Oh, look, another story spread over multiple posts, what a surprise. But seriously, this time I really tried to cut down the amount of photos, and this really is barely a quarter of the photos that I actually took. So be appreciative.
Anyway, I went to a Street Art walking tour/course in Shoreditch with Platform 39 last weekend and it was amazing. It was a complicated train journey, but so worth it. You might remember that I’m quite a fan of street art, as I said in that little post a few weeks ago. I became a little obsessed with street art a few years ago after seeing a documentary about it with interviews with artists and after seeings the lengths that they had to go to to get their art onto the streets I gained another level of respect. Ever since then I’ve always been on the look out for street art wherever I can. Stickers and pasteups are some of my favorite things – which comes from when I went to Amsterdam because they have stickers everywhere, but after the walking tour last weekend I couldn’t ever be so biased towards one type of art again. We were a small group, which was nice because it meant that we could linger a little bit longer in places. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone, because it was so well organised. Our tour guide has actually done street art before, and had met many of the artists before which made for some really interesting personal stories from the artists. Again, pictures speak louder than words, so …
This was just outside the station, which made me really excited to get started. I took this photo before the tour but later was toold that the blue mushroom is actually quite a recognised artist called Christiaan Nagel. He only makes these mushrooms, in bright colours and usually in high places that are hard to reach. The idea is to bring something organic back into the city and he has a habit of replacing damaged or vandalised ones with bigger and brighter ones. Once the first one had been pointed out, we saw quite a few of them around Shoreditch.
‘Lets Adore and Endure Eachother’ by American artist Steve Powers. He used to get away with the illegal painting of shutters and shop fronts in dilapidated areas by telling police that he worked for the fake EPOS (Exterior Surface Painting Outreach), which he used as his tag or signature. This was a message to the community of Shoreditch, which is unusual for a street artist as their work is often used just as a way to gain ‘street cred’ or popularity. This was part of a series known as Love Letters to a City.
This is an interesting one – not the most visually amazing but it is by Thierry Noir, a French artist who is supposedly the first artist to have painted on the Berlin wall.
The Mona Lisa one with city skylines of London and Paris is by Paul Don Smith, who’s work is all over the place. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader here are by the famous Invader. I watched a documentary about him, and I think his work is awesome. This is one of his biggest works.
‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by CEPT. His works always feature this anti-hero with a sort of 1930s beauty who’s love is always doomed never to work out. This was a sort of look at how streetart relationship with the world is – people love it, but it’s illegal and none of the pieces last very long. The stick man hidden behind the scaffolding is by Stik, who always paints this figure, usually extremely large and always alone. The artist has quiet an interesting story, in that he was once homeless but street art has gotten him off of the streets. His stickmen are always genderless, raceless and always alone.
Those cute little evil bunnies (yes I thought they were cats too) has the weirdest story behind them. They’re by artist Pure Evil (who has several established galleries now, where unusually 70% of the profits go to the artists), and stem from when the artist was 18 and while messing around with friends killed a rabbit. He suffered such bad dreams about evil rabbits getting his revenge, and this became his symbol. This has to be one of the weirdest stories ever. Oh, and also he called his daughter Bunny, and his wife was okay with that. So you know, normal family then. The woman is by Amara Por Dios and she is one of the few female artists to be respected. She always paints in quite a girly, pretty style, which isn’t normal street art style but I really liked it.
Tributes to the late King Robbo – famous for his wars with Banksy – were all over Shoreditch.
These beautiful portraits are by Jimmy C, who works mainly in portraits of people who he’s seen on the streets – which he then puts back onto the streets.
This is part of a campaign by the club who the wall belongs to, but I really loved it.
This is a group mural by the Burning Candy Crew (CEPT is a member of this). This is by Sweet Toof, Gold Peg, Mighty Mo, Horror and Tek33. I’m sure you can guess which bit Gold Peg did, haha. They are some of the many artists who started off as graff writers (just doing graffiti tags or words) but realised to up their game they would need to do something different. The window art is by Borondo who studied Fine Art and took advantage of the habit of some closed down stores who paint over the shop while it’s closed, and scratches out the paint to create scenes, often depicting scenes of recessions – linked to the closed stores.
This is by OBEY, which you might recognise from his clothing ranges and also the Obama Hope campaign posters.
These two are by Ben Eine. The first one is in an alleyway which houses two design agencies opposite each other. One agency got the words ‘anti anti anti’ painted on the side of their building as part of an mock anti design campaign. Then the other agency wanted something, and got ‘pro pro pro’ on their building. Several years later they asked for an update and Eine changed the Pro’s into Protagonists and the anti’s into Extortionists.
Loved this little yeti on a lampost, saying ‘sssshh’.
These last two are by ROA, who paints animals that usually native to the area but aren’t seen much anymore because of the city – much like with the mushrooms, to bring back something organic back to the city. The hedgehog was because ROA felt that too many people couldn’t remember or didn’t know what a hedgehop looked like anymore.
And that is part one of the tour! Let me know what you think. Do you like hearing about the artists, or would you prefer just the pictures? Until tomorrow x