Tag Archives: London

City Kitty, RX Skulls, Toastoro, Voxx Romana and Wrdsmth visited Shoreditch with a group of street artists from Portland and New York and created original street art

Portland and NY Street Artists visit Shoreditch

This August a group of street artists from Portland, Oregon as well as their friends from other endz visited Shoreditch to bless the public realm with their creativity.   Various combinations of this group have been visiting Europe regularly over the years and the street art they create is never short of impressive.

City Kitty, RX Skulls, Toastoro, Voxx Romana and Wrdsmth

Gang mural (above and feature image) : City Kitty, RX Skulls, Toastoro, Voxx Romana and local friend Wrdsmth

RX Skulls and Voxx Romana have been at the centre of the previous manifestations of this team, on this occasion they were joined by City Kitty from New York, Toastoro from Portland and team photographer Cody Keto.

Toastoro and RX Skulls

Cat Bus Toaster by Toastoro, Chonk by RX Skulls (also feat Boxitrixi, ODDO, DaddyStreertFox)

Each artist has embraced differing themes and influences yet there is commonality in the techniques, placements and energy.   Paste ups, stencil, stickers and various installations are all deployed in the name of public decoration, sometimes in adventurous and novel ways.

Voxx Romana

My name is Voxx Romana, observe my stencil


Toastoro stencilled paste up

RX Skulls is one of the best known art sticker makers around and he came prepared with masses of stickers, as well as paste ups and stencils.

RX Skulls

RX Skulls paste up

RX Skulls

RX Skulls sticker

RX Skulls, Voxx Romana/Vane PDX collab, Toastoro (also feat D7606, Slow Shrug)

Visible in the very corner of the photo above is a small RX Skulls paste up on the corner of the window ledge, a relic from 2018 which can be seen in its early days in the photo below.   Also visible in the following photo is a sculpture by 3x3x3 and a paste up from C3, C3 is one of the UK artists RX skulls has collaborated with and if you look closely above you can see the carbonised remains of that C3 in the layers of historic grime.

RX Skulls vs C3 also feat 3x3x3, 2018

Which leads to the next photo in which another aspect of the art practice of this posse is apparent, their enthusiasm for an art collaboration.  A collection of conjoined skeleton RX Skulls characters called the Chonks are seen in partnership with art from his UK friends D7606 and C3.  The Chonkening reflects RX’s intention to cram in tons of movies this year, don’t we all have an accumulated cinema deficit following the pandemic?  Another conjoined couple are off on a tattoo spree with a tattoo gun.

RX Skulls & C3; RX Skulls & D7606

RX Skulls & C3; RX Skulls & D7606

RX Skulls

RX Skulls wall of fame

In a lovely gesture RX gave a number of stickers which were hugely appreciated by guests of the Shoreditch Street Art Tour.

RX Skulls stickers

By the way, sticker placement at seriously impressive height was achieved using a special applicator I have seen on the net but never seen in action before.


Toastoro sticker

Voxx Romana came similarly prepared and perhaps most striking were his collaborations with Danny Ebru who provided the marbled paper background to Voxx Romana’s stencils, something Voxx brought with him on his previous visit.  The backgrounds are simply delicious.

Voxx Romana & Danny Ebru

Voxx Romana & Danny Ebru collaboration

Voxx Romana & Danny Ebru

Voxx Romana & Danny Ebru collaboration

Voxx Romana & Danny Ebru

Voxx Romana & Danny Ebru collaboration

Voxx Romana & Danny Ebru

Voxx Romana & Danny Ebru collaboration

Voxx got inventive with stencils wrapped around corners, borrowed background colours complement the stencilled definition of the face as if the whole thing was a single original collaborative art piece.

Voxx Romana

Voxx Romana 90 degree stencil

Another returning member was the collaboration machine City Kitty.  City Kitty focusses more on hand painted paste ups rather than print runs and consequently gets up fewer pieces than the other guys.   City Kitty does the street art podcast Scratching The Surface which is so damn good, several recent episodes were interviews recorded on this European foray.   If you are interested in the sticker arm device mentioned above then listen to all of City Kitty’s podcasts, one of them is with the artist whose side hustle is selling those poles.

