Tag Archives: street artist

Canvas Paintings at Light Of Life exhibition in Shoreditch by street artist David Speed

“Light Of Life” David Speed Gallery Exhibition

Break out street artists are rare beasts.  These are street artists whose appeal grows way beyond the natural base of street art fans leading to popularity and commercial success.  Commercial success doesn’t preclude artistic success of course.

Pink neon street art spraypainted portrait of woman by David Speed

Soundwave, Shoreditch 2021

David Speed started his neon illuminated portraits and animal painting around Shoreditch a few years ago and has achieved such ubiquity that he is one of the few artists, other than Banksy and Helch, whose art is recognised by Shoreditch Street Art Tour guests exploring street art for the first time.

Pink neon street art spraypainted portrait of woman by David Speed

David Speed Neon face, Shoreditch 2018

David certainly wasn’t new to spraypainting at the beginning of this neon pink phase, his double life has him as Director of Shoreditch based spraypainting outfit Graffiti Life.  Lockdown bestowed gifts on David in two ways –the reduced demand for commercial spraypainting services seems to have allowed him more time to focus on personal and artistic development and if you check out his Creative Rebels podcast that certainly comes across strong.  There was also a significant increase in available street canvasses as business fearing a breakdown in law and order went for full plywood cladding as we went into lockdown in 2020.

Pink neon ponies on pandemic lockdown protective plywood by David Speed

Hoxton Ponies, Shoreditch 2021

David’s art exploded across Shoreditch property and caught a lot of attention.

Pink neon "Creation of Adam" homage in Shoreditch painted by street artist David Speed

David Speed neon “Creation” homage, Shoreditch 2019

Pink SKull framed in a bus stop window in Shoreditch painted by street artist David Speed

A long wait, Shoreditch 2021

Pink neon snarling tiger in Shoreditch painted by street artist David Speed

Neon Tiger! Shoreditch 2021

In the street art world, London at least, David is synonymous with this pink neon street art style so it was an amusing irony earlier this year that a mural advert was painted in David’s signature colour combination  by a rival spraypainted advert company.  Many people erroneously identified David as the artist so he felt compelled to put up a deliciously executed take out.

Pink neon spraypainted advert in Shoreditch NOT painted by David Speed

Biting Style, Village Underground 2021

Pink Neon spraypainted advert subverted by street artist David Speed

DS Style, Village Underground 2021

He currently has a self-organised solo show running in Shoreditch, it turns out the neon illumination theme suits canvas and paper as well as it does brick walls.

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A recent project that must have taken a long time to prepare was David’s “drop” of 1000 hand finished prints around the streets of London, to those with long enough memories this was a homage to Adam Neate’s 1000 print drop in 2008.  We came across one of David’s murals on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour that day at which point a guest pulled a pair of prints out of his bag with a flourish and declared “I found these on the street as I was walking to the tour!”  Lucky guy.

Various North, East, South, West

The show is located just a couple of minutes walk from where our morning Shoreditch Street Art Tour ends, so perhaps book a tour this coming Friday, Saturday or Sunday and complement it with a visit to the show.  Admission to the show is free.

 “Light Of Life” show runs until Sunday September 12th.

The Depot | 33 Boundary Street | Shoreditch | E2 7JQ

All photos: Dave Stuart

With all that pink and blue no attempt was made at colour correction in processing the exhibition photos!


JR: Chronicles Saatchi Gallery Exhibition

One question I always flounder with is “Who do you think the up and coming future stars in street art are?”, like I have any idea about art picking!   The easier question is “Who has emerged?” and if there is one person who can’t be left out of that answer it is French artist JR.   JR: Chronicles at the Saatchi Gallery is a comprehensive examination of JR’s very impressive back catalogue of art on the streets.  Through a succession of rooms a large number of JR’s street projects are reprised, dissected and explained,  the best part of a couple of hours is recommended.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR showing photos of JR's street art and installations

Portrait Of A Generation inside demolished building

JR’s artistic origins were as a not terribly stylish tagger in Paris who chances on a camera, takes some pretty cracking photos in fairly lairy sink estates dotted around Paris, print them out super cheap and pastes them up on the streets. Among the images is one of a young video maker surrounded by local “yoots”, that cameraman is now better known as the award winning director Ladj Ly and just to digress for a moment, watch Ladj Ly’s 2019 “Les Miserables”, it makes a superb companion to this exhibition as a semi fictional and unaffectionate look back to the environment that shaped JR’s early adult life.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Ladj Ly at Les Bosquets

If you haven’t spotted the jarring “trick of the eye” in the Les Bosquets photo, if you find it inexcusably intimidating well you’re not alone, JR tells us that when that photo was pasted on the side of the Tate Modern in 2008, the Director initially refused the image as he thought it was a gun as well.  That was the point, JR was challenging your inclination to jump to racist conclusions.

JR photo of Ladj Li holding camera like a gun at Tate Modern Street Art Exhibition 2008

JR: Tate Modern, 2008

Banksy’s first London exhibition was an un-authorised street take-over in 2001, JR adopted the same tactic in the same year.  His “Expo 2 Rue”, translated as “Sidewalk Gallery”, involved guerrilla pasting his photos on building site hoardings and to add emphasis to his paste ups he sprayed picture frames around the paste ups linked together by straight lines.  JR: Chronicles has a little humorous play with the form of JR’s Expo 2 Rue concept, a blown up photo of an Expo 2 Rue installation incorporates a video screen framed where the paste up was. “Tres droll” he probably wouldn’t say.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR – Expo 2 Rue

The scale of JR’s achievements transcend the boundary between street art and fine art, appealing as readily to art world snobs as to people who would never normally contemplate attending an art exhibition.  This can perhaps be appreciated by splitting his endeavours into three component parts, vaguely and inadequately summarised (my inadequacy, not the exhibition’s) as Idea, Execution and Documentation.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR au Louvre et le Secret de la Grande Pyramid

The ideas and concepts are the things that earn JR a place among the giants of contemporary art in the “proper” art world and galleries like Saatchi.  JR has completed a very impressive number of major projects in what is still a comparatively young career.  The hallmark of them all is quality and originality, from his Expo 2 Rue at age 17 to Women Are Heroes and Gun Chronicles by way of Wrinkles Of the City, Portrait of A Generation and more, a mere 7 huge rooms at Saatchi’s Kings Road art palace is barely sufficient.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Projects

If JR has a secret cellar to which failures are condemned, surely there must be some, it is well hidden.  The execution of them is undoubtedly thoroughly thought through, one of his charming trademarks is corralling local volunteer’s enthusiastic assistance in putting up his large paste up projects.  For those who may have no idea how printed street art can be created on such magnificent scale various display cases, models and prop do great job of lifting the veil on those production secrets.

Work In Progress JR photo of Ladj Li holding camera like a gun at Tate Modern Street Art Exhibition 2008

JR Work In Progress, Tate Modern 2008

How do you print out the images?  They are made from continuous sheets of paper 36 inches wide and in one of the films you see an architect’s printer spewing paper like a long string of spaghetti.  How many sheets?  In one of the vitrines are JR’s working images with the construction lines drawn by hand which divides the image into the stripes for printing and ultimately for putting the strips in the right order,  a laden trolley laden demonstrates how many rolls of paper might go into one of those epic paste ups.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: work in progress

There’s nothing quite so unpredictable as the public which coupled with JR’s “suck it and see” approach to putting up installations in locations where authorities are hostile (Israel, USA border) has given him a wealth of anecdotes which are well with tuning into, you can access his spoken word stories online away from the gallery.  Treat it like a podcast, you can for example access it using the QR code further down this page or it is currently available on youtube.

You might not find the “process” insights interesting, poor you, but scrutiny of those aspects can reveal secrets hidden in plain sight.  The image of a tea party JR arranged to take place through the USA Mexico border fence is well known, JR explains in one of the videos that on the Mexican side they sit at a table; on the USA side the party was “guerrilla style” as the artist was denied permission so the party on the American side takes place not on a table but a printed canvas unfurled and passed through from the Mexican side.  My chin dropped.

