Street artists Static give facelift treatment to derelict Malton bus shelter. Why?

Static at work on converting a derelict Malton bus shelter into a vibrant expression of public street art. Picture: Brenna Hebrink, Art Of Protest Projects project support manager

WHAT should be done with a disused bus shelter in Malton? Food for thought in Yorkshire’s self-annointed “Food Capital”.

Step forward York arts and media company Art of Protest Projects, Malton Town Council and Static, a London artist duo with deep Scarborough roots, to administer a “public street art transformation” next to Malton Community Primary School in Highfield Road.

Static’s ex-pat North Yorkshiremen, Craig Evans and Tom Jackson, are celebrating creating their nearest painting to home after taking a derelict bus shelter and turning it into “a bright, energetic and colourful visual that completely changes the vibe of the street”.

Once an eyesore of a disused bus shelter, now “an urban art gem”, in Highfield Road, Malton

As Jeff Clark, director of Art Of Protest Projects explains: “The goal of this vibrant transformation is to uplift and bring people’s attention to a structural space that was once an eyesore, but through imagination and creativity has been turned into an urban art gem.”

You wait ages for one bus shelter transformation in Malton, then along comes…? “It’s just the first of many more facelifts the town will receive in the coming year,” promises Jeff. “Street art has a captivating way to not only visually change a landscape, but also to draw people towards certain areas and start conversations about what colour, pattern and design mean and how they amplify a background.”

Whether a town or business wants to send a message, make a space feel safe or simply elevate and beautify an eyesore, urban art is the most effective vehicle of which to do so, Jeff contends.

Art Of Protest Projects director Jeff Clark at the Coppergate Centre unveiling of The Postman’s Guardians Of York installations. He has overseen Static’s transformation of a Malton bus shelter too. Picture: Dave J Hogan

“To be given the opportunity to convert a shelter on a street that was a country road seemed like a fun and exciting way to change a landscape,” he says. “The fact that there is a school next door is what really got me excited.

“What’s better than being able to spark imagination and creativity into young people? We are so amped by the reception this shelter makeover has already received and cannot wait to continue splashing colour around Malton.”

Suitably ecstatic Static artist Craig Evans says: “It was great to take on and transform this overlooked and unassuming piece of public architecture. Being no longer in use and seemingly belonging to no-one, we hope that our intervention here will inject some colour and creativity into the area and inspire the children from Malton Community Primary School and the people of Malton to see the potential in more public places and to take a fresh look at their surroundings.”

The finishing touches: Static ready the Malton bus shelter facelift for its April 14 unveiling

Councillor Paul Emberley, Malton’s town mayor, enthuses: “This is a fantastic transformation of a once-scruffy bus shelter and brings a little more cheer to our amazing town. People love it.”  

Malton town clerk Gail Cook concurs:The shelter is a few metres away from two of our schools and we wanted to create something really special that would inspire the children too – and these talented artists, Craig and Tom, have well and truly delivered!

Up the A64, Art Of Protest Projects have stationed a host of Guardians Of York on guard on the walls of York, combining street artworks of cultural heroes such as broadcaster and natural world activist Sir David Attenborough, newly crowned with mauve hair, on the riverside by Ouse Bridge with 11 murals to “honour and elevate pandemic key workers from York”.

York Hospital ICU anaesthetist Steve Wasowa mirrors his street art installation pose for The Postman’s Guardians Of York series. Picture: Dave J Hogan

In tandem with the York BID, Clark’s public art champions have worked with The Postman, the anonymous international street artist collective from Brighton, to create the ancient city’s first urban art installation.

The works, a kinetic fusion of the Pop Art palette and brash punk energy, celebrate the Guardians Of York, who helped to keep York moving when the city – and the world – came to a standstill during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Eleven essential workers, all of them York residents, were recorded by a professional film crew in the closed Debenhams store in Davygate, giving their account of the hardships of working through the upheaval created by the pandemic, and all had their portrait photographs taken.

