Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Meeting Of Styles UK 2015

Shoreditch, London
10 - 12 July 2015

all photos: NoLionsInEngland

Meeting Of Styles returned to Shoreditch last week for the second Summer on the trot. Over a 2 day period spraycan graffiti writers and street artists from Brazil to Russia via Spain and UK threw a wild ribbon of colour around Shoreditch.

Ekto & friends

Meeting of Styles is an international and not-for-profit federation of spraycan festivals, this year 22 MoS festivals around the world are responding to the “Mind Above Matter” theme

Brick Canvas Central if we can call it that was a dramatically transformed elbow of land trapped between a knot of railway tracks now under new ownership and currently renamed the Nomadic Community Gardens.

A primarily Bangladeshi community has transformed the Fleet St Hill end of the gardens with raised beds of allotments while a temporary village of tents, vans and dens of upcycled wood and canvas housed kitchens, bars, decks and admin.

The set piece featured wall on the Fleet Hill Arch was this year tackled by a multinational crew on Mind Above Matter theme (last year: men and beasts), artists making appearances on this huge collaboration are: Tyme (Swe), Adno (Rus), Awone (Swe), DJa’Louz (Fr) and from the UK Jim Vision, Zadok and below them Kak, Ekto and Wisher. You have to get close this year to the wall to appreciate the letter mastery and intricate details in the background, which wasn't the case at MOS UK 2014 when the grafftiti writers rolled a lot more images into the composition.

Wall locations were geographically more wide spread this year, the centre of weight shifted over to the Bethnal Green side of Brick Lane with some painting taking place even further east than the Nomadic Community Gardens. The walk from Nomadic Gardens yields awesome examples of 3D lettering included these pieces by Ebee, Zase and OG Hush.


OG Hush


Up on Redchurch Street, OTwo and Andrrea Riot entertained the crowds with their abstract background and calligraphic “graffuturism”. That background is awesome, the calligraffiti reads Wizard Kings. Or perhaps Wizard Kinggs. Or maybe something else completely different.

Continuing the graffuturist or “post graffiti” theme, Stendec from the wilderness north of the wall and Soma painted this amazing piece east of the Nomadic Community Gardens

Stendec / Soma

It is very easy and actually common for those close to the culture to see Meeting Of Styles as a letterform based graffiti shindig but it actually has always aimed to be wider and all embracing. Traditional bubble letters and wild style sit happily alongside the abstract and the calligraphy based. Signwriting fonts converse with characters. No stencils though, no surprise there!

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Morgazmik / FPLO

If you happened to park your van somewhere and returned to find it defaced by Masai and Airborne Mark like this you would have to have a heart of lead not to be excited.


Airborne Mark

Neoh continues to create work raising awareness of mental health issues, this is believed to be first example of pure face portraiture rather than figurative beauties from Neoh. Given the nudity that has crept into his figures recently it was probably a good call location to focus just on faces in this community!

Neoh (Ldn)

There was even sculpture from Joel Dean from Ireland though some of the improvised seating, shelter and indeed cooking arrangements also took on the appearance of sculpture.

Joel Dean (Odisy in background)

It is proper to give a salute to visiting international artists who trekked to Shoreditch to participate in this London edition of MoS.

Fumero (NYC)

Jotace is from Barcelona and found space alongside Morgazmik and the awesomely productive FPLO from Brazil.


Polish born now London based Ewelina Koszykowska threw a veil over this female figure.


Quite a few of the Meeting of Styles artists took advantage of being in London to go a bit off piste with other walls away from the organised Meeting of Styles locations. FPLO from Brazil popped up in a couple of locations.

FPLO (Bra)

FPLO (Bra)

Adno found time to pull off this beauty on a gate just off Brick Lane.

ADNO (Rus)

The festival ranges beyond the multiplicity of painting styles to include hip hop and beatboxing, street food, soul food and have-a-go workshops.

Unknown B-Boxer

There was actually genuinely something for everyone and the whole event was accompanied by a wonderfully chilled and relaxed vibe. Apart from the amazing painting by the Meeting OF Styles artists, this plot of land is well worth visiting to see how the community have transformed it with their collective urban agriculture spirit.

