Thursday, 17 March 2016

No, I’m Banksy (The Bandwaggon Post)


Photos: Dave Stuart aka NoLionsInEngland (except where pretty obvious)

Yesterday morning I read a rather unexciting blog post by my friend RJ on Vandalog saying he doesn’t need or want to know who Banksy is, I’m with RJ on that one and its how most of us feel, its just a bit unexciting really. RJ was drawing attention to something I hadn’t read, a blog post last week by artist David Choe ridiculing an academic’s efforts to unmask the secretive political stencilist and group show organiser Banksy. I read Choe’s post, thought “Blimey, he’s suffered for his art”, agreed with his sentiments, thought nothing more.

Then in the evening, puzzled by the tag on a piece of street art I particularly like I was googling to see if I could find out who the artist was, in fact here it is, perhaps you can help decipher what the tag says:

tn_DSC_0043-001
Unknown


The work resembles somewhat that of French street artist Jérôme Mesnager but I’m not convinced, no search revealed any indication of Mesnager visiting London recently. The work also reminds me strongly of a similar piece painted last year just yards from the same spot which bore the stencilled tag “JUST”.

tn_DSC_1521 copy
JUST


Dancing figures painted in negative space on the same wall, on the same street yards apart, one last year, one a few weeks ago, although the later piece is much rougher and has a freehand rather than stencilled tag, would you say the work looks to be by the same creative hand and mind?  I'm not convinced.

I’m a stickler for accurate attribution, so among many other relevant searches I googled “Street Artist Just”. The results included a link to an article published in the Smithsonian 3 days ago about BLU taking out all his own work in Bologna rather than have it sequestered and exhibited in a so called “Museum of Street Art”.

The first sentence of that article had a link intriguingly captioned “the scientific campaign to confirm the identity of Banksy”. That link brought up a news story from Queen Mary University of London about an academic paper correlating the occurrence of Banksy’s street art with addresses supposedly connected to a specific individual identified as Banksy in a 2008 Daily Mail article (Daily Mail -leading street art authority? Not really). Those 2008 claims were never verified.

Moorfield Hospital Rat
Banksy at Moorfield eye Hospital,; Banksy also believed to support Sightsavers; So Banksy is perhaps an optician?


So, then I did something I never ever usually waste time doing, I read a piece of academic research.

Banksy. Or Not?  Pt II
Banksy: believed to have been in shops (this is speculation)


Backing up for a moment, the authors are using what they sinisterly call Geographic Profiling to analyse locations and then draw conclusions about …an epicentre. The list of citations in the research shows it is used for some pretty interesting stuff like mapping the spread of disease and therefore locating its source, pretty much a hi tech update on what John Snow did in the 1850s to finger a particular public water pump as the source of London’s Cholera epidemic, or modelling bumble bee foraging, who knew bumble bees foraged?


So, these “Evil scientists” as David Choe calls them got hold of a copy of Graffoto co-blogger and good friend Shellshock’s classic books Banksy Location and Tours Vols 1 and 2 and noted the locations of Banksy’s work which Shellshock had diligently documented, stuffed the coordinates into a computer, compared them to locations where the supposed alleged Bansky character is supposed to have lived and shagged and went “Ha – it could be that guy”.  It’s a bit like mapping incidents of football violence and plugging in Stamford bridge’s post code and voila, “football violence happens around football stadiums”.

Banksy Toxic Rat
Banksy - Toxic Rat


The Evil Scientists then scooped national press attention and international blog posts because Banksy is media chocolate. The game for academics is quite simple, published research secures funding and tenured positions and you want to be published in the most prestigious publication you can and to be referenced as much as possible (fill ya boots Ms Hauge, citation below). I have no idea how esteemed the Journal Of Spatial Science is but I have little doubt that the work that went into this paper was pretty straight forward as the academics had the analytical tools already and the data conveniently to hand. The trickier bit is getting published, all that peer review and shit. So, if you find a journal that will publish it, then the Banksy tag will bring the world gawping, it’s a bit like academics prostituting themselves for “likes”.

TJSS
The Journal of Spatial Science (source: Taylor and Francis Online)


It seems to me that the “science” in this case is flawed, not the theory whatever that might be but the rejection of the possibility that the data that might point to alternative conclusions.

I am aware of many many artists who came from Bristol to London, who did street art and graffiti, and who have returned to Bristol.   Then there's the huge number of London artists who visit Bristol, the "reverse bumpkin" syndrome.   There are a load of talented Bristol/London based artists, potential candidates who the evil scientists have ignored as potential Banksys, they chose to investigate only the one who was named in the press years ago.

The supposition that there could only be one person common to all those relevant addresses they believe that Banksy candidate frequented requires us to ignore how street artists behave in modern urban society. Hell, don’t the authors know about transport…you don’t need to live at the “epicentre” to be the source, there are pretty sound reasons why a lot of Banksy’s work appeared in Shoreditch and around West London, that would be because its where all the other graffiti writers and taggers were doing their thang and they kind of hang out in the same places for the same reasons.  They live in the same locales.   There are patterns underpinning the ebbs and flows of a graffiti writer's or street artist's social and working life which would see them frequenting the same locations and it isn’t exactly a trip to outer Mongolia, yes we do have cars and bikes and mass transport systems in London and Bristol.

Banksy "Take This Society"
Shephards Bush Roundabout: accessible by only one known individual


As the authors by their own admission are “assessing the evidence supporting one prominent candidate”, it seems odd that the Bristol home address for that person is 8 times less significant (HS percentage 5.5% vs 40.1%) than the location of that person’s school according to the quantitative scores they tabulate. Do you really think that the known Bristol works highlighted in Shellshock’s books were mainly painted by Banksy on his way home from school? My guess, just a guess, is that the work of that era (as covered in Shellshock’s book) post dates Banksy’s school years.  I take the results of their work as heartening evidence that the 2008 speculation is even less likely to be correct than we might have feared.

In my day job as a street art tour guide, guests are often inclined to pin me against a wall and demand to know who Banksy is. My stock answer is we don’t know who “he” is, nothing has ever been confirmed, nor denied, just left in limbo as a guess with no credible corroboration from someone we would trust to know and anyway, I don’t want my belief in the myth shattered, his anonymity is as important to me as it is to him, I need him to be secret. Let me echo David Choe’s castigation of the academics: exercise restraint, don’t crush the fragile flowering of talent, you really don’t need to know who Banksy is in fact you are better off not knowing, exactly what David Choe says.

city road banksy signature
Banksy: leave him alone

The author’s certainly got their moment in the sun, the story ran in many newspapers worldwide and even the BBC, though on the BBC the research was ridiculed by a boffin credited as running the only geographic profiling course outside the US.

Here’s a final thought, perhaps the academics could try putting other people’s post codes into the software and see who many more millions could be Banksy. In fact, I lived for a couple of years in Bristol in the early 1990s and I lived (still live) a mere bicycle ride away from all the East London and West London work in the 2000s, so there you have scientific proof that despite the absence of any sign of wit or creative talent, I am indeed Banksy.

Ebay Banksy Stencil
Becoming Banksy (scary thing: 4 watchers)

References:


Michelle V. Hauge, Mark D. Stevenson, D. Kim Rossmo & Steven C. Le
Comber (2016): Tagging Banksy: using geographic profiling to investigate a modern art
mystery, Journal of Spatial Science, DOI: 10.1080/14498596.2016.1138246

Link:




PS – if you know for sure what the tag in the photo says – drop a comment below

Monday, 25 January 2016

Banksy is Miserable over Calais Jungle

Photos: Dave Stuart aka NoLionsInEngland except where stated


News involving refugees is a daily staple, police using CS gas makes disturbingly frequent headlines, a new Banksy appearing in Central London, that IS hold-the-front-page news!

Banksy -Les Miserables


Banksy has appropriated and modified the image of Cosette, victim/heroine in les Miserables originally drawn by Émile Bayard to illustrate the first edition of Victor Hugo’s epic tragedy of doomed French democratic resistance. The addition of the French tricolour came about in the promotion of various musical versions of Les Miserables.

Cosette by Émile Bayard
Cosette by Émile Bayard (wikipedia)


tn_les-miserables-musical-poster-01
Les Miserables. (off the net)


Bansky’s contemporary vesion shows an even more distressed Cosette wreathed in teargas from a CS gas canister lying at her feet.

Banksy Les Miserables


Banksy Les Miserables


tn_DSC_0569 copy


It is hugely political as the best Banksys are and to ensure the point is not missed, Banksy has provided a QR code which directs you to 7 minutes of recent footage of French police attacking refugees with CS gas. The aerial bombardment of the camp occupants with rocket launched multi headed gas canisters drives home the senseless deprivation of basic human rights the unfortunate occupants of the refugee camp are subjected to.


The unrelenting assault doesn’t injure the camp occupants but it in the footage it becomes clear that the authority’s intention is to irritate and unsettle the occupants.


video courtesy Calais Migrant Solidarity

At one point we see a water canon being sprayed onto the occupants, echoes of a central feature at Banksy’s Dismaland there, the police's actions just add further mess and misery to refugee's lives.

tn_DSC_1018-001
Dismaland, 2015


Attitudes to the refugees and the conditions they are forced to endure is a subject Banksy has repeatedly focussed on in the past year, he has already made several pieces in Calais relating to society’s attitudes to refugees seeking sanctuary from the war in Syria, as well as donating many materials left over from his Dismaland exhibition last year to provide shelter for displaced persons in the so called Jungle in Calais.

tn_rft_2-3 calais
"We're not all in the same boat". image copyright Banksy.co.uk


A Banksy hallmark is ideal placement and this image has a wonderful context placed directly opposite the French Embassy in London. For a bit more context, the French Embassy is located in Knightsbridge, yards from Hyde Park corner and you can hardly find a swankier spot in London in which to do a little criminal damage, nor a bigger contrast with conditions in Calais Jungle.

tn_DSC_0496-001


It is directly under the gaze of a CCTV camera mounted on the French building which now points directly at the image, this raises the one question which is the mark of a great piece of street art: “how on earth did Banksy get away with doing this”. The more security there is generally the faster the creation of the street art needs to be. This Banksy piece has very complex stencilism in the portrait of Cosette, it has multiple colours, it has freehand spraypainting in the gas and it has the detached stencil element of the CS gas canister. So how did he do it?

CCTV, an embassy!
CCTV Cameras. Guess where.


On close inspection it becomes apparent that the plywood surface the image was painted on was a different quality ply to the plywood in the adjacent windows. T he Cosette element of the image is actually spread on two separate sheets of plywood which Banksy ADDED over the existing plywood over the window, so he turned up with that plywood pre measured, the image ready sprayed and probably with the screw holes already drilled. Saves a bit of time that!

tn_DSC_0580-001


The security guards in the Embassy opposite say someone dressed in workers clothing was seen in the middle of Saturday night creating the work but they didn’t intervene as it was someone else’s private property

We know Banksy hates his street pieces being removed from their public site and disappearing into private collections and auction houses and it is noticeable that many of his recent pieces involve placing the art onto different surfaces, ideally as in the case of the Cheltenham GCHQ piece, with multiple owners of the different component surfaces which are intrinsic to the appreciation of the whole piece.

 
Photo: Shellshock Photos


This morning, workers renovating the premises Les Miserables is placed on were “under instructions from the Manager” removing the plywood image of Cosette but the fate of the CS gas canister was still under debate.

One little “booby trap” Banksy left the unsuspecting art heist merchants was that as well as the screws, the additional layer of plywood had been glued to the plywood below, which defeated the workers efforts to remove the top layer.

tn_DSC_0609 copy
0930 Monday morning. stuck.


One suspects that once they have a replacement plywood sheet ready to go in they will actually remove the whole ensemble.

tn_DSC_0619-001
Still stuck!


This raises an interesting legal question – who actually owns that added piece of plywood. We can be pretty sure Banksy won’t be too stressed about the destiny of the physical piece, his objective will be met by the newspaper, tv and internet coverage.

tn_DSC_0543 copy


Earlier this week after the blog post preceding this one I emailed blog compadres HowAboutNo and Shellshock (check the records, he has posted!) and observed that our next blog post would be our 300th. Our 200th blog post was about something we felt passionately about, the ludicrous and disproportionate sentencing handed out to a graffiti writer, 10FOOT for the crime of changing the colour of some surfaces without permission. Should we mark this milestone with some kind of synopsis of stuff which had raised our ire or floated our boat street art and graffiti wise since then, or should we just wait until something cropped up to write about in the usual course of events. Well, without wishing to gloss over the political point Banksy is making with this new work, a new Banksy on our doorstep after a 3.5 year gap is pretty exciting, let’s hope we don’t wait so long for the next one. Graffoto isn’t stopping any time soon!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Neonia (Universe Of)



Brixton Bloc
Stockwell Road,
London SW9 9TP

2 Jan - 8 Jan (possibly to be extended)

UPDATE - EXTENDED TO 30 JAN, contact Neonita for details


Hello Saarf London, I see you got a new universe and jolly impressive and colourful it is too. Neonia, created by Neonita, is an all enveloping psychedelic experience, a woodland glade populated by strange fluorescent vaguely feline creatures playing with their young under a moonlight sky and watched over by some kind of Emperor Aladdin.

Neonia

Neonita paraded her early characters on Shoreditch walls in 2010 and the honest reaction was “wow, different!” These fluorescent coloured nursery cartoon beasts were certainly not run of the mill street art characters nor even graffiti characters but, from practicing on the fence in her back garden Neonita soon progressed to murals in Shoreditch and unusually, for this style of imagery, painting with graffiti writers in Halls Of Fame.

Neonita
Neonita, early 2010, feat Inkfetish (cheers for the shout T!)


Neonita
Neonita, Leake St, late 2010


Neonita
Neonita, Shoreditch, 2015


In Neonia, Neonita treats us to a totally immersive experience with every surface covered in crazy neon colours. Two special effects are then brought into play to complete the experience. The first is lashings of UV light dripping everywhere, the second is found on a small bench alongside a sign saying “please return after use”, a pair of 3D glasses. WOW, the effect is far out trippy maaaan. Orange colours lift off the walls while deeps blues recede and the combination is like some kind of hippy fractal nightmare.


tn_DSC_0190-001


Are these monsters lions or pussy cats? Friends or foes? It seems that among the lurid candy coloured brightness dark deeds may be afoot. This is an emergent post apocalyptic universe Neonita has set up, many of the creatures may be mutants after an unspecified wipe out event and not all of the creatures necessarily have friendly intentions.

tn_DSC_0189-001


The effect is impossible to recreate on a blog …unless perhaps you have both a black light fluorescent tube and 3D glasses at home. Sadly I don’t live in that kind of home.

Neonita


Neonita


Gentle movements of the head produce distortions of the images, a pussycat living below the moon eerily emerges out of the moonlight cloudscape and hangs in mid air and the eyes and noses of various monsters slide out of their sockets, while your brain screams “this can’t be happening, the orange and blue are next to eachother but my eyes see them sliding over eachother”. Who needs drugs?

Neonita


Most compelling is the ethereal cosmos painted onto the ceilings, pinky orange clouds descend into the room and swirl around your head while behind them stars and astral dust twinkle.

Neonita

Every way we turn there seem to be garish monsters preying on us.

Neonia


A photo cannot convey the effect of the gaping mouth of this character as the lips move forwards to devour you while the cake-hole pushes deep back into the wall.

Neonita


Neonia has emerged as a newfound state contained within Brixton Bloc, a building that is shortly to be demolished.

Brixton Bloc


Brixton Bloc


This space has history and in one or two locations there was evidence of previous occupants creating a do-it-yourself solution to the housing crisis, bedding and wall photographs were found under the concrete stairs and Neonita has retained some of these artifacts in honour of past usage.

Neonita


Getting into Neonia may require some initiative, at the gated entrance a notice advises you to yell or ring a mobile number, a kindly gentleman responded to my bellows through the gate to the inner courtyard and pointed me upstairs and along a balcony to the right location but it seemed the gate may not actually be locked. I crossed Neonia’s threshold with my head in a fairly grim place thanks to the wishes of three different homicidal TfL bus drivers asserting their god given right to take over the space occupied by my bicycle on the road but basking in the lurid ambiance of Neonia had me feeling like I had spent an hour on the beach. A rather bizarre and potentially fatal psychedelic beach but very therapeutic.

tn_DSC_0172


Sadly Neonia’s existence is ephemeral and today is the last scheduled day but watch this space, there is talk of a couple of weeks stay of dissolution and if that materialises, do try to get there,

