Tag Archives: Glasgow

2023 Street Art Memories

2023 Street art, another year down.  Did you smile more often?  Certainly the Smokers crew aka SMO did.  A burst of activity in the Summer sun included the perfect composition of “Smokers” on a railway bridge as well as the crew acronym SMO appearing all over Shoreditch but the crowning piece was their huge Smile More Often wall with the names of all 12 crew members in smoking purple contained within the blockbuster letters, see the feature image at the top.

Smokers Crew

It there was such a thing as an award for the most up crew of the year it would go to Ghost Writers, no competition.  It seemed that there was someone representing Ghost Writers with something new almost every week.  Christmas week was no different.

graffiti and street art in Shoreditch by Ghost Writers members Minto, Tizer and Trafik and also Pablo Fiasco stencil

Minto, Trafik and Tizer repping Ghost Writers plus Pablo Fiasco

graffiti and street art in Shoreditch by Ghost Writers members Minto, Tizer and Trafik

Minto and Trafik collab, Yorgos, Tizer and Trafik

Banksy’s gift for newsworthiness did not desert him in 2023.    There was the retrospective exhibition in Glasgow, lifting the veil somewhat on the process but not the person and trumping all those shit un-authorised shows of ripped of reproductions and pure fantasy re-creations.  There was the court case which the litigant over hyped as about to lead to Banksy’s identity being revealed.  There was the artwork in Kent on the building that was demolished three days after he painted it.  Then, this being a non chronological list in which the best story is kept to last, there was the “Valentine’s Day Massacre” in Margate which led to possibly the most unfulfilling street art treasure hunt ever.  I arrived just as council contractors loaded the fridge onto a truck for disposal, how much did I rue missing by a minute the train from London that would have got me there an hour earlier.  Peter The Painter didn’t miss a thing, as anyone who Banksy’s Cut and Run show will have seen.  (Actually the most frustrating treasure hunt ever was a night spent wandering the streets of London in vain pursuit of an Adam Neate free art drop in 2008.)

Margate Council truck takes away the freezer from Banksy "Valentines Day Mascara"

Dangerous freezer captured in Margate

Banksy "Valentine's Day Mascara" Street art in Margate without the original freezer

I went London to Margate – the wall went Margate to London

There were at least four occasions this year when street art’s fleeting nature defeated my ponderous reactions. Twice I missed Banksy artworks, (the Valentine’s Day Mascara above) and the Stop War traffic sign installation which was stolen less than an hour after Banksy posted online about it.  The two other occasions were brilliant paintings by Airborne Mark, his masterpieces of virtuoso spraycan technique seem fated to be painting over immediately.  I count my blessings that there were a couple I managed to get to before they disappeared.  Everything about the origami gecko coming to life with every slant and facet of the paper catching the orange and green side lighting differently is just sensational.  All street artists’ creativity has at its core the certainty that the original piece is doomed to a very very short lifespan, yet the artists return again and again unpaid yet showing a dedication to the art which in any other endeavour would be regarded as bonkers.

spraypaint Street art mural by Airborne Mark in Shoreditch

Airborne Mark Gecko and stationery

spraypaint Street art mural by Airborne Mark in Shoreditch

Airborne Mark X Wing and stationery

Russel Shaw Higgs framed his characters beautifully within this lintel, only on the streets can such engagement with a perhaps once grand façade be realised.

street art paste ups in Shoreditch by Russell Shaw Higgs and Dr Cream

Russell Shaw Higgs, also feat Dr Cream

Yorgos first appeared in Shoreditch in 2022 but his prolific output this year has beguiled all.  He paints with influences from Picasso and traces of Matisse and his use of emulsion, which is quite rare in street art, produces a very flat and crisp aesthetic.   This pair of lovers (count the hands!) share their love with a heart that snuggly matches the bike lock frame sitting a couple of feet from the wall.

Street art mural by Yorgos of lovers whose love heart fits into the heart shaped bicycle frame



Most of Jonesy’s creativity on the Shoreditch streets this year was in the form of original drawings and paintings, check out all the oily creatures in the detail below as well as several new bronze castings atop street sign poles.

street art illustration concerned with pollution and environment by Jonesy

Jonesy Jan 2023

bronze casting sitting on top of a street sign of a see no evil monkey with hands covering its eyes

Jonesy See No Evil, March 2023

bronze casting sitting on top of a street sign of a demon with a petrol pump

Jonesy Bronze July 2023

If I have to pick a single art piece that made my jaw hit the ground it was this beauty from Minto.  Minto is a writer more associated with graffiti lettering but when I realised the alignment of the inverted face with the architecture in the background formed a stunning tribute to rapper (and occasional graffiti writer) MF Doom it was clearly a piece of ephemeral genius.


