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Banksy stencil in Birmingham of reindeers pulling a bench a homeless man slept on

Birmingham Street Art – not just Banksy

“It’s A Brum Ting” has been the signature tune of the past fortnight as Birmingham hosted the Commonwealth Games.  So what is it about Birmingham, why is it so great?  Armed with a cheap cheap day return rail ticket I set out several weeks back to discover if Birmingham Street Art is what Goldie, Trevor Francis and Banksy (might have) appreciated about the UK’s “Second City” ™.

Justin Sola, Void One & Mose78

The art started right outside the train station, FokaWolf was well represented as was Brummy staple Tempo, of whom more later.

paste up street art in Birmingham by Fokawolf

Fokawolf

Sticker in central Birmingham of a cartoon face with sharp teeth by Tempo 33

Tempo 33

Gent 48 is a giant of Birmingham’s street art scene so perhaps it was either fitting, or just inevitable, that the first mural spotted was by Gent48, painted in January this year when Birmingham was sorting out the torch relay for the opening of the Commonwealth Games.  The mural features Haseebah Abdullah, England’s first hijab-wearing boxing coach and Salma Bi, who founded the first all Asian women’s cricket team.

Street Art mural in Birmingham by Gent 48 depicting Haseebah Abdullah and Salma Bi

Gent 48

The one flag planted in my vague, unplanned plan was to locate Birmingham’s 2019 Banksy.  Tick the box, complete the set.  The route took me through a cluster of architecturally fascinating buildings.  London is quite staid by comparison, so many planning luddites have ensured our post war rebuilding  lacks the surprise, flair and modernism a waddle around the centre of Birmingham will reveal.   The interior of the Birmingham Library is so worth exploring for its design as well as its exhibition content.

Exterior view of Birmingham New Street train station designed by Alejandro Zaera-Polo

Birmingham New Street by Alejandro Zaera-Polo

Birmingham Library

Birmingham Library interior

The route to the Banksy had already been mapped out by the Charm Bracelet trail by Mick Thacker and Mark Renn.

Birmingham Jewellery Quarter Charm Bracelet pavement plaque trail, Mick Thacker and Mark Renn

Birmingham Jewellery Quarter pavement plaque trail, Mick Thacker and Mark Renn

What’s to say about the Banksy on Vyse Street.  Great placement, great use of the street furniture and a poignancy likely to rise as rampant inflation and fuel poverty drives up homelessness next winter.  It is well preserved and thankfully no gallerist twat has laid his grubby “Preserving street art for private collectors” hands on it.  So far.  It’s a pig to photograph clearly and parts of its execution are a tad indifferent.

Banksy confirmed this stencil as genuine with a website message saying “God bless Birmingham. In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.”

Arriving in Birmingham I expected graffiti; thanks to an awareness of its recent history of street art festivals I expected murals; I wasn’t fully prepared for the brilliant explosion of sticker art.  Every lamppost, traffic light, street sign and pole had been claimed by sticker art, one of my favourites being the huge variety of brace faces by Tempo who we used to see fairly frequently in London 10 or so years ago.

Montage of Tempo 33 stickers seen in Birmingham

Tempo 33

When Tempo was up in London our main delight was his large circular non permissioned paste-ups so finding a number of larger spraypainted murals was a pleasure.

spray painted graffiti mural of a circular face with huge mouth of spikey teeth with braces by street artist Tempo 33

Tempo 33

Brace Face spraypainted by Tempo 33 in Birmingham

Tempo 33

Brace Face spraypainted by Tempo 33 in Birmingham

Tempo 33

Other sticker artists included Wreck1, Lisk Bot, Never A Servant, the legend Fokawolf and a very impressive scattering of the playful and rare (to me at least) street art of Pahnl.

Sticker artists Werck1 and Lisk Bot on a traffic sign in Birmingham

Werck1, Lisk Bot

Sticker artist NVRASIR on a lamppost in Birmingham

NVRASIR

Sticker artists Fokawolf and "Titty"on a lamppost in Birmingham

Fokawolf & “Titty”

street art pictographic installation by Pahnl

Pahnl pictogram installation

sign subversion by street artist Pahnl in Birmingham

Pahnl sign subversion

Birmingham embraces adventurous and exciting architecture but the ancient brick and steam midlands’ post-industrial relics co-exist alongside the modern.  Graff was popping up in some breathtaking spots and with more canals than Venice (Brummies say), canal-side vistas in particular are worth hunting out.

