Using art to 'spread love, break hate' in Newport
09/01/2017 | Street Media, Arts, Community
Many people have started to see the art work of RISE Propaganda on the streets of Newport. For example this sign [below] is on the fence outside the building that used to be known as TJ's on Clarence Place.
We noticed that Wales Online had tried to find out more back in October 2016, but not really got very far. Being active and based in Newport we thought we might have a better chance and so we tried!
We tracked down this secretive underground movement to an entity called John Frost. Having made contact we were able to ask four questions about the art work and why this message was emerging again nearly 200 years after the Chartists Newport Rising in 1839. This is what we found...
We put four questions of John Frost, and were luck enough to get all of them answered! This is what we found out:
Q1 - Why have you re-appeared after nearly 200 years?
"We live in challenging times, so I decided to create a movement to remind people that you can rally against adversity and unite against the odds. RISE Propaganda was born. We work under the modus operandi of ‘Spread Love. Break Hate’ which is an important message easily forgotten, not just in our own individual lives, but as the collective human race."
Pictured above is RISE's digitally-amended image of one the road signs you see on the motorway in Newport. The sign is changed to reflect some of the more meaning things that have happened here - like the confidence given to the local music scene in the mid 1990s when it was compared to Seattle. John Frost reminds us that we should value what is happening in the everyday:
"In all, RISE art serves as a reminder to those open minded people and communities who refuse to accept the current norm and to ascend above the modern static."
Q2 - Are you happy for people to keep on asking themselves what rise propaganda means?
"Of course, it’ll mean different things to different people on different levels. Many people like RISE on an aesthetic level, others want to look for a deeper meaning and will dive into the message and detail. The important thing is that it’s accessible to all. RISE and art in general should be for the people, not just the elite."
Love is shown [above] for the Port / NP / Newport on one of our most famous landmarks: the Transporter Bridge.
Q3 - How do the people of Newport influence your art work?
"They are my greatest inspiration. I was born and raised here and love my city and its people.
It’s full of interesting characters that are bound by beautiful contradictions. People are agitated but apathetic, resigned yet optimistic, proud and ashamed, harsh but kind, frail yet incredibly strong. We bleed history, bristle with rebellion and nurture the underdogs.
We are unique and we should be proud of that."
Pictured above is the work that RISE did before Christmas to sell artwork . A total of £300 was donated to homeless charities.
Q4 - Finally, do you have any particular thoughts for what people are doing in Maindee?
"It’s really inspiring. It just shows when people and communities work together, amazing things can happen. We all should be proud of where we live and make it a better place for all to reside in.
The people of Maindee have done something amazing by taking on this initiative and committed to improving the area. Keep spreading the love Maindee!"
There is still a mystery about who John Frost really is - and how this whole movement is working. However, we're pleased to have started the conversation and hope to develop it more in the future.
The main message is that we don't need to be secretive - or shy - about our love for Newport; there's enough in this place and its people to be proud of...
The art work of RISE Propaganda
The extent of Wales Online investigation [Oct 2016]
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