City Kitty

City Kitty

City Kitty

City Kitty

Toastoro, whose pseudonym is a fusion of the word “toast” and the name of Studio Ghibli animation character “Totoro”, has had art up in Shoreditch in the past courtesy of friends putting him up but this visit really marked his first overseas in-person “campaign”.  Toastoro introduced two art techniques rarely seen in London street art: LED illuminated street art (hold tight Lost Hills) and layered art which Toastoro calls vinyl topography, the textured layered effect is hard to relive or convey through “mere” photographs.


Literally lit Toastoro


Toastoro vinyl topography


Toastoro vinyl topography

The Studio Ghibli reference implicit in the compound name Toastoro influences his subject matter which included sightings of Totoro (obvs) with a body shaped rather like a slice of bread, susawatari dust bunnies and funniest of all, a souped up cat bus (“My Neighbour Totoro”) with added toaster functionality.


susuwatari pavement stencils by Toastoro


Cat Bus Toaster by Toastoro

Toastoro visited Shoreditch with a group of street artists from Portland and New York and created original street art

Toastoro sticker

Voxx, RX and Toastoro all felt pavement stencilling was in order, something Voxx Romana and RX Skulls have done in Shoreditch on previous visits.

RX Skulls & Voxx Romana

RX Skulls & Voxx Romana pavement stencils

RX Skulls

Pavement Stencil by RX Skulls


Toastoro pavement stencil

The boys from Portland also put out some #FreeArt.  RX Skulls became only the second street artist I can recall putting out bronze street art.

RX Skulls

RX Skulls

Accompanying the street artists was the amazing and super cool photographer Cody Keto.  While out one evening the group bumped into Stik, a chance encounter which gave Cody the opportunity to create some amazing light trail photographs at Stik’s famous Hoxton Couple statue.  Cody has kindly given permission for his stunning photos to appear here.

RX Skulls, Voxx Romana, Toastoro and Stik

Portland guys vs Stik with Stik guest appearance. Photo courtesy Cody Keto Photography

Cody Kato and Toastoro

Catching Brick Lane Action – (behind) Cody Keto and (closer)Toastoro

The love extended to this group of visiting artists is really a reflection of the way they reach out to and embrace the wider world.  This is most apparent in their collaborations, these guys are total collaboration engines and it is not surprising to see them collaborating by design, on opportunity and by chance.

City Kitty and Toastoro

City Kitty/Toastoro cats and bamboo shoot collab (also feat Pablo Fiasco, RSH & an older Mowcka)

City Kitty and Toastoro

City Kitty/Toastoro collab detail

City Kitty & RX Skulls

City Kitty & RX Skulls collaboration

City Kitty hooked up with Neon Savage, the pair having collaborated many times down the years since meeting in Croydon in 2017 a fact gleaned from their podcast conversation on the always excellent City Kitty podcast.

City Kitty & Neon Savage

City Kitty & Neon Savage collab

RX Skulls & Polar Bear

RX Skulls & Polar Bear collaboration

One of the group told us that the highlight of the visits had been the welcome they received in Europe, visits were made to Manchester, Hackney Wick, Paris as well as Shoreditch and Southbank.  There were planned hook-ups as well as chance encounters with street artists and many artists and fans travelled to meet the team.

a group of street artists from Portland and New York and created original street art

Hanging at Montys for the “Bring and buy”


Toastoro at Southbank Undercroft

City Kitty

City Kitty at Southbank Undercroft

RX Skulls

RX Skulls at Southbank Undercroft

Mowcka has previously collaborated with City Kitty and travelled to hook up in Shoreditch.

Toastoro, City Kitty and Mowcka

Toastoro, City Kitty and visiting friend Mowcka

The combination of artists in this travelling circus changes on each visit but fear not, art by absent friends appears courtesy of those who do make the trip.

Vane PDX

Vane PDX (Voxx Romana obliged)

Vane PDX

Vane PDX transparent sticker

Vane’s sticker is printed on a transparent background, Voxx’s placement on Vane’s behalf intentionally responds to the red letterpress print by Jean Peut-Etre.  One of those “chance” collaborations perhaps.


