Christopher Spencer, known as Cold War Steve, is a former probation officer from Birmingham who began making photomontage art on the bus to work. He is now one of the UK’s best loved artists, sharing new topical works on Twitter almost every day.
Benny’s Babbies is a celebration of his home city and is his most complex photocollage to date. It takes an 18th-century view of St Martin's Church in Birmingham as its starting point and is filled with some of the city’s icons of recent times, from Black Sabbath to Mr Egg, HP Sauce to Benny from Crossroads. Spencer describes the piece as a celebration of what makes him most proud of Birmingham: ‘A multicultural city, where the influence of so many heritages has enriched our lives immeasurably – be it in the music, the art, the food.’
Also on display are two other new pieces by Cold War Steve which take famous works in Birmingham’s Pre-Raphaelite collection as their starting point. In one, the summer landscape of Byam Shaw’s The Boer War (1900-1901) becomes the setting for a dystopian satire on world politics. In the other, a familiar cast of Pre-Raphaelite figures are displaced from their time on to a Birmingham bus one rainy afternoon.
During the pandemic lockdown period all three of Cold War Steve's artworks were shared online with accompanied written pieces. View Benny’s Babbies – Cold War Steve & Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Cold War Steve vs The PRB on The Social website.
Benny’s Babbies and Cold War Steve vs the PRB were produced as part of Cut, Copy, Remix, a project in association with Black Hole Club exploring the creative potential of Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image resource .
A poster of Benny's Babbies is available to buy in the museum shop and from our online shop.
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