CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Steve McFadden’s Cold War absurdist scores first exhibition

Christopher Spencer's collages go on display at The Social

18 October, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Comedian Al Murray joins Christopher Spencer at the exhibition’s launch

HIGH-profile cartoonists and comedians say his absurdist collages place him among Britain’s best satirists.

But the creator of Steve McFadden’s Cold War, a collection of photo-edited compositions featuring well-known faces made only his first public appearance on Monday evening as his work went on display at a bar in Fitzrovia.

Christopher Spencer, 43, has seen fans flock to his Cold War Steve account on Twitter, where he posts the collages, usually set against a slightly mundane 1970s or 1980s backdrop.

They often include world leaders and always feature East­Enders actor Steve McFadden, known for playing Phil Mitchell in the soap. With a growing buzz around his pictures, Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson and comedian Al Murray were among those at the launch of his first exhibition at The Social, in Little Portland Street.

Mr Spencer told the New Journal: “I think Butlins in 1982 is a good setting for our current world leaders to mingle. Having Trump in the White House, it’s the same as having Les Dennis in the White House. These two worlds, of politics and celebrity, are blurring together more and more each day, into a kind of scary vortex.”

Alongside McFadden, Danny Dyer, David Cameron, Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump and Nigel Farage often appear.

“I like abandoned 1970s caravans,” said Mr Spencer. “I like the images of them. They have that relic of the 1970s feeling to them. It is what people are going back to with Brexit. It’s that ‘Let’s go back to the 1970s’ feeling, boiled potatoes, Fray Bentos [pies in a tin]. “That’s the shit we’re going to get – but it’s ok because at least it’s British.”

Some of Mr Spencer’s work

Mr Spencer, whose day job is in the public sector, said the main goals of Cold War Steve were to make a stand against Brexit and halt the rise of the Far-right.

“Where I’m from in Birmingham, there is a large Polish community,” he said. “And a lot of my friends are Polish. They are here working and contributing. “The thing about Brexit is it has just legitimised vile opinions about immigration. It is mainly just ignorance, finding someone to blame for something.”

Mr Spencer makes most of his images on the Pixomatic app – mainly during bus journeys to work. The rough nature of his cut-outs is important to maintain “spontaneity”, he said.

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