Author Archives: Shoreditch Street Art Tours

Intertwining figures in cubist style by street artist Yorgos painted on unusual shape wall

Yorgos new street art and old

On Christmas Eve the Shoreditch Street Art Tour had the pleasure of bumping into Yorgos photographing a charming new street art piece in his signature style painted the night before.  Ever the friendly one, Yorgos delighted guests on the tour by posing alongside his new masterpiece.

street artist Yorgos shows off his Shoreditch mural showing intertwined bodies with picasso cubist faces

Yorgos shows his characters on Christmas Eve 2023

Yorgos told us that he had painted the artwork the night before but hadn’t been able to get a decent photograph.  He had returned to get his daytime photograph but confessed he was a bit worried that it might have been tagged or painted over before he got there.  Lucky for all is was still in pristine condition.

Having seen out the old year with that beauty, Yorgos welcomed 2024 in with another banger.  This was painted on a wall some might consider complex but Yorgos seems to have found its geometry a simple problem to solve.  Cubism in a couple of squares!

close cropped photo of Intertwining figures in cubist style by street artist Yorgos painted on unusual shape wall

Yorgos, New Year 2024

This wall was actually right at the spot where my very first street art tour convened in 2008 and it is I believe the first time that spot has been taken over for a full mural piece in this style.

Yorgos showed he fully understand the ephemeral nature of street art and it was just as well he got his photos on Christmas Eve, that piece was painted over this week.

New graffiti writing over Yorgos mural

Polo STS over Yorgos, Jan 2024

I am sure we will see more from Yorgos this year, can’t wait.

Links:

Yorgos Instagram

All photos: Dave Stuart


2023 Street Art Memories

2023 Street art, another year down.  Did you smile more often?  Certainly the Smokers crew aka SMO did.  A burst of activity in the Summer sun included the perfect composition of “Smokers” on a railway bridge as well as the crew acronym SMO appearing all over Shoreditch but the crowning piece was their huge Smile More Often wall with the names of all 12 crew members in smoking purple contained within the blockbuster letters, see the feature image at the top.

Smokers Crew

It there was such a thing as an award for the most up crew of the year it would go to Ghost Writers, no competition.  It seemed that there was someone representing Ghost Writers with something new almost every week.  Christmas week was no different.

graffiti and street art in Shoreditch by Ghost Writers members Minto, Tizer and Trafik and also Pablo Fiasco stencil

Minto, Trafik and Tizer repping Ghost Writers plus Pablo Fiasco

graffiti and street art in Shoreditch by Ghost Writers members Minto, Tizer and Trafik

Minto and Trafik collab, Yorgos, Tizer and Trafik

Banksy’s gift for newsworthiness did not desert him in 2023.    There was the retrospective exhibition in Glasgow, lifting the veil somewhat on the process but not the person and trumping all those shit un-authorised shows of ripped of reproductions and pure fantasy re-creations.  There was the court case which the litigant over hyped as about to lead to Banksy’s identity being revealed.  There was the artwork in Kent on the building that was demolished three days after he painted it.  Then, this being a non chronological list in which the best story is kept to last, there was the “Valentine’s Day Massacre” in Margate which led to possibly the most unfulfilling street art treasure hunt ever.  I arrived just as council contractors loaded the fridge onto a truck for disposal, how much did I rue missing by a minute the train from London that would have got me there an hour earlier.  Peter The Painter didn’t miss a thing, as anyone who Banksy’s Cut and Run show will have seen.  (Actually the most frustrating treasure hunt ever was a night spent wandering the streets of London in vain pursuit of an Adam Neate free art drop in 2008.)

Margate Council truck takes away the freezer from Banksy "Valentines Day Mascara"

Dangerous freezer captured in Margate

Banksy "Valentine's Day Mascara" Street art in Margate without the original freezer

I went London to Margate – the wall went Margate to London

There were at least four occasions this year when street art’s fleeting nature defeated my ponderous reactions. Twice I missed Banksy artworks, (the Valentine’s Day Mascara above) and the Stop War traffic sign installation which was stolen less than an hour after Banksy posted online about it.  The two other occasions were brilliant paintings by Airborne Mark, his masterpieces of virtuoso spraycan technique seem fated to be painting over immediately.  I count my blessings that there were a couple I managed to get to before they disappeared.  Everything about the origami gecko coming to life with every slant and facet of the paper catching the orange and green side lighting differently is just sensational.  All street artists’ creativity has at its core the certainty that the original piece is doomed to a very very short lifespan, yet the artists return again and again unpaid yet showing a dedication to the art which in any other endeavour would be regarded as bonkers.

spraypaint Street art mural by Airborne Mark in Shoreditch

Airborne Mark Gecko and stationery

spraypaint Street art mural by Airborne Mark in Shoreditch

Airborne Mark X Wing and stationery

Russel Shaw Higgs framed his characters beautifully within this lintel, only on the streets can such engagement with a perhaps once grand façade be realised.

street art paste ups in Shoreditch by Russell Shaw Higgs and Dr Cream

Russell Shaw Higgs, also feat Dr Cream

Yorgos first appeared in Shoreditch in 2022 but his prolific output this year has beguiled all.  He paints with influences from Picasso and traces of Matisse and his use of emulsion, which is quite rare in street art, produces a very flat and crisp aesthetic.   This pair of lovers (count the hands!) share their love with a heart that snuggly matches the bike lock frame sitting a couple of feet from the wall.

