I started painting this exploring the heritage of the city of Birmingham – where i am born and raised. Birmingham was once known as a city of a thousand trades, and we once made 75% of the worlds pens around WW2. During the war, one of the factories in Birmingham was bombed, and it an impact on the industry. Whilst i was painting this piece, halfway through, the Charlie Hebdo attacks took place. Suddenly the painting took a different focus, where the pen as a symbol of pacifism and enlightenment became one associated with provocation and violence. The surveillance cameras were added near the end, when statements were made by the government about how surveillance was now a key priority following the attacks in Paris.