Street artists The Postman with their Guardians Of York artwork of police officer Pauline Law. Picture: Dave J Hogan

Taking part were: Becky Arksy, primary school teacher; Pauline Law, police officer; Sally and Mark Waddington, York Rescue Boat; Martin Golton, street cleaner, and Steve Wasowa, ICU anaesthetist, York District Hospital.

So too were: Steve and Julia Holding, owners of the Pig and Pastry, in Bishopthorpe Road, and founders of the Supper Collective; Steven Ralph, postal worker; Gill Shaw, Boots retail worker, and Brenna Allsuch, ICU nurse, York District Hospital.

Their images have been transformed into murals by The Postman collective, whose favoured artistic medium is pop-culture paste-ups, rooted in punk iconography, wherein they express themselves in brightly coloured, edgy, urban portraits, varying from street artworks of Nelson Mandela in South Africa to pop stars in Los Angeles.

The Postman delivering a street art installation of The Pig And Pastry’s Julia Holding to Finkle Street

“As the Guardians project builds momentum, we realise more and more how important it is to tell the stories of the people behind the masks,” say the mystery duo with roots in graffiti culture. “The key workers that have carried us through the last year inspired us and made a difference to everybody’s lives.”

The Guardians Of York are on display on city-centre walls in a three-month installation from April 9 to July 9, in a show of gratitude to key workers timed to coincide with the relaxation of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of many of the city’s “non-essential” businesses from April 12.

Recalling the flour-based dissolving street art of York memorial artist Dexter, The Postman have applied their paper-based large-scale artworks to walls with wheat paste, their impermanent form of art fading and washing away over time, duly “creating a buzz as people seek them out before they disappear”.

The Postman sail their artwork of Sir David Attenborough aboard the York Rescue Boat at the Guardians Of York installation launch. Picture: Dave J Hogan

Mounting the Guardians Of York is a passion project for Jeff and The Postman.  “They like to do street art that makes a difference, and my partner is an NHS frontline worker, so I’ve seen every day how Covid has worn them down, sacrificing their own health. It’s no wonder that nurses have gone down, had to stop working, because they’re frazzled,” he says.

“They’ve had to go into a war-like atmosphere, where normally you’d do a tour and then be sent home, for a break, but that’s not been the case. That’s why my heart and soul has gone into this project.” To watch a video about the project, go to: https://youtu.be/7cUpnE1M-sw

Static artists Craig Evans and Tom Jackson with their latest work, the transformed Malton bus shelter. Picture: Brenna Hebrink

Who are Static?

STATIC is the combined creative output of Scarborough-bred Craig Evans and Tom Jackson, who collided in 2006 in a derelict block of flats with a sea view and have since worked with assorted international galleries and painted murals in the UK and as far away as Japan.

The Static duo have been based in London since 2008 and are founding members of Wood Street Walls, where they spent two months renovating a disused school building to create a shared workspace, Wood Street Studios, for its opening in 2017.

One of the largest community street art projects in Britain, Wood Street Walls uses street art to drive awareness and funding for community schemes and projects involving children and education.

Static’s poster for their Born & Raised exhibition at the Art Of Protest Gallery, York, in October 2018

Static’s studio work is created using a combination of screen-printed and stencil/spray-painted techniques, and they also produce layered glass artworks that play with space and how perceived 2D visuals can shift to reveal a 3D picture. Their works are collected by the Saudi Royal family and musicians Natalie Appleton, of All Saints, and Liam Howlett, of The Prodigy, among others.

In 2018, Static held their first solo exhibition in their home county, presenting Born & Raised at the Art Of Protest Gallery’s original premises in Little Stonegate, York, from, October 19 to 31.

During their York residency, Evans and Jackson painted a floor mural in the Art Of Protest Gallery and a wall mural at Brew York, Walmgate. For more information on Static, go to: welikestatic.com.

