|Face The Strange|
My first posters went up in the wee small hours, one morning in August 2014 - although I had spread smaller stickers around for about a year before that.
How did you come up with the name?
Originally my work was going to have a bunch of different taglines, with "Face The Strange" being just one of them, but that just summed the work up the best. It's as much a message as an identity.
People call you the ''The North's Banksy'' how do you feel about that?
Perplexed. I live in The Midlands and spend as much time in London, so I don't see how I could be The North's anything! Besides, we work in completely different ways. You hear Banksy comparisons all the time in the media and its just used as an easy way for people to pigeon-hole you.
Where does your inspiration come from?
The inspiration really varies. Often it's from something retro, such as a classic film or TV show - The Evil Dead, A Clockwork Orange and Monty Python have all been recent subject matter. I also did a whole series of pieces based around the board game Cluedo, just because. Sometimes I'll get an idea from a phrase, a tune, or an image that I see. Other times it's a bit more random, and is just a case of throwing a bunch of things into the mix and seeing what comes out.
What do you use to put your posters on the walls?
An old mate put me onto traditional wheatpaste - just water, flour and sugar - and that's what I've always used. Do occasionally think about switching up the recipe for something a bit more durable, but never have.
What are some of the themes that your art work has tackled?
The main theme behind a lot of my work is inclusivity of diversity - acceptance of the unusual. I've also done pieces that are city-specific, and highlighting environmental and ethical concerns such as climate change and artist rights.
At the moment you are anonymous, will the public ever see what you look like?
The anonymity ties into the faceless identity of my characters, so I doubt that will ever change!
Do you have any funny stories from being an artist?
I think the funniest stories come from the larger pieces that I've put up. I remember having an ace spot lined-up up in Derby, a large electrical box which would've been seen on foot, by car and from passing trains. I pasted it up one night with my largest ever work, comprised of two A0 sheets (which made something approx 2x1metres). Went back the following day, and it'd already been removed by the council. I had to laugh at their dedication. I also have terrible memories of standing on a Bristol street that felt like a wind tunnel, desperately clutching a large glued-up poster which was feeling more like a very flimsy, soggy kite. If I ever become an actual artist then I do hope to have some more entertaining stories.
What are your plans for 2020?
I'm currently working on a series of pieces on the subject of gentrification and, after some small involvement with Derby's branch of Extinction Rebellion at the end of 2019, that may well turn into something more this year.
Would you ever like to star in a movie?
That could be fun. Cinema is definitely lacking in pigeon-faced characters!