MF Doom by Minto

Cept is a bit of a renaissance man who goes through phases alternating between gallery installations and outdoor endeavours, it was great to see thet pendulum swung back to street art and graffiti this year.

comic illustration style street art by Cept supervillain with written text confession


Dan Kitchener had a brilliant year, not just because he painted abroad a lot or in terms of the scale of his murals, he also created some beautiful specimens of urban landscapes and character art in Shoreditch.  The most interesting was the mural which veered towards abstract impressionism in a painting with a point of view sitting in a car looking out through a rainy windscreen at one of his rainy night time neon lit street scenes.  The small photo cannot do justice to the impressionist beauty in the full size mural.  I could be wrong but I think Dan painted this spot three times this year, other artists occupying this wall were Inagaki (twice) and Only E1

spraycan impressionist street scene viewed through a wet window with drip or rivulets of raindrops and car lights reflecting off wet road surface by street artist Dan Kitchener

Dan Kitchener Feb 2023

Nearly every time you turn up to photograph this wall there are huge mountains of bin bags awaiting collection which makes my failure to get the photo of this image with a stack of bin bags in front of it quite unforgivable.

realistic spraycan painting relates to the piles of commercial rubbish seen regularly on Commercial Street

Inagaki, formerly known as Enigma, Feb 2022

Esauteric continued to amaze with his energetic disregard for conventional crisp spraypainting techniques, the very experimental colour combination and of course the manner of painting on walls with irregular surfaces, corners and buttresses that mean you really have to be able to walk around the wall to experience what the art has to offer from different angles.

wall mural colourful energetic face Shoreditch Brick Lane

Esau-teric. one angle only

wall mural colourful energetic face Shoreditch Brick Lane style of Futura2000

Esau-teric. Look closely, there is a 12 inch deep buttress in this picture

ODDO is an enduring Shoreditch favourite and his prolific production of wilder and wilder characters veers towards the curious, dark and scary.   “Bamboo mole” was a recurring theme.  I made one selection of snaps that captured the contribution ODDO made to my enjoyment of street art in 2023 then on the morning of New Years Eve, two more new ODDO artworks popped up on my walk through Shoreditch and one muscled right into this selection.  In a parallel universe I would be wearing clothes designed by ODDO.

crazy clothes crazy colours on harnd drawn street art paste up by ODDO in Shoreditch

ODDO, New Years Eve

crazy clothes crazy colours on harnd drawn street art paste up by ODDO in Shoreditch

ODDO, Feb 2023

crazy clothes crazy colours on harnd drawn street art paste up by ODDO in Shoreditch

ODDO, Oct 2023

Nonose has been doing quirky, lurid potatoes spiked with cocktail sticks since forever and for a little while this year a flotilla of crash-landed sputniks could be found on the tops of bus shelters and street furniture in Shoreditch and Hackney.

a dayglo potato with cocktail sticks by street artist nonose on top of a bus stop shelter

Nonose, Jan 2023

a dayglo potato with cocktail sticks by street artist nonose on top of a bus stop shelter

Nonose, Jan 2023

a dayglo potato with cocktail sticks by street artist nonose on top of a bus stop shelter

Nonose, Jan 2023

For a former graffiti writer Shaim certainly has no fear of negative space!  His hand drawn originals and paste up copies have managed to make horn rimmed glasses sexy again.  The trio of ladies are not copies at all, each is different and for the really curious, the green splats on the wall date back to a Nick Walker show in 2008.

3 black and white female faces on a wall at Old Street Shoreditch by Stephen Haim Shaim


Ed Hicks remains the master of painterly gothic street art, he had a productive 2023 and there wasn’t a single piece I saw that I didn’t love.  It’s a puzzle that his masterworks tend to have much shorter lives than equivalent efforts from his peers, the artwork on the Grey Eagle St wall lasted barely a week before giving way to Smile More Often.

double height door gothic light and dark mural on Brick Lane by Ed Hicks

Ed Hicks

street art mural of fiery explosion, Brick Lane, Ed Hicks

Ed Hicks, Nov 2023. 1 week only.

