Do you recall broccoli panic gripping the nation in Spring 2017? Something to do with the weather led to crop failure in Spain which triggered a desperate broccoli shortage in England. It is not known if the Cobra committee met to discuss rationing.
Waitrose steeled itself for riots and Fortnum and Masons dusted off the crowd control barriers but, amidst all this green vegetable mayhem, someone started to make light of such woes. Real broccoli started to appear in art on Shoreditch walls!
Each sculptural assembly had an image of a bearded gentleman with hands and feet and a broccoli body, welcome Broccoli Man!!!! Broccoli Man appeared on mirrored surfaces at regular intervals from January 2017, then in March started to become a little surreal, the natural greens of the broccoli were replaced by reds.
Broccoli Man's placement was often witty, such as on this huge flyposter advertising a tv program about the world’s favourite recreational plant, suggesting that the programme was an in-depth feature on broccoli!
I got to meet Broccoli Man in person in Café 1001 at the Old Truman Brewery when a very friendly chap introduced himself as Adrian Bowell, the artist behind the face in the broccoli. It transpires that in addition to being someone who regards sticking broccoli onto walls as normal, Adrian is a quite incredible collage artist.
Acid Rain - original collage
Hairpin - original collage
Adrian can be found in his small gallery on Brick Lane at the Old Truman Brewery, just ask around for the Broccoli Man.
Adrian is a quiet spoken, industrious indeed prolific artist, he acknowledges that his bursts of activity and work ethic can see him spending 30 hour stints in his studio working continuously with sleep.
Adrian has a number of projects in the pipeline including opening a gallery abroad, taking the broccoli street art concept to another level and, of course, producing more studio art. He is also engaged on an ambitious book project, hoping to produce a book a year for 10 years.
This year’s must have broccoli bling is gold and recently a rainbow spectrum of broccoli appeared.
Rainbow Broccoli Man (also feat Urbansolid and smot)
On the theme of broccoli, Graffoto does like to pride itself on digging deep, rooting out the story behind the story and we found that the whole broccoli situation has been monitored by a quite sinister sounding Office For National Statistics and they actually have a broccoli price index. Yes! An index solely and exclusively for monitoring the price of broccoli.
Broccoli RPI, technically known as GK8E, courtesy The Government
You think I make everything up, or you can’t tell what I make up and what might be real and frankly often I can’t either and you may with justification think “if this is put together by government whizz kid economists, how come they can’t spell Broccoli?” but this index is real, check it out here.
The really bizarre sinister thing is how those secretive government economist boffins have completely erased the broccoli crisis from history. The index is more or less as flat as a pancake throughout spring 2017, like the broccoli crisis never happened. In fact they want us to believe that the broccoli price has more than halved in the past 4 years, clearly the public perception and all the newspaper drama was fake news.
In the most recent installations in Shoreditch, gold Broccoli Man has appeared imprisoned in a cage, this may be a coded message from Broccoli Man; concerns for his wellbeing are mounting.
Gold Broccoli in a cage
More extracts from "Forgotten Dreams, Adrian Boswell Collage artist, 2018
Exhibition at Foreman's Smokehouse, Hackney Wick
Movements In Space/The Murky Sea
PS - If by the time you read this the government is spelling broccoli correctly that will be a clear sign they have been spying on Graffoto. Conversely, if they still are spelling it wrong they are not doing their job of spying on Graffoto properly.
Link: Adrian Boswell website
All photos: Dave Stuart except Gallery artwork photos from Adrian Boswell website
Additional sources: Websites of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, www.her.ie, www.bbc.co.uk, Office For National Statistics