Street art mural by Yorgos of lovers whose love heart fits into the heart shaped bicycle frame

Yorgos

Yorgos

Most of Jonesy’s creativity on the Shoreditch streets this year was in the form of original drawings and paintings, check out all the oily creatures in the detail below as well as several new bronze castings atop street sign poles.

street art illustration concerned with pollution and environment by Jonesy

Jonesy Jan 2023

bronze casting sitting on top of a street sign of a see no evil monkey with hands covering its eyes

Jonesy See No Evil, March 2023

bronze casting sitting on top of a street sign of a demon with a petrol pump

Jonesy Bronze July 2023

If I have to pick a single art piece that made my jaw hit the ground it was this beauty from Minto.  Minto is a writer more associated with graffiti lettering but when I realised the alignment of the inverted face with the architecture in the background formed a stunning tribute to rapper (and occasional graffiti writer) MF Doom it was clearly a piece of ephemeral genius.

Minto

MF Doom by Minto

Cept is a bit of a renaissance man who goes through phases alternating between gallery installations and outdoor endeavours, it was great to see thet pendulum swung back to street art and graffiti this year.

comic illustration style street art by Cept supervillain with written text confession

Cept

Dan Kitchener had a brilliant year, not just because he painted abroad a lot or in terms of the scale of his murals, he also created some beautiful specimens of urban landscapes and character art in Shoreditch.  The most interesting was the mural which veered towards abstract impressionism in a painting with a point of view sitting in a car looking out through a rainy windscreen at one of his rainy night time neon lit street scenes.  The small photo cannot do justice to the impressionist beauty in the full size mural.  I could be wrong but I think Dan painted this spot three times this year, other artists occupying this wall were Inagaki (twice) and Only E1

spraycan impressionist street scene viewed through a wet window with drip or rivulets of raindrops and car lights reflecting off wet road surface by street artist Dan Kitchener

Dan Kitchener Feb 2023

Nearly every time you turn up to photograph this wall there are huge mountains of bin bags awaiting collection which makes my failure to get the photo of this image with a stack of bin bags in front of it quite unforgivable.

realistic spraycan painting relates to the piles of commercial rubbish seen regularly on Commercial Street

Inagaki, formerly known as Enigma, Feb 2022

Esauteric continued to amaze with his energetic disregard for conventional crisp spraypainting techniques, the very experimental colour combination and of course the manner of painting on walls with irregular surfaces, corners and buttresses that mean you really have to be able to walk around the wall to experience what the art has to offer from different angles.

wall mural colourful energetic face Shoreditch Brick Lane

Esau-teric. one angle only

wall mural colourful energetic face Shoreditch Brick Lane style of Futura2000

Esau-teric. Look closely, there is a 12 inch deep buttress in this picture

ODDO is an enduring Shoreditch favourite and his prolific production of wilder and wilder characters veers towards the curious, dark and scary.   “Bamboo mole” was a recurring theme.  I made one selection of snaps that captured the contribution ODDO made to my enjoyment of street art in 2023 then on the morning of New Years Eve, two more new ODDO artworks popped up on my walk through Shoreditch and one muscled right into this selection.  In a parallel universe I would be wearing clothes designed by ODDO.

crazy clothes crazy colours on harnd drawn street art paste up by ODDO in Shoreditch

ODDO, New Years Eve

crazy clothes crazy colours on harnd drawn street art paste up by ODDO in Shoreditch

ODDO, Feb 2023

crazy clothes crazy colours on harnd drawn street art paste up by ODDO in Shoreditch

ODDO, Oct 2023

Nonose has been doing quirky, lurid potatoes spiked with cocktail sticks since forever and for a little while this year a flotilla of crash-landed sputniks could be found on the tops of bus shelters and street furniture in Shoreditch and Hackney.

a dayglo potato with cocktail sticks by street artist nonose on top of a bus stop shelter

Nonose, Jan 2023

a dayglo potato with cocktail sticks by street artist nonose on top of a bus stop shelter

Nonose, Jan 2023

a dayglo potato with cocktail sticks by street artist nonose on top of a bus stop shelter

Nonose, Jan 2023

For a former graffiti writer Shaim certainly has no fear of negative space!  His hand drawn originals and paste up copies have managed to make horn rimmed glasses sexy again.  The trio of ladies are not copies at all, each is different and for the really curious, the green splats on the wall date back to a Nick Walker show in 2008.

3 black and white female faces on a wall at Old Street Shoreditch by Stephen Haim Shaim

Shaim

Ed Hicks remains the master of painterly gothic street art, he had a productive 2023 and there wasn’t a single piece I saw that I didn’t love.  It’s a puzzle that his masterworks tend to have much shorter lives than equivalent efforts from his peers, the artwork on the Grey Eagle St wall lasted barely a week before giving way to Smile More Often.

double height door gothic light and dark mural on Brick Lane by Ed Hicks

Ed Hicks

street art mural of fiery explosion, Brick Lane, Ed Hicks

Ed Hicks, Nov 2023. 1 week only.

