Tag Archives: spraycanart

Banksy stencil in Birmingham of reindeers pulling a bench a homeless man slept on

Birmingham Street Art – not just Banksy

“It’s A Brum Ting” has been the signature tune of the past fortnight as Birmingham hosted the Commonwealth Games.  So what is it about Birmingham, why is it so great?  Armed with a cheap cheap day return rail ticket I set out several weeks back to discover if Birmingham Street Art is what Goldie, Trevor Francis and Banksy (might have) appreciated about the UK’s “Second City” ™.

Justin Sola, Void One & Mose78

The art started right outside the train station, FokaWolf was well represented as was Brummy staple Tempo, of whom more later.

paste up street art in Birmingham by Fokawolf


Sticker in central Birmingham of a cartoon face with sharp teeth by Tempo 33

Tempo 33

Gent 48 is a giant of Birmingham’s street art scene so perhaps it was either fitting, or just inevitable, that the first mural spotted was by Gent48, painted in January this year when Birmingham was sorting out the torch relay for the opening of the Commonwealth Games.  The mural features Haseebah Abdullah, England’s first hijab-wearing boxing coach and Salma Bi, who founded the first all Asian women’s cricket team.

Street Art mural in Birmingham by Gent 48 depicting Haseebah Abdullah and Salma Bi

Gent 48

The one flag planted in my vague, unplanned plan was to locate Birmingham’s 2019 Banksy.  Tick the box, complete the set.  The route took me through a cluster of architecturally fascinating buildings.  London is quite staid by comparison, so many planning luddites have ensured our post war rebuilding  lacks the surprise, flair and modernism a waddle around the centre of Birmingham will reveal.   The interior of the Birmingham Library is so worth exploring for its design as well as its exhibition content.

Exterior view of Birmingham New Street train station designed by Alejandro Zaera-Polo

Birmingham New Street by Alejandro Zaera-Polo

Birmingham Library

Birmingham Library interior

The route to the Banksy had already been mapped out by the Charm Bracelet trail by Mick Thacker and Mark Renn.

Birmingham Jewellery Quarter Charm Bracelet pavement plaque trail, Mick Thacker and Mark Renn

Birmingham Jewellery Quarter pavement plaque trail, Mick Thacker and Mark Renn

What’s to say about the Banksy on Vyse Street.  Great placement, great use of the street furniture and a poignancy likely to rise as rampant inflation and fuel poverty drives up homelessness next winter.  It is well preserved and thankfully no gallerist twat has laid his grubby “Preserving street art for private collectors” hands on it.  So far.  It’s a pig to photograph clearly and parts of its execution are a tad indifferent.

Banksy confirmed this stencil as genuine with a website message saying “God bless Birmingham. In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.”

Arriving in Birmingham I expected graffiti; thanks to an awareness of its recent history of street art festivals I expected murals; I wasn’t fully prepared for the brilliant explosion of sticker art.  Every lamppost, traffic light, street sign and pole had been claimed by sticker art, one of my favourites being the huge variety of brace faces by Tempo who we used to see fairly frequently in London 10 or so years ago.

Montage of Tempo 33 stickers seen in Birmingham

Tempo 33

When Tempo was up in London our main delight was his large circular non permissioned paste-ups so finding a number of larger spraypainted murals was a pleasure.

spray painted graffiti mural of a circular face with huge mouth of spikey teeth with braces by street artist Tempo 33

Tempo 33

Brace Face spraypainted by Tempo 33 in Birmingham

Tempo 33

Brace Face spraypainted by Tempo 33 in Birmingham

Tempo 33

Other sticker artists included Wreck1, Lisk Bot, Never A Servant, the legend Fokawolf and a very impressive scattering of the playful and rare (to me at least) street art of Pahnl.

Sticker artists Werck1 and Lisk Bot on a traffic sign in Birmingham

Werck1, Lisk Bot

Sticker artist NVRASIR on a lamppost in Birmingham


Sticker artists Fokawolf and "Titty"on a lamppost in Birmingham

Fokawolf & “Titty”

street art pictographic installation by Pahnl

Pahnl pictogram installation

sign subversion by street artist Pahnl in Birmingham

Pahnl sign subversion

Birmingham embraces adventurous and exciting architecture but the ancient brick and steam midlands’ post-industrial relics co-exist alongside the modern.  Graff was popping up in some breathtaking spots and with more canals than Venice (Brummies say), canal-side vistas in particular are worth hunting out.

Post industrial heritage shot with The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal goes through a brick lined arch in Birmingham

Birmingham & Fazeley Canal

River Rea graff

Post industrial heritage shot with The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal in Birmingham

Farmers Bridge Locks

Paste-up action in the vicinity was fairly limited, the paste-up hall of fame hunt will have to wait till the next visit.

Void One, Foka Wolf

The urban huddle of car parks, streets and old factories in Digbeth just to the east of the city centre forms an amazing gallery.  It is dominated by amazing murals, some appear to be permission murals liable to change, some look like relics of street art festivals with tags acknowledging “City of Colours” (2014 – 16) and “HighViz Festival” (2019-21) as well as our perpetual favourite – get up and get away with it.

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Chance plays a key role in street art spotting in a city you haven’t explored before.  There is the chance of what artists are “up” at that moment, your experience, your sample will possibly be completely different to anyone else before or after.  Also, what route do you take across the urban spider web of streets, alleys and paths?  From A, B may be sought by going right then left; or you can turn left then go right, that’s two different street art galleries right there.  While slaloming through the mainly industrial streets from Digbeth back to the train station, a glance over the shoulder into an open door revealed a delicious collection of political and tribute murals inside a fortuitously empty car park.

Void One memorial tribute mural to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Astro (UB40) and Captain Tom in a Birmingham car park

Void One memorial tribute mural to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Astro (UB40) and Captain Tom

Street Art mural in a Birmingham car park featuring Donald Trump by street artist Gent 48

Donald Trump by Gent 48, Character and graff by Ziner

Two faced Jeremy Hunt as NHS Joker mural in a Birmingham car park by street artist Void One

NHS Joker by Void One

portraits of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in a mural in a Birmingham car park by street artist Title

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King by Title

Street Art mural in a Birmingham car park featuring Theresa May and a screaming policeman by street artist Title

Theresa May by Title

A good street art city should house a collection which is too vast for you to cover in your limited time, especially on a one day visit.   It should also have change, renewal, vibrant health and life and Birmingham’s street art scene has both of these.  It is hard to put it better than Birmingham’s own Prince Of Darkness when Black Sabbath reunited last Sunday (Paranoid at 1 min exactly) for a spine tingling surprise set (iplayer, some areas, go to 2 hours exactly, next 3 months) at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony:

“You are the best…..Birmingham forEVVVAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH”

Selected Links:

Gent 48 instagram

Ziner instagram

Tempo 33 instagram

Banksy website  (Please tell Banksy you found him through Shoreditch Street Art Tours)

All Photos Dave Stuart

52 Birmingham street art photos

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