Author Archives: Shoreditch Street Art Tours

JR: Chronicles Saatchi Gallery Exhibition

One question I always flounder with is “Who do you think the up and coming future stars in street art are?”, like I have any idea about art picking!   The easier question is “Who has emerged?” and if there is one person who can’t be left out of that answer it is French artist JR.   JR: Chronicles at the Saatchi Gallery is a comprehensive examination of JR’s very impressive back catalogue of art on the streets.  Through a succession of rooms a large number of JR’s street projects are reprised, dissected and explained,  the best part of a couple of hours is recommended.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR showing photos of JR's street art and installations

Portrait Of A Generation inside demolished building

JR’s artistic origins were as a not terribly stylish tagger in Paris who chances on a camera, takes some pretty cracking photos in fairly lairy sink estates dotted around Paris, print them out super cheap and pastes them up on the streets. Among the images is one of a young video maker surrounded by local “yoots”, that cameraman is now better known as the award winning director Ladj Ly and just to digress for a moment, watch Ladj Ly’s 2019 “Les Miserables”, it makes a superb companion to this exhibition as a semi fictional and unaffectionate look back to the environment that shaped JR’s early adult life.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Ladj Ly at Les Bosquets

If you haven’t spotted the jarring “trick of the eye” in the Les Bosquets photo, if you find it inexcusably intimidating well you’re not alone, JR tells us that when that photo was pasted on the side of the Tate Modern in 2008, the Director initially refused the image as he thought it was a gun as well.  That was the point, JR was challenging your inclination to jump to racist conclusions.

JR photo of Ladj Li holding camera like a gun at Tate Modern Street Art Exhibition 2008

JR: Tate Modern, 2008

Banksy’s first London exhibition was an un-authorised street take-over in 2001, JR adopted the same tactic in the same year.  His “Expo 2 Rue”, translated as “Sidewalk Gallery”, involved guerrilla pasting his photos on building site hoardings and to add emphasis to his paste ups he sprayed picture frames around the paste ups linked together by straight lines.  JR: Chronicles has a little humorous play with the form of JR’s Expo 2 Rue concept, a blown up photo of an Expo 2 Rue installation incorporates a video screen framed where the paste up was. “Tres droll” he probably wouldn’t say.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR – Expo 2 Rue

The scale of JR’s achievements transcend the boundary between street art and fine art, appealing as readily to art world snobs as to people who would never normally contemplate attending an art exhibition.  This can perhaps be appreciated by splitting his endeavours into three component parts, vaguely and inadequately summarised (my inadequacy, not the exhibition’s) as Idea, Execution and Documentation.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR au Louvre et le Secret de la Grande Pyramid

The ideas and concepts are the things that earn JR a place among the giants of contemporary art in the “proper” art world and galleries like Saatchi.  JR has completed a very impressive number of major projects in what is still a comparatively young career.  The hallmark of them all is quality and originality, from his Expo 2 Rue at age 17 to Women Are Heroes and Gun Chronicles by way of Wrinkles Of the City, Portrait of A Generation and more, a mere 7 huge rooms at Saatchi’s Kings Road art palace is barely sufficient.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Projects

If JR has a secret cellar to which failures are condemned, surely there must be some, it is well hidden.  The execution of them is undoubtedly thoroughly thought through, one of his charming trademarks is corralling local volunteer’s enthusiastic assistance in putting up his large paste up projects.  For those who may have no idea how printed street art can be created on such magnificent scale various display cases, models and prop do great job of lifting the veil on those production secrets.

Work In Progress JR photo of Ladj Li holding camera like a gun at Tate Modern Street Art Exhibition 2008

JR Work In Progress, Tate Modern 2008

How do you print out the images?  They are made from continuous sheets of paper 36 inches wide and in one of the films you see an architect’s printer spewing paper like a long string of spaghetti.  How many sheets?  In one of the vitrines are JR’s working images with the construction lines drawn by hand which divides the image into the stripes for printing and ultimately for putting the strips in the right order,  a laden trolley laden demonstrates how many rolls of paper might go into one of those epic paste ups.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: work in progress

There’s nothing quite so unpredictable as the public which coupled with JR’s “suck it and see” approach to putting up installations in locations where authorities are hostile (Israel, USA border) has given him a wealth of anecdotes which are well with tuning into, you can access his spoken word stories online away from the gallery.  Treat it like a podcast, you can for example access it using the QR code further down this page or it is currently available on youtube.

You might not find the “process” insights interesting, poor you, but scrutiny of those aspects can reveal secrets hidden in plain sight.  The image of a tea party JR arranged to take place through the USA Mexico border fence is well known, JR explains in one of the videos that on the Mexican side they sit at a table; on the USA side the party was “guerrilla style” as the artist was denied permission so the party on the American side takes place not on a table but a printed canvas unfurled and passed through from the Mexican side.  My chin dropped.

JR: Migrants, Mayra, Picnic across the Border, Quadrichromie, Tecate, Mexico – USA, 2017

JR’s contact sheets from earlier analogue photography projects are displayed in several vitrines in various rooms.  In the contact sheet of the images of Ladj Ly holding his camera like a gun the famous image is the very first one on the sheet, it captures the ominous energy of the kids surrounding Ladj just at that moment as they clamoured to be in the photo, in the other photos the kids were basically posturing and with the absence of spontaneity the menace becomes cartoonised.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Portrait Of A Generation Contact Sheet

The third pillar of JR’s enterprise is the element that allows JR to produce stunning books and exhibitions.  It’s the documentation, JR takes brilliant photographs of JR’s photography projects!

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Portrait Of A Generation

JR attributes his trademark hat and glasses to the early need to avoid being identified by a local mayor who wanted to sue him.   He does however explain his art to camera in a comprehensive and articulate way but always in hat and glasses.  For someone so preoccupied with anonymity shyness is not an issue!

street artist JR in front of the Inside Out Travelling Photo Booth

JR and Inside Out photo booth at Somerset House, 2013

JR does not sign his paste ups though sometimes the artist is unavoidably present at a microscopic scale, check the reflection in the subject’s eyes in, for example, the Nairobi train!

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Women Are Heroes, Kibera, Kenya

JR’s projects are concerned with humanity, often illustrating the unnecessary impact that boundaries, borders and schisms in society have on humanity, or should that be the impact the unnecessary borders have?  In essence he probes and highlights people’s impact on people.

Child peeps over US Mexico Border by Street Artist JR

GIANTS, Kikito and the Border Patrol, Tecate, Mexico – USA

The humanity becomes a teeming multitude in the Chronicles project, JR photographs up to a 1,000 people in basically the way they would like to be photographed then collages the individuals into a huge mural.  There is a tendency for the impact to resemble a hyper realistic nightmare or disaster movie.  JR toys with your own interpretations of the evidence of your own eyes, is what you see really a violent disorder, or is it actually a community out playing and dancing?

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Chronicles de Clichy-Montfermeil (detail)

Another thing that the show achieves which you can’t really replicate on a book or in a tiny screen is to impress with the scale and the level of detail in the augmented reality Chronicles.  Download the JR – net app then point your phone at the relevant Chronicles mural causes a pointer to skip from person to person in the mural and through the magic of multi media you can hear that persons’ story as recorded by JR.  Gun Chronicles occupies the whole of a large wall and incorporates 245 different viewpoints on the gun issue.  JR avoids casting judgement, pro and anti Right To Carry folk are included and your reaction to the arguments tells you all you need to know about yourself rather than the issue.  Good luck on completing the dive into the stories of all 1,128 citizens in The Chronicles Of New York City!

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Chronicles Of New York

The opening of JR: Chronicles in June was accompanied by another iteration in several London locations of JR’s Inside Out project.  This manifests as a travelling photo booth in a van modified to look like a polaroid camera where, after a long queue, your photo is taken and printed out on a large sheet and pasted on the ground like a massive outdoor version of a school yearbook if you went to that kind of school, not me!

Street Art Tour Guide Dave Stuart from Shoreditch Street Art Tours participates in JR's Inside Out photography project at Somerset House London 2013

JR Inside Out Project, Somerset House 2013

The same van stars in JR’s film “Faces Places” made with the acclaimed French director the acclaimed late Agnes Varda (click HERE for trailer).

