One of the great joys of exploring street art around the east end of London is the un-expected discovery of some delicious work which you can and are supposed to take home and cherish. Guests of Shoreditch Street Art Tours have found a really great piece of Free Art by the London stalwart Mr.Farenheit.
Street art is generally supposed be enjoyed by the public so Shoreditch Street Art Tours would never encouragethe theft of street art, so the tour group engaged in quite a discussion about what Free Art is and whether the piece we found was art the artist intended a lucky person to take and keep.
Stepping back a bit, what the heck is Free Art? Free Art is art that the artist does indeed intend a lucky person to find, collect and keep. Artists use a code to signal that their art is intended to be free, which is that it is not painted on a fixed street surface, nor pasted, glued, nailed, welded or secured or fastened to the surface in any other way which would suggest that it was meant to stay there.
There were a number of clues suggesting this lovely work by Mr.Farenheit was indeed intended to go to a nice new home off the streets. The first was that it sort of sat proud of the door’s surface like it was meant to be lifted, it didn’t look secured permanently to the surface. Secondly, we are very familiar with the prolific Mr.Farenheit – you don’t get nominated in our Top 25 Shoreditch Street Artists for nothing you know – and his street art output is almost entirely stencilled or printed on paper, rarely if ever before have we seen it on cardboard. The cardboard suggests it was intended to last longer, though “archival quality” would be an exaggeration. Mr.Farenheit always pastes his paper art to the surface, looking into the gap behind this cardboard we could see that in fact it was just held on with Blutac.
When we did lift the cardboard off the door on the reverse was a “U So Porno Baby” Mr.Farenheit sticker effectively “signing” the art, no artist would “sign” the rear of a piece of street art that was intended to remain in situ. Any lingering doubt was dispelled back at Shoreditch Street Art Tour’s bat cave when Mr.Farenheit’s online photograph collection revealed that he was indeed playing Father Christmas.
So, a very nice souvenir of London street art heads back to Bristol though you might infer from the second picture here, Nephew A may have disputed Uncle B’s divine right to the piece [real names changed!]
This wasn’t the first piece of free art taken home by guests of Shoreditch Street Art Tours: