Thursday, 10 July 2014

Meeting Of Styles UK 2014



all photos NoLionsInEngland except HowAboutNo where stated

Meeting Of Styles is an international celebration of the art of the spraycan, graffiti and music. Since 2002 Meeting Of Styles spraycan art jams have taken place in 16 countries. Last weekend it was the turn of Shoreditch to host the Meeting Of Styles UK 2014 event. Billed as featuring nearly 60 artists, though some on the list didn’t make it and some who painted weren’t on the pre event MOS list, our own entirely unofficial crude estimate is that about 350m of walls were decorated.

I will be amazed if Shoreditch sees another wall smashed in this style this year, right to left top: Gent48, Vibes RT, Odisy; bottom: Soker, Ders, Twesh riffing on a man vs beast theme

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View LARGE


We went to our first Meeting Of Styles event in 2008 when it was held on the roof and walls of what is now Village Underground on Holywell lane and Great Eastern St. That was back in the day when you never saw street art or graffiti being created live in the daytime so on that occasion it was incredibly exciting to mingle with artists and watch this incredible graffiti being created, all in the ambience of super cool party with great music and great drink.

Meeting Of Styles 2008
2008, End Of The Line offices, Village Underground


Meeting Of Styles 2008
2008, Village Underground


This weekend there were artists out in force everywhere you walked, all quite happy to chat and be photographed - on the whole. Mainly. Well, some perhaps, if you asked politely.

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Lovepusher


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Zadok


ID Crew were out represented by Stika, Tizer, Lovepusher and Wisher, joined by friends Aeon Fly and bridged over by the legend 3DOM from Bristol

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Stika, Tizer, Lovepusher, Wisher, 3Dom, Aeon
View LARGE



CHU wrestled with the most challenging multi-faceted surface of the weekend and created a greatest hits medley of his tongue in cheek work. This sparked controversy when a commercial spraypaint outfit painted over half of his work the day after, not good but in way, just an accelerated form of the normal life cycle of street art.

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CHU


Alongside CHU, Inkfetish’s character cradles masterful bubblegum coloured 3D lettering.

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Inkfetish


I was surprised to see the old Curtain Theatre mural painted over but it had accumulated a lot of un-authorised additional art over the years and End Of The Line brought their A game to the negotiation of spots and the results of Sepr, Dank and Inkie’s weekend are particularly impressive.

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Dank


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Sepr, Inkie


Die Dixons came from Germany, their cheeky use of a traffic cone was one of the more inventive approaches to overcoming the physical limits of a wall.

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Die Dixons


London based Norwegian Zina had to contend with a strong breeze blowing the spray across her wall to paint this martial arts inspired piece

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Zina


This wall by Squirl, SPZero 76, Captain Kris and Si Mitchell of the Lost Souls crew is probably the strongest piece I have seen yet from this unit.

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Squirl, SPZero 76, Captain Kris and Si Mitchell, photo HowAboutNo


Elph and Hicks worked an underwater landscape in the company of Candi and AR. Getting to paint a wall at Meeting Of Styles on only your second time painting on the streets (AR) kind of waters down the idea that we are seeing the legends and the best of the best.

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Hicks


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Elph


Meeting of Styles is the full package with art, food and a party groove. The Beatbox Collective teamed up with a friend to lay down aa awesome beatbox and sax combination on the Sunday evening to a totally chilled Pedley St wasteland crowd.

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Beatbox Collective & cool sax playing friend


Approaches to painting ranged from block letter and wildstyle graffiti to abstract, cartoon to old masters, characters to animals, photorealistic to surreal. A bit of everything for everyone and undoubtedly a massive refresh of the Shoreditch landscape, surely the biggest MOS in the UK yet. More photos of the MOS walls HERE

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Sheffield Sex City

"cos the city's out to get me if I won't sleep with her this evening
Though her buildings are impressive and her cul-de-sacs amazing
She's had too many lovers and I know you're out there waiting”
- "Sheffield Sex City", Pulp

All photos: NoLionsInEngland

Sheffield, up North, 3 hours ish out of St Pancras, why I have not done this before? The buildings, the music, the artists – all legends. "Let’s all go to Aida’s show!" A trip to Sheffield just happened, at last.