JR: Migrants, Mayra, Picnic across the Border, Quadrichromie, Tecate, Mexico – USA, 2017

JR’s contact sheets from earlier analogue photography projects are displayed in several vitrines in various rooms.  In the contact sheet of the images of Ladj Ly holding his camera like a gun the famous image is the very first one on the sheet, it captures the ominous energy of the kids surrounding Ladj just at that moment as they clamoured to be in the photo, in the other photos the kids were basically posturing and with the absence of spontaneity the menace becomes cartoonised.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Portrait Of A Generation Contact Sheet

The third pillar of JR’s enterprise is the element that allows JR to produce stunning books and exhibitions.  It’s the documentation, JR takes brilliant photographs of JR’s photography projects!

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Portrait Of A Generation

JR attributes his trademark hat and glasses to the early need to avoid being identified by a local mayor who wanted to sue him.   He does however explain his art to camera in a comprehensive and articulate way but always in hat and glasses.  For someone so preoccupied with anonymity shyness is not an issue!

street artist JR in front of the Inside Out Travelling Photo Booth

JR and Inside Out photo booth at Somerset House, 2013

JR does not sign his paste ups though sometimes the artist is unavoidably present at a microscopic scale, check the reflection in the subject’s eyes in, for example, the Nairobi train!

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Women Are Heroes, Kibera, Kenya

JR’s projects are concerned with humanity, often illustrating the unnecessary impact that boundaries, borders and schisms in society have on humanity, or should that be the impact the unnecessary borders have?  In essence he probes and highlights people’s impact on people.

Child peeps over US Mexico Border by Street Artist JR

GIANTS, Kikito and the Border Patrol, Tecate, Mexico – USA

The humanity becomes a teeming multitude in the Chronicles project, JR photographs up to a 1,000 people in basically the way they would like to be photographed then collages the individuals into a huge mural.  There is a tendency for the impact to resemble a hyper realistic nightmare or disaster movie.  JR toys with your own interpretations of the evidence of your own eyes, is what you see really a violent disorder, or is it actually a community out playing and dancing?

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Chronicles de Clichy-Montfermeil (detail)

Another thing that the show achieves which you can’t really replicate on a book or in a tiny screen is to impress with the scale and the level of detail in the augmented reality Chronicles.  Download the JR – net app then point your phone at the relevant Chronicles mural causes a pointer to skip from person to person in the mural and through the magic of multi media you can hear that persons’ story as recorded by JR.  Gun Chronicles occupies the whole of a large wall and incorporates 245 different viewpoints on the gun issue.  JR avoids casting judgement, pro and anti Right To Carry folk are included and your reaction to the arguments tells you all you need to know about yourself rather than the issue.  Good luck on completing the dive into the stories of all 1,128 citizens in The Chronicles Of New York City!

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Chronicles Of New York

The opening of JR: Chronicles in June was accompanied by another iteration in several London locations of JR’s Inside Out project.  This manifests as a travelling photo booth in a van modified to look like a polaroid camera where, after a long queue, your photo is taken and printed out on a large sheet and pasted on the ground like a massive outdoor version of a school yearbook if you went to that kind of school, not me!

Street Art Tour Guide Dave Stuart from Shoreditch Street Art Tours participates in JR's Inside Out photography project at Somerset House London 2013

JR Inside Out Project, Somerset House 2013

The same van stars in JR’s film “Faces Places” made with the acclaimed French director the acclaimed late Agnes Varda (click HERE for trailer).

Tour Guide Dave Stuart collects photo from JR's Inside Out photo booth at Somerset House, 2013

The Inside Out photo booth at Somerset House, 2013

That segues us nicely into an appreciation of how JR’s story is really like a street art fairytale.  The promise of street art is that anyone can present their art to a public audience, you don’t need an art degree, critical approval or gallery acceptance, you create your own art world by placing your art on the streets.  Direct from you the artist to the consumer, no middleman necessary.  JR has basically parlayed this circumventing the art system system from untutored photography to hijacking wall space and from there to projects in Israel and Palestine meeting with military disapproval, to exhibitions in posh London galleries and films with the luminati of the film world.  No formal art education or art world blessing required.  Know anyone else who did that?