DRSC0 – absent friend

visited Shoreditch with a group of street artists from Portland and New York and created original street art

Eye see Pam Goode – present in spirit

Also making appearances were friends from their local scenes that London did not have the pleasure of welcoming in person this time such as Cheer Up, Cuz Chris and Robots Will Kill

Cheer Up

Cheer Up

Notice the writing of Cheer Up’s name in the glitched font in the face – genius!

Cuz Chris

Cuz Chris

City Kitty & Chris RWK

City Kitty & Chris RWK sticker collaboration

RX Skulls, Chris RWK and Knor

Tracy Blackstock by Dreph admires stickers by RX Skulls and a Chris RWK/Knor collab

This visiting group of artists peppered Shoreditch and other parts of Europe with new street art embodying innovative, novel, collaborative, improvised fun wherever they went.  There were so many dimensions to the art and the activities they got up to and we thank them all for their contribution to the street art scene.


RX Skulls Instagram

“Art From Arrex. Stick It.”  RX Skulls 2014 stickers in Shoreditch

“Secrets Of The Sticker Shed – Sticker Making Workshop” (How to become RX Skulls)

Voxx Romana instagram

City Kitty instagram 

Toastoro instagram

Cody Keto Photography Website 

RX Skulls

RX Skulls stencil

RX Skulls visited Shoreditch with a group of street artists from Portland and New York and created original street art

RX Skulls stencils

Impressive colourful graffiti in London by Helch

Helch – The Dog’s Pollocks

It being that day today, Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, I decided to go out graff hunting and what a great decision that turned out to be.   “Helch Watch” has been running for several months following the addition of an incomplete piece of graff close to our hood in May.

Impressive colourful graffiti in London by Helch

Helch, May 2022

Impressive colourful graffiti in London by Helch

Helch, May 2022

My fave graff lookout, Lady Nolions, reported back a couple of weeks ago that Helch had returned to  transform and complete that piece and it was looking epic.  The fills range from fades to stripe via glitches and quilted patterns.  The symmetry in the composition is, as per for Helch, impeccable.

Impressive colourful graffiti in London by Helch

Helch – Sep 2022

Impressive colourful graffiti in London by Helch

Helch – Sep 2022

After suitably urban looking “context” shots, stepping in close for some close cropped shots revealed a stunning surprise.   Helch has gone full Jackson in a ground level oil spill trap and it’s more or less invisible until the moment you fall into it.  Helch does brilliant fills generally but this time a new level has been reached.

Impressive colourful graffiti in London by Helch

Helch has low pollocks

Another new Helch was found in Shoreditch at the weekend and again the fill looked stunning.

Impressive colourful graffiti in London by Helch

Helch Sep 2022

Impressive colourful graffiti in London by Helch

Helch – glitchy fill

Helch has kind of taken over one end of the road behind the old Truman Brewery, this time the combination of blues and whites in the fill suggest Helch seeks to give nature a run for its money in providing best cloud and sky colours.

Impressive colourful graffiti in London by Helch

Helta Skelta up to the clouds

Helch has created many more stunning text based artworks in Shoreditch over the past 12 months, consolidating a burgeoning reputation among fans of art as well as graffiti.

Helch instagram

All photos: Dave Stuart

A collage of paper art on Brick Lane features prints of fish, tribal characters and text by street artists Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi

Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi visit Brick Lane

A wonderful new batch of street art paste ups from a pair of overseas artists really gave a huge make-over to some of Shoreditch’s paste up halls of fame.

A collage of paper art on Brick Lane features prints of fish, tribal characters, and huge pink lobster and text by street artists Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi

We can see….Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi, July 2022

A collage of paper art on Brick Lane features prints of fish, tribal characters and text by street artists Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi

Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi, July 2022

Jean Peut-Etre is from France, quelle surprise, and collages letterpress and screenprinted paste ups on found vintage paper.

A screenprinted lobster in a vibrant colour among colour paper art and text pasted to a wall in Brick Lane by French street artist Jean Peut-Etre and art about Ukrain

Jean Peut-Etre, also featuring Subdude

a collage of a printed face mask and letterpress text pasted to a wall in Brick Lane by French street artist Jean Peut-Etre

Jean Peut-Etre

screen printed fish on a vintage French map pasted to a wall in Brick Lane by French street artist Jean Peut-Etre

Jean Peut-Etre

A screenprinted lobster in a vibrant colour among colour paper art and text pasted to a wall in Brick Lane by French street artist Jean Peut-Etre

Jean Peut-Etre

Boxitrixi is from Argentina and is currently a welcome resident in the UK with a glorious line in wood block printed naïve tribal characters.   Boxitrixi’s paste-ups were applied with an urgent roughness leaving ripples, wrinkles and textures in the paper.  The art acquired an instantly aged appearance entirely in keeping with the roughness of the printed images.

