Tag Archives: Nathan Bowen

Covid 19 Shoreditch Street Art

You didn’t think a killer virus was going to stop street artists did you?  Shoreditch witnessed an outpouring of street art addressing the Covid 19 pandemic and its surrounding issues from a number of angles.   It’s amazing what a street artist could achieve with that one hour outdoor exercise license non-shielding people had during lockdown.

One of the most prolific artists was Nathan Bowen whose suitably masked characters appeared all over from West to East.

“Stay Positive/The NHS Warrior” – Nathan Bowen

“Thanks NHS” – Nathan Bowen, Harry Blackmore; Oxford St

Nathan Bowen, Harry Blackmore, Ernest Obi – Shaftesbury Avenue

Almost as active as Nathan were Deanio X and Seen K26, often in the company of Tasnim Mahdy

Stay Strong – Deanio X, Seen K26, Tasnim Mahdy

“Stay Strong” – Deanio X, Seen K26, Tasnim Mahdy; Picadilly Circus

Deanio X, Soho

Our weekly clap for carers, which was a beautiful collective thank you, has stopped but it is clear that many street artists remain grateful on our behalf to the NHS, to the carers and other key workers.

“A quiet prayer holds over London…” We Love Our NHS – Robert Montgomery

Thank You NHS – Jimmy C

Is it just me sees concentric stained glass hearts in shades of NHS blue in this homage by DRT?

DRT (with Nathan Bowen & Co. in background)

Graffiti Life

On the flipside from the love for the NHS comes blame flinging and conspiracy theory. The UK’s elected political masters and their un-elected advisers repeatedly preached one thing but practiced another to the point that anyone else would have felt embarrassed by. Street artists can be quite merciless when political hypocrisy becomes apparent and they proved yet again how swiftly street art can respond to current affairs.

In some countries the political response was based on denial or even deceit, Subdude latches on to those moments quite brilliantly.

Corona Credit Score = 0, Subdude

On the revelation that the NHS workers Boris thanked for his care in St Thomas’ Hospital were immigrants who now under the conservative government’s mooted minimum wage threshold would not qualify to come and lend their skills to the UK’s underfunded understaffed health service:

So How DO You Like Us Now Boris, Subdude

If you need to know what “Dominic Does Durham” is pastiching, ask your Dad

Dominic Does Durham, Subdude

The early days of the UK response to the Covid crisis were characterised by simple clear messages and this apparent clarity was reflected in the referencing of the messages in the art. K-Guy found the graphic design and linguistic shorthand of those official three stanza instructions we saw on the podiums at the daily Coronavirus press conference in England lent itself to highlighting political neglect as an amplifier of the spread and impact of the disease through hospitals and care homes.

It’s A Testing Time, K-Guy

“Infected frontline policies”, K-Guy

“Intensive Don’t Care”, K-Guy

The surprising move to abandon testing and tracing and the awful situation regarding inadequate PPE provision featured in several pieces. Frankie Riot references the famous press conference where World Health Organisation head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus offered the simple “Test, test, test” which many developed countries decided to ignore with pretty devastating consequences.

Protect NHS Workers – Frank Riot

China again:

Covid Eau de Virus – ‘Orrible

Stay Safe, Remain Free – Artist Not Known

As Shoreditch Street Art Tours has emerged from lockdown doing very small private street art tours for the same price as the public tours, just so you know, the single piece of pandemic art everyone appears to be aware of is, not surprisingly, Banksy‘s nurse superhero painting on canvas “Game Changer”, donated to Southampton General Hospital.

“Game Changer” – Banksy, Photo: Banksy website

Banksy has done three pandemic related artworks: the aforementioned “Game Changer”; his earlier skit on the idea of the elusive rat stencilist working from home and most recently his brilliant makeover of a London tube with rascal rats parachuting with PPE face masks, rats tagging with sanitiser gel and rats sneezing all over the carriage in a lurid echo of the animation played frequently on the UK TV of the dispersal of vapourised snot from a sneeze in a train carriage.

Snot rat, Banksy

You don’t mask you don’t get – Banksy

You don’t mask you don’t get – Banksy

Among all the inspired pandemic related art and the positivity towards those who placed themselves in way of potential harm for our care, one artist was creating pro NHS art years before it became fashionable. Ben Wakeling recovered from his own mental health issues to channel his efforts into art as a therapy for people with mental health issues and his therapeutic work and his Outsider Gallery have proved so effective that his art therapy can now be prescribed by GPs.

To end this lockdown lookback on a positive note, could any message be more appropriate than Mark Titchner’s “Please believe these days will pass” plea.  Let’s hope the optimism is well founded.

“Please believe these days will pass” – Mark Titchner

Artist Links (additional):

Harry Blackmore

Ernst Obi

Robert Montgomery

Jimmy C

Graffiti Life

Frank Riot

Orrible

All photos: Dave Stuart except courtesy Banksy where noted

Shoreditch Creativity

Creativity on Shoreditch walls has been rampant recently and we want to have a look at some of the stuff that has really excited the tour over the past few days

A guest on the tour spotted this little 616 creature high up on a wall, it has been a while since we spotted something quite as sculptural from 616. Particularly intriguing was the 4 eyed face where normally 616 only has two eyes, is this what one of 616’s tribal looking characters looks like with glasses?