Shoreditch visitors

Shoreditch continues to magnetically attract brilliant visiting artists working from small paste ups to the largest murals.  Alex face painted literally a scorcher, controversially short lived as it was painted over by an advert on a wall which has never hosted an advert before.

burning faces mural by Alex Face from Thailand painted on a wall on Brick Lane

Alex Face, Thailand. Jul 20263

Drash visited London twice this year and her colourful detourned fashion mag pages got brasher and Drasher.

Colourful Street artist Drash La Krasse from La Rochelle next to her art in Shoreditch

Drash La Krasse

Colourful Street art by Drash La Krasse from La Rochelle on derelict window old Shoreditch tube station

Drash La Krasse, with additional LDashD sticker

Niafase, Key and Naths Ice visited from Mexico and got stuck right in painting with some talented artists at various spots around London with Niafase contributing some technically brilliant 3D lettering.

part of large mural with goldfish, portraiture and 3d graffiti lettering

Niafase with Curiouser and Curioser

collaborative wall mural with spraypainted street art and graffiti

Moonkey, Niafaze (Mex), Achezink, Naths_Ice (Mex)

3d graffiti lettering Stockwell hall of fame

MoonkeySP, Solo, Nifazse, Casem, Ezra Kemen, Vladarts, Void One

On My Travels

The years since we were all put in detention have been spent frantically travelling to make up for lost opportunities.  This year wonderful street art was discovered in Manchester, Paris, Southend, Lisbon, Port Talbot and Glasgow.

Manchester’s street art bristles with self confidence and inventiveness.  Hornby train set art?

Geese in a Manchester streert with sign saying on the 6th day God created Manchester

On the 6th day, God created Manchester – Trafford Parsons

Street art made from model railway and figure dressed like Kevin Rowland from Dexys Midnight Runners

“Dexy’s Midnight Roller”  with miniature Kevin Rowland, Jungle Angelo, Manchester

Paris blew me away, over 1000 photos of magical street art was a fraction of what I saw and the task of selecting a few to share proved too painful to contain within just one blog post.  So I wrote two.   Paris is blessed with magnificent murals but there is way more than 10 story murals to Paris’ street art.  B-Toy Andrea’s mural makes the cut just because I loved the way a bit of light painting and long exposure melded the decoration in the subject’s hair with the blossom on the trees.  Paris of course has the largest collection of Space Invaders but I fell in love with the really esoteric things like Tegmo’s glass sculptures and mosaic arrangements.

Tegmo, Paris

2 street names, 5 legged confusion. OJI, Paris

BToy Andrea, Paris

Southend is so easy to get to from London and the Southend City Jam seaside circus has now grown to one of the coolest, happiest and indeed largest gatherings of street artists, graffiti writers and fans in the world.   I wonder what happens to all those boards?

Pink haired woman in front of mural with matching bright pink details

Bublegum, Southend City Jam 2023

Street art from Southend City Jam 2023 Asur work in progress

Asur work in progress, Southend City Jam 2023

Street art from Southend City Jam 2023 Elno

ELNO, Southend City Jam 2023

Street art from Southend City Jam 2023

Epic1, C.A.S.E.M, Southend City Jam 2023

Lisbon has an amazing city wide distribution of street art and graffiti.  Star locals Vhils and Bordalo simply can’t be left out of any Lisbon highlights but even in a city noted for its tiled décor I was delighted with the surprise find of a massive tiled mural by Monsieur A whose parents are Portuguese.

Junk street artist Bordalo studio in Lisbon

Bordalo studio, Lisbon

huge tile mural in Lisbon by street artist Monsieur Andre

Monsieur Andre Tiled mural, Lisbon

huge tile mural in Lisbon by street artist Monsieur Andre

Monsieur Andre Tiled mural, Lisbon

Mural portrait half and half collaboration in Madrid between Shephard Fairey and Vhils

half and half Shepard Fairey, Vhils collab, Lisbon

Glasgow had been invaded by the usual suspects visiting the Banksy exhibition so at that moment it was an effort to track down the local talent rather than same old Shoreditch habituees.

Stencil street art in style of Banksy of falling couple by The Rebel Bear

The Rebel Bear

clever stencil juxtaposition appears to show girl balancing on thin handrail in Glasgow

Rogue Oner, Glasgow

And so, with another New Years Eve photo A Chance Of Creatures kicks out the old and welcomes in the new, may you all have a healthy wiser better more peaceful 2024, fill it with joy and art.