Arabella, by Static, from their Born & Raised exhibition in York

York stags and hens, racecourse revellers and gargoyles, all through the eye of Dan Cimmermann at Art Of Protest Gallery

Trout, by Dan Cimmermann, from his new Oy! Oy! collection at the Art Of Protest Gallery, York

POCKLINGTON School art master Dan Cimmermann will be painting live from 11am until darkness at tomorrow’s Art Of Protest Gallery launch of his Oy! Oy! solo show in York.

“Join us for a glass of festive fizz and check out this collection of originals based on the streets of York,” says gallery founder and owner Craig Humble, extending an invitation to a timely exhibition that merges York’s past and present.

Put bluntly, “St William’s Window versus Stags, Hens and Racecourse Revellers”. “This exhibition uses art’s first role – to make us look – as a means to encourage our thoughts about what’s important for the living vibrant reality of York today,” he contends.

“We can respect the layers of history that make our city so attractive, while embracing those who use our city for celebrating birthdays, hen dos and globally important sporting events.” 

Woo! Woo!, by Dan Cimmermann, newly on show at the Art Of Protest Gallery

Craig, who has re-located his ever-provocative gallery to No. 11, Walmgate, this autumn, continues: “Dan’s show is another example of the Art Of Protest showing the contemporary side of this ancient city. Dan is a Yorkshire artist whose work is predominantly shown in London and Tokyo, so, as an art master at the 16th century Pocklington School, it’s nice to be able to show his work a little nearer home.”

Dan’s Oy! Oy! collection has emerged from his countless visits to York. Living nearby, he enjoys the city’s shops and restaurants, making cultural visits and a day at the races. As a keen photographer as well as a painter, he often takes snaps of scenes and events that catch his eye.

Over the years, he has come to ask himself, “What is it about a city with such a heritage that attracts such gatherings of hedonism and partying?”.

“When I was looking through my photos and sketches, I was struck with the contrast between the stoic architecture, layers of history and the revellers that drive the city’s economy today,” Dan says. 

Dan Cimmermann’s studio with his works Woo! Woo! and Museum Gardens

“Whether they be the stags and hens meeting centrally from across the country, or the landed gentry celebrating a coup at the races, York is filled every weekend with drunken forms and faces finding their way around the streets and alleys.

“I kept imagining the Minster’s gargoyles looking down and wondering about how their world view had changed over the millennia”.

Reflecting on the exhibition’s timing in the shadow of the pestilent pandemic, Craig says: “To put on this show after York has seen the quietest year in its history, regarding visitor numbers at least, is the sort of juxtaposition that tweaks the interest of an artist and a gallery, now in a new location. 

“Many a local has lamented the city being overrun every weekend, but this staccato year has reminded us all that the city has the restaurants, museums, pubs and cultural investment because of the people attracted to come for whatever reason.”

To mark tomorrow’s exhibition launch, Dan will paint a mural in the backyard of Art Of Protest’s new Walmgate home. Oy! Oy! will then run until January 16 2021.

Dan Cimmermann, pictured when exhibiting at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle

LUCY CHURCHILL, TRANSFORMING THE SACRED WOUND, A CELEBRATION OF FEMALE SEXUALITY IN THE AGE OF #MeToo, ART OF PROTEST GALLERY, WALMGATE, YORK, SEPTEMBER 25 TO OCTOBER 16 2021

YORK sculptor Lucy Churchill celebrates female sexuality in the #MeToo age in her debut Art Of Protest exhibition in York.

“Lucy’s taboo-breaking, innovative latest work is a far leap from her background in creating bespoke memorials and historical reconstructions,” says gallery curator, owner and founder Craig Humble as he launches her Transforming The Sacred Wound sculptures.