Post industrial heritage shot with The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal goes through a brick lined arch in Birmingham

Birmingham & Fazeley Canal

River Rea graff

Post industrial heritage shot with The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal in Birmingham

Farmers Bridge Locks

Paste-up action in the vicinity was fairly limited, the paste-up hall of fame hunt will have to wait till the next visit.

Void One, Foka Wolf

The urban huddle of car parks, streets and old factories in Digbeth just to the east of the city centre forms an amazing gallery.  It is dominated by amazing murals, some appear to be permission murals liable to change, some look like relics of street art festivals with tags acknowledging “City of Colours” (2014 – 16) and “HighViz Festival” (2019-21) as well as our perpetual favourite – get up and get away with it.

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Chance plays a key role in street art spotting in a city you haven’t explored before.  There is the chance of what artists are “up” at that moment, your experience, your sample will possibly be completely different to anyone else before or after.  Also, what route do you take across the urban spider web of streets, alleys and paths?  From A, B may be sought by going right then left; or you can turn left then go right, that’s two different street art galleries right there.  While slaloming through the mainly industrial streets from Digbeth back to the train station, a glance over the shoulder into an open door revealed a delicious collection of political and tribute murals inside a fortuitously empty car park.

Void One memorial tribute mural to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Astro (UB40) and Captain Tom in a Birmingham car park

Void One memorial tribute mural to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Astro (UB40) and Captain Tom

Street Art mural in a Birmingham car park featuring Donald Trump by street artist Gent 48

Donald Trump by Gent 48, Character and graff by Ziner

Two faced Jeremy Hunt as NHS Joker mural in a Birmingham car park by street artist Void One

NHS Joker by Void One

portraits of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in a mural in a Birmingham car park by street artist Title

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King by Title

Street Art mural in a Birmingham car park featuring Theresa May and a screaming policeman by street artist Title

Theresa May by Title

A good street art city should house a collection which is too vast for you to cover in your limited time, especially on a one day visit.   It should also have change, renewal, vibrant health and life and Birmingham’s street art scene has both of these.  It is hard to put it better than Birmingham’s own Prince Of Darkness when Black Sabbath reunited last Sunday (Paranoid at 1 min exactly) for a spine tingling surprise set (iplayer, some areas, go to 2 hours exactly, next 3 months) at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony:

“You are the best…..Birmingham forEVVVAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH”

Selected Links:

Gent 48 instagram

Ziner instagram

Tempo 33 instagram

Banksy website  (Please tell Banksy you found him through Shoreditch Street Art Tours)

All Photos Dave Stuart

52 Birmingham street art photos


Banksy stencil in Birmingham of reindeers pulling a bench a homeless man slept on

Birmingham Street Art

“It’s A Brum Ting” has been the signature tune of the past fortnight as Birmingham hosted the Commonwealth Games.  So what is it about Birmingham, why is it so great?  Armed with a cheap cheap day return rail ticket I set out several weeks back to discover if Birmingham Street Art is what Goldie, Trevor Francis and Banksy (might have) appreciated about the UK’s “Second City” ™.

Justin Sola, Void One & Mose78

The art started right outside the train station, FokaWolf was well represented as was Brummy staple Tempo, of whom more later.

paste up street art in Birmingham by Fokawolf

Fokawolf

Sticker in central Birmingham of a cartoon face with sharp teeth by Tempo 33

Tempo 33

Gent 48 is a giant of Birmingham’s street art scene so perhaps it was either fitting, or just inevitable, that the first mural spotted was by Gent48, painted in January this year when Birmingham was sorting out the torch relay for the opening of the Commonwealth Games.  The mural features Haseebah Abdullah, England’s first hijab-wearing boxing coach and Salma Bi, who founded the first all Asian women’s cricket team.

