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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.


Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

D*Face, Kai and Sunny and Shepard Fairey London art show “Unity”

Massive queues, a packed opening night at a gallery – is this 2008 all over again?  Actually no, it’s D*Face collaborating with two of StolenSpace’s long term friends Kai and Sunny, a double act counting as one friend, and Shepard Fairey.

Many may recall that D*Face’s gallery StolenSpace has hosted three major Shep Fairey solo shows in the past (Nineteeneightyfouria 2007; Sound and Vision 2012 and Facing The Giant, 2019).  What may be less well known is that Kai and Sunny, described by the gallery as having a “shared college experience” with D*Face, have been exhibiting at StolenSpace since New Year 2009, pursuing a style which back then was way too “design” for my tastes, not “street” enough.  See also 2011, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020

View of Shepard Fairey's 2007 exhibition Nineteeneightyfouria at Old Truman brewery

NineteenEightyFouria by Shepard Fairey, London 2007

Kai and Sunny have also exhibited at Subliminal Projects in LA, founder….Shepard Fairey, so connections are tight.

Now that the free beer and artist in-person appearances of the opening night have passed there is time to peruse the art at leisure.  To appreciate who contributes what where, who combines with whom, it may be handy to really overgeneralise three massive careers in just three pairs of images.  D*Face does D*Dog characters with wings and corrupted pop art; Shepard Fairey does Andre The Giant and striking political illustrations, Kai and Sunny come from a gorgeous geometric op art and flower painting direction.

D*Dog sticker by D*Face on a love lock in Shoreditch

D*Face’s D*Dog love lock

Mural in Camden by street artist D*Face with Shepard Fairey sticker in foreground

D*Face mural from 2020 with Obey GIant and D*Dog stickers in foreground

Shepard Fairey Obey Giant sticker in shoreditch

Obey Giant Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey political paste ups on Brick Lane London in 2007 showing the strong propaganda illustration influence

Shepard Fairey, Brick Lane 2007

Kai and Sunny solo exhibition Shifting Times at Stolenspace Gallery in 2018

Kai and Sunny “Shifting Times”, StolenSpace 2018

With artistic collaborations there is usually one artist whose contribution dominates, who drives the idea and the collaborators “fill in”.   Great collaborators appreciate that sometimes they are the chief, other times they are the Indian.  I am indebted to City Kitty, or possibly Lunge Box (can’t tell them apart on their podcast) for this stolen and bastardised insight.   The online catalogue ducks the whole who collaborated on what intrigue by simply attributing one “lead artist” to each image.   Often what makes the art interesting, the “arty” or clever part of the art, is actually what’s added by the others.  With Unity Star No 3 below, the foreground is occupied by a D*Face winged Obey Giant but the piece is electrified by Kai and Sunny in the background

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Unity Star No 3

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Unity Star No 3 detail

A stand out feature is how Kai and Sunny absolutely illuminate a piece when their contribution appears to perhaps be the less significant.  I confessed earlier that a decade ago I really didn’t get their work, I am so pleased that recent shows and most notably this current one have opened my eyes to the flow in their art.

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Ghost D*Moon Flower

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Unity Obey Flower

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Unity Obey Flower (detail)

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Obey Rise Up (above), Ghost D*Moon Wave (below)

The whole notion of the catalogue of a show of collaborations, as in “not a group show”, attributing artworks on the basis of lead artist only does rather confound the concept of collaboration.  The collaborator redux appears to have challenged the compiler of the online catalogue as “Apply Unity” appears in both the D*Face section and the Shepard Fairey section.

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Apply Unity

More show images:

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Sure Shot Spray Can

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

D*Dog Icon

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Hope On The Tide

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Riot Everywhere

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

The D*Face Treatment

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Burning Brighter

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Burning Brighter Detail

The catalogue compiler has a curious concept of “lead artist”, “Magnified Unity” features Shephard Fairey’s Andre The Giant image but the main artistic device is the Lichtensein-esque benday dots and magnifying glass and which is a D*Faceification previously seen in his “Magnified Dog” painting in 2013.

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

Magnified Unity

So, dudes all get on, artistic friendships have been put to the creative test and the artworks are genuinely harmonious interactions between the styles of the collaborators regardless of the lead artist nonsense.  Back to the City Kitty/Lunge Box aphorism, justifiably large egos have been set aside to produce coherent beautiful art which is certainly worth popping in to enjoy.

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

D*Faced OG Sticker

Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London Collaborative art by Street artists D*Face and Shepard Fairey and painting duo Kai and Sunny at the "Unity" exhibition at StolenSpace, Whitechapel, London

StolenSpace Gallery
17 Osborn St, London E1 6TD
10 Sep – 3 October 2021

Links:

StolenSpace Gallery website

D*Face website

Shepard Fairey website

Kai and Sunny website

All photos: Dave Stuart


Three policewomen all turn to stare at Perspicere's string art

Scenes from the Whitecross Street Art Party

After the Sunday tour this weekend I cycled over to the Whitecross Street Party, always a reliable live street art/music/food fest.  Here are some mainly work-in-progress highlights.  Most of the ground level art, particularly those pieces on hoardings were only on temporary display so I regret not being able to hang around to see the finished artworks.  