Sheffield’s artistic delights included non permissioned art spread out on the streets, derelict buildings battered by art and graffiti and a whole host of permissioned murals.

Our first little wander is piloted with the aid of a map scraped off the net showing the locations of Phlegm paintings visible on the street though the route is propelled more by the desire to locate food. Phlegm on the side of The Riverside where a microbrewed pale ale at £2.95 is just too crazy to leave in the barrel but the early shift chef can keep his bleach tasting burgers.

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Phlegm Squid Chariot at The Riverside, overgrown!




Through the streets we wander finding Kid Acne, EMA,D7606, evidence of a visit by London style meister Petro and a number of artists new to us.

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Dala


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Eugene


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Kid Acne, EMA,D7606, Eug & others unknown


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Petro


We spied quite a few stunning pieces of rooftop graf, my favourite being this Cres/Anubis couple.

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Cres, Anubis


Proper artist Simon Kent is a sculptor whose "proper art" could be described as Easter Island influenced human figures but on the streets he puts up charcoal coloured portraits which sit in corners looking moody, dark and “sculptural”.

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Simon Kent


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Simon Kent, Kid Acne


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Simon Kent


A chance encounter with writer Aero at our first dead building carcass results in us assisting him to slide into said property, which may have been our tiny contribution to this little beauty ending up on a wall inside.

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Aero, Doze, Some


The next morning was spent in intensive care at TamperCoffee, Sellers Wheel wrapping myself around several cups of Earl Grey and an awesome Eggs Benedict following which we had a wonderful explore of a classic Sheffield Crack Den (me: “what’s the name of this place?”; trusty local friend and guide: “Crack Den”; “So if I post a letter to Crack Den, Sheffield it will arrive here?”; TLFAG: “Put Sheffield S1, should narrow it down”).


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Booms/Eugene,Casino


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Eugene, Volt


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Unknown


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Cres, Phlegm


Carefully and lightly navigating over glass, wood timbers, rubbish and needles, photographing as I went, I emerged into a rough courtyard space, photographed a load of graff ahead of and around me then 10 minutes later turned to go back through the shattered window I had climbed out of only to realise I had actually emerged right under a classic Phlegm piece familiar from many street art blogs and flickr accounts, I just didn’t know it was there, those special moments of discovery and revelation are spine tingling.

Phlegm in Sheffield
Phlegm


We wandered up a steep incline to an abandoned ski village – in Sheffield, who’d have thought? Found some small amounts of graffiti, stunning views and some plastic bin lids to slide down the relics of the old dry slope matting – “such fun”!

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Sleit?


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Casino et al


In a second building we found lots of dereliction, plenty of graff of varying quality and in amongst it all, some surprisingly beautiful art by incredible artists completely new to these eyes.

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Mila K


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Unknown


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Nymph


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Brisk


Two lads putting the art and graff together to good effect are Xhastexo and Byne BS

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Xhastexo, Byne


Getting on to the more acceptable face of street art – if you are a Sheffield burgher – there was plenty of evidence that Sheffield has developed considerable formal pride in its home grown street art talent. Our visit was ostensibly to check out Aida’s first solo show at the Bradbury and Blanchard Gallery and a quick scan over the list of previous shows in that space indicates a deep reservoir of local street art talent have exhibited on their gallery walls. We found art spaces, exhibition halls and building site hoardings all giving permissioned space to graffiti and street art talent.

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Kid Acne


We found earlier Phlegm pieces, early evolutionary forms of the spindly monochromatic Phlegm folk we now know well and love, as well as Phlegm fronting for a major Sheffield art gallery and of course, many more of those folorn Phlegm characters in their technology free heath robinson world

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Phlegm


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Phlegm


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Phlegm


I never knew this kind of crazy abstract camouflage was in EMA’s repertoire

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EMA


Tell you another thing I never expected - a wall painted by Rolf Harris back in the day!

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Rolf Harris, Kid Acne (no connection)


Two Sheffield artists whose work I have vicariously admired from afar are Faunagraphic and Rocket01, I did find art by these folks though it was not really the kind of their art that I was looking for.  Sheffield, I have unfinished business!

