During lockdown Blackpool had never looked so clean, but as folks began to emerge, more and more litter also appeared.

I found some posters on one of my photo walks, not long ago and during lockdown and not your usual “Keep Britain Tidy” blandness. But posters that played around with “popular” musical references  prompting us to keep our environment clean.

It seemed unnamed guerrilla artists were taking to the streets to literally paste up messages and remind us of a few home truths. We caught up with the perpetrators, incognito of course. They told us how, why and what started the series of paste up images around the town.

The masked riders early morning cycle ride from South Shore to Fleetwood included litter picking, conversations with the paid council workers and volunteers.

The artists said: Sticks and stones for sure break bones but maybe words can trigger some response.

KICK Series - Image Claire Griffiths

Frustrated, Irritated, Angry by the state of the beach and the promenade following the fantastic weather. It’s a proverbial KICK up the ass to remind people to pick up their litter. 

Like DC Comic characters, the masked riders rode in the sunrise to trigger response or even guilt over the state of the promenade posting a series of simple, fun and engaging messages. The masked riders early morning cycle ride from South Shore to Fleetwood included litter picking, conversations with the paid council workers and volunteers also doing the same and then pasting the posters.

q. How do you work? Can you tell us a bit about your processes?
Masked Rider 1: I work with narratives and words.
Masked Rider 2: I stare at a screen for most of my working life. On a good day it’s a silk screen. 

q.   What does your work aim to say? Does it comment on current social or political issues?
MR1: It’s a platform for peoples stories.
MR2: I would like to think I am as gobby and opinionated in my design work as I am when talking. I think I would have to be much more prolific in my design work to keep up really. 

q. Who are your biggest influences?
MR1: Tania Bruguera, Adam Pendleton, Kay Rosen, Benjamin Zephaniah
MR2: As cliché as it is… Andy Warhol and Banksy. I guess that’s why a lot of my ideas are so clichéd.

q. Is there an artwork or project that you are really proud of? Why?
MR1: Those that have remained anonymous
MR2: It was an original idea based around what direct consumption has on livelihoods and environments. The idea stemmed from my girlfriend, but the artwork and promotion was created by me and I am proud that we did it.  

q. What sort of work do you enjoy doing the most?
MR1: Working, talking and listening to people…
MR2: Taking a design from a screen and putting it on a silk screen, printing it with my hands.

q. What makes you angry?
MR1: Prejudice, lack of respect and of course litter!
MR2: Lack of respect for other humans. Makes me want to call it out.

q. What is your dream project?
MR1: Every project I start is a dream project.
MR2: One that I actually finish.

q. Should art be funded?
MR1: Artists should be funded more than art.
MR2: I think access to it should be funded. People without the money to buy materials should have access to materials to experiment.

q. Why is art so important to Blackpool?
MR1: It is a symbiotic relationship in the town. It is part of its culture and growth. For some places it is industry, for others landscapes but for Blackpool it is art.
MR2: Aside from Blackpool’s  long history with The arts, I would say Blackpool needs more creatives doing there thing in town. Rather than escaping to Manchester or other places to make it, we should harness the creativity here to inspire the younger creatives who aren’t even aware they are creative yet. 

q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
MR1: What would it look like and how would you feel if it was on the front page of the newspaper.
MR2: What would it look like and how would you feel if it was on the front page of the newspaper. 

BONUS QUESTION
How has lockdown affected you and your work?
MR1: It is easy to think what we have lost and important to think what we have gained. People feed my creativity and isolation has not made it easy.
MR2: I am on the other side of the planet with my life on hold. This has forced me to focus on what Lockdown life looks like from here. Apart from that my work is the same.. apart from now people want to Zoom instead of Skyping for some reason. 

KICK Series - Image Claire Griffiths

Quick fire round: MR1

  • Cake or Pie? Pie
  • Book or Film? Film
  • Facebook or Twitter? Same same
  • Be the funniest person in the room or the most intelligent? Funniest
  • Fulfil your biggest wish or solve your biggest regret? Biggest wish
  • Favourite or most inspirational spot in Blackpool? The memories and emotions that come to mind when you have your eyes closed and think of Blackpool.
  • Song that sums up how you’re feeling now?
    Rain rain rain rain beautiful rain – Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  • Thing that you miss most during lockdown? A long and meaningful hug.

Quick fire round: MR2 

  • Cake or Pie? Cake
  • Book or Film? Book (however I watch 7,000 films in the time it takes me to read a single book)
  • Facebook or Twitter? Facebook, Donald isn’t on that!
  • Be the funniest person in the room or the most intelligent? Funniest
  • Fulfil your biggest wish or solve your biggest regret? Biggest wish
  • Favourite or most inspirational spot in Blackpool? Where else can a Typography perv get his kicks?! It’s got to be the Comedy Carpet. I go 4 or 5 times a week when I am home and keep seeing buts that make me smile.
  • Song that sums up how you’re feeling now? Zoom Zoom Zoom – Calypso Rose 
  • Thing that you miss most during lockdown? HUGS!!
KICK Series - Image Claire Griffiths
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