Guest post: The identity of John Frost revealed!
David Daniel of the Escape Rooms Newport talks of his experience with RISE and reveals the true identity of the mystery person behind RISE Propaganda - John Frost.
I remember when I first heard about John Frost and the RISE movement.
My sister Ellie and I were in the process of setting up The Escape Rooms and Ellie sent me a message to say someone had offered to send us an art print. ‘Cool, free stuff’ probably sums up our initial thoughts on the matter, but when we began to dig a little deeper it was clear that this was much more interesting than that.
Here was an anonymous Newport artist using the rebel fist and subverting Newport’s coat of arms with skulls while sharing a message to ‘spread love, break hate’ and ‘Rise and React’ on the side of a Marmite jar…. we were intrigued. When an original print was delivered by a ‘dead cherub’ shortly afterwards, carefully wrapped in brown paper and twine, with a hand printed card and wax seal we couldn’t wait to see what lay beneath. Inside we found the now famous ‘I heart NP’ original artwork, complete with anatomical heart and blood red splatter, and of course we loved it the moment we laid our eyes on it. The work has pride of place in The Escape Rooms where we can both see it and each pretend it is our own, like strange subterranean hobbits.
A conversation began with John Frost, always via messenger or intermediary as it became clear that our goals complemented each other in many ways. We also love Newport and were keen to work with anyone that had creative drive and I think we saw our own optimism and hope for Newport’s future reflected back at us. Slowly, I’m not sure exactly when, we became part of the RISE movement. The change was gradual at first; we became dead cherubs ourselves, offered our wall space for RISE art and began to spread the word of RISE propaganda.
Visitors to The Escape Rooms were told of the secretive and anonymous John Frost and where they could find his artwork. I would share knowing nods with people I had met through the movement, and the occasional ‘nice tee’ when I crossed paths with a wearer of the coveted black dead cherub t-shirt. It was fun, like being part of a secret society and exclusive club.
Of course, I wondered who the real John Frost was but equally enjoyed the the mystery and playfulness of it all. Like a magicians trick, the fun is in the not-knowing. But then, strange things began to happen. Without even realizing I had been ensnared, I became more and more tangled in Frost’s web.
I found myself doing things I wouldn’t have considered previously, way outside my comfort zone and being challenged to adapt and respond – to rise and react.
I began to meet others doing the same, individuals that had been brought together under a common banner and had been inspired to create new works, new ways to collaborate and achieve small acts of kindness, distraction, entertainments… people that were open to new ideas and new ways to change minds and attitudes. I was inspired and perhaps, under John Frost’s guidance, I had in some small way inspired others.
And that’s when it happened. I met John Frost.
John Frost was me. And you. John Frost was everyone I had spoken to that looked up instead of down. To the future instead of the past.
John Frost was the people that know and love the Newport of now, not pining for a well-worn memory of the way we used to be, but loving Newport as it always has been, as an anchor for family and friends and community.
John Frost is every one of those that looks at Newport and says ‘ This is my city, my home, and I’ll do what I can for it’. A cause beyond the rebellion.
Only in acting in this manner can we RISE together.
Would the real John Frosts please stand up?
David Daniel and the highly rated Escape Rooms can be found on Griffin Street under the market in the centre of Newport. It’s a completely immersive experience that you and up to five friends have to solve clues and escape in under 60 minutes. For more details see the links below: