Tag Archives: Enigma

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

Enigma Street Art and a show with friends

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

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

Enigma May 2022

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

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

New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

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

Ed Hicks and Enigma collaboration, Dalston, May 2022

Street art collaboration in Dalston by Ed Hicks and Enigma

Ed Hicks and Enigma collaboration, Dalston, May 2022

Street art collaboration in Dalston by Ed Hicks and Enigma

Ed Hicks and Enigma collaboration, Dalston, May 2022

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

Graffiti over street art in Shoreditch

Forty Winks over Enigma shadow hand

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

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

Streert collaboration in Shoreditch Ed Hicks and Emma Richardson

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

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

Perspicere string art in Shoreditch of woman in Niqab

Perspicere – former site of Hitchcock Reel

Perspicere string art in Shoreditch of woman holding a face mask

Perspicere

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

Perspicere string art in Shoreditch of woman holding a face mask

Perspicere String Art Smilies

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

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

New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

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

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

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

Perspicere “Walking Head”, “Chair Head”

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

New Surrealism: Ed Hicks Enigma Perspiscere Roncho

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

Ed Hicks: Anniversary

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

Perspicere detail

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

Perspicere Shadowman Watching detail

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

Perspicere: Shadowman Watching; Shadowman Tear

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

Enigma

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

Roncho

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

The Dialogue, Enigma

All photos Dave Stuart except where stated


Street Artist Enigma In Shoreditch

Just suppose someone decided the missing ingredient in street art was monochromatic medieval woodcut images of public hangings or fantasy horror representations of bizarre sea creatures attacking intrepid seafarers venturing beyond the realm of worldly knowledge.   Japanese street artist Enigma has stepped up to fix this obvious void in Shoreditch’s globally acclaimed street art scene.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma sailing ship and sea serpent

Sea Serpent

Street art has developed to a level of variety and sophistication that it takes something quite special to stand out.  As observed in our look back at Shoreditch street art 2021 favourites, the street art of this new (to us) artist Enigma was a highlight of a rather unusual year It won’t escape your attention that the leviathan serpent traumatising that unstable looking ship above spells out ENGM, a contraction of Enigma’s moniker in a style barely removed from graffiti.  The sea serpent was our first stop-you-in-your-tracks encounter with Enigma’s art last year.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma based on Altas with an origami paper plane

Ready To Fly

A sepia appearance coupled with extensive use of cross hatching lends Enigma’s art an unfashionable antiquated appearance.  Street art is awash with pretty but very average photorealistic portraiture, there is a huge gap for new artists prepared to buck the trend, to not follow fashion.  Enigma’s vision of Lucifer cast out of heaven, based on a detail of Cabanel’s Fallen Angel has butterflies where others paint wavy locks of hair.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma showing a detail copy of Fallen Angel by Alexandre Cabanel

Fallen Angel

Elsewhere faces are sliced to reveal what a proper clockwork orange looks like.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma with a sliced face showing an oragne and clock face so clockwork orange

The Clockwork Orange

Surrealism and distortions suggest an artist enjoying playful imagery and experimentation. How many eyes can you or indeed should you fit on a bowler hatted whale or on a chequered finish flag winged stag beetle?

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma of a surreal whale with a bowler hat and lots of human eyes

Whale Watching

surreal Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma of a stag beetlewith a human eye in its body ad wings with chequered flag design

Love Is A Verb

Fish currently feature frequently in Enigma’s compositions, though the circumstances are typically bizarre.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma of Santa with a huge fish in his present sack

Santa

Enigma’s representations of body parts might resemble pages torn from vintage anatomical studies though a recent fish emerging from an ear could owe more to Hieronymus Bosch.

Surreal Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma showing a fish peeped out of an ear

Pink Fish

Another theme in Enigma’s recent art has been shadow hands creatures.  Those “how to” guides to shadow puppetry never convince you that the contortion of the hands could cast the demonstrated shadow, Enigma teases you into the same shadow guessing game.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma shadow puppets

Shadow Puppet Series

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma showing a shadow puppet stag

Shadow Puppets

A conceptually paired couple of paintings play with the notion of a shadow rabbit created by hands then the actual creature casting a shadow of a hand.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma shadow hand making a rabbit with a passer by

Don’t Follow The Black Rabbit

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma of a rabbit and a shadow rabbit looking like a hand

Follow The Rabbit

Jeopardy crops up frequently in the paintings and this ship in its shattered bottle certainly faces stormy seas and rocky Shoreditch shores.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma of a ship in a broken bottle

Bon Voyage, 2022

Enigma even infiltrates occultist references onto Brick Lane walls, the grinning jester in his harlequin clothing is based on the Hanged Man in the tarot card system and represents submissive states such as surrender or sacrifice.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma showing The Hanged Man tarot card with upside down jester

Hanging Jester, 2022

Enigma garners respect and praise from fellow street artists and when you watch Enigma’s painting style close up you can see why.    His can control would be admired by many graffiti writers, those fractured cross hatching strokes come from practice and skill not accident or chance.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma detail of a mounted butterfly and a fractured Greek head statue

2nd Century Greek bust detail

Enigma has thus far had few gallery outings in London, what has been seen indicates his street art translates beautifully onto rough canvas, as spotted at the Secret Life Gallery in Shoreditch last year.   Instinctively it feels like there is more and better non street art to come from Enigma.

Painting of a rabbit and its shadow by Japanese street artist Enigma

Follow The Rabbit Canvas

Painting of a whale with human eyes and a bowler hat by Japanese street artist Enigma

Whale Watching Canvas

painting of a stag beetle by Japanese street artist Enigma

Love Is A Verb Canvas

There is a lot of fun to be had with a little light painting, a long exposure at night and Enigma’s high contrast imagery.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma showing a shadow puppet stag at night glowing at the edges because of light painting

Stag hands

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma

Hanging Jester at night

Enigma has proved to be very engaging with the public.

Shoreditch street artist Enigma fromm Japan talks to Shoreditch Street Art Tours guests

Hello

We just don’t see enough thematic street art paintings, if you want an idea of the kind of level Enigma is operating at it Ed Hicks might be a suitable peer, a comparison that neither insults Ed nor flatters Enigma.   The sources Enigma mines for his art, fractured ancient Greek busts, tarot cards, cast out demons and psychopathic Kubrick films do a bit more than merely hint at dark undercurrents within his art.   There is an intellectual depth and creative variety to Enigma’s painting and in the high turnover here-today-forgotten-tomorrow world of street art it is testament to Enigma that his paintings are memorable.  Let’s hope Shoreditch continues to play host to his street art for a long time to come.

Shoreditch street art by Japanese artist Enigma mackerel fish

Mackerel

All photos: Dave Stuart

Canvas art photos courtesy Enigma

Photo captions from Enigma’s Instagram


Vibrant Long exposure night photography of street art by Stinkfish in Brick Lane with light trails and light painting

Night Street Art Photography

The days are getting longer, hurrah!  Another way of looking at it is that the nights are sadly getting shorter.  We are now over halfway through the Shoreditch night street art photography season and it has been a cracker.  The season ends pretty much when the clocks go forward in Spring so there is not much time left to join the fun.

Long exposure night photography of street art by Enigma in Shoreditch with light painting

Enigma with light painting and ghosts

On the Night Street Art Photography tour let me help you take stunning night photos of street art such as these.

Long exposure night photography of street art by Mr Cenz in Spitalfields with light trails and light painting

Mr Cenz with light trails and light painting

If you have never done long exposure night photography before you will be find yourself quickly immersed in gorgeous light trails, ghosts, night moods and light painting.

Long exposure night photography of street art by This One in Shoreditch with light trails and light painting

This One with light trails

If you have mastered the basics of manual photography and have say for example an ND filter then you can get into really arty night photography with an amazingly photogenic subject matter.

Long exposure night photography of street art by Alessandro Ioviero in Brick Lane with light painting

Alessandro Ioviero with light painting (Filters not necessary!)

You will find that the skills you acquire will be useful for many other urban night time urban photo opportunities.

Long exposure night photography of Spitalfields Market on a dark moody night with car light trails

Moody night in Spitalfields

You may even be able to create stunning gif animations such as this (Photoshop or a gif animator required).

Night Street Art Photography tours are arranged for individuals or small groups no more than 3, please contact me by email with your enquiry or you can learn more from our website.  We know where to take you and how to photograph it!

Long exposure night photography of graffiti by Real in London with train light trails and light painting

Real with light trails

All photos in this post were taken this Winter by Dave Stuart.

Links:

Stinkfish (feature photo) website

Enigma instagram

Mr Cenz website

This One instagram 

Alessandro Ioviero website

Wrdsmth website

 

 

 

 


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.


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

 


Tour guide Dave in front of Banksy stencil of an arcade game claw at Gorleston Beach with added teddy bears by local street artist EMO

Street Art Highlights in August

August has been a month of surprises – it stayed dry – and as Banksy trumps everything in the street art world, this month’s review starts with a flashback to an exciting daytrip to East Anglia to witness Banksy’s Spraycation street art fest.  Banksy put up 10 new street art pieces, two were never found by members of the public as they were swiftly removed by council workers but the 8 we did find were thankfully on the whole in superb condition.  Sorry to spoil the photo of the Banksy piece at the top of this article.

Banksy stencil of a rat at a Lowestoft beach who is sipping a cocktail made from a pipe discharge

Banksy rat chills out at Lowestoft, August 2021

Seeing one new Banksy street art piece is a “Hold the front page” moment, EIGHT new Banksys put that spin to the coast spin right up among the most exciting art days I have ever enjoyed, that Banksy goodness is reviewed HERE.

Banksy street art on a model home installed without permission at Merrivale Model Village

Banksy mini fire extinguisher graff on model village stable, Aug 2021

We also produced a guide to the locations which earned great feedback.


“Thanks for the directions on your website, they were the first proper ones we found and with 2 kids in tow we always appreciate not having to cart round for hours trying to find somewhere!”


News of the first ever private daytrip to space prompted street artist ODDO to speculate that Jeff Besos was boldy going forth in search of new tax avoidance strategies.

Cartoon street art showing Jezz Besos as an astronaut by street artist Oddo in Shoreditch

Jezz Bezos cartoon by Oddo

Vez, leading light of the “spoonerists” movement really got the full flower power thing going, dig that groovy dress daddio.

paste up street art in Shoreditch by Vez street artist

Spoons by Vez

We believe you can’t beat a decent street art collaboration so it a great to see two of our faves Face The Strange and Smiler getting something truly surreal up.

paste up street art collaboration in Shoreditch featuring street artists Face The Strange and Smiler

Face The Strange and Smiler collaboration

Butterflyman, the artist formerly known as Sell Out, had a prolific month with paper butterflies and oil pastels. He provided a police escort for The Postman’s Debbie Harry and we also loved the paper butterflies escaping the maw of Orrible’s shark.  Sell Out provides top quality street art “augmentations”, torn between the two and unable to choose we thought ok, let’s include both pics!  There is a crazy amount of great art in the photo of Debbie Harry’s police protection squad, you should be able to pick out 4 expressionist policemen (the 5th face isn’t a policeman) and 1 police dog!

layers of paste up street art in Shoreditch with Sell Out adding to Debbie Harry by The Postman's Art

Debbie Harry by The Postman rescued by Butterflyman’s policemen

Shark paste up by street artist Orrible augmented by Sell Out's paper butterflies stuck on with blutack

Orrible, augmented by Butterflyman752, also featuring Subdude

Jace has been out putting some of his great faces in more small places, he clearly loves the spot next to Stik’s Brick Lane couple which is where you will find Lola.

Street Art sculpture of a face in relief depicting Lola from german Film Run Lola Run

Lola by Jace

Tom from Tom and Jerry featured in Fat Cap Spray‘s art output this month, this shone neon bright but ever so brief, lasting less than a week!

Tom from Tom and Jerry painted in neon purple by street artist Fat Cap Sprays on Shoreditch streets

Tom by Fat Cap Sprays

Perspicere had a show at BSMT Space which to our huge regret we failed to check out, thankfully we did find this gorgeous example of his novel string art on a doorway of an empty and heavily graffitied office block in Shoreditch.

String street art face portrait by Perspicere

String Art by Perspicere

Just sneaking in at the end of the month is this beautiful painting in a very soft palette by Enigma.

Attractive blonde walks past street art shadow bunny by street artist Enigma in Shoreditch

Shadow hands by Enigma

Among the large amount of brilliant graffiti spotted this month a real jaw dropper was the piece by legend Vibes RT, check out the glitchy cloud detail.

Brilliant graffiti in Shoreditch by Vibes RT

Vibes RT graff

Detail of brilliant graffiti in Shoreditch by Vibes RT

Vibes RT graff detail

Allen Gardens is a location frequently explored as there is always fresh art and graffiti there, just this weekend this pair of pieces by Reves One and Sidok both featuring “split screen” letter design took my breath away.

Brilliant Shoreditch Graffiti pieces by Reves One and Sidok

Reves One and Sidok

Bonzai’s liquid mercury lettering is truly an eyeopener for guests whenever we come across it on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour.

Graffiti writing that looks like liquid mercury by artist Bonzai

Quicksilver Bonzai

As travel becomes more and more a reality we are looking forward to seeing an increased number of international artists beautifying Shoreditch’s walls and more tour guests from overseas would be nice as well!  Book HERE for the best street art tour and perhaps you will get to admire the candidates for September highlights in the flesh.

Links to all artists are incorporated in the text.

All photos: Shoreditch Street Art Tour guide Dave Stuart