Shoreditch visitors

Shoreditch continues to magnetically attract brilliant visiting artists working from small paste ups to the largest murals.  Alex face painted literally a scorcher, controversially short lived as it was painted over by an advert on a wall which has never hosted an advert before.

burning faces mural by Alex Face from Thailand painted on a wall on Brick Lane

Alex Face, Thailand. Jul 20263

Drash visited London twice this year and her colourful detourned fashion mag pages got brasher and Drasher.

Colourful Street artist Drash La Krasse from La Rochelle next to her art in Shoreditch

Drash La Krasse

Colourful Street art by Drash La Krasse from La Rochelle on derelict window old Shoreditch tube station

Drash La Krasse, with additional LDashD sticker

Niafase, Key and Naths Ice visited from Mexico and got stuck right in painting with some talented artists at various spots around London with Niafase contributing some technically brilliant 3D lettering.

part of large mural with goldfish, portraiture and 3d graffiti lettering

Niafase with Curiouser and Curioser

collaborative wall mural with spraypainted street art and graffiti

Moonkey, Niafaze (Mex), Achezink, Naths_Ice (Mex)

3d graffiti lettering Stockwell hall of fame

MoonkeySP, Solo, Nifazse, Casem, Ezra Kemen, Vladarts, Void One

On My Travels

The years since we were all put in detention have been spent frantically travelling to make up for lost opportunities.  This year wonderful street art was discovered in Manchester, Paris, Southend, Lisbon, Port Talbot and Glasgow.

Manchester’s street art bristles with self confidence and inventiveness.  Hornby train set art?

Geese in a Manchester streert with sign saying on the 6th day God created Manchester

On the 6th day, God created Manchester – Trafford Parsons

Street art made from model railway and figure dressed like Kevin Rowland from Dexys Midnight Runners

“Dexy’s Midnight Roller”  with miniature Kevin Rowland, Jungle Angelo, Manchester

Paris blew me away, over 1000 photos of magical street art was a fraction of what I saw and the task of selecting a few to share proved too painful to contain within just one blog post.  So I wrote two.   Paris is blessed with magnificent murals but there is way more than 10 story murals to Paris’ street art.  B-Toy Andrea’s mural makes the cut just because I loved the way a bit of light painting and long exposure melded the decoration in the subject’s hair with the blossom on the trees.  Paris of course has the largest collection of Space Invaders but I fell in love with the really esoteric things like Tegmo’s glass sculptures and mosaic arrangements.

Tegmo, Paris

2 street names, 5 legged confusion. OJI, Paris

BToy Andrea, Paris

Southend is so easy to get to from London and the Southend City Jam seaside circus has now grown to one of the coolest, happiest and indeed largest gatherings of street artists, graffiti writers and fans in the world.   I wonder what happens to all those boards?

Pink haired woman in front of mural with matching bright pink details

Bublegum, Southend City Jam 2023

Street art from Southend City Jam 2023 Asur work in progress

Asur work in progress, Southend City Jam 2023

Street art from Southend City Jam 2023 Elno

ELNO, Southend City Jam 2023

Street art from Southend City Jam 2023

Epic1, C.A.S.E.M, Southend City Jam 2023

Lisbon has an amazing city wide distribution of street art and graffiti.  Star locals Vhils and Bordalo simply can’t be left out of any Lisbon highlights but even in a city noted for its tiled décor I was delighted with the surprise find of a massive tiled mural by Monsieur A whose parents are Portuguese.

Junk street artist Bordalo studio in Lisbon

Bordalo studio, Lisbon

huge tile mural in Lisbon by street artist Monsieur Andre

Monsieur Andre Tiled mural, Lisbon

huge tile mural in Lisbon by street artist Monsieur Andre

Monsieur Andre Tiled mural, Lisbon

Mural portrait half and half collaboration in Madrid between Shephard Fairey and Vhils

half and half Shepard Fairey, Vhils collab, Lisbon

Glasgow had been invaded by the usual suspects visiting the Banksy exhibition so at that moment it was an effort to track down the local talent rather than same old Shoreditch habituees.

Stencil street art in style of Banksy of falling couple by The Rebel Bear

The Rebel Bear

clever stencil juxtaposition appears to show girl balancing on thin handrail in Glasgow

Rogue Oner, Glasgow

And so, with another New Years Eve photo A Chance Of Creatures kicks out the old and welcomes in the new, may you all have a healthy wiser better more peaceful 2024, fill it with joy and art.

New Years Eve street art 2023 2024 by A Chance Of Creatures In Shoreditch

A Chance Of Creatures – New Years Eve

All photographs: Dave Stuart


panoramic view of traffic STOP sign subverted by Banksy in Peckham

Its A Sign Banksy

Banksy is in the news again, who’d have thought?  For the benefit of anyone dwelling beneath something hard and rock like, an image of three drone missiles appeared on a STOP sign at a road junction in Peckham, South London, acknowledged as a genuine Banksy on Banksy’s instagram.  What made this Banksy particularly newsworthy was the blatant broad daylight removal of the street sign by two thieves which was captured on hi-definition video footage and rapidly circulated on social media.

panoramic view of traffic STOP sign subverted by Banksy in Peckham

Stop War, Banksy, Peckham, 23rd Dec 2023

The artwork is an anti-war message, Banksy’s name for the image is “Stop War”.  There is little doubt in the light of Banksy’s past work in support of Palestine that the reference is to the current war in Gaza.

