Something made me chuckle this week on hearing Ben Eine’s work is now ensconced in The White House. No mean feat! and I’m sure he’s made up just for that achievement.
But if you missed the *low key visit of the decade* David Cameron paid to President Obama last week. It was precisely this gift that Cameron chose to bestow. The chuckle factor followed when it prompted me to think back to Blair’s dabble with trend and the trendy and almost wiped one rock bands (namely Oasis) reputation overnight.
If it wasn’t for one of the duo’s timely and predictable protestations (in other words Liam said something like you won’t get me at number ten for any amount of political kudos ; roughly translated as “why would I want to go - don’t know anything about politics – don’t want to – looks like a shit-house anyways”) his brother Noel was more than down with it though.
The brothers Gallagher on the Number Ten bash
Things like this are always enlightening;
In much the same way as Katherine Hamnett wearing her 58% Don’t Want Pershing (missiles) t-shirt on receiving her (all things entrepreneurial) Designer of the Year award from Margaret Thatcher. Must have been sweet.
Katherine Hamnett receiving the award
This photo still has pride of place on her website biography page
No such luck for a personal flourish from Ben Eine though – his art work was chosen – no doubt with great care and attention and just the same amount of timely detail as the Blair / Noel Gallagher moment.
But this time, excuse me, whereas the Oasis thing seemed, well a bit odd, but sort of feasible. This just seemed downright weird – it took me a while to pin the extent of the weirdness, but the W-Factor was definitely alive and kicking.
Mr Cameron who, as one would imagine shares daily muses with his wife, and presumably all things fash and what’s-going-down (on Sloane Street me thinks).
And ok, Sam-Cam is a fine art graduate, but, and it’s a big but:
Designing at Smythson of Bond Street until recently, and, having had a daily routine that could only really be described as resembling that of her customers, in so much as the people met and the places frequented.
Which, even if Samantha had nothing whatsoever to do with choosing the art work, when I think about it, renders even more the relevance of choosing art like Eine’s as credibly no more than a-gift-by-numbers-on-a-trendy-tip approach.
I am sure Eine is forever grateful to DC for picking him out, over shall we say a more conservative gift.
And I am sure Barak Obama will probably get much more out of the work, if only by hailing from that art-tastic city Chicago.
image of the gift TwentyFirstCenturyCity courtesy Ben EineSigns website
Eines response to the gift in TheGuardian:
"It's quite mad, really," says Eine (real name Ben Flynn), whose early creative life as a particularly productive graffiti artist earned him 15 or 20 arrests, five convictions for criminal damage and, on the final occasion, a narrow escape from jail. "But it's OK. It's not the kind of recognition I seek or get every day, but Cameron seems quite a positive kind of guy and Obama's a dude. I would probably have had issues if it had been for Bush."
But that surely has to be as far as any credible meaning goes?. Ok, politicians are expected to give politically appropriate gifts rather than personal affectations. But this gesture crossed so many of those boundaries in such a wrong way that weirdness oozed.
No matter how New Conservative DC professes to be. Essentially a piece of Street Art no matter how acclaimed within the genre – is still that. About as chalk and cheese politically and personally as you can get.
And it doesn’t stop there because if he has chosen it as a show of political gesture:
a) it so totally doesn’t *represent* the political will of his own party
b) that leaves it as, at best some weird kind of toady-peace offering
c) at worst a patronising (and also personal) representation of what-DC-thinks-the-Obama’s-would-like
All this left me feeling kind of shuddery and in a hugely cringey way.
But on the upside!
Eine’s work is in the W.H. and Obama’s got more than a half decent pressie.
It so won’t have done Eine any harm on the art front, along with all things art-associated.
And all that dodgy-weirdness leaking out on this side of the gift-giving process will just remind me of all those other political moments that cannot help but show the truer colours of our leaders-in-charge. The stuff that everyday politics tries to, and is so good at hiding.
PS been tweeking things a bit on the blog and its so not right on the font front - but don't worry its still me! so bear with while I get my not so techy/CSS brain round ummmm quite a small tweek really !
But it will mean so much to me ie; this maybe a small CSS step in reality, but will be a huge-giant step for me and blogness!
Update: think I'm nearly there, font wise anyways; those nice peole at typekit held my hand! I've still got bannery things to sort out and generally do a bit of a reshape, but is not quite as scary html land as I thought!