Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Banksy v Robbo - New Details Emerge

 

One of the biggest feuds in art-world history, street artist Banksy v graffiti writer Robbo rumbled on much longer than fans and art historians previously thought. 

In December 2009 street artist Banksy created 4 illegal pieces of stencil art on the sides of a canal in Camden, London. One of the pieces, the Banksy Wallpaperer revived an ancient feud between the street artist Banksy and the then retired but still famous London graffiti writer known as Robbo. By re-imagining a very old relic of Robbo graffiti dating from 1985 into a stencilled worker applying that graffiti as wallpaper, Banksy appeared to be suggesting that graffiti piece was perhaps just forgettable mass produced background rubbish.

  Banksy wallpaper graffiti 
Banksy v Robbo, Camden, Dec 2009 


Robbo and Banksy then engaged in a 12 months tit-for-tat exchange of insults by re-working those four art pieces in Camden, starting with Robbo turning the wallpaper into “King Robbo” on Christmas Day 2010, as first reported here on Graffoto.

  Robbo WD, WRH vs Banksy
Banksy v Robbo, 25th December 2009, photo Dave Stuart


Many articles record that Banksy insulted Robbo at a party in the late 90s, Robbo assaulted Banksy and Banksy had nurtured the grudge ever since until his attack on the Robbo relic at the turn of the decade. In a virtual presentation last week on Banksy’s London street art I played a re-discovered and never before reported snippet of an exclusive interview I made with Robbo in 2010 in which he says that Banksy had been attacking his graffiti years before the Camden 2009 takeover. 

In the interview, asked if he had been attacking Banksy art before 2009 Robbo laughingly replies

“………. before the King Robbo? No, he’s dogged me before that has happened, I can show you a picture, it’s in one of his books.“

  Banksy (not so)  Smiley Copper 
Banksy Smiley Copper amended, photo Dave Stuart 


The picture Robbo refers to is the Smiley Copper in Wall and Piece. Robbo then confirms that the feud started in the Dragon Bar in Shoreditch in the 90s before going on to say 

 “And after that happened, there was a full name throw-up of mine, “Robbo” and he decided to put the grim reaper or the smiley face over the top of it and at the time, I thought if that’s the best he can do ... “


Examination of the Smiley Copper indeed shows the capital R of a piece of graffiti Robbo says was his has been squarely hit by the Smiley Copper which unusually has a huge Banksy tag across the centre of the artwork, leaving the intended recipient of the message in now doubt as to who has gone over him. In the world of graffiti if you intend to insult someone there is no point in making a timid little mark over someone else's graff, you go big and bold.

  Banksy Smiley Copper (amended) Banksy Smiley Copper amended, photo Dave Stuart 


The Smiley Copper is believe to date from 2003 which indicates Banksy was picking the scab on that wound long before 2009 as previously thought. 

Sadly Robbo had a terrible accident in 2011 which left him in a coma until his passing in 2014, rest in peace King Robbo

"Robbo",by Banksy Robbo tribute/vigil piece by Banksy, 2011 


The virtual online presentation “Banksy – The London Chronicle” is to be repeated this coming weekend at times that will hopefully be more convenient for Banksy fans in Latin America and North America and those in Asia, the Far East and Australia. 

Book HERE for 10pm GMT on Saturday 9th January 2021

Book HERE for 12 noon GMT on Sunday 10th January 2021, 

All photos: Dave Stuart 

Dave Stuart will appear as an Expert Judge on TV art show Next Big Thing coming on London Live in the Spring, details to follow.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Ezra St Paste Up Frenzy

Shoreditch is full of little corners where street art survives and accumulates in layers, like a busy kitchen pinboard.  Last week one such canvas near Columbia road was transformed by, in no particular order, Donk, Skeleton Cardboard, Rider and Tommy Fiendish into this beautiful paste up collage. 