Rocket01
Rocket01


Harry Brearley by Faunographic
Faunagraphic



Wandering the streets, deserted, finding little art gems, petite cadeaux from artists left on the walls, it feet like the kind of magical voyage of discovery we had in Shoreditch years ago before everyone became street art photographers (believe it or not, there was a time when I refused to put my photos on the net and HowAboutNo beat my fingers with a hammer to make me join Flickr).  My friends and I on these wanders owe thanks to Sheffield artist Jo Peel who showed us streets, pubs with lock-ins and buildings with lock-outs.  One thing that became apparent was exactly where Jo's art has its roots.


In a very short dash we really only scratched the surface, a trio of grimy derelict locations and a bit of a wander yet we saw so much. The great thing is there remains so much more to see, so that combined with the natural spot churn will definitely going to make further trips to Sheffield worthwhile.

It would be wrong of me not to acknowledge that there are some passionate and expert Sheffield street art and graffiti photographers and bloggers whose posts and pictures inspired me and whose dedication and passion I tip my hat to.   All errors of identity, location, style here are entirely mine.

LINKS:

Fiona Ferret Graffiti - The Writing On The Wall
Mila K
Phlegm
Aida
Faunagraphic
Rocket01
Bradbury and Blanchard 
Jo Peel
Sheffield Urban Art
Florence Blanchard
Kid Acne
Simon Kent




Friday, 13 June 2014

ROA: Projectum 06

Stolen Space Gallery
17 Osborn Street, London E1 6TD

13 Jun – 6 July 2014

all photos: NoLionsInEngland


It would be easy to sneer “Sell out, same ol’ shit, run out of ideas” in a week when shows by two of the giants of street art open in London*. However, in the case of Roa, the art in his Stolen Space installation based show was breathtaking.

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Roa’s art has always played with twin notions of animals rising up in abandoned human habitats and ambiguous dead creatures which left us questioning were the spoils of a successful hunt or a sinister ritual sacrifice. He has frequently employed lenticular imagery both on the streets as with the concertina shutter doors on the now re-developed Cordy House or the series of locker doors in Roa’s awesome London debut show at the Pure Evil Gallery below.

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Cordy House 2009


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Pure Evil Gallery 2010


The ROA room (Max Rippon aka RIPO is also exhibited in the front room) is entered through a center hinged revolving door which creates four permutations of the poor creature changes from playful repose to decomposed.

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Front side!

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Front side decomposed

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Back side


Centre stage is a stunning 8 way optical trick of the eye in which the creatures we are looking at change as we walk around looking alternatively from square on to diagonally into the corners.

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This idea of looking into the corners being a critical viewpoint repeats with a couple more installations where mirrored surfaces create a fearsome symmetry.

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An intriguing fearsome bat is painted on three staggered surfaces which viewed from one point form a seamless image but form all other angles offer nightmare scary frankenstein juxtapositions. Notice the two way stomach incision flap pandering to the audience that prefers their bats pinned down and partially dissected.

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The reduction in the array of cases, furniture, boxes and intriguing old biology lab accoutrements compared to his 2012 Hypnogogia show in this space has allowed the painting to have a bigger impact. Signature dishevelled, bedraggled creature and blue and red gizzards come to the fore and empathise the merits of ROA’s rough but detailed painting style. Virtually all of the images here look like ROA could just as easily have painted these on the streets as indoors in a gallery and it has been a while since there was a show that managed that achievement.


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The awkward and ambiguous images of these creatures force us to contemplate our own skewed view of the animal kingdom, are we in love with them as pets, are we horrified by them as scary bats or do we hunt and devour them as ruthless consumers at the top of the food chain? Roa is on awesome form in this show and the brilliance of his art whether on street mural, abandoned buildings or inside in the gallery all amount to the same thing with this guy.

The burning question at the end is does this guy’s name need to be spelt with all capitals or just a leading capital R? Judging by the preview newsletters it is not clear that even the gallery knows!

*Also opening, "Banksy Unauthorised", Sothebys/Lazarides