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Face To Face Contact Sheet

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Face To Face, Separation Wall

One more thing in a show where so much effort has gone into making the artist look effortlessly cool, the QR codes are functioning pieces of art.  No doubt if I ask a young person I will find yet again I am ages, like months behind the times dude.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

QR Code Art (go on, test it)

The show dissects it’s subject into 7 themed zones, in each an idea and to a greater or lesser extent the process is revealed.  The whole show is the manifestation of the third dimension of JR’s activity, the documentation, it really earns that title “Chronicles”.


JR: Chronicles

Saatchi Gallery 4 June – 3 October 2021

Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY

Booking essential: tickets


Links:

JR’s website

Graffoto review of JR’s 2015 exhibition “Crossing” at Lazarides Gallery

Photos of JR’s photos of JR’s Photos by Dave Stuart


Shoreditch, Street Art, Tours, London, Three, 3x3x3, sculpture, street artist, Hong Kong, cast concrete

Three by Three

“Good Things Come In Threes” isn’t really a saying but it would be particularly apt for the recent sightings of mini street art sculptures by Three, also known as 3x3x3.

Shoreditch, Street Art, Tours, London, Three, 3x3x3, sculpture, street artist, Hong Kong, cast concrete

Three Up

One of the curious things about a piece of art by Three is that you spot one, then you don’t notice it the next twenty times you pass by and then it catches your eye again, at which point you wonder if it is a new one or one you had spotted before.

Shoreditch, Street Art, Tours, London, Three, 3x3x3, sculpture, street artist, Hong Kong, cast concrete

Threedom

After spotting a lovely new specimen in August Three confirmed that this was new and that he was back in the UK – Three is from Hong Kong; and that there were more to find.  However, you just can’t go and hunt these tiny concrete accretions and expect to find them, try for yourself, you just drive yourself bonkers spotting small little things on walls and you trot over only to find it is just some random old bit of plastic or something, Three’s sculptures reveal themselves to you when they are ready or when you are sufficiently deserving.

Shoreditch, Street Art, Tours, London, Three, 3x3x3, sculpture, street artist, Hong Kong, cast concrete

Threeology

We have located three new ones so far, there are definitely more out there.   One of the new ones photographed here has sadly already been harvested by a street art thief.  C’est la vie.

Shoreditch, Street Art, Tours, London, Three, 3x3x3, sculpture, street artist, Hong Kong, cast concrete

Three degrees

Shoreditch, Street Art, Tours, London, Three, 3x3x3, sculpture, street artist, Hong Kong, cast concrete

Threeism

Links:

Graffoto Interview “To The power Of Three

All photos: Dave Stuart


Shoreditch, London, Street art, Street artist, tour, Ben Wilson, Chewing Gum Man, Jean Peut etre, Jonesy, Howl Owl, Keef, JXC, Travel Mag

Summer Is Here – Oops Maybe Not

Sitting at my keyboard, fresh in from a perma-drizzle that looks set for the day it is a little difficult to remember that London has had two” Summers” already this year.  Twice, barely a fortnight apart, we enjoyed temperatures over 25 degrees and boy did the street artists love that!  Lots of new street art has been appearing daily so here is a little update of some of the fresh street art that has caught our eye over the past fortnight.   At the top of the page, Shok-1 produced another of his superb X-Ray images.

Ben Wilson aka Chewing Gum Man has been particularly prolific just recently in Shoreditch and he delighted me with the story behind the two characters featured in a new chewing gum pic outside the Bricklayers Arms.  Two deliverymen, Lee and Bryan were hefting barrels up from the pub cellar, Ben had a chat with them and concluded, as recorded on the chewing gum, that Lee and Bryan should be paid more!