A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi


A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi


A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi


A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi


A wood block print of a tribal character by argentinian street artist Boxitrixi


Both street artists have decorated the Shoredtich area with street art on previous visits.  On this occasion, having met previously overseas they hooked on on the occasion of Jean Peut-Etre’s welcome return to Shoreditch.  The way the pair layer the walls leaves you admiring both the individual prints and also the collaged aggregate.

A collage of paper art on Brick Lane features prints of fish, tribal characters and text by street artists Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi

Boxitrixi, Jean Peut-Etre also featuring Neon Savage

Featured image: Boxitrixi and Jean Peut-Etre, also features My Dog Sighs


Jean Peut-Etre Instagram 

Boxitrixi Instagram

all photos: Dave Stuart 

paste up street art in Shoreditch by comedian Bill Boorman also known as street artist Beirdo celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with the message Pride is more that a parade

Pride Street Art In Shoreditch

Last weekend marked London’s main 2022 Pride celebration and a lot of new Pride street art appeared in Shoreditch in celebration of and support for the LGBTQ community.

On the Shoreditch Street Art Tour on Sunday I was asked by one guest why the London Pride was in July rather than June as they were used to.  Post tour digging revealed that “Pride in London”, the official title at present, is timed for the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in NYC which followed police raids on the Stonewall gay bar on 28th June.

The pride rainbow flag features in a lot of the Pride art pieces in its 6 colour traditional colour form, as opposed to the usual 7 colour representation of a rainbow.  The first rainbow flag was designed by the artist Gilbert Blake in 1978 at the request of Harvey Milk (see the film Milk, excellent).  It had 8 colours, the traditional 7 colours of the rainbow plus hot pink above the red.  Each of the 8 colours was assigned a specific meaning.  In 1979, aiming to increase flag production, the pink strip was dropped as hot pink material was not readily available.  The turquoise stripe was also dropped so that the flag could be split and displayed in symmetrical paired halves each having three stripes.  Thus the common Pride 6 colour rainbow evolved.

Subdude used an 8 stripe Pride flag to highlight statutory homophobia on the African continent.

paste up street art in Shoreditch by political street artist Subdude points out that homosexuals are legal targets in 30 African nations celebrating 50th anniversary of Pride in London

Subdude – Pride London 2022

Street artist Beirdo prefers 6 colours, or perhaps was just out of hot pink and turquoise A4.

Anti Conversion Ban Therapy paste up street art celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with of messaages on rainbow coloured paper comedian Bill Boorman also know as  street artist Beirdo in Shoreditch

Beirdo – Pride London 2022

Apparan sends her greetings and wishes you Happy Pride, with 7 rainbow stripes.

paste up street art by street artist Apparan in Shoreditch celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with a heart depicting love with 7 stripe rainbow flag motif flowing through it

Apparan – Pride London 2022

Drash La Krass has a list.  No homophobia, no biphobia, no transphobia, no sexism!

Drash La Krass glittery paste up street art in Shoreditch celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with a no homophobia no bi-phobia no transphobia no sexism message

Drash La Krass – Pride London 2022

Ghead_Tra is a new name this year to the Shoreditch street art scene and his art hates hatred and Conservatives.  The God Loves Gays tricolour specifically aims at the vile spewing Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas USA.

Anti gay anti abortion extremist with Westboro Baptist Church placards held by children

Westboro Baptist Church anti gay anti abortion message – credit Jerod Harris

 paste up street art celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London opposing Westboro Baptist Church anti gay  art with messages by street artist Ghead_tra in Shoreditch

Ghead_art – Pride London 2022

If this next text based piece isn’t Ghead then Ghead ought to get together with the unknown artist as the message seamlessly blends two big issues Ghead has gone long on (anti gay bashing, anti Tory).

 paste up street art celebrates 50th anniversary of Pride in London with anti Tory text set in rainbow flag colours  by an unknown street artist in Shoreditch

Unknown artist – Pride London 2022

Sidenote: on another matter the same so-called place of worship also espouses extreme views on abortion and Ghead_tra parodies another specimen of Westboro extremism in opposition to that message.