Among the more ludicrous theories spouted on the internet was the idea that this theft was some kind of Banksy stunt.   Team Banksy is renown for professionalism and secrecy, it’s hard to imagine Banksy engaging a thief who didn’t have the nous to cover their face when committing a crime in front of the cameras.  Also, Banksy would surely have had to give any accomplice an indemnity for potential consequences including arrest and he isn’t that stupid.

close up view of traffic STOP sign subverted by Banksy in Peckham

Stop War, Banksy, Peckham, 23rd Dec 2023

The artwork’s message is delivered through a subversion of an existing road sign, this is a rather unusual niche in Banksy’s street art.

google street view showing Stop sign before Banksy subverted it

Existing STOP sign, June 2022, photo courtesy Google Maps

Banksy’s books, website and Instagram account are the only public sources for verifying something as a genuine Banksy and these reveal just a few examples of modified street signs.  In his 2005 Wall and Piece book we find two photos of what appear to be subverted road signs though we’d need photos of the intact signs to be certain.   In 2009 there was an amended “No Stopping” sign in Whitechapel, London with a rat in a wheel, an image that appeared subsequently in New York and Croydon except the rat is now in a clock face rat race.

Red triangle traffic warning sign subverted by Banksy

Subverted traffic sign, Photo: Banksy, Wall and Piece

subverted Give Way traffic sign by Banksy showing cow hanging from Parachute

Banksy, Wall and Piece

No Stopping traffic sig with added rat in a wheel by Banksy

No stopping rat race, Banksy, Bell Lane 2009 – Photo Banksy, Cut and RUN 2023

In 2018 a genuine Banksy “OAP Crossing” sign appeared in Clevedon, Somerset.  The sign needed the context of an elderly population for full impact so as a dormitory town for retired old folk Clevedon was ideal but in the absence of a suitable existing sign Banksy made the sign from scratch and placed it on the lamppost.

Two traffic stop signs subverted by street artist Mantis to read Stop Consuming

STOP CONSUMING, Mantis, Shoreditch 2008

Identical drones have appeared a number of times in the Banksy cannon including as artwork in his currently closed Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem and as part of the Gross Domestic Product shop in 2019.

Banksy artwork with drones bombing a painting of a hillsdie by Banksy in the Gross Domestic Product display, Croydon, 2019

Duck and Cover, Banksy, Gross Domestic Product, Croydon 2019

The GDP drones were advertised for sale online by Banksy and the secret of the craftsmanship is revealed in the product description.  From photos they may look stencilled but the drones are actually painted resin glued to the signs.  This gives rise to the excellent drop shadow effect and the relief structure can be seen in this photo.

product label for Banksy artwork Duck and Cover

Duck and Cover product label, Banksy, Gross Domestic Product, Croydon 2019

For about 12 hours the police position on the Peckham stop sign was they weren’t taking any action as no loss had been reported.  After a short idling period they did a U-turn to “Seeking information regarding an incident” which then gave way to “A man has been arrested”.  Miffed artists droned on about preferential treatment for Banksy and one full caps online comment screamed “SOUTHWARK APPARENTLY THINK ITS THEIRS. ITS NOT”, referring to the notion of street art being for everyone.    Well, actually it is theirs.  The thief was charged with criminal damage which is a property offence, nothing to do with it being art theft.  Street signs on local roads (sub motorway and A roads) are the council’s responsibility and Southwark could not give a flying one about the Banksy, it’s more likely that they can’t be seen to be blasé about such a high profile un-authorised street sign removal.

Other artists have augmented street signs for art and political purposes, without doubt the best known is the French artist Clet Abraham. Banksy isn’t the only artist whose subverted street signs get nicked.

subverted traffic no entry sign by Clet Abraham, Marylebone 2022

No entry David, Clet Abraham, Marylebone 2022

subverted pair of no entry traffic signs in Shoreditch, 2008

STOP CONSUMING, Mantis, Shoreditch 2008

subverted traffic no entry sign by Clet Abraham, Brick Lane 2022

Now you see Clet Abraham, Brick Lane 2022

replaced traffic No Entry sigh, Brick Lane

No sign of Clet, December 2023

This isn’t the first time I have put up a blog post on Christmas Day, in 2009 Robbo (RIP) delivered a brilliant ripost to Banksy, part of the memorable spat between the pair and blogged HERE.

Many thanks to Art Of The State whose thoughts and reminders greatly informed this post


Composite image of the front of the former Seven Stars pub on Brick Lane comparing the appearance on two dates about a year apart

Spot The Difference! Competition Time

The third London International Pasteup Festival team tactically arranged the new art submitted for the festival around existing art.  Some of that existing art was well weathered from LIPF2, the second London International Pasteup Festival.

Read all abaht LIPF3 HERE, then enter the competition.

Prize: A voucher for the Shoreditch Street Art Tour for up to 4 humans

Composite image of the front of the former Seven Stars pub on Brick Lane comparing the appearance on two dates about a year apart

Seven Stars, Brick Lane LIPF 2023 vs LIPF 2022

All you have to do is compare the London International Pasteup Festival 2023 v. 2022 images above and count how many different paste ups survived the 11 month and 6 days between LIPF2 and LIPF3.  While you’re at it, write down the names of as many of the artists whose worked survived from LIPF2 to LIPF 3 as you can.  Then:

  1. sign up to the Shoreditch Street Art Tours newsletter on the tour website
  2. go to our Instagram, comment on this picture and shout out at least one friend
  3. email your count and your list of those enduring artists you identify to our email

 

SAME SIZE PRINT:

Competition closes midnight 24th December 2023

Please do not ask for a higher resolution version of this image a rude reply definitely offends

multiples including colour variants of the same piece of art only count as 1

The winner will be the person who meets conditions 1, 2 and 3 above and gets closest to the number of surviving pieces of art the judges count.