Tour Guide Dave Stuart collects photo from JR's Inside Out photo booth at Somerset House, 2013

The Inside Out photo booth at Somerset House, 2013

That segues us nicely into an appreciation of how JR’s story is really like a street art fairytale.  The promise of street art is that anyone can present their art to a public audience, you don’t need an art degree, critical approval or gallery acceptance, you create your own art world by placing your art on the streets.  Direct from you the artist to the consumer, no middleman necessary.  JR has basically parlayed this circumventing the art system system from untutored photography to hijacking wall space and from there to projects in Israel and Palestine meeting with military disapproval, to exhibitions in posh London galleries and films with the luminati of the film world.  No formal art education or art world blessing required.  Know anyone else who did that?

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Face To Face Contact Sheet

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Face To Face, Separation Wall

One more thing in a show where so much effort has gone into making the artist look effortlessly cool, the QR codes are functioning pieces of art.  No doubt if I ask a young person I will find yet again I am ages, like months behind the times dude.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

QR Code Art (go on, test it)

The show dissects it’s subject into 7 themed zones, in each an idea and to a greater or lesser extent the process is revealed.  The whole show is the manifestation of the third dimension of JR’s activity, the documentation, it really earns that title “Chronicles”.


JR: Chronicles

Saatchi Gallery 4 June – 3 October 2021

Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY

Booking essential: tickets


Links:

JR’s website

Graffoto review of JR’s 2015 exhibition “Crossing” at Lazarides Gallery

Photos of JR’s photos of JR’s Photos by Dave Stuart


Historic 2007 Scary street art mural by street artist Eine repainted

EINE Street Art Scary Monsters

It’s back! The Eine street art mural SCARY on Rivington Street, familiar to many many Shoreditch Street Art Tour guests as the penultimate piece of art on the tour has been restored to its original colour scheme, check the featured image above.

Painted in 2007, back in the days when if a street artist wanted a wall they had to damn well sort it out themselves, SCARY is London’s oldest street art mural (terms and conditions apply).

Historic 2007 Scary street art mural by street artist Eine seen at night in 2012

EINE SCARY Nights 2012

This SCARY was a partner to the VANDALISM mural on the corresponding wall on the next street, making the ironic statement “SCARY VANDALISM” in the year when EINE really came of age as a sought after street artist with his first solo show.  Notice in 2007, no Citizen M, no elevated East London Line and no boutique next door to Village Underground!

Historic 2007 Vandalism street art mural by street artist Eine

EINE VANDALISM 2007

In 2019, Eine updated the mural as a charity art piece dedicated to Movember to raise funds in support of men’s mental health.  The background was painted yellow and 60 stylised handlebar moustaches were added.  60 because the message on the wall was “Globally, 60 men die by suicide every hour” and moustaches because men raise sponsorship money for Movember by stopping shaving throughout November.  Eine back up the awareness raising by releasing 100 copies of a signed limited edition screenprint sold for £100 each, proceeds going to Movember.

Scary street art mural by street artist Eine in colour scheme dedicated to charity Movember

EINE SCARY 2019 Movember colour scheme

The plan always was that it would eventually be returned to the original background and this week, Eine finally got around to restoring SCARY’s classic screaming redness.

All photos Dave Stuart

More photos of Eine street art in the gallery


Street Art on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch

One Off Street Art Tour By Popular Demand – More Art, Different Streets!

We have had several requests recently from guests who have done our public street art tour to be guided around the street art over on the Old Street side of Shoreditch High Street rather than the Brick Lane side.

Street Art on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch

Permissioned Graffiti colours from Eighties Conspiracy on Old Street

We have been running our private tours around the Old Street area for years, they are different to our public tours mainly because typically private guests such as office parties and school groups want a shorter tour.

Boris Johnson Borissor Coldheart Care Bare Artistic graffiti on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch by graffiti artist Tizer

Borissor Coldheart Care Bears by Tizer, Old Street 2020

Always eager to please, we are delighted to announce a public tour on Sunday 1st August which will start from Old Street Roundabout rather than Spitalfields Market.  The only overlap with our “traditional” public tour will be the very last part where we look at Eine and Banksy.

