John Doh Confessions of a Street Artist
John Doh started painting in the 1980’s when he was a young kid growing up on the North side of Bristol.
Back then there was no specialised graffiti paint, it was just cellulose car paint, which stunk like hell and was far more difficult to control than the new modern paint. This type of paint was available from the local bike shop.
Like many of the street artist back then in the 80’s, John was heavily influenced by Hip Hop.
With graffiti being part of that culture, John began to practice his new found love.
At that time John worked under a different name and painted a popular character “Mr Chad” or just “Chad” with the sayings “what no?”. He also painted an upside down dead bird.
Admittedly the characters by his own admission were extremely basic but this was just the start of John’s journey into street art.
Growing up close to a train coal yard it was only a matter of time before John painted his first coal carriage and it was around these times where John first bumped into well-known Bristol graffiti artist, Inkie.
Inkie told John about a graffiti club on the opposite side of the city, called Barton Hill Youth Club, but never got invited to this close-knit set up and so John Doh missed out on John Nation’s ‘School for vandals’.
As he continued to paint train wagons he had many run-ins with the Transport Police who’s determination in catching young graffiti artists gave them the reputation of being terminators, not stopping until they had tracked down their man.
around this time John had a break from painting, he settled into a long term relationship, got a job and left the street art world behind.
After the breakdown of his relationship, John returned to the art world with renewed enthusiasm.
With many new life experience’s lived, John wanted to put his views and opinions out into the world, and express himself, but with an added bit of humour.
No longer was he prepared to be the guy sitting in front of the television, ranting. He started to get creative, and paint what he thought most of the general public were thinking but maybe too scared to say.
Like most painters John’s art has evolved over the years and is now a mixture of all different mediums.
John is probably better known for his wacky street art installations and stencil work.
John is always looking to break boundries in street art and is always try’s to say something, hopefully brightening up someone’s day, or at least generate a smile.
Influences and style
His influences are the news, politics, anime, manga and the legends of urban art themselves.
It is very important to John Doh that he produces all his work himself. For example with his stencils that means no laser cutting and no eight man crew holding the stencils against the wall for him to spray. John is a lone wolf in the street art world.
John Doe’s work can be found all over the country, his lastest work can be found on the streets of Liverpool, Birmingham and of course Bristol.
Interview by Alex Tamasi.
John Doh’s website is here.
Check out his fun and humourous tshirts that he regularly produces.