Birds, boys and British street art

Wow I took a lot of photos in a single graffiti hunting day!

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Above are some stunning Bom.K and Liliwenn murals on Hanbury Street in Brick Lane while below are a selection of paste ups, sticker art and close up details of other pieces dotted about the place.

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Here’s a few pieces of work from Louis “masai” Michel with an exotic green bird and Otto Schade

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Colourful concoctions, weird images and smoking frogs all combine to feel just a little bit trippy . . .

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And a few final snaps of things that caught my eyes!

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I still seem to have so many pictures to put on! I’m on a roll . . .

 

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Walls of colour

Whether it’s walls full of eye popping colour or the tiniest little sticker, every crevice in Brick Lane is crammed with art.

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Whatever your preferred style you are bound to find something to tickle your artistic taste buds.

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A mix of stickers, stencils and paper mash ups ensure that no two walls are ever the same.

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From iconic film stars turned into munchkins to delicate praying hands, there’s a variety of different subject matters and styles to spot.

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No door, wall or building escapes some form of decoration.

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As interesting, hip and edgy as it all looks in the sunshine, during a flying visit, I am not sure whether I would want to be surrounded by graffiti and peeling posters all the time.

Would the novelty wear off and be replaced by a more mundane weariness as every surface is deluged with “art”?

Sclater Street art cluster

Some areas in the East End seem to see a particular concentration of art. One such place is Sclater Street, just off the main drag of Brick Lane.

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Entire buildings are smothered in gigantic images.

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The vivid colours provide a perfect foil to the drab, derelict industrial surroundings.

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There are some recognisable figures gracing some of the walls. Below is an immense Usain Bolt by James Cochran AKA James C.

According to details about it the portrait is “created in a distinctive ‘scribble style’ developed by the artist to reflect the inherent energy and vibrancy of Bolt’s personality, as well as visually communicate a sense of speed.” Read more about James C and his work here.

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This disturbing trio of washed out figures is called The Letter Box Bandit and is by Id-iom another prolific artist. You can find out more the story behind the image here.

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These snaps were taken about a year ago and most of the work will already have disappeared, painted over, tagged by other artists or covered in posters. Almost as if it never existed at all.

But part of the joy of street art is its transient nature. Fluid and ever evolving you’ll visit the same spot just days later and it’s all changed again. Does that make the art more or less valuable?

I look forward to visiting the same streets again soon and seeing what has changed and what has endured.

 

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!

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!