Street Art mural in Birmingham by Gent 48 depicting Haseebah Abdullah and Salma Bi

Gent 48

The one flag planted in my vague, unplanned plan was to locate Birmingham’s 2019 Banksy.  Tick the box, complete the set.  The route took me through a cluster of architecturally fascinating buildings.  London is quite staid by comparison, so many planning luddites have ensured our post war rebuilding  lacks the surprise, flair and modernism a waddle around the centre of Birmingham will reveal.   The interior of the Birmingham Library is so worth exploring for its design as well as its exhibition content.

Exterior view of Birmingham New Street train station designed by Alejandro Zaera-Polo

Birmingham New Street by Alejandro Zaera-Polo

Birmingham Library

Birmingham Library interior

The route to the Banksy had already been mapped out by the Charm Bracelet trail by Mick Thacker and Mark Renn.

Birmingham Jewellery Quarter Charm Bracelet pavement plaque trail, Mick Thacker and Mark Renn

Birmingham Jewellery Quarter pavement plaque trail, Mick Thacker and Mark Renn

What’s to say about the Banksy on Vyse Street.  Great placement, great use of the street furniture and a poignancy likely to rise as rampant inflation and fuel poverty drives up homelessness next winter.  It is well preserved and thankfully no gallerist twat has laid his grubby “Preserving street art for private collectors” hands on it.  So far.  It’s a pig to photograph clearly and parts of its execution are a tad indifferent.

Banksy confirmed this stencil as genuine with a website message saying “God bless Birmingham. In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.”

Arriving in Birmingham I expected graffiti; thanks to an awareness of its recent history of street art festivals I expected murals; I wasn’t fully prepared for the brilliant explosion of sticker art.  Every lamppost, traffic light, street sign and pole had been claimed by sticker art, one of my favourites being the huge variety of brace faces by Tempo who we used to see fairly frequently in London 10 or so years ago.

Montage of Tempo 33 stickers seen in Birmingham

Tempo 33

When Tempo was up in London our main delight was his large circular non permissioned paste-ups so finding a number of larger spraypainted murals was a pleasure.

spray painted graffiti mural of a circular face with huge mouth of spikey teeth with braces by street artist Tempo 33

Tempo 33

Brace Face spraypainted by Tempo 33 in Birmingham

Tempo 33

Brace Face spraypainted by Tempo 33 in Birmingham

Tempo 33

Other sticker artists included Wreck1, Lisk Bot, Never A Servant, the legend Fokawolf and a very impressive scattering of the playful and rare (to me at least) street art of Pahnl.

Sticker artists Werck1 and Lisk Bot on a traffic sign in Birmingham

Werck1, Lisk Bot

Sticker artist NVRASIR on a lamppost in Birmingham

NVRASIR

Sticker artists Fokawolf and "Titty"on a lamppost in Birmingham

Fokawolf & “Titty”

street art pictographic installation by Pahnl

Pahnl pictogram installation

sign subversion by street artist Pahnl in Birmingham

Pahnl sign subversion

Birmingham embraces adventurous and exciting architecture but the ancient brick and steam midlands’ post-industrial relics co-exist alongside the modern.  Graff was popping up in some breathtaking spots and with more canals than Venice (Brummies say), canal-side vistas in particular are worth hunting out.

Post industrial heritage shot with The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal goes through a brick lined arch in Birmingham

Birmingham & Fazeley Canal

River Rea graff

Post industrial heritage shot with The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal in Birmingham

Farmers Bridge Locks

Paste-up action in the vicinity was fairly limited, the paste-up hall of fame hunt will have to wait till the next visit.

Void One, Foka Wolf

The urban huddle of car parks, streets and old factories in Digbeth just to the east of the city centre forms an amazing gallery.  It is dominated by amazing murals, some appear to be permission murals liable to change, some look like relics of street art festivals with tags acknowledging “City of Colours” (2014 – 16) and “HighViz Festival” (2019-21) as well as our perpetual favourite – get up and get away with it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chance plays a key role in street art spotting in a city you haven’t explored before.  There is the chance of what artists are “up” at that moment, your experience, your sample will possibly be completely different to anyone else before or after.  Also, what route do you take across the urban spider web of streets, alleys and paths?  From A, B may be sought by going right then left; or you can turn left then go right, that’s two different street art galleries right there.  While slaloming through the mainly industrial streets from Digbeth back to the train station, a glance over the shoulder into an open door revealed a delicious collection of political and tribute murals inside a fortuitously empty car park.