Shoreditch, London, Street art, Street artist, tour, Ben Wilson, Chewing Gum Man, Jean Peut etre, Jonesy, Howl Owl, Keef, JXC, Travel Mag

Lee and Bryan, Draymen, by Ben Wilson

Shoreditch, London, Street art, Street artist, tour, Ben Wilson, Chewing Gum Man, Jean Peut etre, Jonesy, Howl Owl, Keef, JXC, Travel Mag

Ben Wilson explains …

Not far away from that spot is another one of those chewing gum pics where Ben paints the view, no prizes for recognising Rivington Street:

Shoreditch, London, Street art, Street artist, tour, Ben Wilson, Chewing Gum Man, Jean Peut etre, Jonesy, Howl Owl, Keef, JXC, Travel Mag

Rivington St Chewing Gum Art by Ben Wilson

Shoreditch, London, Street art, Street artist, tour, Ben Wilson, Chewing Gum Man, Jean Peut etre, Jonesy, Howl Owl, Keef, JXC, Travel Mag

Rivington Street

Last week Jean Peut Etre caused much excitement when he was spied by a tour group collaging his pasted images and letterpress prints in several Shoreditch locations seeming always just a few moments ahead of the group.

Shoreditch, London, Street art, Street artist, tour, Ben Wilson, Chewing Gum Man, Jean Peut etre, Jonesy, Howl Owl, Keef, JXC, Travel Mag

Jean Peut Etre Collage

One of the greatest pleasures a fan of street art can enjoy is to discover an unexpected piece by a favourite artist and this came to pass the other day.  Wandering around Shoreditch on a so-called day off, armed with a proper camera photographing loads of great street art the other day I spotted a fantastic new Jonesy I had not noticed before, an absolutely stunning cast bronze piece.  The casting shows what appears to be a vulture nestling in a roundel of blasted twigs, themselves surreally mounted on the leg of a bird.

Shoreditch, London, Street art, Street artist, tour, Jonesy, bronze casting, sculpture

Jonesy

A subsequent peek on Jonesy’s facebook account revealed that this had actually been in situ since last September, a full 7 months ago.  Just goes to show that even when your eye is constantly scanning high and low for new visual disruptions it is always possible to overlook the beauty hiding in plain sight on the streets.  This next bronze casting, believed to be more recent was something I was specifically hunting for.

Jonesy

Howl Owl is a regular visitor to these shores and the cute little owls are packed with personality and get up to all kinds of mischief.   A veritable parliament of owls came to roost in Shoreditch this week and this particular group set up a sub committee with a clowder of Keef’s cats on a stinky sewage pipe, looking like they contemplating setting off in a pea green boat.

Shoreditch, London, Street art, Street artist, tour,Howl Owl, Keef

Howl Owl and Keef collaboration

We mustn’t forget that some street art is done with permission, the weekend before last JXC painted this quality image of Judge Dredd taking out Mickey!

Shoreditch, London, Street art, Street artist, tour, Ben Wilson, Chewing Gum Man, Jean Peut etre, Jonesy, Howl Owl, Keef, JXC, Travel Mag

Mickey Mouse justice Judge Dredd style

Finally, it was lovely to receive a link to an article on the Travel Mag online where they select their 7 favourite walking tours in London and kindly featured Shoreditch Street Art Tours, we are honoured and thank them, check out the best in London here.

LINKS

Shok-1 Instagram

Jean Peut-Etre Instagram

Jonesy Facebook

Howl Owl Instagram

Sad Keef Instagram

JXC Instagram

all photos: Dave Stuart

 

 

 


Cartoonneros In London

A few weeks ago a fresh collection of stencilled portraits by Argentinian street artist Cartoonneros of the lead singer of Radiohead appeared in Shoreditch.   The memorable thing about this collection was that in going over existing artwork by King Headswim, the underlying naïve expressionist portrait with its compelling blue eyes radiated through Cartnoonneros’ work in a way not visible to the naked eye.

Stencil, street art, street artist, Cartoonneros, Pure Evil, Pure Evil Gallery, Shoreditch, London

Thom Yorke by Cartoonneros over King Headswim

Around the corner were more multi coloured stencilled portraits, similarly executed over someone else’s existing artwork as opposed to a prepared background.  The three characters depicted are the artist Keith Haring, David Bowie and the Pink Floyd musician Syd Barrett.

Keith Haring, David Bowie, Syd Barrett by Cartoonneros

A day later I had the pleasure of bumping into Cartoonneros on the streets whipping up some more stencils, this time the images included Vincent Van Gogh and Kate Moss.

