Whether or not you appreciate the art of Scott Marsh, you gotta admire his savvy marketing. The guy has a genius for subversive topicality. An uncanny knack for smacking humourless conservatives right in the unfunny bone. Instead of vandalising trains, he uses his super-powers to bring us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.
And he’s done it again.
Just when you thought he’d settle down and get serious, painting naked ladies or flower arrangements or whatnot. Allan Jones with a ball-gag. But no, he taps into the unresolved heat that lingers in the TJ Hickey death and throws himself back into the Australian-variant of the BLM spotlight.
Oh, the irony.
In November 2017 Marsh painted a mural of singer George Michael that was defaced by fundamentalist Christians as ‘sacriligeous’ — whatever that means — but also as revenge because Australia had just voted overwhelmingly in support of same-sex marriage.
Marsh repainted the mural in December 2020, and the god-botherers didn’t return. Probably because Ben Gittany, the fundamentalist who effaced the mural saying “I’m defending muh religion!” was arrested by police and criminally prosecuted. Silly mofo.
How funny, then, the reaction of the self-same police to March’s latest frolic. Channelling his inner Banksy, the artist took inspiration from a burning NYPD van to remind us of a 17-year old’s death by impalement following the-police-pursuit-that-wasn’t.
But this time the artwork was ‘too offensive‘ to live.
Which begs the question: if a Christian objects to art of the basis that it offends his faith, and is gaoled for defacing it, then why are cops who object to art on the basis that it offends their egos still walking the street? I’m not religious, but even I know a double-standard when I see one.
Or as Scott Marsh, genius, bluntly puts it:
“I really wanted to use that symbol and contextualise it in the Australian sense, especially with Indigenous Australians and deaths in custody. So I painted that mural, it was the same symbol but it was an Australian police car with ‘TJ Hickey’ spray painted on it. And that got painted over by the police less than 24 hours later, which was awesome. Fucking cunts.”