COPYRIGHT © by John McDonald. All rights reserved by the artist. Any and all publishing and reproduction rights are retained solely by the artist. This image is not to be re-distributed, copied, imitated or misappropriated without written consent of the artist.
A SELF PORTRAIT, AS ‘SKINLAD’ FROM JIM CARTWRIGHT’S GRITTY NORTHERN PLAY ‘ROAD’, BY JOHN MCDONALD
One Love is a punk painting by the Butterfly Cry Artist, Scottish artist John McDonald.
The painting depicts what looks like an angry skinhead man pointing accusingly, with his feet hidden by a road-works barrier. The figure is painted mainly in black and white with light blue wash on the jeans. To the left we see a tall building with the word 'Bank' on the side of it. And beneath that is a small, hand-painted depiction of Banksy's little girl with red balloon (re-titled Love is in the Bin after famous 2018 shredding at auction).
One Love is a self-portrait and an unusual one in that it depicts the artist over 20 years ago- not as himself - but as a character in a play.
The portrait is taken from a still image from a performance of Jim Cartwright's gritty northern play, Road. Skinlad, the character played by the artist, performs a poetic monologue about fighting, about a skinhead-culture of violence. He believes fighting is all there is to live for until one night when he has a mysterious encounter...
The artist's studio is based in a heritage building in Derby: Banks Mill, owned and leased by the University of Derby. Banks Mill was historically a rope factory and the original paintwork 'Banks & Sons Ltd' can be seen peeling off the corner brickwork over 4 floors. One Love is a protest painting in all sorts of ways. By effective use of scale the artist becomes a giant towering over both the art institution, and the Bank. As a disability protest - yes the actor is beset by a barrier but look how small the barrier is in comparison with the man.
The inclusion of Banksy's little girl with the red heart balloon begs a few questions. Perhaps the little girl offers love to the angry skinhead, but there is also the sense that gender and age stereotypes may be turned on their heads. If you cover the balloon the little girl starts to look pretty angry herself... And we wonder if both anger and love are shared. Maybe it is a righteous indignation rather than one that threatens violence.
At 170 x 71 cm (67 x 28 inches) One Love punk portrait is just under life size, painted in artists’ acrylics on hand-stretched canvas, on a hand-made frame.
Original painting sold