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A Decade of Don't Panic

Check out the Truman Brewery exhibition of the legendary Don't Panic graphic fold out posters

You have more than likely seen Don’t Panic’s free packages at record shops, gigs, cafe’s, fashion outlets and everywhere in-between over the last ten years – they're the brown paper parcels that come rammed with flyers for nightlife and arts events, and their weekly collectable fold-out posters. Now, Don’t Panic are holding an exhibition in StolenSpace at he Old Truman Brewery, on September 20, to celebrate a decade of these posters, championing both established and new artists alike, and often with a political edge. This unique outlet for creativity was originally embraced by none other than Banksy in 2000, when he designed the very first Don’t Panic poster, and later was taken on by Pete Fowler, Shepard Fairey, Lucy McLauchlan, Pure Evil, Kate Moross and many other artists, many of who are now found through an online voting mechanism open to all. The exhibition will feature ten limited-edition prints from Don’t Panic favourites (including Banksy and Shepard Fairey) and some new collaborators (D*fine, Eine) as well as 50 classic posters from across the decade.

Don’t Panic are “trying to bring democracy to design, get people's work into print for the first time, and showcase some excellent work,” says Joseph Wade. Their online films have also made some serious political impact, notably by digging a £-shaped flowerbed in Alan Duncan’s lawn, then filming him complaining within the House of Commons that MPs were being ‘treated like shit and having to live on rations’, which eventually led to his sacking. Don’t Panic have also shut down Nobu restaurant, infiltrated the BNP, harassed City Bankers and “created all sorts of other agro for a good cause”. Wade concludes, “We feel like not enough art and design is political and sometimes runs the risk of disappearing up its own highly creative, but introspective arse".

Text by Andrew Willis