Street artist Neonite painting at the Whitecross Street Party in London

Neonita

Whitcross Street Party crowd overlooked by brand new portrait by street artist Mr Cenz

Stage watcher overlooked by Mr Cenz’s epic futurist portrait

Street Artist Gent 48 painting on a board at the Whitecross Street Party

Gent 48

Inflatable paint brush by street artist Filthy Luker with rainbow colours painted by Stikka ID at Whitecross Street Party

Filthy Luker inflatable paintbrush with floor painting by Stika

Boris the Spider Boris Johnson spins a web of lies as painted by street artists Spore and Mr Oliver Switch at Whitecross Street Party

Boris The Spider and his web of lies by Spore and Mr Oliver Switch

A choise singing Glory Glory Hallelujah in front of inflatable monster Goofs by Filthy Luker at Whitecross Street Party

Choir singing Glory Glory Hallelujah while Filthy Luker’s Goofs menace them from above

The featured image at the top shows Perspicere’s string art work in progress being admired by three passing policewomen.  Perspicere’s string street art has been a familiar sight over the last decade and these super complex string portraits are a new form of his art which have been appearing on the streets in the past year.

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Regrettably I could not get to Perspicere’s solo show at BSMT Space last month so this was the first chance I had to see the string portraits being created live and it is just jaw dropping.  Here is a short clip made yesterday at the Whitecross Street Party showing how magic is made.

 

Artist Links:

Perspicere  instagram

Neonita Website

Mr Cenz instagram

Gent 48 instagram

Filthy Luker website

Stikka instagram

Spore instagram

Mr Oliver Switch instagram

All photos and video: Dave Stuart


Canvas Paintings at Light Of Life exhibition in Shoreditch by street artist David Speed

“Light Of Life” David Speed Gallery Exhibition

Break out street artists are rare beasts.  These are street artists whose appeal grows way beyond the natural base of street art fans leading to popularity and commercial success.  Commercial success doesn’t preclude artistic success of course.

Pink neon street art spraypainted portrait of woman by David Speed

Soundwave, Shoreditch 2021

David Speed started his neon illuminated portraits and animal painting around Shoreditch a few years ago and has achieved such ubiquity that he is one of the few artists, other than Banksy and Helch, whose art is recognised by Shoreditch Street Art Tour guests exploring street art for the first time.

Pink neon street art spraypainted portrait of woman by David Speed

David Speed Neon face, Shoreditch 2018

David certainly wasn’t new to spraypainting at the beginning of this neon pink phase, his double life has him as Director of Shoreditch based spraypainting outfit Graffiti Life.  Lockdown bestowed gifts on David in two ways –the reduced demand for commercial spraypainting services seems to have allowed him more time to focus on personal and artistic development and if you check out his Creative Rebels podcast that certainly comes across strong.  There was also a significant increase in available street canvasses as business fearing a breakdown in law and order went for full plywood cladding as we went into lockdown in 2020.

Pink neon ponies on pandemic lockdown protective plywood by David Speed

Hoxton Ponies, Shoreditch 2021

David’s art exploded across Shoreditch property and caught a lot of attention.

Pink neon "Creation of Adam" homage in Shoreditch painted by street artist David Speed

David Speed neon “Creation” homage, Shoreditch 2019

Pink SKull framed in a bus stop window in Shoreditch painted by street artist David Speed

A long wait, Shoreditch 2021

Pink neon snarling tiger in Shoreditch painted by street artist David Speed

Neon Tiger! Shoreditch 2021

In the street art world, London at least, David is synonymous with this pink neon street art style so it was an amusing irony earlier this year that a mural advert was painted in David’s signature colour combination  by a rival spraypainted advert company.  Many people erroneously identified David as the artist so he felt compelled to put up a deliciously executed take out.

Pink neon spraypainted advert in Shoreditch NOT painted by David Speed

Biting Style, Village Underground 2021

Pink Neon spraypainted advert subverted by street artist David Speed

DS Style, Village Underground 2021

He currently has a self-organised solo show running in Shoreditch, it turns out the neon illumination theme suits canvas and paper as well as it does brick walls.

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A recent project that must have taken a long time to prepare was David’s “drop” of 1000 hand finished prints around the streets of London, to those with long enough memories this was a homage to Adam Neate’s 1000 print drop in 2008.  We came across one of David’s murals on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour that day at which point a guest pulled a pair of prints out of his bag with a flourish and declared “I found these on the street as I was walking to the tour!”  Lucky guy.

Various North, East, South, West

The show is located just a couple of minutes walk from where our morning Shoreditch Street Art Tour ends, so perhaps book a tour this coming Friday, Saturday or Sunday and complement it with a visit to the show.  Admission to the show is free.

 “Light Of Life” show runs until Sunday September 12th.

The Depot | 33 Boundary Street | Shoreditch | E2 7JQ

All photos: Dave Stuart

With all that pink and blue no attempt was made at colour correction in processing the exhibition photos!