Donk, Rider, Tommy Fiendish, Skeleton Cardboard 

Donk, Rider, Tommy Fiendish, Skeleton Cardboard 

 

Skeleton Cardboard 2020 

Skeleton Cardboard 2020 

 

Rider, Donk L-R Rider, Donk Skeleton Cardboard 

 

L-R Rider, Tommy Fiendish, Skeleton Cardboard L-R Rider, Tommy Fiendish, Skeleton Cardboard 

 

Whether neglect or tolerance is the reason why the property owner has allowed street art to accumulate, mutate and flourish on this canvas is a matter for another day but it is interesting to look at just a few examples of how the patina of this door’s surface has evolved down the years.

A year ago in November 2019 the door looked like this: 

Ezra St 2019: Feat Anne-laure Maison, Donk, Arrex Skulls, Subdude, Fosh, Citty Kitty, Shuby, Noriaki, Silvio Alino, D7606 Feat Anne-laure Maison, Donk, Arrex Skulls, Subdude, Fosh, Citty Kitty, Shuby, Noriaki, Silvio Alino, D7606 

 

Just a week ago a fair portion of the art present in 2019 was showing a steely determination to cling on in spite of tempest and subsequent creatives. 

Ezra St Nov 2020 Nov 2020: Feat DaddyStreetFox vs Anne-laure Maison, Donk, Subdude, Fosh, Citty Kitty, Shuby, Noriaki, Silvio Alino, Bento Ghoul, Voxx Romana, Pyramid Oracle, D7606 

Nov 2020: Feat DaddyStreetFox vs Anne-laure Maison, Donk, Subdude, Fosh, Citty Kitty, Shuby, Noriaki, Silvio Alino, Bento Ghoul, Voxx Romana, Pyramid Oracle, D7606. 

 

The Pyramid Oracle paste up still visible in parts in 2019 and 2020 has already lasted since 2015, thanks mainly to its height.

 Ezra St 2015 2015: Pyramid Oracle, also feat Sweet Toof, Donk, Voxx Romana, Noriaki, Anna Laurini, Ema, D7606 

2015: Pyramid Oracle, also feat Sweet Toof, Donk, Voxx Romana, Noriaki, Anna Laurini, Ema, D7606 

 

HIN was busy around Shoreditch 2012 - 2014 and if you looked at the bottom of the door in 2013 you would see a HIN character with an Aida face created from her infamous "East End Still Sucks" response to the Hackney Olympics.  That originally started out as a "go vegan" collaboration as shown in the following shot and the HIN body was still visible last week! 

Ezra St 2013: Sweet Toof, Aida, Kid Acne, Ema, Donk, Angry Face, HIN 

2013: Sweet Toof, Aida, Kid Acne, Ema, Donk, Angry Face, HIN 

 

 tn_DSC_7365 copy 2012: HIN, Aida collab 

 

Finally, back in 2012  this canvas was one of many to host the Sweet Toof/Paul Insect street group show.  This photo also features a framed print by New York street artist Gaia in a walk on part!  

Ezra St 2012 2012: Sweet Toof, Paul Insect, Aida, Hin & Aida collab, Kid Acne, Ema; print by Gaia 2012: Sweet Toof, Paul Insect, Aida, Hin & Aida collab, Kid Acne, Ema; print by Gaia 

 

As always the beauty of the art process here is the absence of the selective and restrictive eye of a curator, an organiser.

A few years ago a permissioned wall on Hanbury Street triggered a similar “longitudinal” review of the changes time wrought on that particular canvas, click here

Finally, if you have enjoyed this look back through a street art time machine why not put an end to that lockdown stir crazy feeling by joining the author on a tour of Shoreditch’s street art, click here 

All photos: Dave Stuart

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

ALO Show - Grace

"Grace"

ALO

BSMT Space, Dalston

15 October - 1 November 2020

ALO: Grace at BSMT

In an urban landscape where portrait street painters are overwhelmingly drawn to either the technical proficiency of photorealism or its diametric opposite cartoonery, ALO’s expressionist fisogs stand out!

ALO: Dalston 

Dalston 2020 

 

His street art career started with small paste ups in 2011 and bar a brief flirtation with Paris ALO has lived in London and consistently decorated our streets ever since. 

ALOShoreditch, 2013


ALO paints on the streets in acrylics and markers rather than spraypaint, making his approach rather different to most street artists.  Of necessity he has to make repeated returns to a spot to apply successive different coloured layers which when a street artist is painting without permission, most of the time for ALO, requires nerves of steel and a detached immersion in the act.   

ALO: Dalston

ALO: Untitled, permission piece, Dalston 2020

 

ALO: Untitled

ALO: "Untitled"


In his latest solo show characters are dressed in patchwork garments with way more colour than previous exhibitions.    Paintings influenced by African and Moroccan women stand out.   Also, Klimt has clearly been a significant influence on the latest work. 

ALO: Brick Lane 

ALO: Brick Lane 2020

 

 ALO: Marrakech 

ALO: Marrakech

 

 ALO: Profile Of An African Woman In Paris 

ALO: Profile Of An African Woman In Paris

 

ALO: Sinti Helene Triptych ALO: Sinti Helene Triptych (detail)

 

ALO’s characters don’t all engage us with a stare, but they say the eyes are the window into the soul and the direct stares of many of the faces are a thing of beauty.


 

A night time city landscape is the first completely non-figurative piece I recall seeing from ALO.   In the lower half of the painting London glitters with lit windows in buildings recalling the colour quilting of his African ladies in the lower half of the painting, overhead a starry night sky sprinkles headache inducing noisy starlight on the city.

ALO: East End 

ALO: East End

 

An ALO character conveys all you need to know through the accessories and the detail.  A hair band, a hat, the drip of a tear or more directly, a descriptive word block provide clues as to a subject’s style, location or state of mind.   There is less embedded text in the paintings in this exhibition but the characters are no less evocative.   

 ALO: Tip Oil Suonatore Jones

ALO: Tip Oil Suonatore Jones 

 

ALO: Blanche  

ALO: Blanche

 

Delving into an ALO painting to ferret out what is happening is fun.   With bombs dropping from the sky and  the title “Drone”, one painting had me momentarily thinking the character was using some kind of hand controller to deal death remotely; stepping back for further contemplation it became apparent that the character was a mother cradling her baby.

ALO: Drone 

ALO: Drone

 

Unfortunately this gallery visit was delayed until just a couple of days before the show closed but hopefully  you get a sense here of the awesome ALO show the champions of the urban art world BSMT Gallery have staged. 

ALO: Grace at BSMT 

Grace - show book, foreground 

 ALO: Lunia 

ALO: Lunia

 

 ALO: The Piper 

ALO: The Piper 

 

Links:

ALO website

BSMT Space website

ALO 2015 Show Hail To The Loser

 

All photos: Dave Stuart

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Street Art on Redchurch Street

 

Redchurch Street in Shoreditch has changed dramatically over the years yet despite gentrification it still houses some seriously good street art. 

As part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle, itself a subset of the London Design Festival, I was asked to assess the impact of Redchurch St and the history of its street art.   The novel twist was that OnRedchurch who got in touch set up a Cabinet of Curiosities in window fronts on Redchurch St where QR codes linked to online features.   Here is a reproduction of my survey of Redchurch street art produced for the Shoreditch Design 2020 Triangle Cabinet of Curiosities.

Malarky, Ronzo, 2011
 

Redchurch Street with its swish boutiques, street fashion, food and coffee was until barely a decade ago a cut-through lined by roofless derelict properties and empty wasteland plots.  As street art found its home in Shoreditch, Redchurch Street’s rough surfaces, dark corners and curious small spaces came to host a huge amount of street art and to play a role in developing the careers of many significant street artists.  

Redchuch St 2008 feat ATS, Peripheral Media Projects, Toasters, Jak-D and Faile

Derelict properties led to squat galleries and exterior canvasses for street artists.  The former Section Six Gallery, now the apartment block next door to Labour and Wait, sported a kaleidoscope of stencils and paste-ups and eventually was transformed with a mural by street artist and fashion designer INSA.  

Sickboy 2008

 
 
INSA 2009
 

After dereliction, the next phase in an area's development sees properties made secure and ahead of redevelopment, street art becomes tolerated and occasionally explicitly consented.  Many Redchurch Street facades witnessed early street art pieces from artists such as Roa, Otto Schade and Jimmy C and others who have since gone onto international success.

Otto Schade, 2010

 

Mobstr, 2011
 

Redchurch Street still had proper corner shops until a few years ago, shutters provided prime real estate for a rolling exhibition of graffiti luminaries such as Cept and Discreet, Aset (RIP) from the ATG crew and Vibes representing the RT crew.  A significant factor was the presence of specialist spraypaint store Chrome and Black which had an entrance next door to Richmix on Redchurch St.

Cept, Dscreet, 2009


Mean, Aset (RIP) 2014
 

Redchurch St was a linear building site for a large part of the late noughties, extensive building site hoardings hosted furiously changing art stencils, paste-up, tags and murals by artists from the UK and abroad.  There is little doubt that street art was co-opted as a tool in the “gentrification” phase.

Dr Zadok, Meeting Of Styles 2014
Jim Vision, a spraypaint artist and key figure at the more permissioned end of the street art spectrum resided for many years on Redchurch Street.  In his role as organiser of the Meeting Of Styles graffiti festival Jim Vision arranged impressive murals on Redchurch Street as well as painting massive spectaculars himself.  He also curated a number of pop up graffiti writers and street artist group shows in several Redchurch St locations.  

Probs 2009

Jim Vision 2014

The cottage at the junction with Club Row hosted some stunning murals by Roa, James Bullough and Jim Vision as well as a long running relief sculpture by artist Cityzen Kane installed with permission as a poignant tribute to his deceased son.  

Roa 2009

 

Cityzen Kane, James Bullough, 2015

As is often the case galleries sprung up In advance of the arrival of boutiques. The event space at the junction of Ebor St, in its guise as the London and Newcastle Gallery was the venue for pop up exhibitions by street artists such as Borondo, Insa and Shoreditch’s own Pure Evil as well as graffiti writer group shows.  Its outside wall was the location of a piece of INSA’s pioneering “Giffiti”, an augmented reality mural which with a smartphone app would reveal a squad of policemen chasing eachother in  “The Cycle Of Futility”.

INSA 2014

Urban Angel at the junction of Redchurch St and Chance St had very distinctive shutters declaring themselves as ART, as indeed they were having been painted by EINE in 2008.   Doomed by the coincidence of its opening and the financial crash of 2008, its brief existence saw it host shows by Remi Rough, Hush, Copyright and Best Ever.   

EINE, 2008

It is hard to believe that 11 years have passed since Graffiti legend and renown musician Goldie had a two floor solo show with live painting demonstration at the Maverick Showrooms.

Goldie, "The Kids Are All Riot", 2009

At the time of going to press the London Mural Festival is in full swing and London Design Festival favourite Camille Walala has provided a huge makeover to the rear of Rich Mix at the eastern end of Redchurch St.

Camille Walala, London Mural Festival 2020

The logical trajectory of combining property development, street art and expensive shopping reaches its unavoidable conclusion with spraypainted adverts appearing where once there was street art, though having spent years honing their spraypainting skills in the riskiest circumstances, who would begrudge artists a living?

Among the niche fashion houses, beauty treatments and designer furnishing accessories Redchurch Street has not lost its edgy cool, a stroll will still yield brilliant stickers on lampposts, freehand non- permissioned portraits, art paste ups and for the especially observant, illegal bronze castings by street artist Jonesy. 

Zomby, Type, 2011
Stormie Mills, 2009
Duk, 2010  
 
 
Jimmy C, Alo, Cartrain, T.wat, Cityzen Kane 2013


Pure Evil, 2012
C215, 2013
NEOH, 2012
Unify 2014

Jonesy, 2018

 

Cabinet Of Curiosities, Shoreditch Design Triangle 2020 (same facade as Pure Evil above)