Street Art: North Liverpool

The contemporary issues at the front of the nation’s young minds: their fears, their frustrations and the desire to demand the re-modelling of society. The anxieties of adolescence emulated through the spray can culture of the street.

A smashed paving slab parading a ‘Thanks NHS’ rainbow suggesting an end of public spirited ‘Clap for Carers’?

The road arteries, urban connection venues and green spaces of North Liverpool make up the canvasses for these expressions of creativity. Works of artistic merit decorate the forum, sheep to faces of thunder brighten the arena. LGBTQ issues push their way into promonent vision. Black Lives Matter and the global protests of summer 2020 make their presence known. Mangra style art of the East and Hindu symbols shift around terms such as racism. In contrast, the iconic swastika representing the anti-semitic Nazi’ of the twentieth century never far from view. Anti-capitalism and its factions reflect the socialist agenda of regional left wing politics. A smashed paving slab parading a ‘Thanks NHS’ rainbow suggesting an end of public spirited ‘Clap for Carers’? Ever present politics of Boris, the former prime minister Tony Blair and the realities of Brexit. Football rivalry of old and not forgetting, rather a lot of phallic forms!

‘EAT THE RICH’ is stencilled onto many pedestals, canisters and other outlays

Anti-Capitalist vibes took on a tenacious presence on the protest spheres of North Liverpool. A stanchly red, Labour dominated region, in fact there are no Tory MP’s elected in Liverpool whatsoever. The Converservatiove Parties only real successes in the city were following Winston Churchill’ campaign launch on Merseyside in the early 1950’s. A major factor in this relates to the lower incomes within the area in which votes collate. Liverpool city council has suffered cuts of almost two thirds since Cameron’s austerity measures were introduced in 2010. The decline of shipping, of great importance to the Port city, is often spearheaded onto the 1980’s Conservative Leader: Margaret Thatcher. The sounds of the Mersey Beat Bands, the Beatles in particular, their working class agendas still dominated the airwaves of this Northern municipal.

‘EAT THE RICH’ is stencilled onto many pedestals, canisters and other outlays. Further illustrations look to combine hamburger motifs with freehand spray depictions. The term ‘Eat the Rich’ can be attributed to the 18th Century philosopher: Jean Jacques Rousseau. First used in response to the French Revolution, the poor were starving while the Monarchy were receiving never ending supplies of food. They revolted, the royals were guillotined and the people took control. Of late, various politicians have used the statement, Elizabeth Warren or the US and the Land Party of South Africa ran their election campaign with the slogan. Ordinarily used within radical left wing circles, however surprisingly popular on Tik-Tok, a social media platform popular with young adults. 

Hate the masses

These can be parallelled with ‘Stamp on the Royals’ which can be seen branded in a socialist red. ‘Hate the masses’ comes into view, oversized and in contrast to the commonplace left wing etchings. Potentially a reference to genocide, however more probably a response to the social isolation enforced by restrictions of the pandemic. Covid has increased the gap between rich and poor nationally, Liverpool having been in proportionately affected by higher death rates and the economic impact of additional periods of lockdown, the trade from the spectators at the prominent football groups in particular.

The penis is sprayed, sprawled and depicted in evermany forms across the Everton park area

Embracing the creative arena we are offered a large quantity of phallic forms. The penis is sprayed, sprawled and depicted in evermany forms across the Everton park area, which transcend Netherton Rd, in particular. Women often see this as a threatening image, the penis as a weapon. Freud’ theory relates to man’s greatest fear; of losing their prime tool of masculinity.

In Roman times the symbol of the penis was commonplace, a young boys amulet of a phallus meaning to grant protection. Depictions of male genitalia were often carved in the street pointing towards brothels, the most famed present in Pompeii. Due to low income, poor opportunities for employment and general deprivation, levels of prostitution are high in North Liverpool. As a port city there is a long history of fornification for financial gain, particularly around the dock areas. Other graffiti, stencils out ‘Sex work is Work’ across receptacles, brick structures and columns. Sex work is in fact legal, however soliciting for custom is unlawful. The Red Umbrella project was set up in 2018 to help change the lives of sex workers within Merseyside. It is estimated that around 80% of sex workers don’t want to be working in the industry, they are captive by drug and alcohol addiction, austerity and backgrounds of sexual abuse.

These ideologies aside, there is often a humour element to the ‘Dick’ depiction. Graphic or photographic images of the phallus are often received with an air of disgust, however doodles are often embraced with laughter. In fact we can look toward the image of the head with the penis added to the upper section. Does this not refer to the term ‘Dick-head’, a colloquialism which has been popular across the country since the 1960’s?

A city of great footballing rivalry, everybody is designated as a red or blue, referring to support for the Premiership greats of Liverpool or Everton football club. Derby day banter which takes over the work canteens and the school yards which makes this city so vibrant. Amongst all of this, somebody found time to scroll ‘Save Mary-Hill FC’ on one of the columns of Everton Park, support for a Glasgow conference based team. Out of interest, standard admission to a match only costs £6!

Street art reflecting the activism of the young, the desire for change within the region. Anti- racism and BLM meets fascism, ‘Non-binary’ and ‘Gender-fluid’ are branded across the domain as common-place terminology. The identification of issues relating to austerity and prostitution. Defiance of the Police and to some degree presenting criminal activity as the norm. The skate-park melting pot of political views, the politics of the pandemic, Brexit and the decade of austerity enforced on the region. The fun of the banter around the premiership giants which over shadow the terrace dwellings of Everton and Anfield. Lets not forget an infantile giggle at the range of ‘Dickhead’ depictions!

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