A really unusual, and if I might say slightly scary, portrait piece from Rosalita Raw on the side wall of the Star and Garter in St Paul’s. Why is it that carnival imagery, which is supposed to be bright, happy and entertaining so easily drifts into the dark and edgy?
Rosalita has had an exceptional six months or so, and I am loving every second of this upsurge in activity from her. This piece is really nicely worked, and shares some similarities with Pekoe’s style although a little bit more detailed in the facial features. Who is she winking at? Is it a knowing wink or an affectionate wink? Unusual and compelling.
Because I don’t get to photograph up at Purdown Battery very often, I am not too sure whether this is a recent or an old piece by Rosalita, but either way it is an absolute cracker. This wall is tucked away a bit and takes a little bit of finding, so I don’t imagine that very many people have seen it, which in one way is a bit of a shame, but in another way it is how some artists like to do things.
The subject of the piece is a mermaid, whose hair is made up of octopus tentacles, but instead of looking rather disgusting as in the Bill Nighy portrayal of Davey Jones from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, her hair is beautiful. This is an outstanding piece and another example of great work coming from Rosalita at the moment.
Being in the right place at the right time is a big part of photographing street/graffiti art. Mostly you get to see a finished piece as a fait accompli, admire/critique it, photograph it and then be on your merry way. Sometimes though you get lucky and catch the artist(s) at work and I did just that as Ryder and T-Rex were just finishing off this curved wall piece at Dean Lane.
Both were in great form and thrilled to be able to paint together while their little one was having a sleep. Opportunities to paint together have been few and far between in recent months, so this was a treat. Ryder has painted a wibbly green piece with reference to James Bond, with the words ‘007 shaken not stirred’.
I spent quite a while chatting (socially-distanced of course) with T-Rex, which was fun, as I have only spoken briefly with her before. Here she painted an outstanding example of her trademark dinosaur in pink – she must be able to do these in her sleep. She let me into a little secret, that she struggles to write the letter ‘J’ and that Ryder helped her with the ‘J’ in Jack – we had been talking about the J in Scooj, which prompted the confession. Best of all I got to see the little one when she woke up. A happy family outing.
This is the third component of an extraordinary collaboration by Smak, who painted this writing on a shared pink background along with Ments and Sled One. What made this super-extraordinary was that on the same day this was sprayed, the other side of the wall was being painted by 3Dom, Feek, Piro, Epok and Sepr. For followers of street/graffiti art, this was a truly momentous occasion.
As we are accustomed to seeing from Smak, this is a highly accomplished piece of work. The blend of angular letters combined with spheres and a fluid metallic look to some elements makes for a fascinating and creative piece. There is so much skill, experience and patience in this piece, a triumph.
I have expressed before how much I like this wall. Protected from the rain, it is a wall that can change at almost any time without warning. Sometimes you need to be patient to photograph it because this is a DIY skate park and it can get quite busy, but there are often some really nice pieces here, including this one from T-Rex, so it is worth waiting.
Spelling out T-REX, this is an extraordinarily colourful and happy piece, with each letter having at least two fill colours and patterns expertly and cleanly executed. I have a feeling it is dedicated to Ryder – perhaps a birthday or anniversary or something like that. This is great graffiti writing.
When it comes to writing about graffiti writing by Ryder, there is little more to say than he is an exceptional talent and seeing his work is always accompanied by a bat-squeak of excitement.
A recent trip to L Dub was fruitful, and among that crop of superb pieces was this one from Ryder. Full of colour and a fine fluid movement of the letters which makes this piece of writing very easy on the eye. Sophisticated and smart.
This container in Dean Lane seems to have been around forever. I’m really not sure what it contains or why it is there, but it is a surface to paint and that is what matters. The quality of graffiti and street art on this container can be very variable so it is nice when a really good piece like this one from Rusk comes along.
Rusk is an artist/writer whose work I never tire of and who doesn’t paint as much as I’d like him to, although he tends to paint in places that are sometimes out of the way and I don’t get to see those ones. This is a straightforward RUSKI in horizontal graded blues with some nice bubbles in black white and blue. The quality of the lines and fills is of a high standard, which on the uneven face of the container can’t be easy. This is what great graffiti writing looks like.
Here is a recent fun piece from Ryder down at the M32 roundabout featuring characters from the Willo the Wisp children’s TV programme from the 1980s. There is always something that makes me smile about incorporating children’s characters into the subversive world of graffiti art.
The writing is, as always, perfectly painted, with nice letter shapes and horizontal colour fills that complement each other well. The 3D shadow has a vanishing point in the centre of the piece which is less common than the shadow going in one direction.
The piece is bookended with characters from the show, with Willo on the right and on the left Evil Edna, the TV set. A very nice holiday piece from Ryder.
When you immerse yourself in the world of street art and graffiti writing in the way that I and many others do, you develop a deep sense of how good the art is in terms of technical skills, emotional grab, story telling, colour sense and so on. And sometimes you need only glance at a piece for a second to realise that it is truly outstanding and on a different level. This is how I felt when I saw this from Smak in Dean Lane a week or so back.
It feels like seeing something in CinemaScope for the first time when you are used to a smaller format. The letters spelling SMAK are perfectly arranged and the colours and fills, with a metallic feel, are outstanding. For me, this is a great example of perfect graffiti writing, and such a wonderful Christmas gift from Smak.
It would seem that Smak rarely stops producing first-class pieces for us to marvel at, and he does this in between commissions. This is an artist at the top of his game who manages to do what he loves every day both in a work context and for his own leisure. Perfect.
These pictures were taken during incredibly heavy rain and while I was in an incredibly hurry, but the blurry look of the piece is not an artefact of the conditions, rather it is the piece itself and the way it has been sprayed.
A short post today because I have to start preparing for our Christmas meal. Season’s greetings to you all.