How taking mickey out of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Margaret Thatcher helps Chesterfield artist raise funds for foodbanks

A Chesterfield artist whose work satirises politicians is mounting an exhibition in his drive to support a foodbanks charity.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 1:51 pm
Dave is selling this image of Matt Hancock in his online Etsy shop to raise money for the exhibition.
Dave is selling this image of Matt Hancock in his online Etsy shop to raise money for the exhibition.

Dave Elsom has already raised £450 for the Trussell Trust by selling digital images of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Margaret Thatcher.

He said: “They're two people I don't have a high opinion of. I felt that it would be amusing to use those two people to help raise funds towards something which I consider to be an amazing company but also something that we, as a nation, should be ashamed of as we are one of the richest counties in the world but there is so much poverty in the UK.

"Through poor life choices when I was younger, I was homeless in my late teens and had to rely on the goodwill of others including staying at homeless hostels. I managed to get my life back on track but throughout my life I have met many people who have experienced poverty.”

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Dave's limited edition range of a digital image of Margaret Thatcher to raise money for the Trussell Trust has sold out, as has his Jacob Rees-Mogg image.

Dave specialises in lino printing and does digital work based on photographs and his prints. He will unveil his latest creations in an exhibition at West Studios, Chesterfield from February 7 to 22 which will be open from 10am to 4pm.

A percentage of proceeds from sales will go to the Trussell Trust. There will be a collection point for food and toiletries to back Chesterfield College’s Food Pantry that supports students in need.

Dave, 46, said: “The exhibition is called "Let them eat cake" - I chose the title after reading about the quote on Wikipedia. It's often attributed to Marie Antoinette but it's believed to have come from a princess who showed a real lack of understanding when told that "peasants" had no bread. The quote is taken to reflect either the princess's frivolous disregard for the starving peasants or her poor understanding of their plight.

“Seeing MPs posing for photos at food banks and reading some comments about them made me realise how little understanding they have of the people they're meant to be representing.”

Dave, who lives in Stonegravels, is raising money for the exhibition through his online shop, Etsy.com/uk/shop/SombreroPrintmaking, whch sells his prints including a parody of MP Matt Hancock, the former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

After leaving school at 16 Dave went to art college in Portsmouth but didn’t finish the course. He said: “I got back into art around seven years ago when my daughter (who’s now 14) started to show an interest in art. I realised how much I had missed it and signed up for a ten-week drawing and painting course at Sheffield College. After that I was offered a printmaking course. I felt like I’d found something I really loved and I repeated the course twice more.”

“While I was learning at Sheffield College, I was encouraged to look at exhibiting my work and also selling. I set up an Etsy shop and started approaching shops and cafes to see if they would be interested in selling my prints and cards. West Studios was the first shop to sell my work. This led to me being asked to run a little workshop there in December 2018.”

Dave, who does his printmaking at home, teaches lino printing in Chesterfield and Sheffield and has a part-time administration job.