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Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Best Of Shoreditch Street Art Tours Kiss Of Death

Should this Shoreditch Street Art Tours post start with an apology to the spraycan virtuoso Jim Vision? Perhaps.

Last night we held a short notice online virtual ramble through some of the art that provided great food for thought on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour in 2021.  With the benefit of being able to show slides from the past, we were able to look at the waxing and waning of Jim Vision’s Jerome St mural which concluded with the photograph shown at the top of this post mural taken 2 days earlier on 29th December.  This is the story of that mural and it ends with the dramatic update based on what we found today!

The history starts in 2020 with a curved wall pretty heavily battered with graffiti of varying styles and levels of accomplishment.  The artistic highlight on the wall was probably back in 2014 with a beautiful paste-up from the French street artist Ludo.

Street Art in Shoreditch by French street artist Ludo

Ludo, 2014

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Wild! Featuring Noze, Lap406 Oct 2019

Forward to 2020 and Jim Vision secures consent to paint the wall with permission and has claimed the spot as his since, painting a couple of portraits as part of his admirable “Colourful Women” series.  In the artist’s words this was “celebrating all women of colour with their vibrancy and strength, at the same time addressing an imbalance in the representation of women of colour on walls.  This first dates from early Summer 2020.

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, June 2020

The next portrait on this wall came complimented by a pod of killer whales.  In this next early December 2020 photo we see the mural in great condition with 8 killer whales swimming through, to the right is a cluster of illuminations and the background is an abstract veil of almost luminous vertical streaks.

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, 2nd Dec 2020

Just a few days later the negative spaces in the margins have been targeted with graffiti, including sundry tags and a nice piece by Lap in the background:

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, lap406 , 22nd Dec 2020

Things are relatively unchanged by July 2021, a throw has gone over the cluster of lights to the right, a couple of tags and Lap in the background appears to have been painted out.  Still the augmentations are occurring away from the main subject:

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision July 2021

By October there is fascinating development in the artistic interactions taking place on this wall, Jim Vision covers up new tags with the creative and playful expedient of adding Orcas where the tags were.  Now the pod has grown to 20 killer whales and something a bit albino, or perhaps a 21st whale with only its white parts turned to us:

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision Oct 2021

Halfway through December heavy tagging appears in quite aggressive spots at the centre of the portrait and a green tag close to the front of the face where the white whale was.  Ours is not to cast judgement!

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, tags, 19th Dec 2021

Then, on 29th Dec, a new killer whale appears to be likely to see in the New Year, its placaement jumping through the earring brings to mind the cruelty involved in keeping these beautiful beasts in captivity in sea life parks.  This was the state of play at the conclusion of the timeseries presented in the  “The Best Of Shoreditch Street Art Tours 2021” virtual tour last night (New Years Eve):

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, 29th Dec 2021

New Years Day, this morning, look what we found:

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

New Years Day 2021 Jim Vision with Slak & Cuso

Gonna take a lot more whales!

Jim Vision instagram

all photos: Dave Stuart


Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021

Well done 2021 for having the audacity to follow a totally weird year with an equally weird year, way to go!  Although life was not “business as usual” the year did yield some wonderful street art with unexpected and inspired new forms of creativity and a re-evaluation of the significance of paste-ups.  We are delighted once again to share some of the best Shoreditch street art 2021 and we are talking 4 real, none of that “curated from the internet” most writers serve up.  For once there is even a couple of “straight in at number 1” personal favourites moments, the risk being that the day after posting I will change my mind for different number 1 favourite.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Fanakapan anamorphism

So, how did the global pandemic continue to affect street art in 2021?  Most obviously the number of street artists from foreign shores who came to visit London was almost none.  So it was a great pleasure to welcome Stinkfish from Columbia, a regular visitor last spotted around these parts in 2017.  A significant number of his favella child paste-ups appeared but this mural really showcased those graffiti based spraycan skills.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Stinkfish with Fat Cap Sprays

The main opportunities to see overseas artists in Shoreditch came through paste-up art exchanged by overseas mail between artists then pasted up in reciprocal “you here, me there” arrangements.   NY artist City Kitty was quite visible in Shoreditch this year and he is what I describe as a “collaboration machine”.  It was a real delight to find this basketball playing City Kitty collaboration with New York sticker legend Chris RWK aka Robots Will Kill, and just a couple of inches tall.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

RWK City Kitty collab

Neon Savage neatly swerved the lack of locked down screenprinting facilities by improvising a hand finished screenprinting effect using images inkjet printed onto marker pen coloured paper earlier in the year.   Then right on the very last weekend before we descended into an unofficial lockdown-for-all-purposes-except-opening-Treasury-coffers, Neon Savage papered Brick Lane with gorgeous halftone acrylic and screenprinted pasteups.  Printing of this quality and beauty is the kind of cultural treasure street art delivers to those who seek.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Neon Savage

Fat Cap Sprays channels neon in a different way with super cute renderings of popular cartoon characters, popular depending upon which cartoon character era you grew up in of course, I am still waiting for him to do Marine Boy!  Fat Cap Sprays made a big impact in 2021, the growth of his social media following (stay off tik tok folks!) contains a message I am sure about the link between street art and “success”.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Fat Cap Sprays

David Speed continued to hammer out his phenomenal pink neon eye candy portraits.  There is a point at which cats in street art play the cute card a bit too readily but in this case David claimed a spot perfectly framed in the bus stop glass, nice use of street architecture.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

David Speed vs bus shelter

Artistic spats conducted on walls are a constant delight but when David spotted a paid for spraypainted advert in his signature neon pink he really took it out in style, nice one!