Just for fun to end with, some "work-in-progress" action shots from the Sunday:

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Gent 48 (Birmingham)

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Manorism - Easter Weekend warehouse group show

Unit 4
199 Eade Road (see directions below)
London N4 1DN
(about 10 mins walk from Manor House)

Fri 3 April - Sun 5th April
Fri 1930 - 0000
Saturday 4th 2pm - midnight/Sun 5th 2pm -2300
See event page

all photos: NoLionsInEngland

Featured artists painting indoors and out: Kenor, Zosen Bandido, Vinnie Nylon, Pablo Fiasco, Lapiztola Stencil, Dotmasters, Mudwig, Paris, Mary Yacoob, REQ, Jeffrey Disastronaut, Cedoux Kadima, MNKY, Dan Johnson, Alice Evans, FiST, Box Head, Goodchild, Dazzle, Dan Rawlings

Projections to include photographs by war photographer Tim Hetherington; other films to be announced

DJ sets

Every year or two the culture of street art throws up a show which turns the spotlight on itself, doors are opened to a wider public without asking them to walk into a stuffy “proper” gallery. Pablo Fiasco (his mum possibly knows him by another name) has located a very interesting spot in North London where over the Easter weekend an exhibition of painted walls, stencils, installations, films and other assorted diversions will take place.

The location is one of those formerly industrial areas where industry has drifted away but the residual properties have yet to be anointed with essence of gentrification. Formerly occupied by a courier company, 2 sides of the building have been converted for accommodation but are separated by a bizarre irregular void for which there appear to be no takers in this economic climate, so it has become an irregular host of assorted cultural activities. You will know 199 Eade Road by the bright colourful Kenor and Zosen collaborative mural across the fa├žade facing the road. However, the show isn’t in that building, you’ll find it down the ramp to the right of the building in the metal clad building next to 119.

Kenor & Zosen collab

At the time of our visit, only Pablo Fiasco himself was onsite, a huge collection of paint and stencil materials and work in progress art sprawled across the floor. Pablo goes back a long way and is very well connected, which reflects in the diverse array of talent and backgrounds on view. Most of the work he will present in this show is collaged stencils, though as a teacher and filmmaker his art practice is much broader. While his signature piece is an amazingly intricate and venerably ancient stencil of an equally antique typewriter, his work includes a lot of characters with Abe Lincoln, Lenin, Lee Harvey Oswald and George Bush popping up in surreal interactions. The typewriter stencil took three months to cut and is a veteran of an amazing 500 uses, including a manifestation as a large spider in the building and a Hokusai wave break surfer outside.

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Pablo Fiasco

Pablo Fiasco

Particular striking eye candy was this Picasso/Roy Lichtenstein mash-up that was lying on the floor.

Pablo Fiasco

Dazzle’s use of striking patterns borrows both name and effect from the camouflage technique used on World War 1 warships, his stencilled portraits have been seen on the streets of East London. Pablo Fiasco contributes intricate architecture doubling as a hairstyle to this particular Dazzle figure.

Dazzle/Pablo Fiasco collab, flanked either side by Goodchild

Some such as Dotmasters and Zosen who exhibited at Pure Evil in 2007 and contributed to CANS 2 in 2008 are long standing street artists. We haven’t seen this Dotmasters’ classic outdoors since it was rendered in an alleyway adjacent to some very posh London galleries in Cork St in about 2007, Pablo Fiasco comically subverts it so that Abe Lincoln is creating William Burroughs rather than God creating Adam.

Dotmasters/Pablo Fiasco Creation collab

Dotmasters Michelangelo
Dotmasters 2007

Dotmasters is rolling out not just ancient history but also a completely new stuff riffing on the word “Toy” which in graffiti circles means “amateur, novice, beginner”, this follows on from the new Robby The Robot piece which appeared in Shoreditch last week.


Goodchild has obviously enjoyed creating a lot of impressive geometric patterns both indoors and out at the site, here we see MNKY in the background snarling at the abandoned caravan which it wants out of the way by the weekend.

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right to left Box Head, MNKY, Goodchild

In addition to the wall art, there are plans for projections including a posthumous showing of soldier graffiti captured by war photographer Tim Hetherington, “oldest and closest friend” of Pablo Fiasco killed in Libya in 2011. There will also be a bar and music with DJs mashing up music by people I have never heard of.

The space is large and the walls irregular, placement is haphazard and there is art indoors and outside, the result is a pretty exciting art treasure hunt with a lot of work prompting questions like “whose face is that?”; “which artists are collaborating where?”; “how did this surreal mash up pop into any sane persons head?” Pablo Fiasco was in full flow at the start of the week, other artists such as Nylon are expected to make their contributions over the next few days and even today more artists are being added to the roster so there remains lots to be created and discovered.