Street Art on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch

Paste ups close to Old Street

Book quick by clicking HERE, spaces are likely to run out.

Street Art on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch

Mesa work in Progress and Urocki, Holywell Lane 2020

This may become an occasional thing so if you can’t make 1st August 2021 just drop us an email and we can let you know when we arrange future dates.

Feature image: Stik and others on site of former Foundry arts space

All photos: Dave Stuart


Pink elephant parade street art by street artist Fat Cap Spraysreflected in car windscreen

June Busting Out Street Art All Over

June is Summer’s portal, ushering in hazy sunshine, drinks with friends and a bump in street art action.  That’s the theory; June in London this year was on the whole rather grey and overcast, here are some of the artworks that leavened the damp squib the month became.

paste up street art of rock star Debbie Harry from Blondie by Postmans Art

Debbie Harry – The Postman’s Art

Nathan Bowen has been on a recent flurry of art activity, one particular piece I wanted to include falls foul of the very strict rigid inflexible “June and June only” qualifying period set for this post but thankfully there are other equally lovely ones.

permissioned mural street by Nathan Bowen and Harry Blackmore

Nathan Bowen & Harry Blackmore

In this artwork created in Pedley St, the latest graffiti hotspot, Pablo Fiasco fuses the first African American character to appear in the Peanuts cartoon strip with imagery inspired by the Jimmy Cliff film “The Harder They Come”, a combination every bit as brilliant as Fiasco’s masterful stencil technique.

stencil street art by Pablo Fiasco featuring Peanuts character Franklin and scenes from The Harder They Fall Jimmy Cliff

Peanuts character Franklin by Pablo Fiasco

stencil street art by Pablo Fiasco featuring Peanuts character Franklin and scenes from The Harder They Fall Jimmy Cliff

Pablo Fiasco Jimmy Cliff detail

Grace Kelly popping into a British phone box would be an iconic moment if it ever happened, D7606 is quite happy to do the imagining for us.  Let’s hope “indigo the art dog” from New York knows how to behave.

pop art style paste up street art with Grace Kelly in a phone box by street artist D7606

Phone box multiples with Grace Kelly – D7606

Seeing Coloquix art in London is relatively unusual but it always reminds me of the wonderful time I had in Sheffield exploring art in derelict buildings after travelling up there for a gallery show by Aida, which was the first time I encountered Coloquix’s art.

paste up street art female figure bouncing on space hopper by street artist Coloquix

female with space hopper – Coloquix

Woskerski and David Speed have alternated in the use of this particular spot in the past month, this fried egg by Woskerski was sensational.

Photorealistic fried egg painted on a building site hoarding in Shoreditch by street artist Woskerski

Fried Egg – Woskerski

At a nearby location this skull by David Speed was beautifully framed in the structure of the bus shelter.

neon pink skull street art painted on an abandoned bank in Shoreditch by street artist David Speed

David Speed

At a more formal level and not normally the kind of art that Shoreditch Street Art Tours covers, Art Night has been significantly redesigned for 2021.  It used to be a one night event in London involving a crazy evening pounding around one off art events in galleries in institutions and it was terribly easy to actually spend the whole evening stuck in a queue for the most popular elements.   For 2021 the event is strung out over a month and has been decentralised with much activity outside London.  Supporting a theme small acts of personal and collective defiance and self determination we had this biting feminist advert from the Guerrilla Girls.

Art Night 2021 billboard art by Guerrilla Girls

Guerrilla Girls -Female Artists

As an aside, whenever I am under extreme pressure to name a favourite piece of street art I often fall back to a piece by James Cauty in 2008 which mirrored the street but with the devastating ego blow in which my personal significance was accurately measured out by my invisibility, it was at the same spot.

Favourtie piece of street art ever, billboard art in Shoreditch

TRA TON SI SIHT – Jimmy Cauty, 2008

This building site hoarding is at the site of the former art hang out known as the Foundry, the Shoreditch location where a new 27 story hotel is being constructed where once was one of the largest Banksy’s in London.  It mainly hosts graffiti, this sublime abstract artwork seems to have the hand, meaning can control, of a graffiti writer but looks to be abstract to the point of no letterform at all.

abstract graffiti colourfields in Shoreditch - artist not known

artist not known

That building site is now emerging above ground level, it is quite scary to reflect on the fact that it will be a 27 story building when complete.