Street artist Ghead_tra mocks Westboro Baptist Church anti-abortion views with modifications of their own anti abortion text say “abortion is my bloody choice”

“Abortion is my bloody choice”, Ghead_tra, July 2022

Ahead of this week’s Tory party implosion Social Sniper homed in on an issue which highlighted the breakdown of trust by members of the LGBTQ community in politicians.  This may need to be read slowly.  Conversion therapy is a process aimed at “curing” or changing expressions of gender behaviour, identity or expression.  To describe it as controversial would be to miss the most unacceptable aspects of the practice by a million miles.  Boris Johnson decided not to proceed with legislation to ban the practice which provoked howls of horror, at which point he flipped and decided there would be a ban except it wouldn’t apply to trans conversion therapy.

Anti Conversion Ban Therapy paste up street art depicts a trans woman and trans flag by street artist Social Sniper in Shoreditch

Social Sniper – – Pride London 2022

For the curious, the background to Social Sniper’s art is another form of colour spectrum specifically representing the trans community and their supporters.  Trans Pride is taking place this weekend (Saturday 9th July 2022), the weekend after Pride weekend.

Wandering down a parallel track again, one senior tory we didn’t know about before appeared on TV regretting that he had had to support the flip flops on conversion therapy policy.  When politicians publicly admit to supporting policies they fundamentally disagree with, how can voters expect to elect a representative possessing even the tiniest fragment of integrity.

Mike Freer MP

I am hugely indebted to my Shoreditch Street Art Tours co-guide Subdude for his insights and information regarding the content and installation of the art discussed.

All photos: Dave Stuart except where  stated

Featured artwork: Beirdo

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.


Stinkfish (feature photo) website

Enigma instagram

Mr Cenz website

This One instagram 

Alessandro Ioviero website

Wrdsmth website





Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Best Of Shoreditch Street Art Tours Kiss Of Death

Should this Shoreditch Street Art Tours post start with an apology to the spraycan virtuoso Jim Vision? Perhaps.

Last night we held a short notice online virtual ramble through some of the art that provided great food for thought on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour in 2021.  With the benefit of being able to show slides from the past, we were able to look at the waxing and waning of Jim Vision’s Jerome St mural which concluded with the photograph shown at the top of this post mural taken 2 days earlier on 29th December.  This is the story of that mural and it ends with the dramatic update based on what we found today!

The history starts in 2020 with a curved wall pretty heavily battered with graffiti of varying styles and levels of accomplishment.  The artistic highlight on the wall was probably back in 2014 with a beautiful paste-up from the French street artist Ludo.

Street Art in Shoreditch by French street artist Ludo

Ludo, 2014

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Wild! Featuring Noze, Lap406 Oct 2019

Forward to 2020 and Jim Vision secures consent to paint the wall with permission and has claimed the spot as his since, painting a couple of portraits as part of his admirable “Colourful Women” series.  In the artist’s words this was “celebrating all women of colour with their vibrancy and strength, at the same time addressing an imbalance in the representation of women of colour on walls.  This first dates from early Summer 2020.

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, June 2020

The next portrait on this wall came complimented by a pod of killer whales.  In this next early December 2020 photo we see the mural in great condition with 8 killer whales swimming through, to the right is a cluster of illuminations and the background is an abstract veil of almost luminous vertical streaks.

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, 2nd Dec 2020

Just a few days later the negative spaces in the margins have been targeted with graffiti, including sundry tags and a nice piece by Lap in the background:

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, lap406 , 22nd Dec 2020

Things are relatively unchanged by July 2021, a throw has gone over the cluster of lights to the right, a couple of tags and Lap in the background appears to have been painted out.  Still the augmentations are occurring away from the main subject:

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision July 2021

By October there is fascinating development in the artistic interactions taking place on this wall, Jim Vision covers up new tags with the creative and playful expedient of adding Orcas where the tags were.  Now the pod has grown to 20 killer whales and something a bit albino, or perhaps a 21st whale with only its white parts turned to us:

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision Oct 2021

Halfway through December heavy tagging appears in quite aggressive spots at the centre of the portrait and a green tag close to the front of the face where the white whale was.  Ours is not to cast judgement!

