Piece By Piece: Listen04

Art & Culture

Some say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whoever the beholder that describes Listen04's work as beautiful is someone that should probably not be free to roam the streets. That's not to say that his work is anything other than absolutely extraordinary yet beauty doesn't really play a part in the appeal of these pieces. To quote Shola Timothy's description: "This is a human sacrifice. Kindly leave if you were looking for something nice."

Still interested? Good.

The usually UK-based artist has taken his latest wares over to the US for an exhibition in Portland, Oregon naturally called God Bless America. Here, we take a look at some of the pieces on offer while accompanied by a walkthrough from the creator;

WARNING: There is no way that these are suitable for children, or anyone who is easily offended, so please don't show any kids. We can only apologise for the graphic images and disgraceful language you're about to read. But go on, read it. You know you want to.

That's right Ariel, nice and slow. 

I work in pencil, watercolour and felt tip. Mediums that would usually been seen as craft or twee. I like the idea of turning this on it's head – This is a practice that runs throughout what I do, from the materials that I use to the themes I cover.

I found very early on that you could juxtapose a nieve aesthetic with real world themes and in doing so create something very different.

This developed and I began showing cartoon characters in everyday situatons. It's the things we hide from children in cartoons that, if they were everyday people, they'd no doubt do or say.

Ignorance is bliss faggots. 

Cartoons are made by adults for children. As such adult influences are ingrained within them but instead take a more subverted or subtle form. That's not to say penis shaped clouds or hidden messages but, in the early days of Disney, the fact that adult males wrote and drew these cartoons undoubtedly shaped the end result. Couple this with the social and political context in which they ere created and it's not a huge stretch to see a far darker undercurrent in these things.

I guess I take this idea to it's logical conclusion. 

Captain's log

Lenny Bruce had a bit that he would do about the stereotypical labels, in particular the word n***a, and how repetitive use of the word would water down it's impact until it meant nothing.

I took the word faggot and ran with the same idea.

It's also an attempt to undermine the stereotypical male identity in entertainment and how this shapes younger generations.

We put a big fence up around our house.

I often want the nature of the work to draw you in like a whisper from a chikd and then the text to kick you in the stomach. In turn the viewer can be left re-examining the issue. 

I like the person looking at the work to stumble upon the overall idea expressed rather than shout it at them. It needs to come from left field to do this. Like being t boned at a cross roads.


When Bart Simpson released 'Do the Bartman' I decided that when I grew up I wanted to be a rapper but it never really worked out. The puns and word play in the work that I make is me trying to still somehow fulfil that dream in another form I think.

Eminem is known for his shock lyrics about women, so I gave him boobs.  

WHAT: Listen04's God Bless America is running until 28th June at the One Grand Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Find out more about him here.