Tag Archives: shoreditchstreetarttours

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

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography, BLastFromThePast, BackInTheDay, DiggingThroughTheArchives, shoreditchstreetarttours

Diggin In The Archives Part 7

Never in history have the words “relax lockdown measures” been so badly abused. Please stagger your viewing of this post and share with only one person outdoors. Here are this week’s street art little gems from the past.

Jorge Rodrigues-Gerada is probably more widely known these days for his enormous land art portraiture but in 2012 London was blessed with a number of works by Jorge.  This beautiful 2012 charcoal portrait was ludicrously short lived.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography, BLastFromThePast, BackInTheDay, DiggingThroughTheArchives, shoreditchstreetarttours

Jorge Rodrigues-Gerada 2012

Cartrain was a marmite kind of artist, people either loved him or hated him. I had got pretty fed up with him constantly hitting up stencils right onto the edges of Banksy stencils around Shoreditch. Then in 2007 he came up with these collages, a massive transformation. The first few had proper gilded picture frames and he added spoof Perspex gallery labels alongside them though I guess the logistics of economically sourcing frames led to the cardboard cut out frames. I thought it was brilliant, others struggled to make sense of the random meaningless combination of images. Then came his appropriation of Hirst’s diamond skull and that evolved into a whole other drama of its own. The unusual diptych framed specimens here date from 2011.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography, BLastFromThePast, BackInTheDay, DiggingThroughTheArchives, shoreditchstreetarttours

Cartrain, 2011

There is nothing quite so exciting as a good hack of the corporate intrusion on the visual landscape.  Meaning, ad busting rocks and Vermibus is a master of the form.  In 2012 Vermibus was one of the key participants at Moniker Art Fair which in those days was still based in its original Village Underground location.  This advert box, not far from Moniker, is a single purpose intrusion into the public pathway, it’s an illuminated obelisk straddling the pavement angled for visibility to car and bus occupants.  The Featured image at the top is also Vermibus hijacking an illuminated ad box in 2012.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography, BLastFromThePast, BackInTheDay, DiggingThroughTheArchives, shoreditchstreetarttours

Vermibus, 2012

The second image is a collection of keys for illicitly accessing the different forms of those advertising spaces displayed by Vermibus at Moniker.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography, BLastFromThePast, BackInTheDay, DiggingThroughTheArchives, shoreditchstreetarttours

Vermibus at Moniker, 2012

Remember Ai Wei Wei was placed under house arrest in China in 2010?  In April 2012 I chanced upon this Free Ai Wei Wei stencil by Bambi sweetly captioned “You can cage the singer but not the song”.  This photo is out of focus, the lighting is shite and composition is abysmal but when you want to photograph a piece of street art you stumble on en passant, you make the best of whatever light and technology is available.  In this case, it was the shittiest out of date corporate Blackberry with a camera not much more advanced than a pinhole and the Guinness enabled focussing feature selected.  When I returned in daylight with a proper camera a few weeks later it had been buffed.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography, BLastFromThePast, BackInTheDay, DiggingThroughTheArchives, shoreditchstreetarttours

Bambi, 2012

Lovepiepenbrinck shared her time between Hamburg, Berlin and London and for years put out a series of piggies each presented as a different character.  The piggies were quite small, often they were high up and sometimes completely hidden in dark spaces.  Finding the piggies was like a treasure hunt.  This example was the Ronald McDonald piggy obviously. One piggy was disguised as a shark, mounted in a small glass cube and glued to the outside of the Tate Modern in 2012 when Damien Hirst had that huge show there.  Its title was  “The physical impossibility of being a shark in the mind of a pig”.  Street art genius! (And I never got to see it for real, security had it removed very quick).

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography, BLastFromThePast, BackInTheDay, DiggingThroughTheArchives, shoreditchstreetarttours

Lovepiepenbrinck, 2013

Stay alert! You have nothing to fear in isolation except Skeleton Cardboard’s morbid dancing skeletons.   These used to appear in many imaginative forms, often interacting with the fabric of the wall or as a response to existing artworks. Dem bones were guaranteed to raise a smile . . .

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography, BLastFromThePast, BackInTheDay, DiggingThroughTheArchives, shoreditchstreetarttours

Skeleton Cardboard, 2013

Nether‘s street art first appeared in London in 2012. When he returned in 2018 his style was dramatically altered, though those distinctive planes remained a feature.  Also sneaking into the margins of this this photo are an awesome piece by Mr Wany, a detail from the edge of a Pez mural also dated 2012 and the conceptually brilliant pulse of EKG from New York.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography, BLastFromThePast, BackInTheDay, DiggingThroughTheArchives, shoreditchstreetarttours

Nether, 2012

It looks like the archives are going to be forked over for some time yet, each one of these photos reveals itself like a little speck of glass in an ankle deep farmyard.

Two months intensive use of the internet means you don’t need to be told where to find the previous selections of archive gems, but here is where it began with the first weekly compilation of the daily uploads: DITA 1

Art credits and links are by each photo. All photos: Dave Stuart