Void One memorial tribute mural to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Astro (UB40) and Captain Tom in a Birmingham car park

Void One memorial tribute mural to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Astro (UB40) and Captain Tom

Street Art mural in a Birmingham car park featuring Donald Trump by street artist Gent 48

Donald Trump by Gent 48, Character and graff by Ziner

Two faced Jeremy Hunt as NHS Joker mural in a Birmingham car park by street artist Void One

NHS Joker by Void One

portraits of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in a mural in a Birmingham car park by street artist Title

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King by Title

Street Art mural in a Birmingham car park featuring Theresa May and a screaming policeman by street artist Title

Theresa May by Title

A good street art city should house a collection which is too vast for you to cover in your limited time, especially on a one day visit.   It should also have change, renewal, vibrant health and life and Birmingham’s street art scene has both of these.  It is hard to put it better than Birmingham’s own Prince Of Darkness when Black Sabbath reunited last Sunday (Paranoid at 1 min exactly) for a spine tingling surprise set (iplayer, some areas, go to 2 hours exactly, next 3 months) at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony:

“You are the best…..Birmingham forEVVVAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH”

Selected Links:

Gent 48 instagram

Ziner instagram

Tempo 33 instagram

Banksy website  (Please tell Banksy you found him through Shoreditch Street Art Tours)

All Photos Dave Stuart

 


Banksy Antonelli and Marziani Book Review

Banksy, the best known living artist, is an enigma with a perverse attitude to celebrity status and personal information.  In an age where non-entities share every plate of food, change of eyeshadow and ill-advised swimwear hot, this is this is a major anomaly.

Anonymity and secrecy fuels curiosity so there have been many books about Banksy, though none actually by him since “Wall and Piece” in 2005.  The economically titled “Banksy”, Stefano Antonelli & Gianluca Marziani, Rizzoli International Publications, 2022, unauthorised, collects together a significant amount of material addressing Banksy the street artist, the art world darling, the enfant terrible and Banksy the “polite vandal”.

Liberally illustrated with large photos, Banksy’s indoor gallery art and his outdoor street art get pretty much equal billing.

Having two authors lends two distinct dimensions to the book.  A significant portion of the book is basically chronological, with photographs illustrating Banksy activity from very early freehand collaborations in Bristol right up to screengrabs of the two videos released by Banksy during lockdown.

The years 2014 and 2016 are omitted so curiously no references to Banksy’s only known signed confession (Mobile Lovers) and his use of a QR code in 2016 to link the Gassed Cosette street image opposite London’s French Embassy to his underlying humanitarian political point.

The second and perhaps more interesting aspect is the philosophical, art history and political analysis.  These aspects are covered with far superior writing quality, though I am perhaps too easily impressed when I have to google the words.  The book makes a strong case for Banksy as a serious and art-world credible artist, something art critics are often inclined to deny.

The one thing no one wants revealed is thankfully not addressed in any great depth.  The authors simply acknowledge the oft-repeated un-confirmed guess from the Telegraph years ago, seemingly on the basis that repetition by enough other people provides validation.  The car park attendant in Weston Super Mare must be gutted.

Some cultural nuances are strangely overlooked such as in the dissection of the title of Banksy’s last book, there are cross references to Tolstoy’s “war and peace” and a tricky allusion to a wall as a source of social media output (me neither) but Banksy’s key joke that to a graffiti writer, a “piece” is a complex multi-colour graffito is not mentioned at all.

There is an excellent Banksy mind-map placing Banksy in context between street art and graffiti with a stream of influences and effects.  Many similar graphics exist such as Cedar Lewisohn’s hand scribbled 2008 street art mind map, they are endlessly fascinating and never easy to agree 100% with, this is the first I have seen regarding Banksy and the authors have done a great job with it.

The book would have benefited from more careful fact checking with errors in dates slipping through and even one artwork which wasn’t by Banksy but is not attributed to anyone else.

There is always room for another Banksy book in the market.  The passage of time provides perspective on Banksy’s earlier career and as long as he remains active there is scope for updating on his latest twists and subversions of the act of creating and disseminating art.  Its range of photographs earns it its position on the bookshelf of the Banksy curious and the in-depth analysis will provide food for thought for the die-hard fan base.

Banksy ©Stefano Antonelli and Gianluca Marziani, Rizzoli Electa, 2022

Hardcover / 10.25” x 11.25” / 240 pages / 194 colour illustrations

£29.95 / ISBN: 978-0-8478-7276-3

Rizzoli Electa / Release date: June 28 2022

Page extracts courtesy the publisher; see book for photograph copyright statements


A collage of paper art on Brick Lane features prints of fish, tribal characters and text by street artists Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi

Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi visit Brick Lane

A wonderful new batch of street art paste ups from a pair of overseas artists really gave a huge make-over to some of Shoreditch’s paste up halls of fame.

A collage of paper art on Brick Lane features prints of fish, tribal characters, and huge pink lobster and text by street artists Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi

We can see….Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi, July 2022

A collage of paper art on Brick Lane features prints of fish, tribal characters and text by street artists Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi

Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi, July 2022

Jean Peut-Etre is from France, quelle surprise, and collages letterpress and screenprinted paste ups on found vintage paper.

A screenprinted lobster in a vibrant colour among colour paper art and text pasted to a wall in Brick Lane by French street artist Jean Peut-Etre and art about Ukrain

Jean Peut-Etre, also featuring Subdude

a collage of a printed face mask and letterpress text pasted to a wall in Brick Lane by French street artist Jean Peut-Etre

Jean Peut-Etre

screen printed fish on a vintage French map pasted to a wall in Brick Lane by French street artist Jean Peut-Etre

Jean Peut-Etre

A screenprinted lobster in a vibrant colour among colour paper art and text pasted to a wall in Brick Lane by French street artist Jean Peut-Etre

Jean Peut-Etre

Boxitrixi is from Argentina and is currently a welcome resident in the UK with a glorious line in wood block printed naïve tribal characters.   Boxitrixi’s paste-ups were applied with an urgent roughness leaving ripples, wrinkles and textures in the paper.  The art acquired an instantly aged appearance entirely in keeping with the roughness of the printed images.

A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi

Boxitrixi

A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi

Boxitrixi

A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi

Boxitrixi

A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi

Boxitrixi

A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi

Boxitrixi

Both street artists have decorated the Shoredtich area with street art on previous visits.  On this occasion, having met previously overseas they hooked on on the occasion of Jean Peut-Etre’s welcome return to Shoreditch.  The way the pair layer the walls leaves you admiring both the individual prints and also the collaged aggregate.

A collage of paper art on Brick Lane features prints of fish, tribal characters and text by street artists Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi

Boxitrixi, Jean Peut-Etre also featuring Neon Savage

Featured image: Boxitrixi and Jean Peut-Etre, also features My Dog Sighs

Links:

Jean Peut-Etre Instagram 

Boxitrixi Instagram

all photos: Dave Stuart 


Manuel Oliver, Father of Joaquin Oliver murdered in Parkland Florida High School killing stands on Whitehouse lawn to heckle President Joe Biden

We Have To Do More Than That

Speak truth to power!!! Manuel Oliver tells President Biden he must do more to tackle gun violence.

In 2018 Manuel and Patricia lost their son in the Parkland Florida High School killing.  We shared an intensely moving experience on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour later that year with the #nohate #liveandletlive street art Wall Of Love.

London, Shoreditch, Street Art, Streetart, Mural, paste up, gun control. anti hate, no hate, nohate, Live And Let Live, Streetart Against Hate

Live and Let Live

Manuel’s anti gun intervention is on the permanent record of the WhiteHouse briefing for Biden’s speech

President Biden arms raised in suit speaks on Whitehouse lawn about Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

Biden Speaks on Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, July 11 2022

THE PRESIDENT:  ……Will we match thoughts and prayers with action?