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Ed Sheeran advert

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

David Speed vs Ed Sheeran

Although Enigma is not new to our streets, this Japanese artist only came to my attention after his post lockdown return from Japan upon which he embarked on a prodigious outpouring of stunning murals styled as old school woodcuts.  Almost as remarkable as his street art are his garms when painting, smartly attired in a beige raincoat he looks nothing like the stereotypical street artist you might imagine.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Enigma

Dramatic light and shade and classical imagery came to London’s street art through the work of talented painter Alessandro Ioviero.  The Southbank Undercroft location has hosted several Ioviero works, my favourite being this beautiful painting of a contemporary bronze statue by young Ukrainian artist Maksym Haydar.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Alessandro Loviero

Alessandro often finds inspiration in the work of others, often sculptors, which moves him to provide his own painterly interpretation.    A curious dynamic occurred when Ioviero painted a detail of the Alexandre Cabanel’s Fallen Angel in response to Enigma’s rendition of a slightly larger detail just one week earlier on the same wall.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Fallen Angel by Alessandro Ioviero

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Fallen Angel by Enigma

There is a lot to be said for anonymity as a contrast to the self-promotion which seems often to trump actual art as a street art motive.   In the first part of the year reports came in from all over town about strange single line characters with half formed sentence morsels suggesting clues to the character’s mental state.   Street artists and geeks alike were intrigued by the identity of the artist, questions asked went un-answered.   I may have been much later than many smarter people but I only pierced the Why Reuben veil in November when some clues appeared drawing attention to the artist’s part in a group show.  Self-promotion wins every time!

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Why Reuben

If potty sums up your taste in humour then “I farted in yoga” is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and is seemingly an alias used by Why Reuben.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Why Reuben/I Farted In Yoga

Ahead of the London International Paste-up Festival I did not anticipate quite what a successful event it would be and my reservations weren’t just concerned with the awkward status battle in the first half of the title. The open call event in early November brought art from all over the world and a lot from artists not seen before in Shoreditch.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Various artists London International Pasteup Festival

Rather than an “Oh wow” at any particular pieces of art my main take-away was a reminder and re-appraisal of the impact paste-ups had in the formative years of street art supporting the emergence of street artists from a non graffiti background with a preference for quicker means of getting up and less beholden to the spraycan, unlike those with a graffiti background who generally preferred stencils.  Full write up HERE.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Various artists London International Pasteup Festival

Someone else who doesn’t need to be anymore brilliant than he already is is ALO, he had a prolific year on the streets crowned of course by a major solo show at the Saatchi Gallery at the year end.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

ALO

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

ALO, feat his good friend Dmintn

The pandemic lockdowns really gave Airborne Mark an opportunity to ramp up his multi-angle multimedia painting and video game.  Most people’s videos are a kind of “ooooooooohhh, look at me and my skills” whereas Airborne Mark’s premise is “This is an experiment and I don’t quite know if it’s going to work”, his videos are like art painting tutorials.  This year’s master spraypainting output included a number of signature origami creatures places on beautifully rendered strips of torn cardboard.   It is well work tracking down the video of him explaining the complexities of painting something as mundane as a torn piece of cardboard and his video of his second attempt to paint origami birds inside a glass jar is genius.  And having seen Mark paint quite a few times the videos are all the more impressive when you realise that its him on his lonesome doing the video, the commentary and the painting, not a video team in sight.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Airborne Mark work in progress

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Airborne Mark, Frog

Dan Kitchener’s Bladerunner-esque rainy Tokyo night scenes morphed recently into an impressionist view of the same through a rain drenched window.  On a small screen such as the one you are using right now, the eyeball resolves more clearly details like the cars in the image, there is no real substitute for seeing a painting like this in the flesh to appreciate its true life beauty.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Dan Kitchener

Wrdsmth, the vowel eschewing scriptwriter, took the dramatic step of moving to London after years of charming us with his mixed media typewriter life affirming mottos on his frequent visits from Hollywood.    Quickly settling into a highly creative run Wrdsmth demonstrated an expanded repertoire including a clever site specific piece as one of several contributions to the London International Paste-up Festival.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Wrdsmth

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Wrdsmth (detail from above)

Covid didn’t feature as much in London’s street art in 2021 but Dr D still points the finger at the Coronavirus for being such a buzzkill.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Dr D

Dr D is always going to bring political satire onto the streets, his conversion of a van into a prison transport van for the conservatives was bang on point for the shit show that developed around the UK’s Prime Minister.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Dr D