Art Otel new building under construction in Shoreditch with graffiti on hoardings Awards, Fugs, Mase, Krops et al

Legal graffiti on building site hoardings – Awards, Fugs, Mase, Krops et al

all photos: Dave Stuart


Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

Nature Is A Whore

“It was 30 years ago today” that Nirvana released Nevermind, with apologies for that inept abuse of the Beatles’ lyrical mastery and the actual facts (release date Sep 24th 1991).  One of the standout tracks on a standout album is “In Bloom”, Kurt Cobain’s lament on the impact of their growing success and within the song is the line “Nature Is A Whore”.  Nature Is A Whore is the tagline anointing some but not all of a collection of naïve and economical artworks appearing around London over the past few months.

Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

The smile is often innocent, almost angelic and frequently the curiously four fingered character offers flowers or seems to relish the beauty in a fresh cut flower.  The crossed arms styling is curious as well, is this a dance move or a gangster style vogue?

Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

You have got to chuckle when the buff inadvertently facilitates a tinted homage to the original.

Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

Painting large scale on a couple of currently un-utilised advert walls, the artist is proposing that they are not racist as they have a coloured TV, which at face value looks like a joke available in black and white versions but could easily be a very clever indication of a race blind preference for transvestites.  Rather curious that one version of this has the “British English” spelling of the word “coloured”, the other is wrong! (wink)

Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

Sometimes the artistic impulse springs from an anonymous mind whose satisfaction would appear to derive from beautification rather than ego gratification.  Thus far, I have no firm idea who these short lived minimalist masterpieces should be attributed to.

Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

Here is a sample of just a few, guests have report their own sightings of other specimens in other locations.

Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

Only Fools And Cars Go backwards

Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

Send A Ugly Girl Flowers

Shoreditch street art characters with nature is a whore written next to them by unknown mystery street artist

All photos: Dave Stuart


Graffiti street art flyposters and people in the Braithwaite tunnel at Wheler St in Shoreditch London featuring artists Helch and Knapple

Some People Are On The Pitch…

Why does a street art tour guide snap adverts?  The answer is simply for love of the graphic response adverts provoke.  The way people subvert, augment and modify adverts is pretty much an artform in itself.  The printed advert becomes a host for forced artistic collaboration and capturing the “before and after” timeline yields fascinating mini histories of public intervention.

illegal flyposter advert in Shoreditch

don’t buy it, don’t buy it….

A week ago I photographed an illegal flyposter advertising a new album release, in itself it was a quite compelling photograph. When I returned from a week in Wales the advert was still there, to my surprise, though now it hosted several graffiti enhancements. The black tag with the jagged arrow underlining reads ARTIK LTB who is an hugely impressive creator of large scale rollerbrush graffiti all over London.  There is also a vertical tag which could be “Sey”; the large “throw” over the three characters in the advert appears to read PY and there is an arcing “Shmokey” tag in a white marker with quote marks and triple dotted underlining.

illegal flyposter advert subverted by a graffiti writer in Shoreditch

Artik, Shmokey and others vs advertising

The next morning the Shoreditch Street Art Tour passed through this tunnel and that advert had been replaced with a fresh crop of flyposters which I dutifully snapped at high speed as we passed by.    Although I am I swear completely and utterly immune to adverts, there is an advert for Ed Sheeran in that collection which is a curious coincidence as last Summer on a Shoreditch Street Art Tour we spotted Ed Sheeran serving burgers out of a silver airstream style street food truck just yards from that very spot.

illegal flyposter advert in Shoreditch June 2021

June 2021 Flyposters

Ed Sheeran serving fast food from a silver airstream truck in Shoreditch London spotted on Shoreditch Street Art Tour

Ed Sheeran padding his CV, 2020

To my delight, just 24 hours later on Sunday that collection of adverts had augmented with a gorgeous fat chrome and black dub by Noyse.