New Years Eve street art 2023 2024 by A Chance Of Creatures In Shoreditch

A Chance Of Creatures – New Years Eve

All photographs: Dave Stuart

Banksy "Cut and Run" poster image stencil of running mouse with stanley knife

Banksy Exhibition Cut and Run

The ground floor of the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow was been taken over by a huge retrospective of some of Banksy’s greatest hits, more than 75 pieces in total.  Unfortunately health reasons meant I could not make the exhibition until the last week but here for the benefit of all who haven’t had the chance to go, the exhibition closed 28th August, here are some reflections on a characteristically sensational Banksy exhibition.

Banksy Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Gallery Of Modern Art, Glasgow

Banksy sprung the exhibition on the unsuspecting public with zero notice, a modus operandi he employed for his 2009 “Banksy v. Bristol Museum and gallery” show.    His shows always achieve capacity attendance with long waiting lines so no advance notice is required and the marketing budget must be next to zero.

Banksy stencil of two boys installing a cone at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Cone placement

A few years ago Banksy’s former manager Steve Lazarides put on a show of Banksy prints at Sotheby’s in London and since then a huge industry of un-authorised mediocre travelling shows of Banksy’s art have sprung up.  I mean – re-imagined 3D sculptures derived from a Banksy image on paper what kind of uninspired diminished art trinket is that?  This has pissed Banksy off, as evidenced by his Q&As which were basically a warning not to go to those shows.  Cut and Run is Banksy’s official retrospective based on his street art rather than his indoor commercial stuff and it wipes the wall with those rip off copycats.

Banksy Website Product Recall screengrab

Fake exhibitions – Banksy.co.uk website 2019 onwards

The majority of the art pieces comprise battle scarred stencils imaginatively staged to recreate familiar Banksy images going right back to his earliest stencil pieces.  Converting stencils into viable exhibition worthy pieces of art has required some augmentation.  Stencils of the black layer of images have had a light coat of white or grey to define the black and outline the rest of the image.  Check the dual aura of white and black around the edge of the stencil image illustrating the cover of the show book, a good example.

Banksy "Cut and Run" book cover with early stencil of running policemen

Cut and Run Banksy book cover

There are also stencilled artworks as opposed to stencils turned into artworks and almost every installation or piece of art is accompanied by pithy text in the classic Banksy vein.

If you are find that this review is a bit light on photos of art from the exhibition you are right.   Photography was not allowed in the exhibition.  A motley crew of gallery attendants were on hand to take polaroid snaps using a weak built-in camera flash, consequently we have here a selection of dim photos, dull photos and some photos from the distant past.  Cheers Banksy.

Banksy Cut and Run visitor pose for polaroid in Banksy phone booth with GCHQ spies listening

Spy Booth v innocent member of the public

The exhibition layout is essentially two meandering passages connected by a larger hall in the middle and at the end you exit through the gift shop (of course) which then spits you out in a passage of thousands of multi coloured audience generated tags.   The show starts with a reconstruction of part of Banksy’s studio, seemingly a stencil cutting station.  The final installation is a reconstruction of Banksy’s bedroom.

Banksy explanation of why he still does street art at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow August 2023

Why I Still Do This

Banksy bedroom mock up at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow August 2023

Wherever he lays his hat

Main Hall view at Banksy Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Large Hall (repo’d crayon house to left) – viewed from bedroom window

If you expect vandal paraphernalia and anarchist regalia then the actual bedroom may surprise you with its conventionality.  Lots of militaria, budget toiletries and the Prodigy’s Jilted Generation double LP displaying its inner sleeve kill-the-bill rave fantasy illustration by Les Edwards.  As that album was released in 1994 this would suggest either Banksy is younger than we imagined, 1974 is often cited as a possible year of birth, or the bedroom is that of someone on the cusp of their 20s whose décor hadn’t kept step with their emergence into young adulthood.

Banksy Bedroom mock up detail at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Prodigy LP, Castle Morton Moment

The exhibition is way more than the widely reported stencil retrospective, a couple of pieces had not been seen before in public and both have interesting stories.  One quirky installation comprises a collection of oil paintings by a painter named in the show as Pete Brown.  In February this year Banksy created a piece known as Valentine Day Mascara in the seaside town Margate.  There was an artist on hand painting the scene in oil on board and making a nice job of it.  From that hand come 5 oil paintings displayed with Banksy’s explanation that he believes the art in the street is as much about the pageant that develops around it as it is the street art he created.