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, tags, 19th Dec 2021

Then, on 29th Dec, a new killer whale appears to be likely to see in the New Year, its placaement jumping through the earring brings to mind the cruelty involved in keeping these beautiful beasts in captivity in sea life parks.  This was the state of play at the conclusion of the timeseries presented in the  “The Best Of Shoreditch Street Art Tours 2021” virtual tour last night (New Years Eve):

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

Jim Vision, 29th Dec 2021

New Years Day, this morning, look what we found:

Street Art in Shoreditch by Spraycan artist Jim Vision

New Years Day 2021 Jim Vision with Slak & Cuso

Gonna take a lot more whales!

Jim Vision instagram

all photos: Dave Stuart

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021

Well done 2021 for having the audacity to follow a totally weird year with an equally weird year, way to go!  Although life was not “business as usual” the year did yield some wonderful street art with unexpected and inspired new forms of creativity and a re-evaluation of the significance of paste-ups.  We are delighted once again to share some of the best Shoreditch street art 2021 and we are talking 4 real, none of that “curated from the internet” most writers serve up.  For once there is even a couple of “straight in at number 1” personal favourites moments, the risk being that the day after posting I will change my mind for different number 1 favourite.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Fanakapan anamorphism

So, how did the global pandemic continue to affect street art in 2021?  Most obviously the number of street artists from foreign shores who came to visit London was almost none.  So it was a great pleasure to welcome Stinkfish from Columbia, a regular visitor last spotted around these parts in 2017.  A significant number of his favella child paste-ups appeared but this mural really showcased those graffiti based spraycan skills.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Stinkfish with Fat Cap Sprays

The main opportunities to see overseas artists in Shoreditch came through paste-up art exchanged by overseas mail between artists then pasted up in reciprocal “you here, me there” arrangements.   NY artist City Kitty was quite visible in Shoreditch this year and he is what I describe as a “collaboration machine”.  It was a real delight to find this basketball playing City Kitty collaboration with New York sticker legend Chris RWK aka Robots Will Kill, and just a couple of inches tall.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

RWK City Kitty collab

Neon Savage neatly swerved the lack of locked down screenprinting facilities by improvising a hand finished screenprinting effect using images inkjet printed onto marker pen coloured paper earlier in the year.   Then right on the very last weekend before we descended into an unofficial lockdown-for-all-purposes-except-opening-Treasury-coffers, Neon Savage papered Brick Lane with gorgeous halftone acrylic and screenprinted pasteups.  Printing of this quality and beauty is the kind of cultural treasure street art delivers to those who seek.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Neon Savage

Fat Cap Sprays channels neon in a different way with super cute renderings of popular cartoon characters, popular depending upon which cartoon character era you grew up in of course, I am still waiting for him to do Marine Boy!  Fat Cap Sprays made a big impact in 2021, the growth of his social media following (stay off tik tok folks!) contains a message I am sure about the link between street art and “success”.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Fat Cap Sprays

David Speed continued to hammer out his phenomenal pink neon eye candy portraits.  There is a point at which cats in street art play the cute card a bit too readily but in this case David claimed a spot perfectly framed in the bus stop glass, nice use of street architecture.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

David Speed vs bus shelter

Artistic spats conducted on walls are a constant delight but when David spotted a paid for spraypainted advert in his signature neon pink he really took it out in style, nice one!