We celebrate the innovative, the novel and the inventive and something which ticked multiple such boxes at the end of the year were Perspex living apartments set into walls with missing bricks by Brickflats.  The purpose is to highlight how the outrageous cost of renting in London forces people to cram themselves into tiny boxes by squeezing modern looking perspex flats which take advantage of missing bricks in walls.   Assisted by a fragment of a map I went on a good old fashioned street art treasure hunt and found that all his brickflats were still in situ, a testament to the solidity of their novel installation.   The second installation below is actually a replacement of a missing cobble so you are looking into the flat from above.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Brickflats

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Brickflats

Perspicere also brought a totally different dimension to street art fusing string art with paste-ups in a way that so photorealistic it left you searching for the trick.  Having seen Perspicere creating one live for a street jam I am willing to take an oath and state there is no artifice, the image is created entirely from the intersections of the threads, of which there is north of several miles.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Perspicere

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Perspicere

In many conversations with old school graffiti heads the name Nylon comes up frequently as both a style innovator and a hardcore spot seeker.   New Nylon art is always a blessing and the way each vase can be appear as a pair of tribal faces or as a single cubist face staring us out was particularly clever.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Nylon

A Shoreditch street art year lacks vintage without Ace pasting up some exercises in screen printed iconography.  It’s not just that his art really triggers the right retina receptors, it the sense of continuity that Ace represents, linking the current new wave of paste up artists back to the fumbling fathers of street art which is where Ace come from.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

ACE

Ed Hicks’ tense, doom laden images channelled Victorian apocalypse painters.  This 4 panel landscape is perhaps my single highlight of 2021, you have to pinch yourself to remember that this is done with spraypaint.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Ed Hicks

Remaining with the painterly theme, Only HMZ not only blurred the boundaries between street art and graffiti with his gothic masterpiece fills within his letters, he went on to do crazy panel installations which in the case of the one presented below is mind-blowing for being, I believe, installed without permission.  The first work in progress photo illustrates Only’s letter form.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Only

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Only

There is a further conceptual dimension associated with this installation not apparent in this photo, the trio of lights at the top were solar powered and by some means also people sensing, at night as people walked under the lights each one wold light up in turn from left to right or right to left according to the direction the passer-by was taking.  Perhaps next time it will play a tune!

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Only

An artist who has had a sensational year was Pablo Fiasco.  Pablo sets the bar for stencil art in terms of technical complexity of technique and the art embodied in his concepts and ideas.  Bearing in mind that one of the key attributes of a stencil is speedy repeatability, PF reuses components from a library of stencils assembled over the decades in different combinations yielding completely different images.   Subjects broached in 2021 included rapper tributes, Brexit and a skateboarding ex Federal Reserve Chairman but this Mute8 stencil is the piece de resistance, I don’t recall every seeing stencilism of such complexity before.  The narrative starts top right and broadly speaking turns anti-clockwise.  In a laboratory a subject is to receive a vaccination, the subject mutates, escapes then there is a chase which concludes underwater.  Pablo was quite categorical that this theme of scientific mutation has been in his art for several years and it wasn’t his intention that this necessarily be read as a comment on covid vaccination.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Pablo Fiasco – Mute 8

With unauthorised exhibitions opening all over the globe and people taking advantage (I guess) of copyright loopholes to mint NFTs based on Banksy’s art it is easy to overlook that Banksy pulled off his best wave of actual street art since he did New York for 30 days in October 2013.   East Anglia is just sufficiently close to London to be day trip viable so despite fairly poor location descriptions I was delighted to be able to locate 8 out of 10 new original and authenticated Banksy street pieces in August.   At that time, even before Banksy’s authentication, it was not known that there were actually 10 pieces in the campaign.   Since then they have suffered various indignities including being partially dismantled (3 kids in a boat), covered in perspex, buffed, added to or most unforgivably in the case of both “under the paving stone” and the Banksy tagged model stable, acquired for profitable so-called protection by the usual avaricious gallery owner.   Although lacking any mind-blowing “bar just got set even higher” pieces, the collection displayed characteristic Banksy wit and audacity.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Banksy

On the whole most of the pieces were looking quite photogenic at the time of my visit and I somehow charmed the Model Village owners to allowing exclusive behind the scenes access to photograph the stable

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Banksy

So 2021, to call you a year is perhaps generous but what you lacked in meaningful real world calendar months you compensated for with brilliant art.  Many thanks to all street artists who have provided so much pleasure in their artistic endeavours and we look forward to plenty of new and exciting art in 2022.

All photos: Dave Stuart

 


Among the street art highlights are advert defaced by street artist D*Face

Street Art Highlights For November

Shoreditch walls sure got a lot of attention in November, we have a lot to choose from in selecting some of the highlights.

At the beginning of the month a long standing discrepancy was addressed, the significance of paste-ups was recognised by the first (assuming there may be more) London International Street Art Festival.  At six Shoreditch locations paper art submitted by artists from all over the world was pasted for a weekend jamboree of pasteup art.  Here are just a few photos that capture the tone of the event, to check out a full write up including a lot more detail photos and to see the result of my effort to reproduce a Dr Cream street art animation, click HERE.

Street artist Wrdsmth describes street art to the London International Paste-up tour in Shoreditch

Wrdsmth on London International Paste-up tour

The London International Paste-up tour in Shoreditch with the special tour by Shoreditch Street art tour guide Dave

London International Paste-up Festival site and tour group

a London International Paste-up Festival site in Shoreditch

London International Paste-up Festival

a London International Paste-up Festival site in Shoreditch

London International Paste-up Festival

As street art proclaimed itself in its formative years to be anti advertising and as D*Face is a hugely significant figure in street art we are actually going to step outside the parish for a brilliant D*Face billboard subversion south of the river.

advert defaced by street artist D*Face

D*Face vs a building society advert

For fairly obvious reasons night time street art photography in the Summer doesn’t really happen but November saw a lovely few nights of clear weather and great art to photograph.   Fanakapan’s balloon was looking quite ghostly and translucent in the night illumination.

stunning chrome balloon painting by Fanakapan photographed with light painting by photographer and street art tour guide Dave Stuart

Fanakapan at night

We also photographed the latest Mr Cenz portrait on Fashion Street, a spot Mr Cenz has held down for years.

beautiful futurist female portrait painted by street artist Mr Cenz, photographed with light painting by photographer and street art tour guide Dave Stuart

Mr Cenz at night

Both those artworks are actually from earlier in the year but if you would like to take photographs like these of street art at night, come and join one of our Night Street Art Photography tours, for more details click HERE.

Enigma was prolific and on awesome form in November, this playful reversal of the shadow hands phenomenon is delightful.

Street Art mural in Shoreditch by Japanese street artist Enigma shows rabbit in spotlight making shadow hands

Enigma

That photo can only be followed by another version of a shadow hand, this time by Perspicere whose new string produces real eye catchers.

string art by street artist Perspicere just off Brick Lane in Shoreditch

Perspicere

In November we finally discovered that those single line smiley faces and the “I Farted In Yoga” characters were by Why Reuben and yes, she is carrying a yoga mat in the photo.

simple single line street art character saying "I farted in Yoga" WITH A WOMAN CARRYING A YOGA MAT

I farted in yoga

My favourite piece of graffiti this month is probably this piece by Wiet who pulls off the combination of turquoise, green and purple like it was always meant to happen.  I hope you can pick out the letters!

beautiful graffiti in London by Wiet

Wiet

To close this month’s look back we have Combo CK from France who put up a pair of stunning large scale paste ups images without permission, this Berber Horse is a nice continuation with the fascination with Moroccan colours that we have been seeing in Combo’s street art over the past few months.

Massive paste-up street art in Shoreditch by street artist Combo CK from France

Combo CK

I hope you all enjoy a good December and have a wonderful Christmas, see you on the other side.


Paste-Up Street Art Festival in London 2021

The history of street art is a complex story whose content varies depending upon author, location, editorial preferences for a “creation” date and people’s differing actual lived experiences.  Its ripping away from graffiti was for many reasons dominated in the early phase by stencilism, the significant role of the paste-up technique is easily overlooked.  Perhaps the London International Paste-Up Festival has addressed that.

lots of paste-up street art pieces by artists who participated in the London International Paste-up Festival in Shoreditch

LIPF paste-ups

LIPF was held over the first weekend in November and featured art on paper by 100s of artists who responded to an open call by the organisers and here is a hat tip to Outside The Zone (Trix Mendez) and Art House Project London (Apparan).  I had the pleasure of kind of winding up proceedings by leading a street art tour around the spots.  This gave me the unexpected joy of meeting some street artists whose work I have loved for many years for the first time as well as renewing acquaintances with familiar artists and friends, I learnt more from the experience than anyone.

Street Art Tour group led by David Stuart, tour guide with Shoreditch Street Art Tours posing in front of London International Paste-up Festival spot

Artist rich group on the London International Paste-Up Festival free tour led by our guide Dave. Features artists Meandblue, DaddyStreetFox, Subdude, FaceTheStrange, SweetheartStreetArt, Mypenleaks, Wrdsmth, Deko,

One reason why paste-ups were so significant was newcomers to street art who were not coming from a graffiti background were not going to spend hours creating, perfecting and refining a spraypainted piece of art under risky illegal circumstance, their art would be prepared at home, in the studio or at school and then pasted up in seconds. The paste-up was the ultimate in risk avoidance yet participants still experienced that buzz, the thrill of being a little bit naughty in a relatively harmless way.

An uncurated street art wall with massive collection of street art paste-ps by artists from London and abroad

Wild paste-up wall in Shoreditch

More than other forms of street art paste-ups have an ability to acquire a history, to evolve. There is a joy in the aging of paper, the savagery of rips and tears, the marker pen additions from passers-by, the possibility that meaning is changed by clever juxtaposition of another piece of art. Some artists regard their art as having an independent life on the walls and indeed even photograph their paste-up to rejoice in those changes.

Paste-up Stree tart showing pop art coloured multiple British phone boxes with Kurt Cobain from Nirvana playing guitar inside

D7606 Kurt Cobain in the wild

Kurt Cobain plays in 3 pop art coloured phone boxes by street artist D7606 at London International Paste-up Festival

D7606 at LIPF

The LIPF art was pasted up in Shoreditch over the preceding couple of weekends by a coalition of willing and experienced locally street artists.  One of the kind of predictable and I argue welcome consequences of this early installation was other artists subsequently adding their creativity in and around the LIPF displays.

paste-up installation by street artist Shuby for London International paste-up Festival

Corrosive8 vs Eartha Kitt Catwoman by Shuby

Creativity is a word that means different things to different people, beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all that.  Here we see WRDSTH explaining how his Winona Forever paste-up was “edited” by artist unknown and subsequently restored by him and he gave a wonderful articulation of his rationale for doing so.  For the benefit of readers and those who heard WRDSMTH’s anecdote first-hand, the second picture below shows the redacted artwork.

street artist WRDSMTH presents his paste-up art to a tour group led by Dave Stuart, Shoreditch Street Art Tours

WRDSMTH presents his art to #LIPF

Modified subverted paste-up street art by Wrdsmth, augmented by artist unknown

Subverted WRDSMTH paste-up

The festival locations facilitated several different presentation styles for the paste up.  Two spots highlighted individual artists, Yu_wallart and JD Montaigne in an installation format, reminiscent perhaps of something by Ludo or early Camille Walala when walls were less cluttered!  It would be rare these days to see single stand-alone paste ups like this but hey, organisers gotta make use of the spots they have available!

paste-up installation by street artist Yu-wallart for London International paste-up Festival

Yu_Wallart

Street artist J D Montaigne installation seen on the street art tour led by tour guide Dave Stuart

J D Montaigne installation

In four other spots the team had created massive banners of art pasted onto vinyl which was then tied to what in any other circumstance would be advertising frames.  The first one featured below serendipitously referenced the world’s most prolific paste-up artist.  Its placement and elevation high up the wall precisely matched a Lenin paste-up placed illegally by Shephard Fairey in 2007.

paste-up installation featuring many street artists for London International paste-up Festival

LIPF Paste-up banner, Bateman’s Row

Old photo of a Shepard Fairey paste up in Shoreditch in 2007 with a later Chris Stain paste-up from 2008

Shepard Fairy 2007, Chris Stain 2008 below

The two Old Street banners had to be taken down on Sunday evening but the others on Dereham Place and Bateman’s Row (above) could last a few more weeks.

Banner of pate-up street art by international collection of street artists in Old Street Shoreditch

Paste-Up Banners on Old Street Shoreditch

The Paste-up sppot on Derehman Place with lots of paste-up street art pieces by artists who participated in the London International Paste-up Festival in Shoreditch

LIPF Dereham Place paste-up spot

The location the artists referred to as “The Beast” became my favourite as it offered the closest approximation to the layering and direct application of art to the wall that we see in the wild.

the wall the London International Paste-up Festival crew called The Beast

The Beast wall

Collaboration is a wonderful aspect of most forms of street art and one beautiful collaboration that emerged in the festival was between Donk and Uberfubs.   Donk pasted-up his brilliant “Higher Ground” piece a week before before the main crew got to work with the other paste-ups, the second photo shows the dramatic impact on his monochromatic composition after Donk invited Uberfubs to augment it with her flouro creatures, Natasha Searston also got in on the act.

Collaborative street art paste-up piece from the London International Paste-up Festival with street artists Donk, Uberfubs and Natasha Searston

Donk, Uberfubs, Natasha Searston collab

Donk did his bit to shame the youngsters by getting his Dad’s art pasted up in the festival, a quartet of coppers with appropriate symbolic numbering which represents the acronym ACAB which means…..go figure!

Paste-up street art showing images of 4 policemen on copies of the Metro newspaper with a numerical representation of the acronym ACAB

ACAB by Donk’s Dad

Some collaborations arise through intentional placement, such as the kitty cat and rat living in perfect harmony with two foxes, others are actually created as single sheet collaborations

Animals getting on toeether in a group of paste-ups include a kitty cat, a rat and two foxes

City Kitty, a rat, Yaya and DaddyStreetFox

Perhaps the guiding hand of the installers has had a role in placing a body positivity collaboration between Flakes Store and Planet Selfie adjacent to a Playgirl cover and Sam Fox in a box.

paste-up installation by street artist FLakes_store and Planet Selfiefor London International paste-up Festival

Body positivity collab Flakes_store and Planet Selfie, Samantha Fox by D7606

The Live and Let Live/Street Art Against Hate project was initiated by the #NoHate family, an awesome group of street artists from Cologne. Artist were invited to support the anti-hate initiative by creating paste-ups adding their art within a circular “Live and Let Live/Street Art Against Hate” message.   A version from Streetart.globe gave me the prompt to explain Sunday’s tour group the Street Art Against Hate project and the opportunity to demonstrate the power of collective paste-up messaging with an anecdote about the time I came across their Brick Lane Wall of Love in the company of two parents who had lost a son in an American High School mass murder. Full 2018 story HERE. The impact of the message and the touching affect it had on Patricia and Manuel Oliver in 2018 truly demonstrated something about paste up street art.

Street Art Against Hate repping at LIPF

As I told the story, street artist Face The Strange handed me two of his versions of the paste-up message demonstrating perfectly that the project is actually still alive and doing good things.

Street Art Against Hate paste-ups demonstrated by Shoreditch Street Art Tour Guide Dave

Street Art Against Hate paste-ups by Face The Strange, photographer’s preferred credit “a street art observer”

One of the more inventive uses of paste-ups we have witnessed down the years has been Dr Cream’s creation of online stop frame animations using paste-up linoprints.