Outdoor en plein air painter Pete Brown paints Banksy Valentines Day Mascara at Margate 2023

“Valentine’s Day Mascara” scene feat Pete Brown, Margate, Valentine’s Day 2023

If Pete Brown had turned out to be an untraceable pseudonym that would have been bog standard Banksy subterfuge but Peter Brown aka “Pete The Street” is a proper proper artist with an impressive cv and a website that makes no reference to Banksy, a sure fire indicator of someone who has worked for Banksy! https://www.peterbrownneac.com/biography/

Main hall view at Banksy Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Margate paintings viewed through one-way window from Banksy bedroom

Another new work, or at least one being seen in “real life” for the first time, depicts a rat and a couple of spray cans which previously appeared on the film set in Bristol for the TV series The Outlaws.  The press had a field day at the time with the “controversial” buff by Christopher Walken but this was no disturbed actor tantrum, its painting over was scripted and Banksy contributed the image in celebration of a programme made in his sometime home town.  Curiously this painting is not reproduced in the book “Cut and Run” that goes with the show.

Banksy Cut and Run visitors pose for polaroid in front of Banksy arcade game grab

Arcade game grab

On the subject of books, Banksy has been writing books since early in his career, “Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall” was published in 2001 and the text notes accompanying the art in Cut and Run are as important as part of the art as the stencil and imagery.  In some instances the imagery seems to be there just to support the delivery of a well written, witty, pithy and often self-deprecating story.   The display of the storyboard, a painting and an animation cell from Banksy’s couch sequence opening to The Simpsons in 2010 is a perfect example, setting up to his brilliant “racist hat crime” punchline.

Banksy animation storyboard from Simpsons couch sequence 2011

SImpsons Storyboard, Banksy website, 2011

Banksy animation frame from Simpsons couch sequence 2011

Simpsons animator sweatshop

It seems obligatory to describe this show as Banksy’s first solo exhibition for 14 years.   This is a bit puzzling as it required that we forget the 2019 “Gross Domestic Product” show in Croydon.

The stencil used to create “Basquiat Stop and Search”, one of a pair of tributes put up below London’s Barbican Centre on the eve of the opening of the 2017 Basquiat retrospective had a spectacular amount of additional painting to recreate the whole of the original image.  The image on the street is possibly the most painterly illegal Banksy street art of them all and merited this colourful exhibition treatment.

Banksy painted tribute to Basquiat at Barbican 2017 called Basquiat stop and search

“Basquiat Stop and Search”, Barbican, 2017

Content wise this show contains a lot of Banksy humour, huge amounts of the trademark anti authoritarian humour, lots of great anecdotes told with typical Banksy impish wit and as you would expect, plenty of politics.   Banksy the thrower of light onto political murk highlights so many issues and causes including Arab-Israeli tensions, the environment, anti-war protest, racism, child exploitation, the refugee crisis, Ukraine, consumerism, Brexit and gentrification.

Banksy Cut and Run visitor pose for polaroid in front of Banksy No Ball Games stencil

No Ball Games

Banksy’s mystery is in no way diminished by this show, the exhibition is personality not persona, after the show no one is any none the wiser about Banksy’s identity and you already knew Banksy is the coolest artist in town

Exit Through The Gift Shop painting by Banksy Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Exit Through The Gift Shop

In revealing a bit more of how the magician does his tricks Cut and Run has echoes of what Banksy achieved with the 2008 Cans Festival group show which had a public spray area where anyone and everyone turn up with a stencil and release their inner outdoor artist.  This exhibition shows the comparative simplicity of Banksy’s craft, we see the tools, the stencils and the end results.  The real genius however lies in the inspiration and the execution and both on the streets and in delivering this show Banksy has no peers.

Banksy stencil saying Designated Graffiti Area on a tagged wall at Cut and Run exhibition Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Designated Graffiti Area

Banksy Cut and Run visitors pose for polaroid in front of Banksy meat truck


For a comprehensive listing of the items exhibited in “Cut and Run” check out my other blog post here.

Banksy “Cut and Run”

Gallery Of Modern Art, Glasgow

18th June – 28th August 2023

All Photos: Dave Stuart except where otherwise credited