I say yes.  (Applause.)  And that’s what we’re doing here today.  (Applause.)

Today is many things.  It’s proof that despite the naysayers, we can make meaningful progress on dealing with gun violence.

AUDIENCE MEMBER [Manuel]:  We have to do more than that!

THE PRESIDENT:  Because make no mistake — sit down.  You’ll hear what I have to say if you think —

AUDIENCE MEMBER [Manuel]:  We have to do more than that!

THE PRESIDENT:  You —

AUDIENCE MEMBER [Manuel]:  We have to open an office in the White House.  (Inaudible.)  I’ve been trying to tell you this for years.  (Inaudible.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  President Biden!  Yeah!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  We have one.  Let me finish my comments.

AUDIENCE MEMBER [Manuel]:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Let him talk.  Let him talk.  No one — okay?

Because make no mistake about it: This legislation is real progress, but more has to be done.  The provision of this new legislation is going to save lives.  And it’s proof that in today’s politics we can come together on a bipartisan basi- — basis to get important things done, even on an issue as tough as guns.

Manuel keeps up the campaign, the pressure and the activism – support his work, bring meaningful change

Links

Manual Oliver’s campaign website Change The Ref

NoHate Family instagram

Photos:

Yahoo news: “Father Of Teen Interrupts Biden”

Washington Post “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act”

feature photo Chip Somodevilla

 

 


paste up street art in Shoreditch by comedian Bill Boorman also known as street artist Beirdo celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with the message Pride is more that a parade

Pride Street Art In Shoreditch

Last weekend marked London’s main 2022 Pride celebration and a lot of new Pride street art appeared in Shoreditch in celebration of and support for the LGBTQ community.

On the Shoreditch Street Art Tour on Sunday I was asked by one guest why the London Pride was in July rather than June as they were used to.  Post tour digging revealed that “Pride in London”, the official title at present, is timed for the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in NYC which followed police raids on the Stonewall gay bar on 28th June.

The pride rainbow flag features in a lot of the Pride art pieces in its 6 colour traditional colour form, as opposed to the usual 7 colour representation of a rainbow.  The first rainbow flag was designed by the artist Gilbert Blake in 1978 at the request of Harvey Milk (see the film Milk, excellent).  It had 8 colours, the traditional 7 colours of the rainbow plus hot pink above the red.  Each of the 8 colours was assigned a specific meaning.  In 1979, aiming to increase flag production, the pink strip was dropped as hot pink material was not readily available.  The turquoise stripe was also dropped so that the flag could be split and displayed in symmetrical paired halves each having three stripes.  Thus the common Pride 6 colour rainbow evolved.

Subdude used an 8 stripe Pride flag to highlight statutory homophobia on the African continent.

paste up street art in Shoreditch by political street artist Subdude points out that homosexuals are legal targets in 30 African nations celebrating 50th anniversary of Pride in London

Subdude – Pride London 2022

Street artist Beirdo prefers 6 colours, or perhaps was just out of hot pink and turquoise A4.

Anti Conversion Ban Therapy paste up street art celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with of messaages on rainbow coloured paper comedian Bill Boorman also know as  street artist Beirdo in Shoreditch

Beirdo – Pride London 2022

Apparan sends her greetings and wishes you Happy Pride, with 7 rainbow stripes.

paste up street art by street artist Apparan in Shoreditch celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with a heart depicting love with 7 stripe rainbow flag motif flowing through it

Apparan – Pride London 2022

Drash La Krass has a list.  No homophobia, no biphobia, no transphobia, no sexism!

Drash La Krass glittery paste up street art in Shoreditch celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with a no homophobia no bi-phobia no transphobia no sexism message

Drash La Krass – Pride London 2022

Ghead_Tra is a new name this year to the Shoreditch street art scene and his art hates hatred and Conservatives.  The God Loves Gays tricolour specifically aims at the vile spewing Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas USA.