Paste-ups by street artist Dr Cream used to create a stop Frame animation

Daisy Riot animation frames by Dr Cream

He has done loads of these in Shoreditch over more than a decade and something we have never succeeded in doing is to locate all the elements of an animation to have a go at rendering our own, it is nice to think that this game or quest was Dr Cream’s gift to the streets.  Finally, courtesy his LIPF installation we have all the frames of a star jumping Daisy Riot animation and I was thrilled to get it to work, though my effort does appear to be a homage to the jumpy animation style of Roobarb and Custard (look it up!)

As the social media flurry around the Festival subsides, I mentioned in my little digital contribution that I had enjoyed leading the Sunday tour and had learned a lot from the guests and artists present.  As I pointed out the drama in the layering of Rider’s fluorescent prints against his darker monochromatic background, MeandBlue helpful informed us that the two prints flanking Rider’s display were by David Shand, an artist who was new to me.  David focussed on the residue of tears and colours generated by time acting adverts on the streets, a phenomenon paste-up are beautifully susceptible to.  David passed away last year but as I explored his art online this week I got the sense that the spirit and intent of the festival would have chimed with him, it was lovely to be introduced to his work through the art on the wall.

very flouro paste-up princes by street artist Rider with prints by deceased print artist David Shand on either side

Rider flanked by David Shand (RIP)

No matter what form a piece of street art takes it will always by elevated by good placement and use of the environment.  Wrdsmth scores highly for matching the “Hearts Shatter” text with the shattered glass, happily no wrists were slashed in the placement of the oversize stencil through the jagged shards.

mixed media stencil and paste-up installation by street artist Wrdsmth for London International paste-up Festival

Hearts Shatter, mixed media by Wrdsmth

The festival concept had a few minor and unavoidable aspects in which it deviates from the nature of paste-up street art in the wild.  Pasting all the art up at one point in time denies the “patina” of a good street art spot that comes from artworks going over eachother, from the tearing, the layering, the decay and aging at different rates from different moments in history.  Seeing the artists own particular eye and mind controlling placement and juxtaposition is often desirable.  On the other hand paste-up street art actually facilitates collaboration, sharing and representation by mailing paper or digital art to friends in other locations and letting them get on with it.

Shuby, Uberfubs, Art.tits, Carl Stimpson

Something rather less obvious from the participation in the LIPF was the gender balance.  The art world is notorious for its discrimination on many basis especially gender.  A crude assessment based on identification of artists in a sample of 155 photographs suggested a ratio of male to female artists of 5:3.  It’s not great, it’s not perfect but it is likely to be better than the perceived state of play in the in gallery world.

Did the paste-up festival work? It got huge numbers of artists’ work visible on the streets, it introduced the art of many artists from overseas that we had not seen here before, it brought new artists to outdoor walls who have never displayed in public this way and it gave huge visibility to this under-sung street art genre.  It was a success.

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All photos Dave Stuart except where noted

London, Shoreditch, Streetart, streetarttour, tourguide, LondonInternationalPasteupFestival, LIPF, pasteups


illegal 0screenprint paste ups by Nylon with graffiti by Drax and Flash on decayed building front

October Street Art in Shoreditch

October ushered in a tipping point in our weather and our clothing choices changed through the gears through the month.  Autumnal colours compete with fresh new artwork on the walls and one exciting development in October was the return of visiting artists from overseas.

Enigma is a Japanese artist who was based in London for a while pre pandemic, went back to Japan and has now returned to London on a permanent basis.  I count seven murals painted since his return in August, five of which he painted this past month.

street art mural by Enigma of weeping man with head on arm

Enigma

It was fascinating to see Italian artist Alex  respond within the week to Enigma’s maudlin male with one of his own, did you spot the tear from the right eye in each?

weeping man by Alessandro Ioviera in Shoreditch

Alessandro Ioviera

It was brilliant to see graffiti legend Nylon splashing some colour on Shoreditch walls, these 3 faced pots just blew my mind.

tribal primative vases by Nylon with hint of cubism

Primative cubist objects by Nylon

Nylon was accompanied by his friend ACE, as evidenced by this screenprint which has what I believe to be a tribal primitive embellishment by Nylon.  See also the featured image at the top which includes earlier tags from graff kings Drax and Flash.

street art paste up screenprint by A.ce augmented by Nylon

Ace and Nylon

A long awaited trend we spotted this month was the return, at long last, of visiting international street artists because they truly sprinkle a dash of talent and genius on the Shoreditch streets. Stinkfish is from Columbia and has been visiting Shoreditch leaving spraypainted and pasteup art in his wake.

coloutful mural of a face in profile by street artist Stinkfish in Shoreditch

Stinkfish Mural

pasteup by Stinkfish in Shoreditch

Stinkfish pasteup

Combo CK was a new name to us and his non permissioned pasteups made a great impact for their size and beauty, his homage to “Girl With Pearl Earring” was a standout.

street art by French artist Combo in Shoreditch homage to Girl With Pearl Earring

Combo CK

Dan Kitchener yielded one long held Shoreditch spot to Stinkfish but cranked up the impressionism another notch with a new “through the rainy window” style mural at another spot.

impressionist mural of a rainy Tokyo street scene at night by street artist Dan Kitchener

Dan Kitchener

We had the pleasure of coming across the versatile Woskerski writing a graffiti piece, he found time to paint a couple of lovely pieces of art including this hound fully prepared for the change in weather.

