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.


Mobile Lovers

This week a new piece by street artist Banksy appeared on a wall near the Broad Plain Boys’ Club in Bristol. Banksy has declared the piece as his work on his website, and the owners of the Boys’ Club decided it must be a gift to them and took it down straight away to display in their club until it could be sold. However, the piece known as ‘Mobile Lovers’ was handed over to the police on Wednesday night and is now on display in the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

I don’t approve of the piece being taken down or being on display in the museum, and strongly believe it should have been left on the street where it belongs. However, I couldn’t not go and see it so I took myself down to the museum today.

Banksy - Mobile Lovers

Banksy - Mobile Lovers

Banksy - Mobile Lovers

Banksy - Mobile Lovers

Next to the piece is a collection box with a sign stating that the Mayor “has asked that people consider making a donation to the Club via the collection box, where thoughts about ‘Mobile Lovers’ future can also be left’. Paper is beside the collection box, and visitors are encouraged to leave their comments. I certainly did.

Banksy - Mobile Lovers


Paint Pot Angel

The other day I finally saw Banksy’s famous ‘Paint Pot Angel’ in Bristol Museum:

Paint Pot Angel - Banksy

Paint Pot Angel - Banksy

Apparently the intention of this piece is to challenge what people expect to see in a museum and question the value we place on art.


Cretin Collective

Bristol street artists Cretin Collective have produced a new mural in Bristol underneath Banksy’s famous ‘Hanging Man’. The mural makes reference to Banksy with its own naked man, and also a rat holding a sign saying ‘Just Robbin Banks’ (Robbin Banks is a name sometimes associated with Banksy, and the rat is a symbol Banksy often uses).

Cretin Collective (below Banksy's Hanging Man), Park Street

Cretin Collective, Park Street

Cretin Collective, Park Street

Cretin Collective, Park Street

Cretin Collective, Park Street

Cretin Collective, which is made up of artists SPZero76, Loch Ness, Dom W, Paul Roberts and Bill Giles, have an exhibition opening at Weapon of Choice on 23rd August.


The Grim Reaper

Taking a break from Gromits today, I wanted to share one of my favourite pieces of Bristol street art so far. This piece by Banksy is certainly not new, but I saw it for the first time (after much hunting!) last weekend…

Banksy - The Grim Reaper, Thekla (Bristol)

Look closely at the boat…

Banksy - The Grim Reaper, Thekla (Bristol)

What’s that?!

Banksy - The Grim Reaper, Thekla (Bristol)

It’s the Grim Reaper!

This piece isn’t as beautiful as some street art, but I like it because of its location. How on earth did he do it?!


Hanging Man

Another Banksy classic tonight – Hanging Man on Park Street, Bristol:

Banksy - Hanging Man

Banksy - Hanging Man

Banksy - Hanging Man

As an aside, I was just wondering what any of you who use Flickr think about the new layout changes that were made live yesterday? I was in a bit of a state of shock at first, but I think I’ve calmed down now I’ve found my way around things. There are lots of bugs, but I don’t hate the layout as much as I used to. My one big concern is that I use Flickr for ALL of my photos, and don’t actually upload many directly to WordPress. If Flickr were to die, so would my blogs. Scary, isn’t it? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts below!


The Mild Mild West

Time for some classic Banksy, now I’m living in Bristol!

The Mild Mild West - Banksy

This piece, as many of you will know, is located in Stokes Croft, next to The Canteen. As far as I know this piece was painted about 13 or 14 years ago!