I don’t like being called a street artist. I hate that phrase. In fact, it’s stereotypes in general I have serious issues with. I try to help people break these down in my work, both in what I paint and where I paint it.
I recently asked myself, why would busy people care about something that doesn’t affect them on a day-to-day basis? In Britain there is a tendency to associate conservation with Zoology. The language used can turn people off. I wanted to go and do a bunch of pieces in one day on Brick Lane, illegal pieces, so they need to be completed quite fast.
The ‘Save the Bees’ family day came about in some ways just to have some sort of deadline, I think. So Jim Vision and I decided we would have murals done and spread the message in this way to help attract people. On that day we were going to celebrate the fact that we had painted all those pieces and we were going to collect together a bunch of people whose livelihoods depend on bees. There are so many products out there for which bees are essential and it was great to have people like Hiver beer, Dead Gents clothing and Inkkas to broaden peoples’ horizons.
We also provided a platform where we could hand out all of the wildflower seeds we got from Thompson and Morgans, which meant that a large number of people were walking away with bags of seeds in their hands to plant and make a real difference, no matter how small, to providing a better environment for bees to flourish.
Batteries Not Included is a free exhibition from Louis Masai and runs from 30th April to 29th May at Lollipop Gallery in Shoreditch, London.
More info: louismasai.com
My work with the Save the Bees campaign was born of a desire to increase awareness about an impending environmental crisis
We held the Save the Bees family day to inspire people
We found out that people have a genuine concern for their native animals
I think there’s a disconnection in British peoples’ minds about their own living environment and the idea of extinction
But I don’t think it’s just the UK, I think that it’s urbanized countries
Although we have countryside here, it is heavily farmed
When countries have populations of people piled on top of each other, people care less about what lies beyond
It’s been really nice to see the Save the Bees aesthetic moved from outside, public spaces to inside, private environments
Bees are just a small part of the show, the focus will be on a much bigger range of endangered species
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