In 2011, in response to the London Riots I created two life sized knitted panels entitled ‘Out of the Blue‘. The artwork is knitted in different shades of blue yarn to link in with the title. If something happens out of the blue, it is completely unexpected: and the riots were.
I was surprised when I watched the television and saw the chaos and criminal activity happening day after day. What shocked me the most in that time was the way a majority of people, and the media in particular seemed to demonize all young people. I was not alone in thinking that this was the case as the quotes below show:
“When a photo of a group of perfectly ordinary lads standing around wearing hooded tops has become visual shorthand for urban menace, or even the breakdown of society, it’s clear that teenage boys have a serious image problem. The teen boys’ “brand” has become toxic. Media coverage of boys is unrelentingly negative…our research shows that the media is helping make teenage boys fearful of each other.” Fiona Bawdon, Women in Journalism
“Media reporting of children is mainly hostile” Polly Toynbee, Guardian Columnist
“…the media should try and report on children and young people in a fair and balanced way” Boris Johnson
79% of children and young people feel that adults see them in a negative light. Youth Media Agency Pilot Survey, November 2011
‘Out of the Blue’ explores the viewers perceptions of young people, using knitting as an art medium. I want the viewer to consider if they saw these two young people what would the think they were doing? Are they up to no good? Does one have a gun? Are they arranging a drug deal? The truth is they are just standing around minding their own business.
In November 2011 Lauren O’Farrell aka Deadly Knitshade creator of the Stitch London craft community and founder of graffiti knitting and craft collective Knit the City wrote a review for Crafty Crafty of this artwork and referred to me as the Banksy of Knitting.