Sunday 18 October 2009

Freedom of speech

This week's Indy illo is about freedom of speech, and more specifically about the recent Jan Moir Daily Mail article and the upcoming appearance of Nick Griffin (the BNP leader) on Question Time.

The rationale presented to me was that Jan Moir has been labelled homophobic and taken to task by the blogging, commenting and twittering community for her article about Stephen Gately. Yet in contrast the BNP get away with much more openly offensive comments and actions with a lot less furore.

Interestingly and unusually I considered my personal response to this statement before I began my ideas, just because the argument had piqued my interest. I wasn't sure how I felt as I think the BNP do get a lot of negative media coverage and I also thought Jan Moir's comments were nasty and snide and I agreed (in principle) with the shocked response (if not the faux outrage that accompanies these things once the mainstream media report it) but of course I could see the point of the argument. As much as the Daily Mail article is hurtful to friends and family of Stephen Gately and offensive to a wider audience by its very nature as an opinion piece it has limited influence and is much less dangerous then the BNP, who as a political party have the potential to affect and influence Government and the wider European community. Thus the response to the two things should technically be proportional to their power. But that's not how things work, emotionally charged arguments always win out and the entertainment industry will always trump the political arena when it comes to popularity.

So these were the thoughts swimming around my head as I worked out my roughs. It took me almost double the time this week as I tried to create a composition that would effectively convey the argument and be visually interesting and not repeat any of the elements I featured in my recent illustration about free speech.

Finally I settled on an image set in Trafalgar Square, imagining a scenario with a large outdoor BBC screen I set about creating a world where Nick Griffin on Question Time was ignored in favour of protesting against Jan Moir. This image gave me a chance to reference the two points made in the brief and hopefully sits well when given the context of the article.

I'm writing this blog post without the final article for reference, so I am not sure how pointedly Jan Moir or Nick Griffin will be referred to, or if the article will be more generalised. Hopefully the article will do enough to ensure my image makes sense. I'd also like to point out that I am not attempting to link Jan Moir and the BNP or commenting on the death of Stephen Gately. As I've discussed on this blog previously my visual responses are just that, visual responses to the brief I am set, this one may have caused me to consider whether I agree or not, but that has no real bearing on the images I produce.

On another note after completing the illustration above I settled in for a night of XFactor and noted this beautiful advert for American Express during the commercials. I think it's gorgeous and wanted to share so click the screengrab to see the full advert over at the 'Add A Dog' website, credits can be found there.

Finally the website update is underway, should be live by Tuesday.
Updated: the article is here now.

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