Stencil, street art, street artist, Cartoonneros, Pure Evil, Pure Evil Gallery, Shoreditch, London

Van Gogh by Cartoonneros

Stencil, street art, street artist, Cartoonneros, Pure Evil, Pure Evil Gallery, Shoreditch, London

Kate Moss by Cartoonneros

Cartoonneros explained that he usually employed three stencilled layers in his street art but that he would often spray different colours in different parts of the stencil, meaning that a single layer could be used to render multiple colours.  In this next photo you can actually see the three different stencil layers used for the Van Gogh portrait are in position and each card bears the spraypainted remnants of the various colours from previous uses of the stencil.

Stencil, street art, street artist, Cartoonneros, Pure Evil, Pure Evil Gallery, Shoreditch, London

Van Gogh 3 layer stencil

Cartoonneros is also a sticker artist, several of his quite small stickers have been found lurking nearby.

Stencil, street art, street artist, Cartoonneros, Pure Evil, Pure Evil Gallery, Shoreditch, London

Cartoonneros Sticker

Cartoonneros then nipped to Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin but the lure of Shoreditch was too great and he returned last night to co-host “Wordplay” with Pure Evil, an evening of art and music.  The simple idea was all were welcome to spray stencilled words over a background pre- sprayed by Cartoonneros with a collection of multicoloured stencilled turtle and Keith Haring images.

Stencil, street art, street artist, Cartoonneros, Pure Evil, Pure Evil Gallery, Shoreditch, London

Love Keith Haring

Stencil, street art, street artist, Cartoonneros, Pure Evil, Pure Evil Gallery, Shoreditch, London

Evil Passion at The Pure Evil Gallery

The evening involved an overseas street artist previously virtually unknown on these shores exhibiting in the Pure Evil Gallery and creating beautiful mayhem on the streets, quintessential Pure Evil.  A fuller description of the event is on the Graffoto blog.

LINKS:

Cartoonneros Instagram

Pure Evil Gallery website

King Headswim Instagram

All photos Dave Stuart


Street art, street artist, Sweet Toof, London, Shoreditch, East End, Dalston, Rolf Carl Werner, shutters, BSMT, street art tour

New Sweet Toof Street Art

Sweet Toof is an East London street art legend, the ubiquitous teeth and pink gums were all over London.  Just before Christmas a new mural and several shutters painted by Sweet Toof appeared in Dalston, just up the road from Shoreditch.

These coincided with the opening of Sweet Toof’s first show in London for close to five years, a joint show with Swedish artist and graffiti writer Rolf Carl Werner, held at BSMT Gallery in Dalston.

Cut and Run Flyer courtesy BSMT Gallery

A full review of the show appears on sister blog Graffoto (same author!), including lots of historic photos of long lost  Sweet Toof street art with a particular look at some of the many times he has collaborated on the streets with other artists.

The show runs until this Sunday (14th January 2018), visiting the show could be the perfect complement to the Shoreditch Street Art Tour over the coming weekend.

All photos Dave Stuart except gallery flyer courtesy BSMT Gallery


Jace, Street artist, Shoreditch, London, Face, casts, castings, mouldings, characters, street art, London

Shoreditch: Full Of Characters

It’s not long since Jace last featured on the Shoreditch Street Art Tours blog but when a fresh crop of small faces has appeared this week we felt we had to share the news.  We suspect there may be 7 new ones and today we came cross 6.

Jace has recently visited India and some of the characters have an undeniably Indian appearance.

Jace, Street artist, Shoreditch, London, Face, casts, castings, mouldings, characters, street art, London

 

One appears barely inches above an existing pair next to the “Stik tribute” on Princelet St.

Other fresh faces on the block in Shoreditch that we found (so far) include this lumpen faced trio:

Jace, Street artist, Shoreditch, London, Face, casts, castings, mouldings, characters, street art, London

Jace, Street artist, Shoreditch, London, Face, casts, castings, mouldings, characters, street art, London

Jace, Street artist, Shoreditch, London, Face, casts, castings, mouldings, characters, street art, London

The little collage at the top was inspired by a comment made by virginie.f24 on instagram yesterday, the top two rows are the 6 characters found today, the bottom row shows previous installations.

Much as the new army of faces are wonderful my favourite by dint of its site specific placement remains the pair next to Stik, as featured previously on the blog.

