You Don’t Know Jesus

Following the first two paintings in the Project Mogwai series (‘Stop Coming To My House‘ and ‘Mogwai Fear Satan‘), in late 2008 I felt suitably confident enough to tackle a more personal subject. Growing up in 1970’s Leeds there was one story that affected everyone: the Yorkshire Ripper. The story of Peter Sutcliffe is well documented enough to not require repeating here, and for the most insightful book on the case I’d recommend Gordon Burn’s Somebody’s Husband, Somebody’s Son, which perfectly captures the gestalt of the North I grew up in. Suffice to say that he was a wrong ‘un of the highest order, but before his capture, this unknown killer achieved the same bogeyman presence in my imagination as Jack The Ripper, Springheel Jack or any of the creepier villains from the comics I read. Part of the shock of finally seeing what this man, who had terrorised the north of england for the best part of a decade, looked like, was that he didn’t resemble a threat to anyone. He looked like the kind of bloke you’d expect to see working on his Cortina on a Sunday morning, or down the pub with his mates on a Friday night. When his trial at the Old Bailey was covered by the tabloids, much was made of his claim that voices he’d heard while working as a gravedigger had instructed him to “clean up the streets.” The implication was this was interepreted by Sutcliffe as a message from up on high, and now you know why I chose that title for this painting.

Mogwai – You Don’t Know Jesus

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