Since my bit of fun with the Socially Responsible Graffiti that can be read about in this previous post, I’ve been keeping an eye out for something else to lampoon.
Parking in the rear car park for the CoOp in Mount Pleasant Road one day to get a newspaper for my Mum, I noticed a poster on the fence around the electricity sub-station.
Not the usual poster that warns of Danger Of Death, or don’t throw your frisbee or kite over here, those sort of public information notices but a simple A3 sheet of paper produced in Powerpoint or Word that advertised the services of a Pest Control operator. It simply stated in large text “WASP NEST REMOVAL” and a picture of the black & yellow striped menace to picnics and barbecues throughout the world.
Beneath that was a piece of script text exclaiming it was a “Professional Service” along with the company name and a mobile phone number. I’ve seen this poster a couple of times and noticed that there was another on the other side of the fence. A couple of weeks ago I noticed another poster, very similar tied to a lamppost on the end of the road. That’s when it hit me.
My idea was to create a similar poster using the same typefaces if possible advertising a “Wasp Nest Removal Poster Removal” service. I’d place the poster alongside the original for a bit of a giggle and see what happened. Where the Wasp Removal poster had a phone number I used an email address I set up for when I was doing the Vegan Negan project a couple of years ago to communicate with a Shropshire Star journalist about it. The name of the character is Mr Wansky, which was originally based on a misspelled version of a play on Banksy. Obvious right?
On the day of action I pulled up alongside the poster, and cable tied the laminated poster to the fence, directly underneath the original. I did this to both posters at the sub-station site and then on the lamp post too. I drove away chuckling to myself wondering if anyone would even notice.
My motivation isn’t to cause offence or even laugh at anyone, other than myself. I just like to do things like this and think inwardly as to how many people might see it and not realise it was a spoof. Before I started my degree in Fine Art Photography at University of Wolverhampton I wouldn’t have considered it art, but merely messing about and wasting time. With this new found knowledge about what art can be I do see that it’s got some artistic merit to it. Not sure if any other artists might see it that way though.
After two days of laughing at my own silliness I drove through the car park to find that my posters had been removed, along with the original posters. My family and I considered the possible reasons why this had happened.
- Was it the council tidying up?
- Was it a neighbour fed up of fly posters?
- Was it the wasps getting their revenge?
- Was it the Electricity company?
Turns out it wasn’t any of those. I think it was a lady whose name I shall conceal and refer to her as “Emma”. She had used the email address off the poster to send me an email.
Regarding your poster removal posters, whilst they are quite amusing and you have clearly gone to some effort, could I kindly ask that if you have an issue with the original posters, you either just take them down or give the guy a call to discuss the problem. He has just lost his son in very tragic circumstances so your campaign is a little badly timed. He is a sole trader with a good reputation, who keeps his prices low by advertising his business for free as much as possible. He’s not hurting anyone. I would like to congratulate you on your very clever spoof posters, but like I said it’s bad timing.
Whilst it was quite nice that she considered the posters quite amusing I did find the part about the tragic circumstances a bit upsetting. This was never a part of the plan, how could I have known. I wrote a reply back to “Emma” .
It’s not my intention to cause any offence or trouble, simply having fun with posters. It’s an art thing, I have no issue with the posters being up at all. In fact I like that posters like this are put up.Condolences to him and the family for the loss of his son. I have no doubt that he’s helping people with pest control in tough times and I appreciate what it means to be a sole trader in the current economic climate.The timing is purely coincidental as I do not know who it refers to and could not have possibly known about the tragic circumstances.Many thanks for taking the time to email me and the kind words about the “amusing” and “clever” nature of them.
All the very best for the future.
Mr Wansky.“Mr Wansky”
My reply was meant as very sincere and honest, I’m really not in this to hurt anyone’s feelings and I do love that people put posters up like this. Signs and notices catch my eye and it brings something to the world around us that people don’t necessarily see until they’re prompted to pay attention.
“Emma” replied again and this time she bestowed upon me a title that I’m flattered with and will be using in future projects.
OK thanks for the quick reply, I’m sure he’ll be flattered to know he was targeted by a renegade artist and not some nutter who’s taken issue with his advertising! Like I said he’s just a normal guy just trying to make a living. Good luck with your art, I look forward to seeing your spoof posters around town!“Emma”
Wolverhampton Artist’s Spoof Poster
Yay, I’ve made it. Truly, that’s a moniker I’ll use in artists statements in the future.
I did reply back to her wishing her all the best and telling her she may have already seen some of my other work around the town.. I do wish the Pest Control guy all the luck in the world too after his loss, and hope that his business is successful in the future. I’ve definitely got his number if we get another Wasp nest in the attic..
The posters haven’t returned and I’ve seen no others of the same guy since so I’ll not get to stick these up anywhere. Maybe in a gallery at some point in the future… Ha ha, keep dreaming Wansky…
This little story is a lighthearted look at just one of the odd ideas I get now and again and normally don’t take any action. This one turned into a quick one and didn’t drag on for weeks like the previous bit of socially responsible graffiti. I will be on the lookout for other opportunities though. They won’t be a quick thing though, I’ll have to have a think about the things I’ve seen and then put a plan together..
Hope you enjoyed this little distraction as much as I did.
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