Why not?

Sloganeering: George Storm Fletcher

Written by: Flora Snelson
Artwork by: George Storm Fletcher
Detail from The First Rule of Assertiveness, artwork by George Storm Fletcher

George Storm Fletcher reminds me that art can be fun. They see a can of baked beans and think ‘why not let people watch me eat those?’ They see a tin of magnolia paint and wonder what they’d look like painted in it, head to toe.

Pretty striking, as it turns out. Ghost-like, Fletcher appeared before the graduating University of Leeds Fine Art class of 2022, their friends and parents, to roll four fags sitting atop the coffin they’d hand-built from plywood. The challenge for a non-smoker constructing roll-ups was equalled by the discomfort of the silent crowd watching as Fletcher performed their boldest tribute yet to their late dad, a painter-decorator who loved magnolia.

Fletcher’s refusal to mollycoddle audiences has turned heads. The 25-year-old’s call to ‘Force your parents to make funeral plans’ was exhibited in the Royal Academy last summer, and an upmarket funeral director offered money for the work and the slogan itself — hoping, presumably, to sell more funeral plans.

Detail from Force your parents to make funeral plans, artwork by George Storm Fletcher
Artwork by George Storm Fletcher

But while you can sell a print you can’t sell the words, or even the feeling you get when you walk past one of Fletcher’s signature public interventions, large letters hung in windows spelling out quotes from loved ones, instructions for life. The self-proclaimed “menace” occupied each of their housemate’s bedroom windows to tell the streets of Burley ‘I love you sometimes’, painted their mother’s wisdom ‘I am allowed to change my mind’ into the facade of their sister’s terraced house back in Fletcher’s home in Fenland, Cambridgeshire.

You needn’t visit the Fens for a glimpse of their art. George is on Instagram here, and their work is currently on show alongside ninety local artists at the Leeds Artists Show 2023, at Leeds Art Gallery until 30th April 2023.

(This article is free to read from TSB magazine 2022/23 issue 07. To buy paper copies or read more, click here) ⬢

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