illegal flyposter advert subverted by a graffiti writer in Shoreditch

Noyze 1 Flyposters 0

So, why do people make marks on adverts?  In the case of street artists, being anti advertising has been a core sentiment since the movement’s origins, for many artists it justified illegal street art created in response to desecration of the visual public landscape by overwhelming advertising.

illegal flyposter advert subverted by street artist Decapcitator in Shoreditch

Decapacitator vs Uniqlo, 2008

Graffiti writers will point to the fact that the adverts are in locations designed to attract eyeballs, they also provide a nice clean surface for easy marking. In the case of the locations photographed here they also happen to be right next to key graffiti spots and many graffiti writers just happen to be in the area with the right equipment

graffiti by sony over spraypainted advert for Breitling in Shoreditch

spraypainted watch advert subverted by Sony (ironic? lol)

Just a brief note on the title of this essay which may seem a little obscure particularly if you are not British or a football fan.  There is an iconic fragment of BBC commentary from 1966 which registers as one of the nation’s most patriotic collective memories, see the short clip below; an advert is a “pitch”; people intervening on an advert are “on the pitch” and the football theme is relevant as the Euros are currently underway 1 year late.

Here is a small selection of some favourite earlier examples of advert subversion:

illegal flyposter advert subverted by street artist Anna Laurini in Shoreditch

Anna Laurini “Let’s Advertise”, 2016

illegal flyposter advert in Shoreditch in 2020

very arty advert

illegal flyposter advert subverted by street artist Nathan Bowen in Shoreditch

Bowenised

illegal flyposter advert for Lady Gaga subverted by street artist DFace in Shoreditch

D*Face vs Lady Gaga 2016

Does the advertising work?  There is still no way I could be persuaded to purchase an Ed Sheeran album 🙂

LINKS:

Artik instagram

Sony instagram

Nathan Bowen instagram

Anna Laurini instagram

D*Face instagram

all photos: Dave Stuart


street artist ALO street art female portraits in Shoreditch

The Darling Street Art Buds of May

Shoreditch Street Art Highlights From May 2012

William Shakespeare is rarely the first thing we think of in street art.  Shakespeare’s downer on the month of May was its tendency to be a bit windy so with the low temperatures and  rain experienced in May 2021 London certainly bore some of the weather characteristics maligned by the bard in the sonnet Shall I compare Thee to A Summers Day.

The weather didn’t deter street artists and with outdoor groups of more than 6 permitted from May 17th not to mention of course the reopening of some of our favourite watering holes there was a lot of street art activity around Shoreditch.  Here are some of the highlights we found on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour:

ALO had a prolific month and the highlight was this quintet of females painted without permission at the major intersection between Old Street, Commercial Street and Shoreditch High Street.  See also the featured image at the top of the post.

street artist ALO painting street art in Shoreditch

ALO work in progress

street artist ALO street art female portrait in Shoreditch

ALO, female portraits, May 2021

street artist ALO street art female portrait in Shoreditch

ALO, Moroccan Lady, May 2021

Pablo Fiasco painted some jaw dropping stencils in May, the complexity and skill of this father of street art defies belief almost.  This –on-the-wall guide to selecting caps for spraycans was genius, and the word “was” is used as the piece, as ephemeral as a mayfly, has been written over.

All Caps with MF Doom tribute – Pablo Fiasco

Stencil Street Art by Pablo Fiasco behind the Old Blue Last on the Shoreditch Hoxton Border in London

MF Doom tribute – Pablo Fiasco

One of the great excitements for a street art aficionado in London is to discover a new Jonesy bronze.  One of the tour groups early in May shared my joy as I spotted a brand new Jonesy I did not know existed – from the other side of the main road!

SStreet Art Bronze castsing on top of a pole by Jonesy in Shoreditch London

Jonesy bronze

Street Art Bronze casting on top of a pole by Jonesy in Shoreditch London

Jonesy bronze

Shoreditch’s main purveyor of broccoli, Adrian Boswell hit the streets hard with floret of broccoli presented as bite size angel, devil or 24 carot gold broccoli.