In the event of a tie on estimates of the number of surviving pieces, the entry correctly identifying the most artists of enduring art pieces will be the winner.

If that does not produce a clear winner the winner will be determined by a draw.

The judges’ decision is final

Voucher valid for one public Shoreditch Street Art Tour for up to four adults or mix of adults and juniors

Voucher will expire on 31 December 2024 or date of booked tour, whichever is earlier

Winner may change a booking subject to more than 48 hours notice.

no cash alternative.

no entries by tour guides or the LIPF organisation (including paste up team) will be counted


collaged portrait of child Syrian refugee by Federico Luvol in Paris

Street Art In Paris

“A decaying paste up in Butte aux Caille proved worthy of almost an entire essay in itself.  The subject is a young girl, looking confidently at the viewer, relaxed yet perhaps not totally welcoming our intrusion into her world.  The concentration on her face seems to ask “Is this a person I can trust or not?”

The artist is Italian stencilist Federico Luvol, many thanks to Thom Thom for supplying the ID.   The young girl is actually a Syrian refugee at school in Italy and the message concerns the appalling treatment dished out to refugees who have fled war, horror and ethnic cleansing in their homeland only to face a different kind of abuse in supposed countries of refuge.   The paste up art is a composite of stencilled image and cut paper negative lightly overlayed with splattered spraypaint.  Over time the paper has decayed and in a couple of places, down the right arm and the back of the head, the paper has torn away leaving a blank wall silhouette defined by the paint overspray, this adds a third component to the collaged image.    This is the kind of street art discovery that revives tired limbs, jaded eyes and gives me the motivation to kick on and find more.”

Extract from “Paris Street Art – Part Deux” on sister blog Graffoto

photo: Dave Stuart


Space Invader LDN_133 mosaic street art at Elephant and Castle

Space Invader Flashing and Flashed

Space Invader last strengthened his invasion of London in 2016 and from a peak of 150 the number of Invaders stationed in London has slowly diminished.  Some have been kidnapped and a number of those have been held to ransom on Planet Ebay.  Some went dark, contact lost as they simply disappeared.  Some deteriorated and decayed with time.   The lucky few however returned to their sentry posts restored, refreshed, reinvigorated and reactivated by Space Rescue International.  They prefer “Reactivation.”

Space Invader LDN_133 mosaic street art vigilant at Elephant and Castle

Space Invader LDN_133 Reactivated – see also top image

News of recent reactivations prompted a bike ride this morning to wildernesses south of the river where a number have resumed their stealthy monitoring activities.

mosaic space invader street art near waterloo London

Space Invader LDN_84, grumpy so-and-so

mosaic space invader street art near waterloo London

LDN_84, perhaps not happy being south of the river

Space Invader LDN_134 mosaic street art through the bushes close up

Space Invader LDN_134 stealthily observes London

Space Invader LDN_133 mosaic street art vigilant at Elephant and Castle

Space Invader LDN_133 scrutinises alien craft

Space Invader LDN_131 mosaic street art near Kennington

Space Invader LDN_131 eternally lurking

Space Invader LDN_131 mosaic street art near Kennington

Space Invader LDN_131 going nowhere

The most far flung was way out in Brixton, its remote location prompted an invader health check with one of the supreme reconnaissance group on the leader board of Invader’s smartphone game “Flash Invader”.  This guru advised that LDN_42 had actually been sighted and recently cleaned by another Master of the High Score screen, Mr Steam and as a result, the signal was strong.

Space Invader LDN_131

Space Invader LDN_42, old school Brixton resident

It’s not about the stats or the ego of soaring up the high score chart but five invader’s inspected, 100 points scored and a huge 678 place rise smashing into the top 40,000 on the leader board made this a very productive hour!  It took my flashed London Invaders into treble figures, 101 of 150 mosaics flashed, this is the kind of stats fetish that satisfies the inner nerd.

screengrab Space Invader Flash Invader game high scores

Lost in Space (but getting higher)

LINKS

Read more about the work of the Reactivation Team in our 2016 interview with this highly secretive group of space operatives here.

Space Invader

Reactivation Team

All photos copyright Dave Stuart


Brick Lane London pasteup street art for the 3rd London International Pasteup Festival

London International Pasteup Festival 2023

The 3rd edition of the London International Pasteup Festival was a magnificent, colourful, creative and chaotic success.   Following an open call art came from all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, Germany, Norway, USA, Jordan, Greece, Uruguay and Preston to name just a few places that aren’t London.

The art included every imaginable format capable of being pasted up with the LIPF special blend of wallpaper paste and PVA.

