MERCY MERCY ME



MERCY MERCY ME
200 x 122 cm.
Spraypaint and acrylic on recycled board.
In 1971, Marvin Gaye wrote a song called Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology). It featured on his iconic album What’s Going On. The track was intended to strike a resonant chord, as an erstwhile archaic anthem, bringing light to the ills of environmental degradation. At the time he told Rolling Stone magazine “I began to reevaluate my whole concept of what I wanted my music to say. I realised that I had to put my own fantasies behind me if I wanted to write songs that would reach the souls of people. I wanted them to take a look at what was happening in the world.”
Half a century later, the poignant words of Gaye’s flipped paean to industrialisation, corporate greed and the wanton destruction of the natural world have been lost under a deluge of vanilla popular music, and artistic expression primarily derived from introspection and shallow excess. His closing refrain ‘How much more abuse from man can she stand?’ is at once heart-rending, tragic and painfully prophetic.
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Marvin Gaye. June 10th 1971. Tamla. (3:14)

Mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be, no no
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east

Mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury

Mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Mercy, mercy me
Things ain't what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land
How much more abuse from man can she
stand?


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

Flood. A sign.


Flood. A sign.

Spray paint on metal street sign
75 x 86cm.
During the course of the twenty-first century, global sea levels are predicted to rise by up to 2 metres, possibly more. As a result, land occupied by 300 million people will fall below the elevation of an average annual coastal flood. By 2100, 200 million people could sit permanently below the high tide line.

The UN is warning that our planet is on course for 3C of global warming. This will ultimately redraw the map of the world. A key variable in this outcome will be how much heat-trapping pollution from human activities is dumped into the atmosphere, and how quickly the land-based ice sheets in Greenland and especially Antarctica destabilise. Another factor is widespread, intensive farming, which changes land cover by removing preexisting vegetation, thereby increasing the risk of flooding.

It is now widely accepted that extreme weather patterns, caused by long-term global climate change, make floods more likely. The science is impossible to ignore.

As global temperatures rise, there is significantly more energy in the Earth’s system. This amplified state results in higher air temperatures, which increase the possibility for evaporation and ultimately cloud formation. In this perfect storm scenario, the air is also able to hold more moisture content, which leads to an increase in precipitation intensity, duration and/or frequency.

"If you have more moisture in the atmosphere, the same rainfall systems rain harder - that is something we see globally. And that has a human greenhouse gas signal in it."
Professor Gabi Hegerl, University of Edinburgh.





All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

Don't Be Koi


Don't Be Koi.

Limited edition of 25. Signed.
Hahnemühle German Etching pigment print.
42 x 29cm.
£150 + postage

"Pollution from toxic chemicals threatens life on this planet. Every ocean and every continent, from the tropics to the once-pristine polar regions, is contaminated."
World Wildlife Fund.


Every year, approximately eight million metric tons of plastic find its way into our oceans. Of that, approaching three million arrives from the earth's rivers. And of those tributaries, over ninety percent arrives from a select ten, one of the worst of which is China's Yangtze - which contributes over half, as it drains into the Yellow Sea.

A recent study by the The Education University of Hong Kong, and backed by Greenpeace, discovered that plastic fragments have been found in nearly two-thirds of a fish species commonly consumed in Chinese meals.

In addition to waste plastic, a variety of toxic chemicals, from both domestic and industrial usage, add to the degradation of our planet's water stores.

On a global level, mankind's rapid growth has released a toxic cocktail of substances into the natural world, which is now finding its way back into our food chain.

The harmony of a delicately poised, interdependent balance of the natural world has been disrupted, and distorted by one species, the long-term effect, from the unenlightened cause, now returning to its point of origin.
In association with



All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

Flood. A sign.


Flood. A sign.

Spray paint on metal street sign
75 x 86cm.
£550 + postage

During the course of the twenty-first century, global sea levels are predicted to rise by up to 2 metres, possibly more. As a result, land occupied by 300 million people will fall below the elevation of an average annual coastal flood. By 2100, 200 million people could sit permanently below the high tide line.

The UN is warning that our planet is on course for 3C of global warming. This will ultimately redraw the map of the world. A key variable in this outcome will be how much heat-trapping pollution from human activities is dumped into the atmosphere, and how quickly the land-based ice sheets in Greenland and especially Antarctica destabilise. Another factor is widespread, intensive farming, which changes land cover by removing preexisting vegetation, thereby increasing the risk of flooding.

It is now widely accepted that extreme weather patterns, caused by long-term global climate change, make floods more likely. The science is impossible to ignore.

As global temperatures rise, there is significantly more energy in the Earth’s system. This amplified state results in higher air temperatures, which increase the possibility for evaporation and ultimately cloud formation. In this perfect storm scenario, the air is also able to hold more moisture content, which leads to an increase in precipitation intensity, duration and/or frequency.

"If you have more moisture in the atmosphere, the same rainfall systems rain harder - that is something we see globally. And that has a human greenhouse gas signal in it."
Professor Gabi Hegerl, University of Edinburgh.





All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.