Broccoli street art by street artist Adrian Boswell in Shoreditch London

Adrian Boswell Angel, Devil & 24 Carot Gold Broccoli

3km of string was all it took Perspicere to make this beauty which appeared on the old Shoreditch Tube Station which is on Pedley St just off Brick Lane.  String street art is comparatively rare and London based artist Perspicere is the master of the genre, in fact quite possibly the only street practitioner – yarn bombing is something different.  Sadly this piece didn’t last too long as some thief went to a lot of trouble prizing it off the wall, that’s the temporary nature of street art.

Rare String Art Street Art by Perspicere in Shoreditch London

Perspicere

Finally for this May street art flashback, Ed Hicks produced a spraycan art masterpiece on Great Eastern St, inspired by the apocalyptical landscapes of 19th century painter John Martin.  This truly extraordinary painting lasted about 5 weeks.

Amazing Street Art mural by artist Ed Hicks in Shoreditch London

Ed Hicks

All photos: Dave Stuart


collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Planet Selfie & Hello The Mushroom

Clusters of Street Art Collaborations

As we enjoyed a rare hot late May bank holiday in the UK, the Bank holiday Monday Shoreditch Street Art Tour discovered a fascinating range of new street art that had been put up since just the day before.  One curious aspect was the number of gorgeous collaborations, in fact just for fun we could link the artist combinations in a street art “degrees of separation” web of connectivity.   The main image at the top of the post features Planet Selfie & Hello The Mushroom.

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Hello The Mushroom & So Schoen Immer Weider

Hello The Mushroom & So Schoen Immer Weider

Paste up artist Hello The Mushroom, previously of London now based in Oslo, has collaborated creatively with many street artists from other countries and it was a pleasure to find eye catching art works with So.Schoen.Immer.Wieder, Planet Selfie, both of Cologne, Jens Regler from Sweden and Eraquario of Brazil.

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Hello The Mushroom & Eraquario

Hello The Mushroom & Eraquario

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Hello THe Mushroom and Jens Regler

Hello The Mushroom & Jens Regler

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Planet Selfie & Hello The Mushroom

Planet Selfie & Hello The Mushroom

Planet Selfie in turn has a collaboration up with Dacarter

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Planet Selfie & DaCarter

Planet Selfie & Dacarter

The above photo features also Fanakapan’s anamorphic balloon at the entrance to that alley, meanwhile also in that alley is another Planet Selfie, this time with Rad aka Raddington Falls

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Planet Selfie and Raddington Falls

Planet Selfie and Rad aka Raddington Falls

Here for good measure is a small sample of the many collaborations that have delighted and inspired us in the past year starting with a couple of my favourite street artists, Smiler and Face The Strange.

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Smiler & Face The Strange

Smiler & Face The Strange

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Coloquix & UltraMarineDream

Coloquix & UltraMarineDream

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from City Kitty, Mowcka, Neon Savage & Sketch Rat

City Kitty, Mowcka, Neon Savage & Sketch Rat March 2021

Mowcka revisited this collaboration and added a new hair piece to it, Mowcka told us

“I put a new paste ups on the previous one because it had been broken and I wanted to keep the collaboration”

Check out the fading of the original colours since the photo below was taken in its infancy.

collaborative street art in Shoreditch from Neon Savage, City Kitty, Sketch Rat, Mowcka June 2020

Neon Savage, City Kitty, Sketch Rat & Mowcka June 2020

City Kitty has a podcast in which he chats with fellow street artist Lunge Box about this very subject, collaborations, check that out HERE

See our gallery for many more photos of the glorious street art which has been spotted on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour

Additional links:

UltramarineDream instagram

Coloquix instagram

City Kitty instagram

Neon Savage instagram

Sketch Rat instagram

All photos Dave Stuart except where noted

 


"The Boy" character by graffiti writer and artist Jano at Feltham Circles

Jano RIP – Graffiti Tributes At Feltham Circles

The graffiti scene recently lost a true virtuoso with the passing at a very young age of Jano.  Jano  was a master of style.  He pulled off the almost impossible feat of constantly innovating and developing new directions while always remaining distinctive and instantly recognisable.