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Pasteup Street art on wall on Brick Lane for the London International Pasteup Festival 2023

Soandso PDX, with Vegan Flava (Swe) and others

ACAC All Cops Are Clowns stencil street art pasted up as paste of London International Pasteup Festival 2023

All Cops Are Clowns says Yo Pecador, spraypaint, single layer stencil on party tablecloth paper

In several spots the pasteup crew met with “Concern” from property owners, which kind of adds to the fun.  At Fashion Street occupants praised the art, saying they were always delighted when the art on their walls changed.

Fashion Street London before the London International Pasteup Festival updated the street art

Fashion Street Before LIPF3 – including survivors Mowcka, Toastoro, RX Skulls, Quint, Neon Savage

Fashion Street London after the London International Pasteup Festival refreshed the street art

Fashion Street After LIPF3. So and So PDX, Zelda Bomba, Doodlher, Wrdsmth, UltramarineDream, Emzo, Sincanvas, Planet Selfie, Catscult, Paddywaggon, Oddo, Jola, Jace, D7606, Coloquix, Diva Dog LA, Number Six Prints, Amore, Art Tits

Check out a short clip of the pasteup team in action on a few of the walls here on the Shoreditch Street Art Tours Instagram

Eight locations benefitted from comprehensive LIPF3 makeovers and several of the LIPF2 locations  received minor tarting up.

Fashion St London pasteup street art for the 3rd London International Pasteup Festival

Fashion St, the big picture

Blackall Street London pasteup street art for the 3rd London International Pasteup Festival

One part of Blackall Street: Yo Pecador, RX Skulls (2022), Vegan Flava, Easyone, Orrible (pre festival), The Ass Cream, Did by Rua, Slow Shrug, My Pen Leaks, Jane and Rik, Pixelpunk, Mnky, Doodlher, Paddywaggon, Blackligma

Puma Court detail: Katrine Beth Reigstad, Koko Bayer, Toastoro, Apparan, Goldloxe, Nudehead, PInk Boneyard, Neftnik, RX Skulls. Voxx Romana

Buxton St London pasteup street art for the 3rd London International Pasteup Festival

Buxton St: feat. Yo Pecador, Pmntowl, Jola, My Pen Leaks, Sincanvas, d7606, Visionox, Mort art, Subdude, Wrdsmth, tweet_streetart, tanzt_die_orange, Lidia Lidia, number six prints

Pasteup Street art on wall on Seven Stars yard, Brick Lane for the London International Pasteup Festival 2023

Seven Stars Yard fragment (see top image for full wall): Tweet_street art, TV Head ATX, Toastoro, Scrapyard Specs, Mkny, Jace, Did by Rua, D7606, Banga Street Art, Perishable Rush, blackligma; also David Guest, Brocolli Man, Raddington Falls

Grimsby St London pasteup street art for the 3rd London International Pasteup Festival

Grimsby St, the big picture

Grimsby St London pasteup street art for the 3rd London International Pasteup Festival

Small portion of Grimsby St walls: Apparan, Creative-Electric, Subdude, Raf Urban, Diva Dog LA, Bento Ghoul, Streetvulven, Visionox, Jace, Wrdsmth, Tripsandpieces, Jace, Briliant_gr, Jola, Lidia Lidia, Homo Riot

Calvin St London pasteup street art for the 3rd London International Pasteup Festival

Calvin St: City Kitty, Greatboxers, Green Taxonomy, Nasty, Briliant_Gr, D7606, The Artful Fro, Mowcka, Lidia Lidia, Eduard Dinic, Toastoro, Fra Quendo, Pre LIPF: Darkevil Arts,Neon Savage, Boxitrixi, Donk, Corrosive8

It took a revolving gang of paste flingers led by the artists and principal organisers Apparan and Subdude 4 long days of action to paste up the art prior to the festival.

several Street artists adding art to a wall on Brick Lane for the London International Pasteup Festival 2023

sunny days pasting art at Grimsby Street

The festival included fundraising, a paste up workshop run by the legend Mowcka and a pop up art shop at the notorious and popular Monty’s on Brick Lane.

People making art for the London International Pasteup Festival Pasteup Workshop

LIPF3 Pasteup Workshop .  Photo: Apparan

People making art for the London International Pasteup Festival Pasteup Workshop

LIPF3 Pasteup Workshop . Photo: Apparan

LIPF3 marked a further development in the organiser’s approach to arranging the walls.  In 2021 LIPF1 (review here) involved placing the art on walls with permission and in several locations the art was pasted onto vinyl tarpaulins which were tied to permission walls.  LIPF2 (review here) in 2022 saw the team focus on pasteup halls of fame with tacit approval or tolerance, except one location where an occupant took extreme umbrage with the pasters and a cake slice to the walls.   The absence of permission and the placement on existing pasteups gave the display a more authentic feel, something closer to the true spirit of pasteup street art.

This time, LIPF3, the team extended the number of walls decorated and worked around and with existing pasteup art, retaining large amounts of art already on the wall so that a spectrum of paper art from different stages of the street art life span could be seen.  This meant that rather than a uniform brand new appearance of art all the same age, there was rips, textures and elements of the natural aging process present.

Pasteup Street art on wall on Brick Lane for the London International Pasteup Festival 2023

Seven Stars Yard

The pasteup team take great pains to try to avoid the walls looking like formal gallery hang arrangements, Uberfubs contributed significantly to the overall aesthetic adding her colourful circles to break up the depressing tyranny of the long straight edge.