Anti gay anti abortion extremist with Westboro Baptist Church placards held by children

Westboro Baptist Church anti gay anti abortion message – credit Jerod Harris

 paste up street art celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London opposing Westboro Baptist Church anti gay  art with messages by street artist Ghead_tra in Shoreditch

Ghead_art – Pride London 2022

If this next text based piece isn’t Ghead then Ghead ought to get together with the unknown artist as the message seamlessly blends two big issues Ghead has gone long on (anti gay bashing, anti Tory).

 paste up street art celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with anti Tory text set in rainbow flag colours  by an unknown street artist in Shoreditch

Unknown artist – Pride London 2022

Sidenote: on another matter the same so-called place of worship also espouses extreme views on abortion and Ghead_tra parodies another specimen of Westboro extremism in opposition to that message.

Street artist Ghead_tra mocks Westboro Baptist Church anti-abortion views with modifications of their own anti abortion text say “abortion is my bloody choice”

“Abortion is my bloody choice”, Ghead_tra, July 2022

Ahead of this week’s Tory party implosion Social Sniper homed in on an issue which highlighted the breakdown of trust by members of the LGBTQ community in politicians.  This may need to be read slowly.  Conversion therapy is a process aimed at “curing” or changing expressions of gender behaviour, identity or expression.  To describe it as controversial would be to miss the most unacceptable aspects of the practice by a million miles.  Boris Johnson decided not to proceed with legislation to ban the practice which provoked howls of horror, at which point he flipped and decided there would be a ban except it wouldn’t apply to trans conversion therapy.

Anti Conversion Ban Therapy paste up street art depicts a trans woman and trans flag by street artist Social Sniper in Shoreditch

Social Sniper – – Pride London 2022

For the curious, the background to Social Sniper’s art is another form of colour spectrum specifically representing the trans community and their supporters.  Trans Pride is taking place this weekend (Saturday 9th July 2022), the weekend after Pride weekend.

Wandering down a parallel track again, one senior tory we didn’t know about before appeared on TV regretting that he had had to support the flip flops on conversion therapy policy.  When politicians publicly admit to supporting policies they fundamentally disagree with, how can voters expect to elect a representative possessing even the tiniest fragment of integrity.

Mike Freer MP

I am hugely indebted to my Shoreditch Street Art Tours co-guide Subdude for his insights and information regarding the content and installation of the art discussed.

All photos: Dave Stuart except where  stated

Featured artwork: Beirdo


Spitalfields – More Than Just Street Art

Street Art needs walls! Whether its Shoreditch or Spitalfields, street art may hang on hoardings, stick to street signs, augment adverts, decorate doors or flourish on flyposters but wondering at walls is the main thing on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour.  Walls beg a secondary purpose (wink) and minds distracted from art may dwell on fortuitous factors such as boundary, division, shelter, protection, property, privacy and possibly even more – where would windows hang if not framed in walls?

We pass a lot of walls on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour and a lot of wondering what lies within and behind those walls occurs.  Today the good people behind the doors of 8 Spitalfields properties invited the world in to see their urban gardens and we were delighted and fascinated.

Close by, Brick Lane teems with colour, noise and life but within these private Spitalfields spaces there is serenity, tranquillity and a sense of calm seclusion.  There is also tremendous inventiveness and creativity in the use of tiny scraps of urban space.  “Nothing but rubble below this paving” said one owner in his back garden; “foundations 5 brick deep” said the owner of another 1740s silk merchant’s property.

All the properties visited lie within the Fournier St and Brick Lane Conservation Area with the exception of the offices of The society For The Protection of Ancient Buildings at,37 Spital Square   which is in the Elder St Conservation Area.  All except one of the properties is Grade II listed.  Whilst fascinated by history, Shoreditch Street Art Tours makes no claim to being historians.  There are some fascinating reads to be found online which provide contest for the historical development of Spitalfields and its properties, such as “The Hugenots Of Spitalfields” website, the Spitalfields Trust  and the Spitalfields Neighbourhood Planning Forum website

The Spitalfields gardens were open as a group as part of the National Garden Scheme open day programme which clearly does great work raising funds for a variety of charities and we are grateful to the residents for opening their doors to provide such a fascinating insight to parts of Spitalfields not normally accessible by the public.