Never it it be said that Shoreditch lacks characters.

Link: J.Ace instagram


Street art, Shoreditch, London, Stik, Falko, Falko1, street artist, street art tour, guide, couple holding hands, brick lane, interracial harmony

Stik Sticks Around

One of the most popular works of street art on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour is the couple holding hands by artist Stik from London.   In fact this particular piece of street art proved generally so popular that in a survey it was identified as the UK’s 17th favourite piece of art.  And we don’t just mean street art, we mean all art.

Visiting artist Falko from South Africa was in the country a few weeks back and Falko added a tiny elephant to Stik’s iconic piece, quite a bold move for someone whose art we don’t recall seeing on these shores before.   In an interview with Graffoto Stik generously described Falko’s intervention as a forced enhancement.   Stik knows how the game plays with street art, nothing is sacred (no pun intended) so he hasn’t flounced down to Princelet St in a fit of pique to make good the additions, though it will happen eventually.

 Street art, Shoreditch, London, Stik, Falko, Falko1, street artist, street art tour, guide, couple holding hands, brick lane, interracial harmony

Stik with Falko1

Falko’s addition provokes curious thoughts: is there a religious significance the elephant? Well an elephant would be considered Haram under Islamic principals so the elephant is not going to be eaten for sure, it must be some kind of pet elephant albeit a bloody small one.  The simple leash Falko has added binds the elephant to the couple, without that it would just be a small elephant superimposed on a couple holding hands so the lead is very important.   At the tip of the elephant’s trunk it looks like the elephant might be holding a marker pen, even pet elephants getting up on doors these days, though perhaps the elephant is colouring in the background to Stik’s work, in a way signalling to us that Falko actually did the restoration work this time around. Clever that.

 Street art, Shoreditch, London, Stik, Falko, Falko1, street artist, street art tour, guide, couple holding hands, brick lane, interracial harmony

Falko1 Elephant

On my other blog I have written a sister to this piece which includes a look back at the original creation of the couple holding hands by Stik and it also looks at a lot of the other temporary changes made to the art piece since it was painted back in 2010.

Links:

Stik Website

Falko1 Instagram

Graffoto post

All photos: Dave Stuart

 


London, Shoreditch, Street art, Street artist, Freddie Mercury, Queen, Trash sculpture, Alex Arnell, Sell Out

Trash Sculpture Wants To Break Free

This morning one of our favourite trash sculpture street artists Sell Out created a hugely amusing street art sculpture paying homage to rock legend Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer of Queen.   In a classic rock video Freddie and fellow Queen band members appear in drag living in domestic drudgery with Freddie swanning around scandalously dressed in a tight pink top, short leather mini skirt and suspenders proclaiming “I want to break free” as she vacuums and dusts around their congested living room.

London, Shoreditch, Street art, Street artist, Freddie Mercury, Queen

Freddie Mercury: Screen Grab from official Queen video

Sell Out has recreated Freddie at his provocative cross dressing best complete with upright hoover.  A swarm of his trademark cut out paper butterflies swarm around Freddie’s head.

London, Shoreditch, Street art, Street artist, Freddie Mercury, Queen, Trash sculpture, Alex Arnell, Sell Out

I Want To Break Free

This video scandalized America’s bible belt, radio stations deleted Queen from their playlists, MTV banned the video and it put Queen’s US commercial career on ice. Europe LOVED it.

 

The song appeared on Queen’s album The Works which Wikipedia says was released on 27 February 1984, 22 years ago almost to the day. Damn tune was going through my head for the rest of this morning’s tour.

This isn’t Sell Out’s only rock star tribute, a few weeks ago while the world made a shrine of a pointilist portrait in Brixton by Jimmy C, David Bowie appeared immortalised in trash by Sell Out in Shoreditch.

Photo: Alex Arnell

Photo: Alex Arnell

Links: Alex Arnell (Sell Out) Facebook: Alex’s photo shows the trash sculpture without the …errr..trash

ALex has featured many times on previous Shoreditch Street Art Tours blog updates, click here

Photos: Dave Stuart aka NoLionsInEngland except where noted