Upfest 2017 – John D’oh – An artist well known for his privacy and political passion


John D’oh is well known Bristol artist whose work is well known all over the country.  He takes his inspiration from his love of film, anime, comics, and legends of urban art and adds a delicious mix of quirky humour.  John is well known for his privacy – I am so chuffed to have got to write about him.

daily mirror

Bit of background and how you got into art.

As a young kid I was heavily influenced by Hip Hop and Graffiti/street art was part of that culture. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately I got sensible, settled down and got a responsible job and put my love of drawing on walls behind me. A few life changes (and quite a lot of years later) and a chance meeting with somebody from back in the day got me back into the scene.

My art has changed somewhat since then but I think my life experiences have added to it

 DSC_3234_John_D'oh (1)

Influences on your work 

 I am influenced by a lot of things, the news, film, anime, comics and the legends of street art and graffiti themselves.

I often work with recycled materials to create some of my more wacky 3D art as I am a bit of a hippy tree hugger and like to do my bit to save the planet and I was invited to go on the one show last year to build something for them out of recycled items but due to short notice and a family funeral I had to decline. 

 What was the best piece of advice that you were given when you were starting out?

It was by a well-known artist and he said “Wear a cap, CCTV cameras are all at height looking down.” Nowadays CCTV is everywhere so no quite that simple but it helps.

What have you been up to?

I have been lucky enough to have exhibited all over the world. But last year was my first ever solo show which I had in the Farm Pub St Werburgh’s. It rained solid for 3 days when it opened but still had a good turnout. I don’t really push the sale of my art but got offered the venue which previously hosted the likes of Sweet tooth and Rowdy so had to do it. Being just a street artist I learnt a lot from that experience but still more likely to stick to Street art over the gallery art, money is not a motivation factor for me and gallery art doesn’t give me the same buzz as painting on the streets.

These days most of galleries tend to do more group shows rather than show case individual artists but if the right venue contacted me I would be up for another solo show again but would want a bit of time to put something together as the last one was a little rushed.

I have taken part in many festivals and think I did 10 last year but looking to reduce them this year and possibly skip them next year altogether  and concentrate on just Street art.

I have had loads of high points. I suppose this year so far I have enjoyed the skeletons I installed for Valentine’s Day which went down extremely well the general public and my political art that I recently painted in Exeter which the council jet washed within 24 hours. It is nice to have an impact and if people walk past my art without stopping, smiling, frowning or wanting to jet wash it then I consider I must have done something wrong.

High points? Just too many too mention

 What is important to you about your art?

I try to make it humorous and it usually has a message or a point, also it has to be 100% me. Everything has to be produced by hand, no laser cut stencils which seem to be becoming increasingly popular and often denied.

Location is also key and sometimes as/ more important than the art. Often it is thinking how you are going to paint or install something and hopefully get away with it often in a busy high street packed with CCTV and possibly police. But the risk is part of the excitement.

 Keeping my art affordable is really important to me and I am not out to make a quick buck .

 I loved your work in the run up to the election can you tell me a bit more


Photos courtesy of Фото ART – Photographer Harry Bristol

I am just passionate, I paint from the heart. I did try and get a lot more fellow artists to take part in the political art but I really struggled. Some were afraid of loss of sales, some didn’t feel they knew enough about politics to paint something or to pick a side but in the end I found a few and together hopefully we made a bit of a difference. Good to see Banksy join in.

Фото ART by John D'oh - VOTE Labour

Photo courtesy of Фото ART – Photographer Harry Bristol

 What is your process in creating a new piece of work?

Sometimes it’s just a location I spot first, but it’s normally something that features in the media, or randomly pops into my head. It is a then just a matter of producing an image, possibly text finding a location that suits.

Unfortunately I am not very good at photoshop so a lot of my images are cobbled together and hand/ drawn modified.

 Where people can find you at Upfest?

Next to a lot better and more talented artists than myself…..south park

 Can you tell me something about what you will be doing?

The  weather forecast isn’t looking good, so probably just looking to get something up as quickly as possible with minimum effort this time as the piece is only going to be up a couple of days max.

Still not entirely sure what I will be painting, but lots of ideas in my head. Quite a big space for me this year So just looking at more coverage than detail this year.

 What are you looking forward to about Upfest?

 Meeting up with friends. The street art scene is fairly small and like one big happy family. I can count the number of people I don’t get along with on one hand and that isn’t for a lack of trying. Always nice to meet new people as the youth will continue to decorate the streets long after I have gone/put away my spray cans. 

Whose work are you looking forward to seeing?

So many great artists and styles it’s hard to pick just one.

 What have you got coming up for the rest of the year?

Got one more festival in Cheltenham I think in September, but plenty on. Things are really taking off for me and hopefully continue to paint outside of my home city but lots of projects in the pipeline. I don’t do too bad for a part time hobby artist but have to turn a lot of projects and opportunities down as my day job often gets in the way.

Hopefully going to produce a book shortly, maybe by the end of the year.

Upfest profile

See John D’oh ’s work at South Park

Upfest Saturday 29, Sunday 30 Monday 31 July 2017

Upfest Festival Map


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