Words as art

Lots of the artwork dotted around the East End involves literally spelling out their messages. No one is more the master of this than Eine (Real name Ben Flynn).

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Eine is most notable for his alphabet lettering on shop shutters in around Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Broad Market areas of the East End.

Above is a piece entitled PRO. (Self explanatory really!) I love the frivolous colours and patterns.

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The vibrant typographical letters spell out a variety of different words – Scary, Vandalism, Exciting and more.

Eine’s street art is driven by a love of typography and he describes being influenced by how “letters change shape when combined with other ones”.

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Here’s his SCARY wall under the bridge on Rivington Street. Not looking too menacing on a sunny day.

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Eine was well-known in London circles for ‘Alphabet Street’ in the capital’s Spitalfields region where he painted the entire A-Z on shop shutters down Middlesex Street. It’s a delightful, colourful splash of happiness!

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He become even more well known when a piece of his art work was presented to Barack Obama by David Cameron.

A bit ironic given that after spending 20 years tagging he has been arrested between 15 and 20 times and has five convictions for criminal damage – not exactly a model citizen according to Cameron’s own government!

Art or vandalism?

Banksy is an interesting phenomena. Once classed as a vandal, his art work is now protected from other “vandals” and art collectors!!

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Here’s two examples of his iconic work. Preserved from tourists and the tender ministrations of other street artists by a sheet of perspex.

Above, His Master’s Voice – possibly one of his best known pieces – can be found in the pub garden of the Cargo pub garden.

His work now goes for thousands of pounds, but twenty years ago it would probably have been jet washed off by the local council. Interesting how the perception of “art” and value alters constantly.

The piece below is also in the Cargo Club beer garden on Rivington Street. The invite says come graffiti but the plastic protection shield says otherwise.

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Here’s a variety of interesting pieces from ALO. Largely self-taught, the artist honed his craft on the streets of Perugia, Milan and Rome before moving to London.

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His work was displayed in the Saatchi gallery in 2014 in a show entitled Hail to the Loser. Pieces were on sale from anything from £600 to £2000!

Incase you don’t want to pay thousands of pounds to own one, here’s some in their natural environment! (Plus a random pair of legs and a sofa!)

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Lots more still to come with colourful postboxes, stickers and mash ups!

More art on the streets of London

Moving on from the colourful mash ups on Fashion Street we actually start to be able to recognise the distinctive different styles of some of the artists.

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Here’s a few examples of an artist identified as Paul “Don” Smith whose work is instantly recognisable. His subjects are as diverse as they are delicate. From the stars of the 2012 Olympics to music heroes. There’s also some colourful work by Gee.

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This huge colourful piece covers up a drab wall.

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It’s not all about huge pieces dominating walls and buildings though, I love to spot the tiny pieces hidden away or the amusing, playful bits. Neil awaits further instructions. . .

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C215 is another artist’s sign off that we start to notice. With distinctive colour motifs and detailed drawing, its a very distinct style of work.

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Another very recognisable artist is Stiks. Whose minimal, adorable stick figures offer insights into contemporary society. But they also look super cute!!!

His work fetches high prices and apparently Elton John, Bono and other celebs sport him on their wall. But here you can see it for free!

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The little people appear everywhere, stealing artwork, promoting harmony and eyeing up pot plants!

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Next up a true icon of the street art scene, colourful postboxes and more!

East End graffiti art tour

A trip a little bit closer to home was a day out in the East End of London touring some of the colourful multitude of street art to be found in the side streets and back allies.

My next few posts are dedicated to some of the colourful, intriguing, controversial and confronting art on display.

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There’s plenty of street art tours on offer and you’ll see crowds of tourists huddled together snapping pics of the snazzy designs.

However we decided to just down load a walking tour app on the phone and make our own way around.

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Here Eines bright letters cover this entire building.

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From grafitti to stickers, paste ups and murals there’s something on every street corner, lamp post, phone box and shop shutter.

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Neil loiters near a mural on Fashion Street. Meanwhile Paul “Don” Smith’s Glass tap silhouette is amongst detailed work.

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Lily Allen features in this Fashion Street paste up while a police notice warns about street art tours risking you a fine or imprisonment under act of terror laws . .

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There’s a wide variety of artists to be found, from the more well known such as Banksy and Stik to less well known (to me anyway) such as Gee. There’s also lots of pieces that I can’t find an artist to give credit to.

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We also snap work from Irony, Jimmy C, ALO, Eines, Gee Street Art, Don, Masai, Otto Schade, Maser & Conor Harringinton, D7606, Cranio, ROA, Obit, C215 and more.

More colourful creations to follow!

What next?

Well I’ve saturated my stash of recent travels and am all up to date with all my trips – so what next?

Where am I going to point my wandering feet and eager eyes now?

Fear not. I’ve a few trips up my sleeve for the coming months including a beach based family trip to Portugal and a much anticipated trip to the little Greek island of Santorini for a wedding. (Stolen an image off Google!!)

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But these are still a few months away so there’s a gap to fill!!

Looking back at my more recent posts I’ve noticed that I’ve been a better / more frequent blogger than I used to be. (OK so I yammer on more now!!)

So while I managed to cover some of my more epic trips in very concise, short posts in the past, I’ve become a bit more “verbose” in recent months.

So I’ll probably revisit a few of my favourite travel highlights in a bit more detail to fill in the time until I get my travel on again!!

Blue blue bee boxes!

Ok so slightly misleading title, it should be the blue and green bee boxes of Siana but not quite as satisfyingly B worded!

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Following hot on the heels of my peeling paint extravaganza I give you – peeling paint on bee boxes!!

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Naturally as soon as I clapped eyes on these colourful little roadside beauties I felt the need to capture them from every possible angle . . .

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Be warned, this post is only about pictures of blue wooden boxes. I am not kidding!

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I lied! Pausing briefly from the blue joy, here’s a delightful colourful sign advertising local wares.

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Then it’s back to blue, turquoise, aqua, every shade! Oh the untold delights . . .

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Check out this slightly different angle featuring a saucy rusted lock . .

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Or this jaunty collection with contrasting red writing.

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Finally, here’s a last look at this photogenic scene before I am dragged away . . ..

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Peeling paint

Apart from piles of food and markets, my other favourite photographic subject is, wait for it, peeling, cracking, layered paint!!!

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Whether it’s a crumbling wall, a decrepit window or a forgotten door, the layers of weathered paint beckon to me.

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Revealing intricate patterns, cracks and fissures, a multitude of colours and layers of detail.

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Here’s just a few tasty doors and windows from our Rhodes trip.

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You just want to peek in windows and peer into the courtyards. And I don’t just limit my fascination to doors and windows, I’ll accept chairs too!

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How fascinating is this little homestead? From the ramshackle pot plants, the wonky shutters or the contrasting lemon and blue paintwork there’s a multitude of interesting details to spot.

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I love the way that the paint is gradually being weathered away to reveal the many different colours and textures.

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Loving these orange and blue shades on derelict doors in Symi.

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As well as the pale lemon and blues on these twin windows.

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Random Rhodes

Here’s a few more snaps from around Rhodes town.

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Ornate tiles on the old town fountain and a trip to the beach is in order. I love the diving platform poking up from the sea.

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The pebble beach is lapped by azure waters.

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The man is dwarfed by one of the large ferry boats that have docked in the commercial harbour.

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Neil checks out the massive fortifications of the town walls. Mimicking the Greecian warriors of old with his manly chest!!

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A view back towards the old town and its impressive walls.

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As the day draws to a close we’re treated to a gorgeous rosy pink sunset.

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The blush pink fades to purple over Rhodes harbour and the traditional windmills. Where the spindly little goat thing stands on the pedestal is believed to be the site of one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World –  The Colossus of Rhodes.

The statue of the sun god Helios stood over 30 metres (98 feet)  and was built to celebrate Rhodes victory over the ruler of Cyprus whose son had unsuccessfully tried to besiege Rhodes.

The goat is a somewhat underwhelming replacement . .

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A nice way to end our brief jaunt to the town. Next up, as promised, peeling paint! LOTS of it!! Lucky you . . .

Panormitis monastery

While touring around Symi you will see many churches  devoted to the Archangel Michael.

The decorative Greek Orthodox Monastery of Taxiarchis Mihail Panormitis is the most important on the island.

The monastery is a large 18th-century Venetian styled building with the highest baroque bell tower in the world.

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It’s covered in ornate red, yellow and blue detailing, like an edible cake tower! Once inside the detailing just carries on.

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A shaded courtyard offers welcome relief from the heat outside. Lush greenery soothes the eyes. The courtyard has ornate black and white flooring known as Hokhlakia – a detailed type of geometric pattern

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Intricate mosaic work also adorns the walls, featuring various Biblical scenes.

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Heavenly details can be found even if you cast your eyes upward.

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Huge prayer candles flicker in the corner of the courtyard while floral wreaths adorn the doors to the cells where pilgrims can stay and contemplate in quiet solitude.

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More washed out colour offers a pleasing picture in every corner.

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A very pleasant trip and a bulging camera memory card once again!!!

Sweet little Symi

During our brief jaunt to Rhodes town we took a ferry over to the glorious little island of Symi. Here’s the first views of the colourful little houses clinging to the hillside.

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As the ferry pulls into Yialos (the main harbour) we get a closer look at the tiers of housing. Mostly in pastel shades but with the odd rebels with bright shades of red and yellow.

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Here’s another view of Yialos the main harbour with a few glamorous sail boats.

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Beyond the harbour is a distant view of hills while a girly pink scooter contrasts nicely with the yellow fishing nets. Meanwhile this gorgeous colour combo on a local house catches my eyes too

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Symi’s recorded history goes back as far as the Trojan Wars (1120 BC)

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At its height Symi was a thriving island with a population of more than 22,000.  It was renowned for its boat-building, sponge-fishing, wine-making, its wood-carvers and icon-painters.

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The tranquail harbour has a plethora of little boats bobbing on the azure waters.

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You can still buy traditional sponges from lots of different shops along the harbour front.

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So many colourful houses and shops jostle for position and demand photographing!

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I love the delicate circular details at the top of lots of the roof lines.

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So many permutations of candy colours to enjoy.

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Moving up from the harbour we set off to explore Chorio, the village area.

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Naturally I find lots of lovely paint based things to point my camera at. Including this amazing blue set of steps.

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There’s unusual artwork, colourful shops and icecream around every corner.

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Neil gets his fix of the creamy goodness and we actually get someone to take a picture of the two of us for once!

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Symi is a compact, colourful and delightful place for a day trip or for a longer, laid back break.

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Next up we’re off to visit the pretty little monastry at Panormitis with its ornate floor and decoration.