A blurred train whizzes over a street art painting of an Afghan Hound by street artist Woskerski

Woskerski

Wrdsmth has been visiting London since 2014 to place his wry and uplifting typewritten messages on the streets of London.  He recently gave in to the irresistible charms of London and relocated en famille here and has been taking Shoreditch spots by storm.  Here he has added his clever wordplay alongside a DONK from a few months back

two illegal pasteups on a Shoreditch backstreet by Donk and Wrdsmth

Donk and Wrdsmth

Wrdsmth and Donk have both part of the posse preparing the London International Pasteup Festival, several locations were prepared in October so while technically they are within the scope of this post I am saving the best of the bunch until the November highlights as the Festival takes place next weekend 4th – 7th November.  Lets have another great month and hopefully we will see you back on the street art tour soon.

All photos: Dave Stuart

 


pasteup street art from the London International Pasteup Festival in Shoreditch featuring Shuby, Uberfubs, Art.tits and Whatifier

London International Pasteup Festival

Street Art has many forms, different techniques have evolved to suit different artistic strategies and different environments.  Stencilism is most closely associated with street art’s emergence in the early to mid 2000s thanks mainly to Banksy and the many artists he influenced and inspired.  Muralism, on surfaces ranging from building site hoardings to massive end gable walls has come to dominate the public’s awareness of street art over the past ten years.   Street art is most profound as an outlet for the unsung, the outsider, the radical and the romantic and the most convenient format for unauthorised street art is the paste up – images on paper glued to external surfaces.

Uncurated pasteup street art on a vintage wooden door near Brick Lane London

Uncurated pasteup street art, 2021

On the heels of London’s first Mural Festival last year, 2021 brings The London International Paste Up Festival.  100s of pasteup street art pieces over 6 locations featuring many artists seen in London for the first time and many old favourites.

pasteup fag packets street art by kGuy in Shoreditch in 2007

KGuy, LIPF participant, pasteups from 2007

The formal opening night takes place this Thursday 4th November at The Hoxton Gallery and the festival runs until Sunday the 7th.  On Sunday I will be leading a free tour of the paste up locations and the art will remain visible for viewing for varying lengths of time depending on the location.

paste up street art work in progress featuring DaddyStreetFox getting high

LIPF participant DaddyStreetFox gets up high earlier this year

The full schedule can be seen below and you can check their Instagram for any updates including information about the concluding tour.

All photos Dave Stuart (except the LIPF program)


Origami frog painted by street artist Airborne Mark in Shoreditch

Airborne Mark Origami Street Art Painting

A couple of Sunday’s ago the Shoreditch Street Art Tour group had the pleasure of coming across Airborne Mark in the early stages of a new origami spraypainting.  Mark was as charming as ever and showed the origami model he was using as the reference for his painting.

“Can you see what it is yet?” he challenged us, just like he does you the viewer in this awesome making of video.  As the lucky group that day will testify, for all its polish and multi angles, Mark improvises and films the video yet manages to paint a masterpiece at the same time.  This video is such a pleasure to watch, I do hope you enjoy it.

Our group passed through at the point where he have completed the model outline and was just working on painting the cardboard base, pretty much the point at 2 minutes into the film where Mark explains some the challenges in painting the outline. Yes, we guessed correctly that it was going to be a frog!

The Origami model of the frog painted by street artist Airborne Mark in Shoreditch

Airborne Mark shows Shoreditch Street Art Tours his model

We have had the pleasure of bumping into Airborne Mark painting a few times down the years, we wrote a nice feature about Mark with a lot of history HERE

Just to demonstrate our lack of planning and foresight, the featured image at the top of this post is…the same as featured at the top of our September Highlights blogpost, which I suppose reflects how much we like Airborne Mark’s street art.

All photos: Dave Stuart


wall in shoreditch with street art origami frog painted by Airborne Mark

Shoreditch September Street Art Highlights

September turned out to be a perfect goldilocks month for street art in Shoreditch, not to hot and not too cold, not too wet and not too dry, just perfect!  Here is a selection of some favourites from the past month, some of which are already no more, have ceased to be, expired (etc).

Last weekend our Sunday tour had the pleasure of bumping into Airborne Mark doing one of his characteristic Origami paintings.  Here is a look at the origami model he was using as the reference, the final masterpiece can be seen in the featured image at the top.

Street Art by Airborne Mark showing the origami frog used for reference

Airborne Mark

Another artist we bumped into last weekend was the ever friendly D7606 who reclaimed a long running spot with this glorious Princess Grace Kelly in a London phone box “two Margeritas, one four cheeses, an Americano and 3 garlic breads please.”

Princess Grace Kelly spotted in a phone box in Shoreditch by street artist D7606

“so, two Margeritas, one four cheeses, an Americano and 3 garlic breads please.”

There is a tendency for photos to bubble to the surface on my computer in reverse chronological order, most recent first so perhaps it is appropriate that another graffiti writer we at the weekend was writing their name backwards using a very long handled roller brush.

