One of the quirkiest forms of street art we see around Shoreditch are the chewing gum pics of North London artist Ben Wilson. Last week by chance Ben was spotted in Shoreditch hard at work on a new batch of chewing gum pics.
Ben Wilson, June 2016
Ben painted a series of new chewing gum pics to replace a number that disappeared following fresh pavement works.
One of the pieces sadly lost was a brilliant miniature view of Old Street at the location where the gum was painted, compare Ben’s chewing gum pic with the actual scene.
Old Street by Ben Wilson
One location where Ben is renown for painting these chewing gum pics is on the Millennium Bridge spanning the Thames between the Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral. By Ben’s recent estimate he has painted over 400 chewing gum pics on the bridge, many of them dedicated to passers by who have stopped and chatted with him.
As I lay my bike down on the ground and sat on the pavement to chat with Ben, someone pulled over and asked if we had had an accident, Ben confided that while he has been engrossed in painting his chewing gum pics he has had ambulance crews on three occasions spot him lying on the pavement and pull over to enquire if he was alright. “I’m ok, I’m painting on the chewing gum” may not have convinced them he was 😉
“Right now there are 150 million children around the world labouring in almost every industry you can think”.
Did you know that? I didn’t. Sometimes there is no doubting the ability of street art to make a an impact and the organisation Child Labor Free have made this message abundantly clear on Shoreditch Art Wall through a collaboration between Mexican street artist Victoria Villasanna and French street artist Zabou.
The work combines the stencilled and free hand emulsion painting of Zabou with the wonderful threaded colours of Victoria Villasanna, rendered in her signature bright wool augmented with additional coloured tape.
Along with the conscious raising artwork at this very prominent site on Great Eastern St, Shoreditch, there is also a limited edition organic cotton t-shirt featuring one of the collaborative portraits. Freenet offers freedom and employment to women trapped in Kolkata’s sex trade and 100% of profits go to developing a child care centre for high risk children in Kolkata’s red light district.
T-shirts available at www.childlaborfree.com.
All photos: Dave Stuart except t-shirt image courtesy CLF
A few new pigs by LovePiePenBrinck appeared in Shoreditch this week and on the tour, an old secret piggy was discovered. After pointing out some of LovePiePenbrink’s Piggys to tour guests yesterday, a pair of guests later on gave us the news that they had spotted another piggy hiding in a little niche as we walked past. After the tour, it being a lovely afternoon, I took my camera out to do some photography and found that same pig.
Endless Summer Piggy, 2012
I was amazed to discover from LovePiePenBrink’s photographic chronicle that this piggy was put up in 2012, 4 years old and I hadn’t spotted it before. Here are a couple of pigs spotted in the past week.
It was a very busy weekend for new street art, Mr Farenheit was prolific at the end of last week (he always is!).
The next stage in Dr Cream’s epic street art animation was placed on Shoredtich streets this weekend. On Sunday the tour actually came across Dr Cream pasting his animation sheets on a wall in Shoreditch. Dr Cream gave the group a fascinating insight to the overall concept of the animation he is working on, hopefully when the full thing is completed we can write a bit more at that time.
Dr Cream – Robot Shark
On Saturday we saw some street art in the novel form of A-Frame boards relating to the UK’s forthcoming referendum on its continuing membership of the EU market, the first street art we have seen explicitly referencing this political issue. The character on the first board is Nigel Farage, in the second it is Boris Johnson. The poster is a play on the title of Banksy’s 2010 street art documentary “Exit Through The Gift Shop” and both characters are wearing the star shaped glasses worn by the rat which promoted Banksy’s film. The message to UK voters seems to be when you choose your position on this issue, beware who else is in your tent.
Brexit Through The Gift Shop with Boris Johnson, artist unknown
Brexit Through The Gift Shop with Nigel Farage, artist unknown
Nice to see some political street art in what are very interesting times.
All photos: Dave Stuart