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Ed Sheeran advert

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

David Speed vs Ed Sheeran

Although Enigma is not new to our streets, this Japanese artist only came to my attention after his post lockdown return from Japan upon which he embarked on a prodigious outpouring of stunning murals styled as old school woodcuts.  Almost as remarkable as his street art are his garms when painting, smartly attired in a beige raincoat he looks nothing like the stereotypical street artist you might imagine.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


Dramatic light and shade and classical imagery came to London’s street art through the work of talented painter Alessandro Ioviero.  The Southbank Undercroft location has hosted several Ioviero works, my favourite being this beautiful painting of a contemporary bronze statue by young Ukrainian artist Maksym Haydar.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Alessandro Loviero

Alessandro often finds inspiration in the work of others, often sculptors, which moves him to provide his own painterly interpretation.    A curious dynamic occurred when Ioviero painted a detail of the Alexandre Cabanel’s Fallen Angel in response to Enigma’s rendition of a slightly larger detail just one week earlier on the same wall.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Fallen Angel by Alessandro Ioviero

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Fallen Angel by Enigma

There is a lot to be said for anonymity as a contrast to the self-promotion which seems often to trump actual art as a street art motive.   In the first part of the year reports came in from all over town about strange single line characters with half formed sentence morsels suggesting clues to the character’s mental state.   Street artists and geeks alike were intrigued by the identity of the artist, questions asked went un-answered.   I may have been much later than many smarter people but I only pierced the Why Reuben veil in November when some clues appeared drawing attention to the artist’s part in a group show.  Self-promotion wins every time!

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Why Reuben

If potty sums up your taste in humour then “I farted in yoga” is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and is seemingly an alias used by Why Reuben.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Why Reuben/I Farted In Yoga

Ahead of the London International Paste-up Festival I did not anticipate quite what a successful event it would be and my reservations weren’t just concerned with the awkward status battle in the first half of the title. The open call event in early November brought art from all over the world and a lot from artists not seen before in Shoreditch.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Various artists London International Pasteup Festival

Rather than an “Oh wow” at any particular pieces of art my main take-away was a reminder and re-appraisal of the impact paste-ups had in the formative years of street art supporting the emergence of street artists from a non graffiti background with a preference for quicker means of getting up and less beholden to the spraycan, unlike those with a graffiti background who generally preferred stencils.  Full write up HERE.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Various artists London International Pasteup Festival

Someone else who doesn’t need to be anymore brilliant than he already is is ALO, he had a prolific year on the streets crowned of course by a major solo show at the Saatchi Gallery at the year end.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

ALO, feat his good friend Dmintn

The pandemic lockdowns really gave Airborne Mark an opportunity to ramp up his multi-angle multimedia painting and video game.  Most people’s videos are a kind of “ooooooooohhh, look at me and my skills” whereas Airborne Mark’s premise is “This is an experiment and I don’t quite know if it’s going to work”, his videos are like art painting tutorials.  This year’s master spraypainting output included a number of signature origami creatures places on beautifully rendered strips of torn cardboard.   It is well work tracking down the video of him explaining the complexities of painting something as mundane as a torn piece of cardboard and his video of his second attempt to paint origami birds inside a glass jar is genius.  And having seen Mark paint quite a few times the videos are all the more impressive when you realise that its him on his lonesome doing the video, the commentary and the painting, not a video team in sight.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Airborne Mark work in progress

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Airborne Mark, Frog

Dan Kitchener’s Bladerunner-esque rainy Tokyo night scenes morphed recently into an impressionist view of the same through a rain drenched window.  On a small screen such as the one you are using right now, the eyeball resolves more clearly details like the cars in the image, there is no real substitute for seeing a painting like this in the flesh to appreciate its true life beauty.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Dan Kitchener

Wrdsmth, the vowel eschewing scriptwriter, took the dramatic step of moving to London after years of charming us with his mixed media typewriter life affirming mottos on his frequent visits from Hollywood.    Quickly settling into a highly creative run Wrdsmth demonstrated an expanded repertoire including a clever site specific piece as one of several contributions to the London International Paste-up Festival.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Wrdsmth (detail from above)

Covid didn’t feature as much in London’s street art in 2021 but Dr D still points the finger at the Coronavirus for being such a buzzkill.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Dr D

Dr D is always going to bring political satire onto the streets, his conversion of a van into a prison transport van for the conservatives was bang on point for the shit show that developed around the UK’s Prime Minister.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Dr D

We celebrate the innovative, the novel and the inventive and something which ticked multiple such boxes at the end of the year were Perspex living apartments set into walls with missing bricks by Brickflats.  The purpose is to highlight how the outrageous cost of renting in London forces people to cram themselves into tiny boxes by squeezing modern looking perspex flats which take advantage of missing bricks in walls.   Assisted by a fragment of a map I went on a good old fashioned street art treasure hunt and found that all his brickflats were still in situ, a testament to the solidity of their novel installation.   The second installation below is actually a replacement of a missing cobble so you are looking into the flat from above.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


