There was not one, but two big opportunities for drawing this weekend! Here are some pictures from both:
Firstly I went to the big ol’ Anti-Austerity march on Sunday. You know, the one Russel Brand was at. Why was Russel Brand there? I’m not sure; he didn’t have very much to say, and I think his last big political statement was to say that the best way to undermine politicians is not to vote at all (in the same way that the English football team have been doing a great job of undermining the Brazil World Cup). Still, there were a load of other people there, and I drew a few of them.
Unite were out in force (all the unions were out in force, obviously), and a lot of them had these giant balloons. It was a very windy day too, which I think made life difficult for those trying to hold the balloons down.
It had all the things a big march has- people with banners, and flags, and student-y types with megaphones. It takes a lot of effort to chant all the way from Oxford Circus to Parliament Square, megaphoners did a good job. It’s also quite difficult to walk and draw at the same time, which is why these drawings are quite sporadic.
The march was against austerity, so it might surprise you that a lot of the placards were directed at Michael Gove (the man who puts the “Gove” in “Government”) of all people, rather than Osborne or Cameron, the people who are actually implementing the cuts. I guess Gove just has a sort of hateable public presence.
Also it was a pretty peaceful march, not one of the Fortnum n’ Mason-smashing students demonstrations that get people really worked up. That’s probably why there was so little media coverage of it. Still, there were men in cowboy hats and Hawaiian shirts handing out various socialist-filled newspapers, which is something at least.
Actually there were several people like that:
There were a few, but only a few people in the V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes masks. This is something which really interests me: I like that an otherwise fairly innocuous illustration has become such a widely recognised political symbol, and I like that this symbol makes people feel like they can stand up to an otherwise overbearing state (although the standing up often seems to be from the comfort of ones own home, via a computer). I also like the irony that Guy Fawkes himself was trying to blow up the at least democratic-ish House of Lords in order to establish a Catholic monarchy, so he wasn’t really the glorious people-loving freedom fighter that he’s made out to be now.
Still, at least it made a group of otherwise unremarkable teenagers feel like they were doing something rebellious that day, and if there’s one thing the country needs it’s more politically motivated young people. (one of them even had a balaclava on! I kid you not)
But for the most part, it was just hairy hippies and men in flatcaps. One of them actually asked me if I was going to participate in the national strike planned for next month, and I said that I could do on principle, and out of solidarity, but as a self-employed freelance illustrator the economic impact of me going on strikes vs. the economic impact of me having a bad hangover and not going into the studio one day is pretty indistinguishable.
So there we have it! A handful of drawings to skim the top of the afternoon’s march. It would be nice to have more of those, partially in order to put political pressure on parliament to increase taxes and stop the ideologically-justified austerity plans, but also so it gives me more events to draw at.
Here we have the intermission, a brief sojourn of some drawings of hipsters in a park in Vauxhall.
And the other big event of the weekend was the House of Illustration’s housewarming fair. I had a little stall there, and people came along and looked at my prints and asked me again and again how reduction lino prints work, and I met some nice people, and I drew lots of pictures.
It’s quite nice to have people actually seeing my observational drawing in the flesh- because so much of my work is like “here’s the finished print”, it’s difficult to give people a sense of all the developmental drawings that go behind it.
Also, I was sitting opposite the kids’ drawing table, which meant a lot of people sitting still enough for me to draw some good pictures of them, with colour and everything (a luxury that can’t be afforded in a moving crowd of protesters!)
So that was my drawing-filled weekend. Now I’m back into my too-hot studio for a week of exciting mailout-writing. Yippee!
I’ll leave you with a lovely picture of me at the House of Illustration. Glamorous, eh?