Things we love
How pleasant to meet Angry Dan
In August 2020 Walthamstow was transformed into the London Borough of Limericks. A shop front gallery and treasure trail of nine clever, delighting and colourful murals put the work of musician, painter, filmmaker and poet ‘Angry Dan’ firmly on the map. His captivating combinations of inventive, witty and charming wordplay together with eye-catching, bold graphic imagery proved a big hit.
The pandemic put a temporary halt to more pops of mural joy and thoughtfulness appearing in towns and cities across the UK but he’s back at it now. When we met for a bit of a waffle over a falafel, I couldn’t resist stating the obvious, “You don’t seem that angry!”
“Ha! That goes back to my first email address, when we all had stupid email addresses. If anything, I try to be the antithesis of angry. I wasn’t sure at first but I’ve embraced it now. Adults always ask, ‘Why Angry?’ But kids never do.”
Dan’s creations have graced walls from Reykjavik to Barking, they appear on street furniture in Manchester and Hastings, friends’ backyards, under bridges, beside railways, they’re all over the place.
As straight five-line limericks these compositions are skilful, amusing and often quietly affecting. When transformed into visual artworks in urban spaces (as well as the postcards, prints and paintings) a fresh configuration of word and image evolves.
The characteristic rhythm and rhyme remain but lines are curtailed or carried past the five-line poetic form so viewers are encouraged to re-read, to remake the poems in their minds, to confirm their limerickness. This mode of presentation slows down reception but there’s an agreeable satisfaction in teasing out the original form nestling in the bold illustrative visual presentation.