A sculpture from Lucy Churchill’s Transforming The Sacred Wound exhibition

“She started her career in museums at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the Crafts Council, London, before taking a more hands-on approach via a diploma from the City & Guilds of London Art School, leading to traditional apprenticeships at fine-craft workshops at Dick Reid’s Workshop in York and Richard Kindersley’s in London.”

As a freelancer, Churchill has created numerous memorials and architectural features that are publicly but anonymously displayed across Britain. Her reconstruction work features on television and in books and her academic research into Tudor history has been published.

Now comes her first exhibition at the Art of Protest Gallery. “Lucy’s new body of work is a complete break with tradition, in style and subject; it addresses women’s sexuality with a frank female gaze,” says Craig.

“The sculptures are startlingly raw,” says Art Of Protest curator Craig Humble of Lucy Churchill’s work

“Created after a life-changing #MeToo experience, the sculptures are startlingly raw. Using a direct carving approach with technical mastery, she eschews a fully described, polished finish, leaving parts of the block uncarved, tool marks still clearly visible.

“Her goal is to imbue rejected shards with a holy reverence and a power that belies their size.”

Lucy has found an appreciative audience for her sculpture and wearable art through
Instagram; images of her work have been showcased by The Vagina Museum, and she has become a spokesperson on recovery from sexual trauma through art on social media and at the University of York.

“The work stresses the importance of finding one’s sexual joy,” says Lucy Churchill

“My work changed when I found my voice on a personal and creative level,” says Lucy. “For the first time, I have told my own story, both verbally and in highly personal sculpture. Though prompted by confronting historical sexual abuse, my work is not angry. Instead, the work stresses the importance of finding one’s sexual joy and the healing empowerment of intimate self-knowledge”

Craig concludes: “At the Art of Protest Gallery, we’re very excited to host Lucy’s first gallery exhibition. We enjoy sharing artwork that can’t be ignored, that inspires conversation and reflection while displaying skill and beauty to have in your home”

Are WeFail’s satirical collages “disgusting”! “Disgraceful”? You decide at Art Of Protest

Clap 2, Boris Johnson, by WeFail, posted on Facebook on April 24 and now on show at Art Of Protest, York

THE art of horror is not only for Halloween, protests York gallery owner Craig Humble as he opens a timely exhibition of shock-horror works by the controversial artist known as WeFail.

Hogarthian cartoon collages by WeFail, alias Martin Hughes, from Manchester, chime with the gallery name as Art Of Protest settles into its new home at 11, Walmgate.

In May, WeFail’s “Blood on their hands for PPE failures” collages of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, each clapping for the NHS, made the pages of the Daily Mail Online.

Art Of Protest owner and curator Craig Humble outside his new gallery premises in Walmgate, York

Why?  After being posted on Facebook, they subsequently appeared on the Havant Labour page with trenchant comments about the Government “completely mismanaging” the Coronavirus crisis.

“Disgusting”, “Disgraceful”, came the Conservative outcry, and Havant Labour subsequently removed the post and apologised fully.

The paintings had been premiered on WeFail’s social media and website , and in response to the reaction to the Labour Facebook post, WeFail posted: “‘Disgraceful art’, what’s really disgraceful is having the highest death rate in Europe, by choice.” “Never apologise for my art”, tweeted WeFail, whose website says he “paints monsters”.

Four Horsemen, by WeFail, at Art Of Protest Gallery

In the window of Art Of Protest is the artist’s statement, WeFail On The Covid-19 Crisis, as he explains: This Is Why I Paint.

Its closing paragraphs read: “At the most crucial time when lives could have been saved, this Government did nothing, in fact on the advice of ghouls like ‘too bad’ Cummings they actively sought to spread the virus and gain the mythical herd immunity.

“Thousands have died needlessly. But it’s pointless debating this, they see what they want to see and when this has passed they will try to rewrite the history books.”