London, Shoreditch, mural, street art, 616

616

We have extolled 616’s virtues on the blog before, this post has a decent slide show illustrating the range of crazy ideas this creative maverick has come up with.   That figure above was just a tiny entrée, the main treat came a bit later with this ensemble of spray painted wall buttresses. Absolutely stunning and a treat to photograph, if only there weren’t cars. 616 would probably wish it to be pointed out how he carefully painted around two different sculptural pieces by Jonesy that were already present on those walls

London, Shoreditch, mural, street art, 616

616

London, Shoreditch, mural, street art, 616

616

Mr.Farenheit from Germany was hitting Shoreditch over the weekend, with this new mixed technique paste up.

London, Shoreditch, mural, street art, Mr.Farenheit

Mr.Farenheit

 

We found a rather flamboyant piggy by LovePiePenBrinck, this dolled up piggy is The Queen Of Brick Lane Piggy. London, Shoreditch, mural, street art, LovePiePenBrink

LovePiePenBrinck

Later we found the “push the button” piggy by LovePiePenBrinck. Finding these little treasures is always a delight and although LovePiePenBrinck’s photo collection suggests this piggy has been hiding in plain sight for over a month the pleasure of discovery remains un-diluted.

London, Shoreditch, mural, street art, 616

LovePiePenBrinck

Saving lives on a daily basis is something we take for granted on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour but on one occasion this week, we paused to look at one piece of art on Brick Lane and 15 yards away from us a large piece of art suddenly crashed to the ground from its 14 foot high “picture rail”  exactly where we would have been walking.  The art piece is part of a campaign against the badger cull, we reported on earlier sightings of the same campaign by the same artist whose stylised moniker we can’t be certain how to read.  Stand up for those who can’t – and avoid flying street art!

London, Shoreditch, mural, street art, badger

Anti Badger Cull – Stand Up For Those Who Can’t

The week saw a variety of interesting bits of street art and other murals executed at various spots, here is a little montage:

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Shoreditch, London, Street art, street,art,Nathan Bowen,graffiti,walk,walks,tour,tours,fish,soldiers, builders, marker pen

New Nathan Bowen Shutter In Shoreditch

Street Artist Nathan Bowen was on the streets of Shoreditch this afternoon painting in a location which has seen a few high profile murals from him in the past. This time, his trademark builders and soldiers are off on a fishing trip.

Shoreditch, London, Street art, street,art,Nathan Bowen,graffiti,walk,walks,tour,tours,fish,soldiers, builders, marker pen

Starting with a whitewash background, Nathan set to work with marker pens in a fast and furious style which echoes in the terse appearance of his figures .

Shoreditch, London, Street art, street,art,Nathan Bowen,graffiti,walk,walks,tour,tours,fish,soldiers, builders, marker pen

Work In Progress 2014

The fish is a change for Nathan, it has lovely colours in its scales and fins but it looks like the fishermen are going to get a surprise when they land this monster.

Shoreditch, London, Street art, street,art,Nathan Bowen,graffiti,walk,walks,tour,tours,fish,soldiers, builders, marker pen

Nathan kindly allowed the Shoreditch Street Art Tour to watch him in action and take some picies. It was a particular meaningful moment for one of our Californian guests (not pictured!) who had been to the fortnightly Sclater Street Stalls last Saturday and bought a small piece of art by Nathan Bowen, that piece now will certainly become a bit more special.

Shoreditch, London, Street art, street,art,Nathan Bowen,graffiti,walk,walks,tour,tours,fish,soldiers, builders, marker pen

Work In Progress 2014

Nathan is no stranger to this spot, we found him painting there back in 2012.

Shoreditch, London, Street art, street,art,Nathan Bowen,graffiti,walk,walks,tour,tours,fish,soldiers, builders, marker pen

work in progress 2012

Nathan often allows his figures to interact in a dialogue with existing art, in 2012 he amused us when Australian artist Lush painted a split unicorn over a Bowen composition on this spot, Nathan responded by adding some furious characters riding the unicorn.

Shoreditch, London, Street art, street,art,Nathan Bowen,graffiti,walk,walks,tour,tours,fish,soldiers, builders, marker pen

Nathan Bowen v. Lush

So, yesterday we wrote about the Spanish artist Pez who painted his “happy fish”, today we have Nathan Bowen’s characters out for a day of fishing, what’s next, is Columbian street artist Stinkfish in town?

all photos: NoLionsInEngland

links:

Nathan Bowen website

Nathan Bowen Twitter

London, Shoreditch,street art,Nathan Bowen,Skeleton Cardboard,collaboration

Nathan Bowen and Skeleton Cardboard Street Art collaboration, Shoreditch London

Two things about Shoreditch street art that always interest us, artist collaborations and new work by Nathan Bowen.  A couple of days ago, as mist turned to drizzle, the Shoreditch Street Art Tour chanced upon Nathan Bowen furiously scratching on a door with his marker pens working around an existing piece by Skeleton Cardboard.  The surface became too wet for the markers to work and Nathan declared “game over”.  In between that soft rain and yesterday’s monsoon, Nathan found time to return and complete two stunning works.

London, Shoreditch,street art,Nathan Bowen,Skeleton Cardboard,collaboration

Nathan Bowen, Skeleton Cardboard
London, Shoreditch,street art,Nathan Bowen,Skeleton Cardboard,collaboration

Nathan Bowen, Skeleton Cardboard

Working with the boney skeletons of Skeleton Cardboard, Nathan’s trademark scratchy feisty noisy snarling creatures  are present as always, the larger skeletons of skeleton Cardboard are surrounded by skeletal faces by Nathan Bowen while is snapping helmeted soldiers appear to be fighting a battle with skeleton.  It’s war and death together, see.

London, Shoreditch,street art,Nathan Bowen,Skeleton Cardboard,collaboration

Nathan Bowen, Skeleton Cardboard