The second edition of the London International Paste Up Festival took place 20-23 October 2022. Artists from all over the world, about 300 all told, sent in paper-based artwork which the organisers pasted up on a number of walls mainly around the Brick Lane area.
Street art was put up on a total of 7 locations, or 8 if you include the numerous paste ups that accumulated around LIPF HQ on Hanbury Street during the festival opening event. None of the LIPF2 locations had been used in the inaugural 2021 London International Paste Up Festival.
In 2021 all the locations bar one were legal, permission had been granted by the owners. The exception was one wall where the LIPF team thought they had permission but it turned out they were listening to the wrong person! For 2022 there was no permission and indeed at several spots the apparent wall owners remonstrated with the paste up teams with varying degrees of forcefulness. At one spot the ground floor occupant harangued the team to be followed by an occupant from the floor above later saying how much they loved the art and the constant change.
In 2021 all the LIPF surfaces were virgin surfaces or tarps tied to walls. For the second event all bar one of the LIPF walls had long term prior history as paste up street art walls. The paste up festival waved a transformational wand at each wall, bringing complete more or less change in a single moment to surfaces more accustomed to perpetual evolution through gradual change. Last year’s art was essentially one layer deep whereas this year LIPF2 looks all the better for layering onto each walls accretion of texture, patina and depth. Also there were no gaps where original wall surface can be seen. So this year’s locations just looked more like street art from the wild compared to last year’s festival.
Street art lends itself to collaborations, interactions and augmentations. Emo Ryan screenprints portraits of punk version of Queen Elizabeth garnished with Jamie Reid/Sex Pistols influenced wording, a recent paste up of the Queen by Silvio Alino had the right scale and similar text providing a perfect juxtaposition. The lily was well and truly gilded with the later addition of an artificial flower.
One paste up spot with a long history of street art got the LIPF paste up team into spot of bother with an un-appreciative owner. Stik painted the Brick Lane Couple on Princelet Street in 2010. The adjacent wall was decorated in fine style with a succession of stencil images by Otto Schade from 2014 and paste ups really started appearing in large numbers in 2015. Someone in the property had a tirade against Benjay Crossman in 2019 leading to this sought after artist mulshing out his own art and leaving little doubt as to his feelings towards the owners. It would appear that the same person objected to the LIPF team decorating this long running spot and scrapped off the paste ups within his reach (short arms, stiff knees?). In the process of destroying the art he created a truly unsightly mess. Ironically, within the vague unwritten rules of paste up culture, ripped, torn, peeling and destroyed art gives a free pass to other artists to place fresh art over the desecration.
Tweet_streetart from Melbourne collaborated with Metraeda from Dusseldorf on a balloon breathing faceted dragon. A barred gate locked to a wall provided appropriate context for several artworks including Palley’s R2D2 which was kept company by a rocket taking David Bowie to heaven and Cultof.XYZ’s “Allow access”. Old School street artists who submitted artworks included the famous London Police and West London writer CodeFC.
Street artists are used to surrendering control over the fate of their art once they leave it on the streets. The London International Paste Up Festival begs artists to relinquish more, they are absent from the placement process. On the whole, with the exception of some artists who assisted with the pasting up or who attended some of the events in person, the gift of placement was in the hands of the team who spent many days pasting art on the walls. The aesthetic of the resulting walls was determined by opportunist interactions, intentional and chance colour combinations and a preference for chaotic randomness rather than disciplined straight edged borders and overlaps.
The LIPF2 spots are live and active street art locations, they remained dynamic and constantly changing even over the period of the Festival itself as new art was added by artists. K-Guy had been a participant in the 2021 LIPF but in 2022, having not managed to get ready in time for the submission deadline decided the best means of getting involved was simply to pop up and add his contributions himself. Those contributions were themselves subject to very rapid augmentation by another reliable contributor to the Shoreditch street art smorgasbord, Alex Arnell.
People immersed in the street art scene, in particular the practitioners, the artists may ponder what gives someone the right to take over whole walls and go over existing art in the name of a festival. Specially one in which very few of the participants are active in the installation, necessitating an element that might be construed as curation. If there is a conceit at the heart of the method, the actual achievement in elevating the appreciation and status of paste up street art justifies it.
Shoreditch Street Art Tours had the pleasure a few years back of introducing the artist Apparan who is one of the main organisers involved in conceiving, managing and generally pulling off the London International Paste Up Festival to the charity Urban Heart Guate. Urban Heart Guate promotes various forms of therapy including art to support a better life and environment for young children growing up in communities in Guatemala blighted by poverty, crime and gang violence. A free street art tour by Shoreditch Street Art Tours on the last afternoon of LIPF2 raised donations to support the work of Urban Heart Guate. The official link to contribute via LIPF to this fabulous cause can be found HERE
The organisers of the London Paste Up Festival are continuing to raise funds in support and have partnered with Pepita Coffee to raise funds from purchases of reusable coffee tins packed with luxury ground coffee and featuring a collage of photos of LIPF1 art, they look stunning!
Message London International Paste Up Festival on Instagram for more details on how to get your mitts on one of these beauties.
With apologies to the 300 artists who participated in LIPF2, it would be wonderful to provide links to all artists or indeed to identify everyone whose art features in the photographs in this summary but sadly this isn’t practical.
The 2nd London International Paste Up Festival was supported by:
All photos: Dave Stuart