The Art Of Protest Gallery window set up for WeFail’s works of political satire

Welcoming WeFail’s works to Art Of Protest, Craig says: “Political satire has a long history in the UK: WeFail’s work is in the tradition of James Gillray and William Hogarth via its satirical attack on those in power but stylistically is nearer the horrors of Francis Bacon, Otto Dix and Francisco Goya. For this reason, it seems an ideal exhibition for the Halloween weekend.

“Art Of Protest Gallery prides itself on art that makes a viewer look. WeFail soars above this bar. As the first gallery to dare to exhibit original work by WeFail, we’re proud to share this cutting edge of contemporary political satire.”

A digital catalogue is available of WeFail’s hand-finished collages by emailing info@artofprotestgallery.com to provide the opportunity to be “one of the few to own this portentous series of original works”, with the artist making works individually to order.

Clap 2, Matt Hancock, by WeFail from the “Blood on their hands for PPE failure” triptych of works also featuring Boris Johnson and Michael Gove

Art Of Protest has re-located from 16, Little Stonegate after nearly four years, following what Craig calls “a fraught series of unfortunate coincidences and Covid-themed interventions” that led him to declare he was the subject of a “Catch-22 eviction”.

Putting a sense of injustice to one side, the rent he had set aside for staying at Little Stonegate has enabled him to move to Walmgate instead. “There’s a strong relationship with the landlord who owns the building,” says Craig.

“The neighbours have been welcoming and vehicle access to the gallery has made a noticeable difference to the overall experience for collectors.”

A protest marcher with WeFail’s Clap 2 collage of Boris Johnson

WeFail’s exhibition will run until the third week of November, to be followed by a solo show by Dan Cimmermann, opening on the last weekend of November.

“Cimmermann has created a show built on portraiture from the 12th to 16th centuries but melded with the stags and hens that occupy the streets of York today,” says Craig.

“Dan is one of the northern artists whose work is predominantly exhibited in London and Japan but the Art of Protest Gallery likes to champion him a bit nearer his roots in Middlesbrough and where he works in his day job as Art Master of Pocklington School.”

CORONAVIRUS: Art Of Protest kimino no-show for now but gallery vows to return

The notice in the window of the Art Of Protest Gallery, in Little Stonegate, York

EVEN a gallery with the bravura name of Art Of Protest must concede to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Craig Humble’s cutting-edge, fashion-savvy gallery in Little Stonegate, York, was to have launched its York Fashion Week exhibition of Pam Glew’s Kiminos with a preview this evening.

Not now. Today Craig posted a statement in the window, under the heading Gallery Closed – Temporarily, to announce that “sadly, with a heavy heart we are closing the gallery in response to the global pandemic”.

Pam Glew’s Kiminos: exhibition postponed, but Art Of Protest Gallery vows it will return

“Due to a combination of recent announcements, the importance for all our future of beating this outbreak and the reality of the ever-thinning streets of York, I am closing the gallery for at least a couple of weeks from Thursday March 19th, while the way forward becomes clear. Hopefully this is an au revoir; rather than a goodbye,” says Craig.

“I will be developing the website and investigating the online opportunities that can be maintained while away from the gallery, so keep an eye out on social media for any changes and news.” 

Those hoping to visit the Pam Glew exhibition “to purchase one of the amazing pieces”, says Craig, can click on the Pam Glew Catalogue button on the website, artofprotestgallery.com, for a catalogue of available work.

“Thank you for being part of the movement over the past three years and I look forward to seeing you on the other side of this pause. When we return, it will be with the exhibition newly which has been hung for York Fashion Week featuring Pam Glew’s Kiminos,” he adds.

The frontage of the Art Of Protest Gallery

Craig ends the statement by advising:

Although the gallery is closed from Thursday March 19, email and social media will be monitored if you want to get in touch. 

Any outstanding orders will be completed by appointment. Please email info@artofportestgallery.com to arrange. 

Please heed the warnings to defeat this virus, wash your hands and stay safe while this cold wind blows through our lives.