Walls in Shoreditch with graffiti by Helch, ONLY, DIET and TOKS

HELCH, ONLY, DIET and TOKS

Yet another artist we bumped into sprang a real surprise on us, reveal a new form of his art.  Ben Wilson is better known as the Chewing Gum Man.   I told him that the group I was with hadn’t seen any of his chewing gum pictures to which he replied “ah ha, have you seen my new mosaics and he spent 10 minutes giving us a personal guided tour of new paintings done in single mosaic pieces.

painting on a piece of mosaic by street artist Ben Wilson in Shoreditch

Ben Wilson

These are even trickier to spot than his chewing gum pictures (other than on the Millennium Bridge where it is hard to stop stepping on them).

painting on a piece of mosaic by street artist Ben Wilson in Shoreditch

Ben Wilson

An artist we met in action earlier in the month was Daniel K Swann.  Passing by the following day I found that the positive message David wished to convey had been painted all across the road.

Fierce Lion on a wall painted byh Daniel K Swan with additional positive love messages written on the road

Fierce Lion by Daniel K Swan

One artist we met twice was the recently relocated Wrdsmth from LA.

mixed media stencil and paste up street art byh artist Wrdsmith in Shoreditch

We will forever know who we love – Wrdsmth

Lest you think my time is spent beating street artists off with a stick, one street artist who was around who we didn’t see was Shepard Fairey.  He was present at the opening night of his show of collaborations with D*Face and Kai and Sunny at StolenSpace Gallery but the queue to meet the legend outside the gallery was daunting.  I visited the show a couple of days later when it was much quieter, you can read the review HERE.   Shepard Fairey left his mark with a significant collection of new stickers many of which we hadn’t seen previously in London.

Sticker in Shoreditch by street artist Shepard Fairey

Wake UP says Shepard Fairey

Sticker in Shoreditch by street artist Shepard Fairey

Gun firing a flower by Shepard Fairey

ED Hicks popped up with several new works in September, leaving aside the – cough – adverts, my favourite was this stunning John Martin meets Dali fragmenting landscape with portal and apocalyptical skyline everything but the kitchen sink piece.

Apocalyptical painting by street artist Ed Hicks in Shoreditch

Ed Hicks

Apocalyptical painting by street artist Ed Hicks in Shoreditch

Ed Hicks

Now for a couple which have already featured on my or less daily street art updates, I loved these bunny hands by Enigma.

Bunny Hands street art by enigma in Shoreditch

Bunny Hands by Enigma

Placement is often a significant contribution to great street art so this moth by Marie Alice was really spot on.

paste up street art of a moth perfectly positioned by a gas lamp in brick Lane Shoreditch by street artist Marie Alice

Moth by Marie Alice

All photos: Dave Stuart in month of September 2021


Martha Cooper, Selina Miles and Dave Stuart Q and A for film Martha A Picture Story

Martha A Picture Story Q and A with Martha Cooper

A bit of context to begin with.  All over the world there are graffiti writers who will testify that their introduction to graffiti began with one book, Subway Art written by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant.

Subway Art 25th anniversary hardback cover

Subway Art 25th anniversary hardback cover

In 2009 I queued with literally hundreds of other graffiti fans and graffiti writers to get the Cooper/Chalfant signatures on my new copy of this bible at a book signing held at the Black Rat Press gallery under the railway arches behind Cargo Nightclub as well as NY graffiti legend Blade whose subway graffiti features in some of the most memorable photos in the book.  I recorded the details of that night on my Graffoto Blog.

subway Art signing by Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant and Blade at Black Rat Press Gallery in 2009

Martha Cooper photographer! Also feat Henry Chalfant and Blade

subway Art signing by Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant and Blade at Black Rat Press Gallery in 2009

Mobbed book signing, Black Rat Press, June 2009

The documentary movie “Martha: A Picture Story” by Australian director Selina Miles does a brilliant job of combining some amazing archive footage with interviews and over- the-shoulder experience photography to present a much more rounded view of Martha Cooper’s life journey and achievements.  The film is being streamed free of charge for two days on the House of Vans website as part of their monthly Doc Nights series.  Somehow, I got to play the role of host for a 30 minute Q&A session with Martha and Selina (first name buddies now, ha ha), I was in London, Selina was in Australia and Martha was in New York so you can imagine I got the best of the deal in terms of timing!

Martha Cooper, Selina Miles and Dave Stuart Q and A for film Martha A Picture Story

Just as we ended the Q&A and the Docn Roll producer returned

Details on how to obtain access to the film and the Q&A can be found on the House Of Vans Doc Nights page HERE.  Unfortunately it is UK audience only, sorry to those of you outside UK.

Martha Cooper, Selina Miles and Dave Stuart Q and A for film Martha A Picture Story

Martha Cooper – photo courtesy House Of Vans

Martha Cooper, Selina Miles and Dave Stuart Q and A for film Martha A Picture Story

Selina Miles, Director – photo courtesy House Of Vans

For the curious, the other tags in the book are friends from Burning Candy who were exhibiting Subway Art art at the event and TRP members also present.

Photos by Dave Stuart except where stated.