Colourful circles by Uberfubs connect and break up art by many street artists at The London International Pasteup Festival

Uberfubs between Doodhler, ODDO, Fra Quendo, Jola, D7606, Toastoro, Nasty, Tweet_streetart, Katsukai Collective, Subdude, DaddyStreetFox

The paste up crew didn’t just retain existing art, they even repaired some beautiful pieces that were on the verge of giving up the ghost.  No charge 😉

The next video is a homage to the London International Pasteup festival featuring close to 70 shots of the art displayed on a number of the walls around Shoreditch.

London International Pasteup Festival was held on the weekend of 16th and 17th of September.  The display survives but diminishes over time as new art goes over old.

The London International Pasteup Festival are congratulated on doing such a fabulous job at keeping this often overlooked and dismissed element of street art culture alive and relevant, as well as producing a wonderful update to a large number of walls around Shoreditch (and beyond through related projects)

As is the case with all street art except murals, participants in LIPF3 were not required to identify as artists,  anyone could send in paper art and that could be you next time!  Follow the London International Pasteup Festival for future news of further opportunities to join in the fun.

Click for LIPF3 Locations Map

London International Pasteup Festival Instagram

All Photos: Dave Stuart except workshop photos courtesy Apparan


Banksy "Cut and Run" poster image stencil of running mouse with stanley knife

Banksy Exhibition Cut and Run

The ground floor of the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow was been taken over by a huge retrospective of some of Banksy’s greatest hits, more than 75 pieces in total.  Unfortunately health reasons meant I could not make the exhibition until the last week but here for the benefit of all who haven’t had the chance to go, the exhibition closed 28th August, here are some reflections on a characteristically sensational Banksy exhibition.

Banksy Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Gallery Of Modern Art, Glasgow

Banksy sprung the exhibition on the unsuspecting public with zero notice, a modus operandi he employed for his 2009 “Banksy v. Bristol Museum and gallery” show.    His shows always achieve capacity attendance with long waiting lines so no advance notice is required and the marketing budget must be next to zero.

Banksy stencil of two boys installing a cone at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Cone placement

A few years ago Banksy’s former manager Steve Lazarides put on a show of Banksy prints at Sotheby’s in London and since then a huge industry of un-authorised mediocre travelling shows of Banksy’s art have sprung up.  I mean – re-imagined 3D sculptures derived from a Banksy image on paper what kind of uninspired diminished art trinket is that?  This has pissed Banksy off, as evidenced by his Q&As which were basically a warning not to go to those shows.  Cut and Run is Banksy’s official retrospective based on his street art rather than his indoor commercial stuff and it wipes the wall with those rip off copycats.

Banksy Website Product Recall screengrab

Fake exhibitions – Banksy.co.uk website 2019 onwards

The majority of the art pieces comprise battle scarred stencils imaginatively staged to recreate familiar Banksy images going right back to his earliest stencil pieces.  Converting stencils into viable exhibition worthy pieces of art has required some augmentation.  Stencils of the black layer of images have had a light coat of white or grey to define the black and outline the rest of the image.  Check the dual aura of white and black around the edge of the stencil image illustrating the cover of the show book, a good example.

Banksy "Cut and Run" book cover with early stencil of running policemen

Cut and Run Banksy book cover

There are also stencilled artworks as opposed to stencils turned into artworks and almost every installation or piece of art is accompanied by pithy text in the classic Banksy vein.

If you are find that this review is a bit light on photos of art from the exhibition you are right.   Photography was not allowed in the exhibition.  A motley crew of gallery attendants were on hand to take polaroid snaps using a weak built-in camera flash, consequently we have here a selection of dim photos, dull photos and some photos from the distant past.  Cheers Banksy.

Banksy Cut and Run visitor pose for polaroid in Banksy phone booth with GCHQ spies listening

Spy Booth v innocent member of the public

The exhibition layout is essentially two meandering passages connected by a larger hall in the middle and at the end you exit through the gift shop (of course) which then spits you out in a passage of thousands of multi coloured audience generated tags.   The show starts with a reconstruction of part of Banksy’s studio, seemingly a stencil cutting station.  The final installation is a reconstruction of Banksy’s bedroom.

Banksy explanation of why he still does street art at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow August 2023

Why I Still Do This

Banksy bedroom mock up at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow August 2023

Wherever he lays his hat

Main Hall view at Banksy Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Large Hall (repo’d crayon house to left) – viewed from bedroom window

If you expect vandal paraphernalia and anarchist regalia then the actual bedroom may surprise you with its conventionality.  Lots of militaria, budget toiletries and the Prodigy’s Jilted Generation double LP displaying its inner sleeve kill-the-bill rave fantasy illustration by Les Edwards.  As that album was released in 1994 this would suggest either Banksy is younger than we imagined, 1974 is often cited as a possible year of birth, or the bedroom is that of someone on the cusp of their 20s whose décor hadn’t kept step with their emergence into young adulthood.

Banksy Bedroom mock up detail at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Prodigy LP, Castle Morton Moment

The exhibition is way more than the widely reported stencil retrospective, a couple of pieces had not been seen before in public and both have interesting stories.  One quirky installation comprises a collection of oil paintings by a painter named in the show as Pete Brown.  In February this year Banksy created a piece known as Valentine Day Mascara in the seaside town Margate.  There was an artist on hand painting the scene in oil on board and making a nice job of it.  From that hand come 5 oil paintings displayed with Banksy’s explanation that he believes the art in the street is as much about the pageant that develops around it as it is the street art he created.

