Dismaland

It’s been a few weeks since I posted here on Picturing England. I’ve had a lot going on, and then my hard disk died. Excuses excuses. Anyway, I’m back with a big post this week – Dismaland!

Dismaland

In case you’ve been living in a cave and have no idea what I’m talking about, Dismaland, the ‘Bemusement Park’, is street artist Banksy’s latest brainchild. Using the site of the Tropicana, a derelict lido in Weston-super-Mare, Banksy has created and curated a “family theme park unsuitable for children” (there were children there, but I don’t think anyone under about 10 should have been allowed in!). This is Disneyland gone wrong, very, very wrong. With a fairytale castle as its centre piece (by Block9), dismal staff who are rude and don’t smile (wait, that could be just about anywhere in England!) and art in the form of paintings, sculptures, installations and movies, Dismaland is quite an experience.

Getting tickets was hard. They were released in weekly batches and snapped up almost instantly, but I managed to get one. It was a grey day when I arrived in Weston-super-Mare, which seemed appropriate for what I was about to see. Weston itself is a little bit dismal to be honest. I like it for its tackiness and cheap seaside attractions, but Dismaland fitted in worryingly well. After visiting Dismaland I walked along the seafront past the pier and felt like I could have still been in the exhibition.

The work of over 50 artists from around the world was exhibited at Dismaland, with pieces by Banksy headlining, of course. I couldn’t possibly mention all the artists I saw and liked, but a few of my favourite pieces were Jimmy Cauty‘s Model Village, which was absolutely stunning, Damien Hirst‘s unicorn, and Scott Hove‘s terrifying cake art.

Here, have some pictures…

Fairytale Castle by Block9 @ Dismaland

Fairytale Castle by Block9

Enjoying the Cindarella coach crash @ Dismaland

They did this clever thing where they superimposed people on to the image of the Cinderella coach crash and made it look like we were enjoying the horrific scene. Here I am!

Banksy @ Dismaland

Banksy

Banksy @ Dismaland

Banksy

Banksy @ Dismaland

Banksy

Banksy @ Dismaland

Banksy

Banksy @ Dismaland

Banksy

Dismaland

Dismal staff

Dismaland

Donald’s seen better days…

Darren Cullen @ Dismaland

Darren Cullen’s Pocket Money Loans

Geodome @ Dismaland

If you are not outraged you are not paying attention

Dismaland

Dave…

Dismaland

Freaky mascots wandered the park…

Dismaland

Hook a duck from the muck

Damien Hirst @ Dismaland

Damien Hirst’s unicorn (I kid you not, a woman with a child in front of me in this exhibition was pointing at each freakish thing and going “ooh look, it’s a unicorn” to the little child. This is not a happy unicorn. This is no My Little Pony!)

Scott Hove @ Dismaland

Scott Hove’s terrifying cake art

Jeff Gillette @ Dismaland

Jeff Gillette – love this art!

Jessica Harrison's tattooed ladies @ Dismaland

Jessica Harrison’s tattooed ladies

Banksy @ Dismaland

Banksy – poor Mickey Mouse!

Jimmy Cauty's Model Village @ Dismaland

Jimmy Cauty’s Model Village

Jimmy Cauty's Model Village @ Dismaland

Jimmy Cauty’s Model Village

Jimmy Cauty's Model Village @ Dismaland

Jimmy Cauty’s Model Village

Jimmy Cauty & Lush @ Dismaland

Jimmy Cauty & Lush

Exit through the gift shop @ Dismaland

Exit through the gift shop, of course

And if that wasn’t enough, you can view all of my pictures here on Flickr.

It’s too late to get tickets now, but you can still turn up on the day and queue to get in to Dismaland. I highly recommend it – this is one not to miss! Find out more here: dismaland.co.uk.

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Woolly Wonderland

I’ve had a day off work today and I have spent it well! All afternoon I was traipsing around Bristol, camera round my neck and phone in my hand. What was I doing? Sheep hunting! Yes, I was out on the trail, looking for Shaun in the City statues. I’ve found 31 out of the 70 sheep dotted around Bristol so far, and although I don’t really think I will find them all I’m very much enjoying having a go!

My favourite sheep today was Woolly Wonderland by Vicky Harrison of The Paper Village. This knitted sheep took over 500 hours to create! Isn’t it gorgeous?

Woolly Wonderland
Woolly Wonderland

 

Woolly Wonderland
Woolly Wonderland

You can see my full collection of sheep on Flickr here.


Sheeping

Back in 2013 I joined the Gromiting hunt and found 80 Gromit statues hidden around Bristol as part of the Gromit Unleashed trail. This year I have a new mission – Sheeping! I’m trying to find all 120 of the Shaun the Sheep statues hidden around Bristol as part of the Shaun in the City event. Wish me luck! So far I have just 3…

King of the Carnival

King of the Carnival

Justice Lamb

Justice Lamb

Willow

Willow


Charlie

When I was up in London in December I spotted this sweet statue of Charlie Chaplin standing opposite the Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square.

Charlie Chaplin, London

Charlie Chaplin, London

The sculptor was John Doubleday.


Lighting up Bedminster

This year Bedminster in Bristol is lit up with some unusual, fantastic Christmas light projections by Ulf Pedersen. Here are the ones I’ve spotted so far…

Bedminster Christmas light projections

Bedminster Christmas light projections

Bedminster Christmas light projections


Walking Man

This ‘Walking Man’ statue gave me the fright of my life when I spotted it in quiet Holland Park the other week, early on a Sunday morning…

Sean Henry - Walking Man

Sean Henry - Walking Man

Walking Man, by Sean Henry.


The Control Room

There’s a new exhibition at the Control Room in Bristol and it’s pretty damn freaky…

Freaky exhibition at The Control Room in Bristol

Freaky exhibition at The Control Room in Bristol

Freaky exhibition at The Control Room in Bristol

Freaky exhibition at The Control Room in Bristol

Freaky exhibition at The Control Room in Bristol

Apologies for the quality of the photos. The other night it was all lit up and looked even better, but I didn’t have my camera with me that day and it was raining. Tonight it wasn’t lit up but it still looked really cool. The gingerbread house is all made out of white biscuits, and there are white biscuits scattered around too. The base of the gingerbread house is made out of what looks like babies’ arms. It’s completely freaky but I really like it!