For those of you who explore the outsides with us, here is a collection of photos that is a bit horticulture, a bit architecture, a bit nosy-parker but mostly a record of a nice opportunity to view Spitalfield’s insides, withins and behinds.

All photos: Dave Stuart

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Enigma street art surreal painting of multi part horse and human centaur

Enigma Street Art and a show with friends

A significant amount of Enigma street art, who is one of our favourite street artists, has been spotted over the past few weeks.  A quite wet Shoreditch Street Art Tours party bumped into Enigma the Friday before last who was finding the morning’s rainy conditions and wet wall not conducive to painting but as soon as we arrived, the cloud parted, the sun shone and Enigma was able to complete a stunning centaur, part man part horse.

Enigma street art surreal painting of multi part horse and human centaur

Enigma May 2022

This was the week Enigma opened in a group show at BSMT Space alongside Ed Hicks, Perspicere and Roncho.  This elevates Enigma to the level of some heavyweight artists in a very impressive show.

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Close to BSMT is a stunning collaborative mural painted with Ed Hicks that week.  The dramatic portals and volcanic landscapes Ed has been painting recently have been amazing.  The group show attempts to bind the four artist together on the basis of surrealism, in this street art the fusion of enigma’s heads and skulls with Hick’s fractured portal, a woodland scene and a landscape certainly nods in that direction.

Ed Hicks and Enigma collaboration, Dalston, May 2022

Street art collaboration in Dalston by Ed Hicks and Enigma

Ed Hicks and Enigma collaboration, Dalston, May 2022

Street art collaboration in Dalston by Ed Hicks and Enigma

Ed Hicks and Enigma collaboration, Dalston, May 2022

In Shoreditch that same week our tour troupe turned a corner and instead of an Enigma shadow puppet we found a “Forty winks” graffiti throwie.    Two days later on yet another tour we discovered that Enigma had returned to reclaim the spot with a painting of a study on paper of the human torso with a line element head.  Unpick that one!!

Graffiti over street art in Shoreditch

Forty Winks over Enigma shadow hand

Enigma street art surreal painting of male body with line diagram head

Ed Hicks had painted a diptych “as above so below” in Shoreditch the previous week with  Emma Richardson, a private tour group came upon Ed’s painting the day after it had been created but Emma’s panel had already been totally painted over, such is the mayfly-like existence of street art in Shoreditch.  As I have a photo of only Ed’s half, with thanks and apologies I have taken the liberty pinching Ed’s photo from his Instagram.

Streert collaboration in Shoreditch Ed Hicks and Emma Richardson

Ed Hicks and Emma Richardson: As above so below (Photo Ed Hicks)

Perspicere’s string art was highlighted in our 2021 Street Art review as one of the two forms of innovative street art to appear that year.  Perspicere has remained prolific this year with plenty of new specimens revealing the vague semi solidity of their subjects which is seen more clearly the further one stands from the art.

Perspicere string art in Shoreditch of woman in Niqab

Perspicere – former site of Hitchcock Reel

Perspicere string art in Shoreditch of woman holding a face mask

Perspicere

Perspicere’s string art provokes a high “how is that done” curiosity so has a tendency to deteriorate fairly quickly as people pluck at it, though one of Perspicere’s faces has been the subject of a royal update Butterflyman aka Sellout.  The quizzical smiley face one has been installed high off the ground and its longevity has benefitted from the effort that went into that placement.

Perspicere string art in Shoreditch of woman holding a face mask

Perspicere String Art Smilies

The group show ends this weekend so pop up to BSMT if you have the chance, or if it is all over by the time you read this hopefully a few photos will capture some of the magic.

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Why Enigma didn’t have his usual coat on in the rain 🙂

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Perspicere “Walking Head”, “Chair Head”

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Ed Hicks: Anniversary

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Perspicere detail

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Perspicere Shadowman Watching detail

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Perspicere: Shadowman Watching; Shadowman Tear

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Enigma

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

Roncho

Art in the group show New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

The Dialogue, Enigma

All photos Dave Stuart except where stated