video editing. You’ll just have to watch it to see what i mean. After much debate and the consideration of far more serious titles (such as ‘Tears are the noble language of the eyes’) we finally decided that ‘Cliff was visibly upset…’ was the one to go with. As these rock faces are in a position where they are subjected to the worst the weather can offer for many months of the year we thought it a suitable title.
Lord of the Concrete Jungle
‘Lord of the Concrete Jungle’ was the result of us biting of more than we could chew but (thankfully) eventually managing to come good. We blithely agreed to do a 5.5m x 2.6m canvas to adorn an upstairs wall at the Electric Social without quite realising how large that would be and the fact that we didn’t have a space big enough to work on it in. Cue much head-scratching and some fun logistical fixes to get it all done.
Just priming the huge canvas took long enough never mind painting the background, cutting stencils and projecting. Anyway it took a while longer than expected but we finally managed to get it finished and drop it by the club with a feeling of relief. I believe they had a tricky enough time mounting it and getting it up on the wall but I think that was only to be expected with this billboard sized monster…
To tell you the honest truth i had a lot of difficulty picking my favourite stuff from 2012 and that’s not because i didn’t know what i like but because the other half of id-iom truly confused me whilst i was picking them. I thought he was going to group everything that we did at the House of pain(t) together but alas he has not so some pictures that i really liked aren’t on the list. Never mind, maybe you could take a look yourself and see which ones you like best.
To start my list though i suppose i should do it chronologically and start with my favourite piece from earlier in the year and work back, it is a round up after all, so here goes.
This piece is called ‘We are all fools for love’ and was completed at the Upfest spraypaint festival down in Bristol in around June of 2012. Apart from the fact that we had a lot of feedback from this piece, my main reason for picking it is that it was the start of a looser drawing style that i’m still trying to perfect. That said the 3D lettering adds a certain something to it as well which i really enjoy. Pretty and pink, what more can i say!!
This picture in my opinion is a bobby belter, it just pleases me and i like it even more due to the fact that it was done on a whim whilst i was trying to get ready for Sand, Sea and Spray (more on that in a bit as that involves my next choice). The picture came about because like any artist knows things can sometimes get off track. There i was in the studio trying to get stuff sorted yet the only thing i end up doing is painting a picture that no one will see apart from on the internet. In a weird way that makes me happy as i realise i’m not just painting for others or for money but to entertain myself and that means i picked the right profession.
Now this picture was painted at Sand , Sea and Spray up in Blackpool on what had to be one of the worst weekends to paint outdoors without any shelter. It was absolutely chucking it down but that didn’t stop us from getting this piece finished in between rain clouds. I won’t bore you with our tireless struggle against our implements and the weather but suffice it to say it was tough. Paint was spilled. Stencils were ripped. Words were exchanged. We had to make the best of the situation.
Now for this piece i’m just going to use what we wrote on the original posting of the image as i think it says exactly what i’m trying to say now. I have to say though that although this piece is really quite simple, i think it has an elegance which i really appreciate.
Did you know that a group of tigers is known as a ‘streak’ or ‘ambush’. Which is probably a fitting name for them because by the time you’ve noticed them I reckon they’ve either streaked past or ambushed you. They are the largest of the big cats, the third largest land carnivore (after the polar bear and brown bear) and are surely the epitome of danger and grace. I’m no expert but i’m pretty sure William Blake was thinking similar thoughts when he put pen to paper with his poem, The Tyger:
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Now didn’t William Blake just nail it with that? i think so.
I’ve added this piece because this is a continuation of where the sketchier, looser style that we showed in the Upfest piece has taken us, I love the found wooden board too. Now i just have to make sure that all those hours sketching over the last year don’t go to waste, so expect to see some more stuff in this vein i think.
And i suppose i couldn’t round off 2012 without mentioning this bad boy which took us ages to make in a very cold basement early last year. As we’d never done anything like this before it was definitely a labour of love but i have to say i think its pretty special.
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