Two weeks ago today I received a text message from the NHS telling me I had to isolate, though I had actually gone into a self imposed lockdown a week earlier when I returned from my Father’s funeral in Ireland. On a daily basis I have been digging through the photo archives and posting some older gems with a few thoughts on why I had picked them. This is a compendium of the first two weeks worth.
This first photo I captioned “When dumpster diving goes wrong.” but it was about combining street art with found surreal elements, also the strong colours complemented the colour of Gianni Lee’s character outside Cargo.
Gianni Lee, Mar 2019
Sweet Toof, Rowdy and Knapple shenanigans last year, check their instas for a dose of artistic positivity . This photo reveals the scale of this collab which perhaps isn’t so apparent when you view it from street level. Also, light as candyfloss as Knapple is, impressive piggy back stamina from da Toof geezer.
Knapple, Rowdy, Sweet Toof, January 2019
In 2009 David Choe dropped a heap of awesome stuff in London, I only found out [last week] that the guy spraypainting the underpass from the passenger seat of a moving car in the opening montage of Exit Through The Gift Shop is David Choe.
David Choe, Nov 2009
Own that intrigue. Street art stimulates passers by in a way that adverts don’t. People notice. Circles by L’Enfant, figure by David David, tile by Nathan Bowen, calligraphy (aka tag) YAS21. This is the Old Truman Brewery wall that now is a canvas for Shepard Fairey’s Shadowplay mural.
L’Enfant, David David, Nathan Bowen, Yas21, 2018
Although captioned “Give Us A bite”, I will confess that in 2011 I captioned this street photography style picture of Stik’s family group “Who Ate All The Pies”.
“Give Us A Bite”, Stik, 2009
Of all the weird, wonderful, beautiful, clever and funny stuff that appeared on Cargo’s walls, this by Bortusk Leer has to be the wackiest! Anyone else remember his kid’s tv series?
Bortusk Leer, 2009
A squadron of Banksy Happy Choppers on Holywell Row, Shoreditch, there is a better photo by Steve Lazarides in his “Banksy Captured” book.
Escif got a lot of coverage in the past week for his spectacular sculpture in Valencia which was torched as part of the Fallas celebrations, though with Spain in lockdown few got to see it actually live. In 2010 Escif had a show at Pictures On Walls in that period when it was welcoming folk in off the street, as opposed to the “by apppointment only” fortress it had been in its Scrutton St and Willow St days. These are POW’s shutters painted by Escif with Petro on window dressing detail.
Escif, also feat Petro, 2010
Elbow Toe had a stunning installation at the urban art epicentre The Leonard St Gallery. He visited London more than once in that era. He commented to me at the time that getting up in London felt so chilled compared to NY. This piece if I recall correct was a representation of his wife. 2007.
Elbow Toe, 2007
This context photo also features then Shoreditch based artist Jawa, and Mudwig is a small puce apparently but the many faults of Mudwig were regularly discussed on walls in those days.
Elbow Toe feat Jawa and Mudwig, 2007
Burning Candy owned the East End. Sweet Toof and Cyclops went large here on the plot opposite where CitizenM stands today, before the North London line curved past that building. Back of Chariots for those familiar with that landmark. Also features SNOE TRP, EINE and REAK.
Burning Candy, Snoe, Eine, Reak et al 2007
If you are going to admire someone else’s genius, nothing says “wow” quite as much as having your art admire theirs. Pure Evil’s Pearly Kings express what the rest of us thought of Swoon’s 2007 amazing filigree paste up on Coronet St. Also features Jef Aerosol looking pretty hyper and The Krah. This wall used to host some great street art. Street art photography companion Howaboutno and I always disagreed on whether you should clear shit and rubbish out of photos.
Swoon, Pure Evil, Jef Aerosol, The Krah, photo 2008
Judith Supine from NY made surreal psychedelic art which really paid attention to its surroundings, location was everything. This one is by the entrance to the long lost iconic Dragon Bar. Such a shame we don’t get visits from Judith Supine any more.
Judith Supine, 2007
Nurses and doctors are the front line, they are performing heroics without thought of their own safety and in the face of apparent shortages of safety equipment that would render their service less fraught with risk. It is saddening to hear just now (when first posted to Instagram) of two nurses in the UK who have passed away after treating patients affected by COVID-19. Both were mothers of 3. My thoughts are with the family. This piece by Stik now seems sadly prophetic.
Roa had been dropping an amazing menagerie of dishevelled creatures in Shoreditch since 2009 but this gate in 2012 kicked thing up another level in terms of making visible a degree of gore which characterised man’s relationship with his fellow creatures. If it was shocking then, you hadn’t been paying attention. Also, this was one of his less long lived London pieces and is correspondingly less well known.
Damn tourists getting in the group portrait, Suriani’s dramatic pasteups made great photos.
Standby for more blasts from the past for as long the shutdown prevents my return to work.
Art credits and links are by each photo. All photos: Dave Stuart