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Mudwig/Paris Collaboration

Expect a very chilled vibe in the daytime, this feels like it will be the kind of event where the family could happily drop in for a bit of culture, a bit of fun and a bit of chilled out time. Maybe not the bank holiday weekend spectacular that Banksy’s 2008 Cans Festival was or the dank edgy gloom of Nelly Duff’s abandoned tenement basement “Banger Art” of 2012, perhaps something more akin to the One Foot In The Grove under the Westway in 2009 but more indoors and less flame belching steam punk monsters.

Do enjoy.

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"Beware all ye taking the portal to our facilities" warns the genie of the spraycan: collab Dazzle/Dotmasters/Pablo Fiasco

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Friday, 6 March 2015

Dr d Extends London Open Prison and Social Cleansing Zone

Dr d., London’s top political malcontent street artist is on a roll and has been out again, this time taking over pavement advertising sites. The new version of HMP London (HMP: Her Majesty’s Prison] open prison advises us that innocent or guilty, we are all now being spied on.

Dr d HMP London Oopen Prison

Highlighting the pernicious erosion of freedoms through unwanted surveillance is the main thrust of these previous versions of Dr d's Open Prison.

Dr D - HMP London
(apologies for repeating an image used another recent blog post but it's relevant)

Dr D sees things from every angle

Social cleansing Curfew Zone works in a variety of way but when a van with Immigration Enforcement drove past this morning, Dr d’s subversion became a clear warning to beware the insidious intrusion of UKIP’s thinly disguised racism into mainstream politics.

Dr d:  Immigration Control = Social Cleansing

Dr d Social Cleansing Curfew

Cycling around hunting for these pavement advertising boards makes you realise firstly how much you just filter these thing out of your consciousness (clever thing the brain) and then, how the hell did so many pavements become obstructed by these monstrosities. You can bet that if you blocked the pavement like this for a good cause but hadn’t paid for the pleasure you’d be having your collar felt double quick time. The authorities don’t mind the obstruction to the pavements but they do mind you doing it without their control and without topping up their counting houses.

These delicious political annexations of the mechanism and locations of paid for advertisements by Dr d is one of the un-sung wonders of London’s street art scene. Read HERE how and why Dr d declared the City of London a Central Curfew Zone.

Links: Dr d.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Borondo Animal

London Newcastle Space
28 Redchurch St
Shoreditch, London
5 – 26th Feb 2015
All photos: NoLionsInEngland

Spanish street artist Borondo moved to London in early 2014 and blew us away with his street art. It was painterly, impressionist and frankly very inventive.

Shoreditch, 2014

Had we ever seen a piece of street art specifically designed to be viewed as a reflection? No, so Borondo does it.

Hackney Wick, 2014

His long awaited debut London solo show is an epic exploration of light, space, time and behaviour; Borondo checks out mankind’s role as the beast-king, the top of the food chain.

Borondo’s conversion of the space yields a series of zones which we journey through. The first, “Prologos” introduces a manifesto regarding man’s fear of and thus desire to conquer nature, set against a trio of flickering super-8 cine projections and a floor of bark chippings. Anyone who has ever taken their kids to a playground and witnessed the juvenile puking, peeing and nappy disgorging that takes place on bark chippings is going to hasten through this earthy terrain.

"Prologos". Borondo/Carmen Main

Last year in conversation, Borondo confided that before he had a show here he really wanted to understand what made London tick, he wanted London to get under the skin of the art and this gives us a very interesting lens to view this work through. We progress through a corridor of mounted antlered skulls which bring to mind the stately symbols of authority, power, "sporting" triumph and wealth we see in the homes of British gentry.  Hunt trophies, how English, how human. This is one of three zones created as collaborations with other artists and craftsmen, in this case Despina Charitonidi, to some extent we are left wondering how much beyond the concept was Borondo responsible for the creation of this element.

"The Passage". Borondo/Despina Charitonidi

In the next zone, the highlight of the show, are sash windows with ghostly figures etched into whitewash on the glass and illuminated by a series of projectors. On the rear of each window there is painted evidence of man’s supremacy as hunter, We see furs, stoles, dead creatures and the pair of images on the front and reverse of each window combine beautifully in the silhouette cast on the wall by the light from the projectors. The projectors clunk and whir as the slide change mechanism operates (there aren’t actually any slides in the carousels) and if you listen carefully, the sound is processed and amplified ever so slightly to give it a deathly resonance and reverberation. Below each window a pile of scrap wood and chippings may suggest collateral damage fallout from  the battle between man and beast.

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Borondo has painted bales of hay in fields which not an easy feat and he brings this shadowy technique into this show with a mother protecting a gathering of children. Generally there is a separation of the roles of women and men in this show, we see women as prey, as protector and, adorned with the furs and spoils from the hunt in the room of sash windows, as decorated trophy.

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One of the most intriguing zones, sharing a space with the hay bales is a trio of fine mesh cubes from which birds are escaping. Inside the cages the birds are flimsy, pale and lifeless, as they emerge through the cage and out into freedom they become strong and full bodied. The metaphor contrasting slavery and freedom is obvious but also the birds remind us of ravens, again this is a London thing, we have a pointless kind of myth about the crown falling if the ravens ever leave the Tower Of London.  If only revolution were that easy.  The metaphor can also remind us that captivity isn’t just about creatures in cages, many of us can’t survive without contracts, more or less willingly we enter into contracts which have a similar effect in limiting our freedom, think employment, I bet some of you are also adding "marriage" to the list.

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"CONTROL". Borondo/Edoardo Tresoldi

Another small enclosed space appears to be a cage with the protective glass smeared and dirty as if a captured animal has been trying to escape. The guide notes for the show talk about the presence of a pregnant women, a pun on the double meaning of the word "confined" but to these eyes it looks like one of those irritating zoo compounds where the precious wild life has had a moody and gone to hide backstage in its sleeping quarters (I can't see the link pregnant woman link).

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An animation in the next space has a naked women prowling in circles while a tom tom percussion sounds out the beat of a march to war. Friday nights down the disco were always thus. It seems that’s not quite how Borondo sees it, curiously the guide text makes it appear that the women is somewhat to blame, craving her own routine, domesticity and capture. Parading like this would do the trick.

"LA CARNE". Borondo/Carmen Main

A collection of paintings reflecting details of poses from the animation painted on canvas is arranged like a haunting stained glass window. In the animation you can actually brief moments when those canvasses are placed onto the wall to be painted in the process of making the film.

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"LA CARNE". Borondo/Carmen Main

Then we come to a small enclosed dead end in which Borondo manages a fascinating play with time which eluded me the first time I visited the show.  A short narrow passage lined floor and ceiling with real grass on one side and artificial astro turf on the other guides our sight towards a wreath at the far end. In the early days immediately after opening this was a luminous green space bursting with life and colour with the wreath perhaps reminding us of our ephemerality or destiny.  Returning after two weeks the process of decay and discolouration has withered the “real” half of the room while the fake artificial elements opposite survive unchanged by the passage of time. Even the wreath is half and half real and fake, the half of the wreath made of real flowers has decayed, petals have dropped off, stems have wilted while the fake half, placed over the real dying greenery of the natural grass radiates an un-natural healthiness.

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In another compartment a lantern of framed portraits scratched into white paint on glass hangs mute in a sparsely illuminated room. A message on the glass confirms that this is THE END. The paintings are as ghostly as any of the larger windows Borondo has painted on the streets of London and the play of shadow and light on the floor and into the lighthouse lantern of the sculpture is as significant as the portraits themselves.


One more corridor hung with framed rough impressionist skulls numbered 1 to 6 show how man’s bestiality is not just a mind set, as the numbers increase the jaws of the skulls protrude more and more, becoming more sabre toothed and beast like in the progression.

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Finally, perhaps the piece de reistance, a collection of canvasses adorn the walls of a large cube space like trophies while in the centre of the room hang three hunt scenes painted on Perspex. In each of the scenes, man the victor poses with the ruined remains of his once beautiful and majestic prey. Painting on Perspex is a cunning device. Simultaneously Bronodo allows us to see the progression of the hunt scene, we are at the posing-for-souvenirs stage and he has chosen to allow us views through the perspex to the similar scenes of triumphalism hanging behind while from the rear he shows us the very rough background to the scenes, the crude impressionist strokes making up the base layer of each scene. Borondo wants us to see how base we are behaving like this.



Is this work art? Too damn right.  A huge amount of care and thought has gone into every detail of every piece of art and each room and the overall progression and concept.  This is hugely deserving of proper critique and coverage by the educated and intellectual critics who share their plum-voiced opinions in “proper” magazines and newspapers. At the same time, it speaks to anyone and everyone, there is no need to acquaint oneself with bizarre intellectual concepts to see and enjoy what Borondo's art is about, we can all see this is beautiful painting and the symbolisms are straight forward, in fact, pretty much that all that street art stands for, we can all “get it”.

Beastiality, it’s innate innit.

More photos here