Perspicere also brought a totally different dimension to street art fusing string art with paste-ups in a way that so photorealistic it left you searching for the trick.  Having seen Perspicere creating one live for a street jam I am willing to take an oath and state there is no artifice, the image is created entirely from the intersections of the threads, of which there is north of several miles.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


In many conversations with old school graffiti heads the name Nylon comes up frequently as both a style innovator and a hardcore spot seeker.   New Nylon art is always a blessing and the way each vase can be appear as a pair of tribal faces or as a single cubist face staring us out was particularly clever.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


A Shoreditch street art year lacks vintage without Ace pasting up some exercises in screen printed iconography.  It’s not just that his art really triggers the right retina receptors, it the sense of continuity that Ace represents, linking the current new wave of paste up artists back to the fumbling fathers of street art which is where Ace come from.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


Ed Hicks’ tense, doom laden images channelled Victorian apocalypse painters.  This 4 panel landscape is perhaps my single highlight of 2021, you have to pinch yourself to remember that this is done with spraypaint.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Ed Hicks

Remaining with the painterly theme, Only HMZ not only blurred the boundaries between street art and graffiti with his gothic masterpiece fills within his letters, he went on to do crazy panel installations which in the case of the one presented below is mind-blowing for being, I believe, installed without permission.  The first work in progress photo illustrates Only’s letter form.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


There is a further conceptual dimension associated with this installation not apparent in this photo, the trio of lights at the top were solar powered and by some means also people sensing, at night as people walked under the lights each one wold light up in turn from left to right or right to left according to the direction the passer-by was taking.  Perhaps next time it will play a tune!

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


An artist who has had a sensational year was Pablo Fiasco.  Pablo sets the bar for stencil art in terms of technical complexity of technique and the art embodied in his concepts and ideas.  Bearing in mind that one of the key attributes of a stencil is speedy repeatability, PF reuses components from a library of stencils assembled over the decades in different combinations yielding completely different images.   Subjects broached in 2021 included rapper tributes, Brexit and a skateboarding ex Federal Reserve Chairman but this Mute8 stencil is the piece de resistance, I don’t recall every seeing stencilism of such complexity before.  The narrative starts top right and broadly speaking turns anti-clockwise.  In a laboratory a subject is to receive a vaccination, the subject mutates, escapes then there is a chase which concludes underwater.  Pablo was quite categorical that this theme of scientific mutation has been in his art for several years and it wasn’t his intention that this necessarily be read as a comment on covid vaccination.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review

Pablo Fiasco – Mute 8

With unauthorised exhibitions opening all over the globe and people taking advantage (I guess) of copyright loopholes to mint NFTs based on Banksy’s art it is easy to overlook that Banksy pulled off his best wave of actual street art since he did New York for 30 days in October 2013.   East Anglia is just sufficiently close to London to be day trip viable so despite fairly poor location descriptions I was delighted to be able to locate 8 out of 10 new original and authenticated Banksy street pieces in August.   At that time, even before Banksy’s authentication, it was not known that there were actually 10 pieces in the campaign.   Since then they have suffered various indignities including being partially dismantled (3 kids in a boat), covered in perspex, buffed, added to or most unforgivably in the case of both “under the paving stone” and the Banksy tagged model stable, acquired for profitable so-called protection by the usual avaricious gallery owner.   Although lacking any mind-blowing “bar just got set even higher” pieces, the collection displayed characteristic Banksy wit and audacity.

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


On the whole most of the pieces were looking quite photogenic at the time of my visit and I somehow charmed the Model Village owners to allowing exclusive behind the scenes access to photograph the stable

Best Shoreditch Street Art 2021 review


So 2021, to call you a year is perhaps generous but what you lacked in meaningful real world calendar months you compensated for with brilliant art.  Many thanks to all street artists who have provided so much pleasure in their artistic endeavours and we look forward to plenty of new and exciting art in 2022.

All photos: Dave Stuart


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


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


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


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.

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


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