2021 has been a relentless year for hardware
Cult internet artist Cold War Steve has described 2021 as a “relentless” year for a political cartoonist.
Real name Christopher Spencer, Cold War Steve’s satirical Photoshop collages take inspiration from Dutch Renaissance painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, depicting public figures in dystopian contexts and often taking part in outrageous acts like a nod to real-world news.
Reflecting on a political year of pandemic, resignations and controversy, Mr Spencer called 2021 “terrible” but said being able to make art has been a therapeutic process.
“It’s endless, isn’t it?” I’m glad to have this outlet because otherwise I think I would go crazy, ”he told the PA News Agency.
“It’s just relentless and I really doubled down. I know what I do won’t make a difference to what happens at the top, but it makes me feel better and I think about others too. “
The artist’s 2021 artwork includes depictions of those following strict lockdown measures juxtaposed at a Downing Street Christmas party – with one artwork showing an elderly man with a cane alone in his bedroom, next to another image of politicians such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson indulging in frivolous cartoons.
He produced the work after allegations that No.10 staff broke coronavirus rules with a festive party last December, one of many similar allegations in the political arena in 2021.
“There was all the incompetence of Matt Hancock and Dominic Cummings – so you think there would be a little bit of a breathing space and then pictures will come out of the Christmas parties they were having in Downing Street when everyone was apart from. their loved ones, ”Mr. Spencer said.
“It’s a way of dealing with what’s going on, I mean, the range of emotions with what’s going on, from anger to dismay. I can channel this into one picture. (I’m trying) to convey this.
“The feedback I get is that it helps (people) feel that they are not alone in feeling what they are feeling. “
The artist beckoned to the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in October with an image of Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and other Cabinet members standing in the sewage water the white cliffs of Dover behind them suggest the country has sunk.
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Mr Spencer admitted that some of his work could be “really rude” and “mean”, often putting reckless-looking politicians in intensive care wards or even placing body bags on the grass in Downing’s garden Street in one piece.
However, he said his work is justified by the actions of politicians, adding: “At the start of the pandemic, I was very careful of satire, I didn’t even know whether or not to shed light on this or not. was happening, but the government swept it aside. until I had to do it.
“There’s always that time before I hit send to release it into the world, where my finger can hover over it a bit. Certain that I take this line right to be acceptable or not. “
In February, Mr Spencer dedicated an image to the Duchess of Sussex’s privacy victory over Mail On Sunday editors, following a ‘personal and private’ letter she had written to his ex-father.
The play shows the Duchess surrounded by male reporters as the Duke of York sits away from the group.
The artist spoke about nuances and small details in her work, such as the lawyer in front of Meghan – a nod to the suggestion by some UK tabloids that her ‘favorite avocado snack’ “is fueling legal violations. human rights, drought and murder “.
“There are a lot of little symbolisms that people remember and (can) interpret on their own,” he said.
Mr. Spencer considers the reaction of his more than 360,000 Twitter followers to be art itself.
“I really like that people know that if (the artwork) was in a gallery the images would be two meters wide and underneath a scrolling screen of all the comments people wrote – because it definitely improves the experience. “
One of his recent works shows the Prime Minister’s head superimposed on the body of Louis XVI, King of France, as Tory MPs Steve Baker and Andrew Bridgen approach with baseball bats in hand, and the doctor- England chief Chris Whitty is strapped to a chair. .
Both MPs criticized Mr Johnson’s restrictions on Covid and made headlines when Mr Baker removed Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries from a WhatsApp conversation after defending the PM against Lord’s resignation Frost.
“I like having that element of humor, anger and grotesque, a kind of dark humor that gets the point across in a more dramatic way,” Mr. Spencer added.