One of the pleasures of writing about street/graffiti art and seeking out new sites is finding something there that you recognise. Feeling knowledgeable about something is very empowering and comforting, and we could all do with a bit of empowering and comfort from time to time. For me this happened when I saw this Chinagirl Tile piece in Leake Street just before Christmas.
I have always had a soft spot for her work, and this very dangerous bunny is one of my favourite tiles she has produced. There is one in Bristol that I blogged about last year. I noticed that of the numerous ‘street art tourists’ who entered the tunnel from this entrance, none that I saw stopped or appeared to notice this rabbit, such was their eagerness to descend into the bowels of Leake Street. For me, street art is not just about the blindingly obvious, it is about subtlety, style, class and placement, much of which is lost on many people. This links to a theme I have mentioned many times in Natural Adventures, and that is that many of us look, but don’t see. Look harder and you might see a rabbit clutching a grenade. Watch out!
Over the Christmas break, I took a train from Waterloo to Woking to visit the inlaws. I allowed myself some extra time to take a quick look at the graffiti art in Leake Street tunnel which runs under Waterloo Station. There was a great deal of wildstyle writing which I was not familiar with – London art is still a bit of a mystery to me – but I did recognise a couple of pieces by Sky High, of which this is one.
I know his work from visits he has made to Bristol in the past to Moon Street, Magdalen Place and Dean Lane. The piece features his characteristic block lettering in multiple styles and a curious snake at the left hand end. I have to say I am not sure about the snake, it is incongruous and I think the piece would be better without it. Maybe that is just me though.
Everything was unexpected when I visited Leake Street Tunnel recently, not least the large number of new pieces that had been created as part of the #do1cancer campaign. It would have been easy to overlook some of the other works that had been in the tunnel…except, I find it hard to overlook anything.
Having reached the end of the tunnel, I returned the way I came – it is funny how you see different things when you go in the opposite direction. High on the ceiling was this wonderful face by Hannah Adamaszek, who I have featured a couple of times recently.
There are two notable things about this work: the first is that it must have been very awkward to do…neck-breaking; the second is that depending on where you stand, the face takes on very different appearances. More great work from Hannah, who I am expecting to see at Upfest.
I think that most of the posts about the pieces I photographed in Leake Street on 4 July 2016 are going to be quite short. I say this because I am having difficulty researching the artists, and it is a world unfamiliar to me. I guess also, because I have a Bristol bias, I am lazier about finding out more about London-based artists. Is that a bad thing?
This rather charmingly grotesque piece is by Woskerski – I would guess a Polish immigrant, who like all Europeans, is most welcome in our country. I cannot express my shame at what our nation has decided to do, and how some sectors of our society think it is ok to behave in the way they have since the referendum. I will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Europe and seek greater integration, collaboration and understanding.
The piece was sprayed as part of the #do1cancer campaign to raise awareness and money for Colchester Hospitals Charity.
Fortune favours those who go in pursuit of dreams (or something like that). My new role took me to London Earlier this week, and I spent a night in an hotel in Vauxhall. I don’t know much about the street art scene in London, other than that there is a lot in Shoreditch and in Camden Town. I keep a close eye on the London Calling blog to keep pace with the astonishing stuff that hits the streets of London.
I had heard about a tunnel in Waterloo that had loads of street art in it, so I went off in search of it. It took a while to find, because I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but find it I did, and I was staggered. Here were dozens of works on the walls and ceilings along the entire length of the tunnel. Aladdin’s Cave, no messing.
I was in for even more luck – my trip coincided with a very recent festival that had been held (at the weekend?) in support of raising funds for the #do1cancer graffiti jam. The walls were festooned with fresh pieces with a cancer theme. This is the first of my posts from Monday 4 July. Please read the link above, as it puts this festival into context.
This extraordinary piece is by Gnasher (David Nash), who uses spray cans to produce hyper-real art – just amazing. This piece looks like an enormous blow up of a photograph. Big respect indeed.
You can find out more about this incredible artist from his excellent website. Together, the #do1cancer campaign has raised awareness of how cancer can impact on our lives, and is actively raising money through the support of graffiti artists and graffiti enthusiasts. Admirable stuff.