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.
Immediately adjacent to Gnasher’s chimpanzee in Stucley Place there is a door with a couple of wheatpastes on it. The higher of the two is by Face the Strange and features four brightly coloured suited gentlemen with half fruits or vegetables for faces. I am guessing that this has been around for a while. The piece is actually made up of four individual strips.
The lower pasteup is by Codefc featuring one of his characters with a camera head. Both pieces have similar themes and yet the individual style of the artists shines through.
I posted a piece by Codefc from Upfest 2016, but it seems that more recently he has favoured freestyle spraying, judging by his Instagram feed. I enjoy seeing artists moving through different techniques and expressing their work in different ways. This is a nice door.
I was lucky enough to pass by this wonderful abstract piece while it was being sprayed by Mr Jiver, a London artist who told me he had his roots in wildstyle writing and that there are echoes of that in his current abstract works.
The intention for this piece was that it was meant to be a collaboration, but there was a ‘no show’ from the other artist which accounts for the gaps that have been left.
I would guess that artwork like this is at risk of being criticised in the same way that art by Jackson Pollock has been criticised…that old chestnut ‘I could probably do that with my eyes shut’ kind of thing. The retort might be ‘well go ahead then’. Mr Jiver has created a thought out piece with deliberate colour selections, shapes and shading and I celebrate it.
I enjoy meeting artists when they are at work and trying to understand a little bit more about what motivates them. Insight certainly helps with interpretation. Mr Jiver – nice bloke, great work.
Not too far away from Camden Town tube station and in the direction of Camden Lock Market is an absolute jewel of a street – Stucley Place. There are a few walls here that have some lovely work, and this is the first of three posts from my visit to Camden Town in November.
Gnasher (David Nash) is an extraordinary artist who seems to be able to produce amazing photorealistic pieces with consummate ease. Last July I posted a work he produced in Leake Street tunnel featuring Guardians of the Galaxy characters. In this piece he has produced a stunning portrait of a chimpanzee that conveys a sadness and wisdom that seems to be nature’s lot in today’s world.
It is a difficult piece to photograph because of the glare, but even with these slightly dodgy pictures it is possible to see what a truly classy piece this is. So definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area.
When I saw this piece in the Chalk Farm housing estate I instantly recognised the artist as Jerry Rugg or Bird0. He painted a fabulous piece for Upfest 2016, which is still there and looks like it will remain permanently.
Bird0 has a great skill for fusing abstract shapes and designs with wildlife forms to create these otherworldly creatures. His pieces are characterised by the use of bright vibrant colours, lots of oranges and yellows.
This is a spectacular piece, but I had limited access to it, and took the pictures through some railings. I couldn’t work out how to get the other side and I was unsure about whether I was permitted to be there in the first place. I will go beck again and get some better shots.
This was the first piece I saw from the Global Street Art organised set of walls at the Chalk Farm housing estate. Looking like a giant billboard, it caught my eye from the end of the road, and even from a distance I thought it might be a piece by Pref ID. I must be getting quite good at this, because I was right.
Pref ID creates brilliant pieces incorporating clever word puzzles. The one in Bristol for Upfest 2017 was very tricky. This one is a little more straight forward…’Upwards and Onwards’.
It is a cleverly constructed and beautifully painted piece – if only the light hadn’t been fading and that blooming car wasn’t in the way. But as with so much street/graffiti art, it is located in a car park, and cars are an occupational hazard. I do like his work, and hope to find some more.