Outdoor en plein air painter Pete Brown paints Banksy Valentines Day Mascara at Margate 2023

“Valentine’s Day Mascara” scene feat Pete Brown, Margate, Valentine’s Day 2023

If Pete Brown had turned out to be an untraceable pseudonym that would have been bog standard Banksy subterfuge but Peter Brown aka “Pete The Street” is a proper proper artist with an impressive cv and a website that makes no reference to Banksy, a sure fire indicator of someone who has worked for Banksy! https://www.peterbrownneac.com/biography/

Main hall view at Banksy Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Margate paintings viewed through one-way window from Banksy bedroom

Another new work, or at least one being seen in “real life” for the first time, depicts a rat and a couple of spray cans which previously appeared on the film set in Bristol for the TV series The Outlaws.  The press had a field day at the time with the “controversial” buff by Christopher Walken but this was no disturbed actor tantrum, its painting over was scripted and Banksy contributed the image in celebration of a programme made in his sometime home town.  Curiously this painting is not reproduced in the book “Cut and Run” that goes with the show.

Banksy Cut and Run visitors pose for polaroid in front of Banksy arcade game grab

Arcade game grab

On the subject of books, Banksy has been writing books since early in his career, “Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall” was published in 2001 and the text notes accompanying the art in Cut and Run are as important as part of the art as the stencil and imagery.  In some instances the imagery seems to be there just to support the delivery of a well written, witty, pithy and often self-deprecating story.   The display of the storyboard, a painting and an animation cell from Banksy’s couch sequence opening to The Simpsons in 2010 is a perfect example, setting up to his brilliant “racist hat crime” punchline.

Banksy animation storyboard from Simpsons couch sequence 2011

SImpsons Storyboard, Banksy website, 2011

Banksy animation frame from Simpsons couch sequence 2011

Simpsons animator sweatshop

It seems obligatory to describe this show as Banksy’s first solo exhibition for 14 years.   This is a bit puzzling as it required that we forget the 2019 “Gross Domestic Product” show in Croydon.

The stencil used to create “Basquiat Stop and Search”, one of a pair of tributes put up below London’s Barbican Centre on the eve of the opening of the 2017 Basquiat retrospective had a spectacular amount of additional painting to recreate the whole of the original image.  The image on the street is possibly the most painterly illegal Banksy street art of them all and merited this colourful exhibition treatment.

Banksy painted tribute to Basquiat at Barbican 2017 called Basquiat stop and search

“Basquiat Stop and Search”, Barbican, 2017

Content wise this show contains a lot of Banksy humour, huge amounts of the trademark anti authoritarian humour, lots of great anecdotes told with typical Banksy impish wit and as you would expect, plenty of politics.   Banksy the thrower of light onto political murk highlights so many issues and causes including Arab-Israeli tensions, the environment, anti-war protest, racism, child exploitation, the refugee crisis, Ukraine, consumerism, Brexit and gentrification.

Banksy Cut and Run visitor pose for polaroid in front of Banksy No Ball Games stencil

No Ball Games

Banksy’s mystery is in no way diminished by this show, the exhibition is personality not persona, after the show no one is any none the wiser about Banksy’s identity and you already knew Banksy is the coolest artist in town

Exit Through The Gift Shop painting by Banksy Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Exit Through The Gift Shop

In revealing a bit more of how the magician does his tricks Cut and Run has echoes of what Banksy achieved with the 2008 Cans Festival group show which had a public spray area where anyone and everyone turn up with a stencil and release their inner outdoor artist.  This exhibition shows the comparative simplicity of Banksy’s craft, we see the tools, the stencils and the end results.  The real genius however lies in the inspiration and the execution and both on the streets and in delivering this show Banksy has no peers.

Banksy stencil saying Designated Graffiti Area on a tagged wall at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Designated Graffiti Area

Banksy Cut and Run visitors pose for polaroid in front of Banksy meat truck

Lambs

For a comprehensive listing of the items exhibited in “Cut and Run” check out my other blog post here.

Banksy “Cut and Run”

Gallery Of Modern Art, Glasgow

18th June – 28th August 2023

All Photos: Dave Stuart except where otherwise credited


Opening caption of Video interview with street artist Brickflats

Street artist Brickflats Interview

“Foreigners own £55bm of London homes as buying spree set to climb” was the somewhat xenophobic headline in last night’s Evening Standard.  The real issue is that demand continues to exceed supply, politicians setting newbuild target but fail to walk the walk and for every homeless person in the UK there are multiple empty residential properties.  These circumstances spark the explosive property rental market which sees the lifeblood of the metropolis living in stupidly expensive boxes with long commutes to work and ridiculous proportions of disposal income sinking into accommodation costs.  So what’s this to do with Brickflats?

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review featuring Brickflats

Brickflats

In 2021 I stumbled literally on the art of Brickflats embedded in a Shoreditch pavement.  It was original, unique and as I discovered it was expressing social concern regarding London’s housing situation.  Brickflats talks in this interview about his background as a creative, the concept behind his wall interventions and a fascinating insight into his process and installation techniques.

Film by Dave Stuart

Brickflats instagram (includes locations map)