No Fly Posters

Ah, the dilemma of the modern street artist… what should I say? I want my message to be thought-provoking and subversive, but what if I’m fresh out of ideas?


Nothing to say

Enter The Authority Figure. If that doesn’t bring the creativity oozing out, nothing will! Here’s a great example…

Round One:

Back in September 2011, some of Micah Purnell’s work appeared on the boarded up windows of a derelict pub in Ancoats. The pub, The Cheshire Cheese, is on my way to work up Oldham Road, so I had two responses. The first was to be delighted; the second was to pull my camera out…


Entertaining Angels

The posters were quickly removed (as is often the case) and notices were screwed to each of the boards:


No Fly Posters

It seemed like officious overkill, but in fact it was the single act that precipitated the best series of creative responses to a faceless order that I have ever witnessed first hand.

Seconds out, Round Two…


Fly posters


In a simple act of genius by a local artist (who shall remain nameless) these wondrous creations appeared next to each of the notices. A3 photocopies of a drawing of a house fly.

Of course, the response to this creativity and wit was to send someone over to tear down the offending articles. Typically this job was done so badly that one of the flies remained completely visible for many months after, one of those little details that just added to the fun.

Round Three:

By this time it was December 2011, and things started to take a surprising turn. Another artist (unidentified) added his own set of fly posters into the mix with this crazy montage of random fly-related miscellany drawn in black marker pen. Several of us got plenty of laughter out of these…

ImageImageImageMore Flies (3)

There was an added bonus spurt of creativity at this point. I thought I might know who the rather childish humour belonged to, and I started a spontaneous rhyming-couplet text conversation with the potential perpetrator. It turned out not to be him, and sadly the texts have been deleted, but for me it was a pre-work moment of joy that has happened only the once!

It goes without saying that the latest batch of fly posters were removed, albeit even less capably than the last lot. Then… nothing. Weeks turned to months, and the abandoned Cheshire Cheese just sat there looking slightly unkempt.

The long-delayed Round Four:

Until last week that is! And this time round, whoever made the posters did a Proper Job of it. It’s all there – humour, fantastic design skills, professionalism, variety. I will let them speak for themselves…









So then, to the person who decided that emblazoning a derelict pub with the invitation “No Fly Posters” in bright yellow capitals was a good idea, I thank you. Perhaps if it weren’t for your provocative gesture, these talented artists would also have nothing to say…

Oh, and incidentally, you lost by four KO’s.

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    1. Thanks teampugh. Glad you visited – I have thoroughly enjoyed checking out your “year without supermarkets.” Inspiring… but I fear I would crumble unless I could source the frozen peas VERY quickly!

      1. Hi.

        I was hoping to leave a comment anonymously, however this doesn’t seem to be an option. I have always wanted to comment on art I have seen in the past and now and in the future, and as I ALWAYS saw comments as personal and in some cases as unkind, cruel even, I have resisted.

        But now after a long time listening to a lot of people, mainly at Mustard Tree, I have realised it is healthy to have an opinion, and that as long as there is no offending remarks, and it is a comment from me, and if I can use it to enter into a dialogue with whomever, then everyone benefits and learns and importantly GROWS.

        Phew ! A hard way to comment on a poster.

  1. So, I think the posters are okay, but they don’t say anything other than the obvious ” no fly posting “.

    If the act of fly posting onto a building that had a poster on the side asking that no fly posting be undertaken, if this is the Authority being challenged, then it has, in the sense that someone has posted a piece of paper on the wall of a disused pub, when asked not to.

    The posters remind me of the type available for advertising anything, the type that you get in a high street printer, showing the wording ” no fly posting ” in a variety of boxes, flashes, stars and the like.

    A poster should say something that causes the reader to stop and consider something that enfuriates the author, or perhaps mentions something close to his/her’s heart, maybe a word as part of the conversation generated by the poster.

    But hey; this is my first ever critique and comment and thank you.

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