Jano graffiti writer, died 2021 RIP

Jano – Sclater St London 2009

Jano writing “Human”, Leake St London 2009

Jano graffiti writer, died 2021 RIP

Jano Shoreditch 2017

Jano graffiti writer, died 2021 RIP

Jano Shoreditch 2017

Jano graffiti writer, died 2021 RIP

Jano, Bishopsgate 2017

Whenever you came across a Jano piece or saw his latest upload there was always a kaleidescope of geometry and colour that made the letter form almost redundant, yet on close inspection Jano’s inventive and unconventional take on letter shapes would be magically reveal itself to the patient and curious eye.  You did not need to be a graff obsessive to see the beauty in Jano’s style and this cross-over appeal may explain a lot about the high esteem in which Jano was held as well as something about the growing general appreciation of graffiti as a significant, valid culture.

Jano graffiti writer, died 2021 RIP

Jano, Exor Shoreditch 2018

Jano graffiti writer, died 2021 RIP

Jano, Leake St 2020

Jano frequently painted concrete structures at the former sewage works in south west London now known as the Feltham Circles and it is at this location that a large number of tributes to Jano, by fellow writers have appeared – hat tip to Romanwg who messaged me to draw my attention to this.

Panoramic view of graffiti hall of fame at Feltham Circles

Feltham Circles Hall Of Fame, 21 May 2021

Thanks also to local boy Art Of The State who pointed out that Feltham Circles is next to the crematorium where Jano’s funeral service was held.  After the service and the next day friends, relatives and writers gathered at Jano’s favourite location to celebrate his life and pay tribute.

Jano belonged to the graffiti crew Vicious Circle, hence his instagram ID “Jano_Vicious” and the “VIcious Circle” tribute by Gem VCS.

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

Vicious Circle by Gems VCS

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

RIP Jano, by Exor vcs

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

 

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

 

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

Jano tribute by Gasp, background MrMeana

Jano tribute by Gasp, background MrMeana

Jano tribute by Paul “Don” Smith UA

Jano tribute by graffiti writer Skyhigh at graffiti hall of fame Feltham Circles

Jano tribute by Sky High

Some graffiti writers, a talented few, develop a character which becomes as much a signature for their identity as their graffiti style, a character so distinctive and recognisable you are in no doubt who the creator was.  Zomby has it, Tizer has it.  Jano had it too.  “The Boy” as the character is known, a seated character based essentially on a circle, was often found close to Jano’s graffiti and all around his usual writing haunts.

character by Jano painted Sclater St 2009

The Boy – Jano, Sclater St 2009

The Boy is replicated in homage in many of the tributes.

"The Boy" character graffiti homage to graffiti writer and artist Jano at Feltham Circles painted by Chum 101

The Boy character homage by Chum

"The Boy" character graffiti homage to graffiti writer and artist Jano at Feltham Circles

"The Boy" character graffiti homage to graffiti writer and artist Jano at Feltham Circles

The Boy, homage by Gem vcs

"The Boy" character graffiti homage to graffiti writer and artist Jano at Feltham Circles

"The Boy" character graffiti homage to graffiti writer and artist Jano at Feltham Circles

The Boy, homage by Dice

"The Boy" character graffiti homage to graffiti writer and artist Jano at Feltham Circles

The Boy character by Sky High

Among the many character tributes was this particularly poignant shrine.  It is possible that this version of the character may be protected under plastic as a genuine Jano relic, comments seen online from writers paying tribute to Jano suggest this may be the case.

"The Boy" character by graffiti writer and artist Jano at Feltham Circles

Shrine sacred to Jano’s memory, RIP

I only met Jano on just a few occasions many years apart and found him courteous and tolerant of my intrusion on his painting.  RIP Jano, not forgotten.

Jano graffiti writer work in progress, died 2021 RIP

Jano work in progress, Shoreditch 2017

With apologies to all those writers and friends of Jano whose art features in this post but who through my ignorance I can’t credit.  If you know who any of the uncredited pieces are by, just drop me an email: nolionsinengland at gmail or insta dave_stuart_ldn, all polite messages most appreciated!

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

RIP Jano: Gasp, Dice and MrMeana

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles

graffiti tribute to Jano RIP at Feltham Circles