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The Big Issue’s Christmas art wrapping paper is back and these are the stories behind the designs

It’s that time of year again, when we commission acclaimed artists to create collectable art as Christmas wrapping paper. Choose a limited edition print, or elevate your giving with gifts that look too good to open

It’s become a Christmas tradition for The Big Issue to team up with some of the country’s best contemporary artists to create exclusive, highly collectable Christmas art wrapping paper. This year’s line-up of acclaimed artists are: The Connor Brothers, Dave White, My Dog Sighs, Mr Cenz and Huh?.

Limited-edition signed sheets are now on sale, as well as packs of five regular sheets of the Christmas wrapping paper. And the best thing about it? All proceeds go into supporting Big Issue Group’s work with some of the most marginalised people in the country.

The artworks are all available to buy from the Big Issue Shop. Here’s what the artists had to say about their designs. 

The stories behind The Big Issue’s Christmas art wrapping paper

SOLD OUT – The Connor Brothers

I Tried To Drown My Sorrows But The Bastards Learned How To Swim

The Connor Brothers

“The artwork we’ve chosen for The Big Issue is from our Pulp Fiction series, I Tried To Drown My Sorrows But The Bastards Learned How To Swim. We chose it because various religious scholars believe it is the most accurate translation of ‘tetelestai’, which were Jesus’s final words. It seemed fitting to recall his last words in the season where we celebrate his birth by wearing reindeer jumpers and undertaking the annual visit to that slightly racist uncle for weird hot fruit wine and a chat about whether or not Covid was a hoax. 

“We’ve been involved with The Big Issue for years and have been long-term supporters by always buying a copy from local vendors. It’s great journalism, unique voices, for an important cause, so we were delighted to be invited to collaborate.”  

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Dave White 

Be Kind

Dave White Be Kind

“The mice came from a really interesting period in my life, which at the time was incredibly traumatic. In the summer my wife got seriously ill and was very close to not making it. She’s fine now, but at the time it was incredibly worrying and scary. Once she came out of hospital and was out of the danger zone I had a moment of clarity. My work has always been based on wildlife and the natural world, and I’m very blessed to be surrounded by that where I live in Devon. However, it was a really profound moment where I realised that all of the wildlife that does surround me has its own life, its own story.  

“The mice appeared. They were beautiful and small, quite vulnerable. I think they’re just the epitome [of] a survivor. They’re these tiny, beautiful things that the whole world is against. They seemed to be the perfect reflection of what had happened. And spookily, I saw one on the day I decided to paint one; it ran across my foot. 

“I’m delighted when my work can do some good. I hope it raises a lot of money for the magazine.” 

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SOLD OUT – My Dog Sighs 

Little Voices

My Dog Sighs

“I’ve always been fascinated by birds and the way they have the ability, should they want to, to take flight, travel to places new and start afresh. The character I’ve produced for The Big Issue, like many of us, has desires to travel to new places and explore new possibilities. 

“With its tied-on beak and scabby feathers we can see it’s on the beginning of its journey. But it’s a trier. It has hopes and dreams. And through time, grit and many failed flight attempts, it’ll reach them. I’m sure of it. 

“There are many times in my life I’ve been picked up, dusted off and helped to get back on track and I wouldn’t be where I am without that support. Big Issue offers that same opportunity to those that are in the most need of it. To be able to use my art to support this is a privilege.”

Mr Cenz 

High Rise

Mr Cenz

“My piece is called High Rise and it’s a message of peace, love and hope. It depicts a woman rising up high above the negative forces of the world and finding her inner strength. The image is based on a portrait photograph of a model which I abstracted to create an interesting and mysterious composition. They display an ethereal and translucent quality, which can take the viewer to another place and evoke a deep emotional response.  

“I have always believed in using my art to help others. I’m a qualified youth worker who spent many years teaching graffiti art to vulnerable young people and using it as a tool for personal and social education.”  

Ethical shopping
Empowering people who have experienced homelessness through photography and art.

Huh? (MOBSTR) 

Were You Saying Something?

Were You Saying Something Huh?

“Perhaps this is based on conversation, an attitude or maybe it’s a reminder that listening is important. Consider the other. Everyone has some interesting shit to say. Let’s give each other the opportunity to be listened to.  

“I don’t think you can spend your time in a better way than helping someone else, so long as you are OK. It is a great thing to look out for people. The Big Issue represents this ethos. Big up The Big Issue.” 

There are signed, limited-edition, single-image sheets of each artist’s design, priced at £39 each. You can also buy a pack of five sheets of regular wrapping paper  for £7.99. Browse and buy the Christmas wrapping designs here

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Every copy counts this Christmas

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.

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