Saturday, 11 February 2017

Viva La DIY

In these BrexTrump times, we need to revive DIY—force our hot, angry breath into it's lungs and restart that post-punk heart. THUD THUD THUD!

As we look back on the not-so-distance Women's March; we see a global gathering of women's rights and a plethora of homemade signs. Despite it's international traction, I'd argue part of it's huge exposure was the constant sharing and conversation about the quality of all the signs, banners and scrawlings. DIY was living again.
Both the Women's march and the Anti-Trump marches were beacons of shining DIY greatness, shining red Sharpie ink into the sky like a Hollywood premiere of anti-establishment ideologies.

In previous years—never have broom handles, municipal photocopiers and poster boards been so popular. In a generation where voices can be twisted by images on Facebook and careers can be ruined in 170 characters or less, the physical DIY of retribution and revolution is something that wouldn't have been predicted by the smartest of horoscope writers (If such thing exists). People lining the streets, chanting, waving banners made of cloth, duct tape sans-serifs and pure anguish; who saw that coming? Not I.

If in the past DIY art movements were lead by Sniffin' Glue, I can only assume right now we're Sniffin' Fake Tan. Up, rising from the ground is the otherwise pleasant public, being driven to the surface by the red-hot pokers of ignorance—but what do you do when your voice isn't loud enough, you make it visual and what do you do when you know not the rules of visual communication? You Do It Yourself. DIY Kids, D I Y.

If you looked around above head height, you could swear it was 1984; not the dystopian future of oppression and surveillance but 1984, Northern England. As thousands of men walk and strike in solitude of their fading future, their crumbling industry—above and around them, a sea of messages, banners, flags and physical 'fuck you's to the state.

Just as we now see the DIY mentality rise it's beautifully ugly head to defy the aggravated orange man, it was called on by every miner, their wives and the people who supported them. It's a clear symbol of "I mean this words, because I made them" and when those words are a couple of feet tall, bouncing upon the sea of people like a profane bouy; they shout the words that otherwise wouldn't be heard audibly.

I originally made the connection between now and '84 because of a fantastic, if not slightly cuss riddled talk by Craig Oldham at Nicer Tuesday's where he talks about his book that covers the Miners Strike, his link to the images and stories it holds and a lot of trash talk about the conservative party in a heavily northern voice—a refreshing brush of sandpaper for a northern lad working his way into the design industry.

Though he doesn't make the link between these two events because his talk was before the Orange Tide O' Doom, I think it's only logical that he would see this as I do. Replace Donny Trump with Ms. Maggie herself, and Women with Miners and aside from a few ugly sweaters and a lot of crap weather; they are very similar indeed. He's also just written a rather swell article for It's Nice That about his book, if you're interested.

It wouldn't be much of step to say that both the Miners and the marching women are punks. Brandishing their boards, defying the conformity demanded of them. Whether they are musical or not isn't the point, Punk wasn't restricted to just the music—it was just as much about the clothing, the swearing and the hair as it was the lyrics they shouted at one another.

Looking pretty punky to me

Just as punk thrived on being accessible by rebellion, such is the state of our current time. Poster boards flying the flags of cult references and crudely drawn figures line the above head's of citizens like an angry smog; and it's not just the angry who want a piece of this Cut, Stick and Paste saga.

We need to be the punks, the miners, the women and the artists. I say we call by DIY with an almighty roar and stick those poster markers right where it hurts—into the media, into the streets into the publics ideologies. Should you want to be this punk, but haven't quite the artistic calling, then may I suggest that you grab this poster kit from O Street. A design studio saying Piss Off to London and playing by their own rules, Punks of the British Creative industry. Did I say Punk enough?

Viva La DIY.


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