Street Art and blogging: The passion continues but time has been an issue.
Hello!! I’ve missed you all. Where have I been? Earning a crust, as the last 6 months are my busy period. But I’ve still been out with my camera, collecting some amazing material and increasing my knowledge and love of street art. This post gives you a taster of what’s to come over the next month or so, as I’ll mix and match new and collected work.
In early 2015 the winter seemed to be a quiet period for new street art. Less daylight hours and poor weather is a bit of a deterrent, or so I thought. But come 2016 and I’d been to 2 paint jams on Blackall Street by the end of January! First the girls had one – not Femme Fierce, that happens in May – and then London Calling blog celebrated their 1st anniversary with a 2 day jam to which I was actually invited. That was a wonderful start to my year.
It was a a real treat to meet and hang out with both artists and fellow snappers on the scene. Posts on both these events to follow.
Street Art: discovering new artists
I’m still relatively new to this passion which began in June 2014, so there are many old hands out there for me to discover. One example is WRDSMTH from Los Angeles who has the tagline, “a writer doing time in Hollywood“. He regularly pops over to London to paste-up slogans. And In December he hit up a number of them on our famous red telephone boxes.
I spent New Year’s Eve dodging the tourists to track them town. And for regular readers you will know that my blog began with a hunt for the BT Artboxes, an exhibition in 2012 of decorated phone boxes. So a bit of deja vu for me, looking for these slogans.
Street Art: beyond East London
You can now find fabulous street art all over the Capital. And new areas are opening up such as Croydon and Tooting. I’ve not gone that far yet but I have been more regularly to Camden and Leake St tunnel, near Waterloo.
In Camden, I usually see work from artists I’m already familiar. In the image below Fanakapan and Pang regularly paint in the East. But I’ve never seen work from Greek artist Reb.MWC. This portrait is beautiful and on such a large scale too. When he last painted in London in Dec 2015, that was mostly in Camden plus one work south of the river.
The eye-opener though has been Leake Street tunnel where I’ve discovered the beauty of graffiti. The work there changes so rapidly or gets tagged so quickly that I made a few dashes before work to snap it in time.
This first picture was a chance discovery of one of the longest murals I’ve ever seen. I went along that Sunday afternoon because an artist had posted on IG that he would be giving lessons on how to improve technique at 2pm. I dutifully arrived at 1.45pm to discover that the lesson had happened around 10am. And this crew were hard at work on the mural below.
The finished mural was 200 ft long, painted by 9 artists and completed in one day. I took this photograph the following morning in case it was painted over by the next weekend. The work on the ceiling is by HNRX. Not sure who painted graff in the middle.
Leake Street has many paint jams. In one weekend alone this winter, three happened simultaneously. I’ve got pictures of all three, post jam. The Star Wars jam, ahead of the latest feature opening, produced some stunning work. This collab from JXC, Olivier Roubleu and Sky High was magical. I took this shot on the Monday morning.
When I got home, I realised that the end of this mural is missing. Out of sight is Darth Vada. So I returned on Tuesday morning to try again. I have got a complete shot of the work but look what happened to this storm trooper! Though this close-up shows the amazing quality of the art work. I’ve heard that they often only tag the best work.
Street Art: political views
I’ve discovered that many street artists are not afraid to air their political views via their art. In February I did post about Banksy’s latest work in London when made this feelings known about the refugee camp in Calais.
Otto Schade has always painted anti-war images featuring guns. And he painted this shutter design on Brick Lane earlier this year. This image was not my intention when I clicked the shutter but reflex action and instinct took over, bringing the artwork frighteningly to life. btw – the black squiggles are not the boy’s angry thoughts, they are tags on the original work.
SeedsOne painted this in support of Chelsea Manning, a US soldier and whistleblower who was imprisoned under the US Espionage Act in 2013 for leaking US military information about the war in Iraq. SeedsOne’s intention was to keep her name alive and for those who didn’t know her name, to google it and find out out more.
Pang painted a portrait of a Syrian refugee who resettled in London in 2012. And around it are his words and thoughts.
Street Art: Instagram love
Dear bloggers and readers you are still very important to me. But I have to confess Instagram has gobbled some of my time in the last few months. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love the fact that I’ve met and interacted with fellow streetart lovers and the artists. I hate the way it seduces me with likes and follower nos. However, it is good for promoting the work of the artists. And I’ve discovered just how much people love seeing the artists at work. This photograph has been my most popular image with over 1000 likes. On average my pictures attract about 20 – 50 likes, so it was quite shock to see the numbers climbing up and up on this one.
For me, Instagram is not really instant either. I still download from my camera, tweak pictures and then post to my IG feed. Having said that, viewing other work and images regularly has helped me become a better photographer. And that improved talent is being recognised. I only joined IG in November and with a handful of followers who knew me from twitter. So imagine my amazement in early January when this happened.
Since then I’ve been featured three more times. And also thanks to IG, now artists are asking for copies of my photographs or reposting my images in their IG feeds. Amara Por Dios reposted this photo that I took of her recent collab in Soho with Flesh31. I didn’t know the woman’s phone matched the work so perfectly until I down loaded the image.
Street Art: exhibitions
The gallery/exhibition scene for art by street artists has gone into overdrive. I’ve been to a few shows but I could be out every week if I had the time. As a fellow photographer, I was thrilled to discover the work of legendary American photojournalist, Martha Cooper at Stolen Space gallery. In the 1970s and 80s, she embedded herself with the graff artists in New York and took some breath taking photographs of their work and life.
I attended my first art show in a hospital, Vandal Therapy by Artist Neoh. This exhibition is still running at Moorfields Eye Hospital on City Road, East London, until 6th June and I’d highly recommend it.
Neverended was a show to celebrate 10 years of work from EndofTheLine at Rockwell House in Shoreditch. I was so grateful to fellow fans regularly posting pics of the show in IG or I might have missed it. Spot the sword leaning against the wall in the image below. I didn’t see this in action but visitors were allowed to pick it up and pose with it. And snap themselves doing that of course.
The exterior wall of Rockwell House was also painted but over the 3 week period that the show ran for. Zadok only painted the exotic bird in the final week of the show because I snapped him doing it.
The show that took me by surprise and blew me away was over in West London. Esthisis at the Crows Nest gallery was curated by The Krah and others. It mixed painting, sculpture, installations, drawings, mixed media and all in a number of rooms in a warehouse. And the variety of artistic voices was wider than Neverended which was an equally top show. You’ll get better idea of the breadth of work when I blog a full post. These young men caught my attention because they were seriously studying skill of this work by Wilde.
And here is the painting. I love his homage to Art Nouveau. It was also one of my favourite works in the show.
Street Art: my coverage continues
And so too does the pace of new work which continues with no let up. I was out 3 days last week, mostly in Shoreditch but also spotting new work in Soho and Fitzrovia. And since writing this post, thanks to IG, more new work has been completed in Shoreditch over the weekend.
This week, I’m off to Walthamstow and the exciting new solo show from Fanakapan at BSMT in Dalston. And I plan to be back posting regularly again from next weekend. Thanks so much for still having faith in me and reading the blog. I appreciate you all.