Neonita


All photos: Dave Stuart aka NoLionsInEngland. Technical Note: photos were shot in raw and jpg. There was absolutely no point in colour correction so the colours here are as captured in jpg by the camera and are pretty spot on.

tn_DSC_0174



Tuesday, 5 January 2016

2015 Street Art Flashback




All photos: Dave Stuart aka NoLionsInEngland except where stated

The big challenge to a writer attempting to review a year of street art is that the chosen subject is so vast, so vague and so difficult to categorize. Efforts to place a boundary around the subject always create a problem of what to do about the brilliant stuff outside that random and rather personal horizon. “A year in Shoreditch’s street art” scorns the brilliant work in other parts of London not to mention around the UK and the rest of the World; a “top 10” or “top 50” or whatever is prone to the editorial bias of the writer. The internet isn’t big enough for a “going to write about everything” approach. So Graffoto is going to do just a “shit we loved” review of street art from the past 12 months and it may be from anywhere we were, by any artist (identified or not!) using whatever technique that blew our socks off. Doubtless by the end of this composition apologies will be due to The Overlooked but here at the start I can’t be confident what is actually going to rise to the surface as I flip through the roughly 4,500 photos of street art I kept in 2015. So let’s offer apologies immediately to all those artists whose photos were deleted at the time of upload from the camera and which didn’t make even the first sift.

RIP Ben Naz by Trust Icon
RIP Ben Naz by Trust Icon. Definitely made it.

A perhaps unexpected trend – if you can call two artists a trend – was the emergence of hand stitching in street art. Late in the year Victoria Villasana worked with photographer Dario Vasquez Perez and painter Mister Piro to install beautiful tinted photographs embroidered with colourful threads in a traditional Mexican style. A whole collection of larger installations with threads appearing to weep from the subject’s eyes barely lasted 24 hours, possibly a religious sensitivity might have been triggered but a number of the much smaller pieces remain in place.

Victoria Villasana
Victoria Villasana


Victoria Villasana/Mr Piro/Dario Vasquez Perez
Victoria Villasana/Mr Piro/Dario Vasquez Perez collaboration


Victoria Villasana/Mr Piro/Dario Vasquez Perez
Victoria Villasana/Mr Piro/Dario Vasquez Perez collaboration


One of the top political campaigns this year in terms of message, execution and quality was the always reliable Dr D subverting congestion zone sign designs in pursuit of less victimisation of minorities and less state control.

Dr D
Dr D


Gregos has used London walls as his personal self portrait gallery a few times in the past couple of years and this year in Bristol and in Shoreditch we have seen his castings evolving into a much more accomplished art installation.

Gregos
Gregos


Gregos
Gregos reflecting on the state of Shoreditch


Andrei Ganser created a lurid population of nightmarishly distorted cartoon characters which interacted beautifully with both the fabric of the street, passers-by and other artist’s work – check how the feet of Dotmaster’s “Rude Kid” work in Ganzers’ leaf headed character.

Ganser
Ganser


Andrei Ganser
Ganser


A surprise candidate for Queen of the Most Illegals must be Anna Laurini, her cubist portraits have popped all over London this year with a notable shift away from paste ups to marker pen and paint. Mind you it’s not non permissioned all the way, a tiny proportion of her painted portraits were seemingly done with permission.

Anna Laurini
Anna Laurini


Anna Laurini
Anna Laurini


As I write, Sean Worrall has just posted on Facebook that he has completed his #365artdrops project with his final “free art” art drops in East London, quite a few of these went home with guests of Shoreditch Street Art Tours, often to foreign climes.

Sean Worrall
Finding Sean Worrall #365artdrops


Sean Worrall
Finding Sean Worrall #365artdrops


Noriaki had a brilliant time in London with swarms of his mono-eyed characters appearing in East London, usually cunningly placed to have great interactions with the environment or adjacent art.

Noriaki
Noriaki


Noriaki
Noriaki brings Nessie the Loch Ness Monster to Shoreditch


King of the sculptural installation Jonesy was quite prolific this year, these are just two of his quite brilliant bronze castings.

Jonesy
Jonesy


Jonesy
Jonesy


tn_DSC_1581-001
Jonesy


Street art doesn’t have to be important but it’s nice when a street artist tries and when they succeed it is a delight. Street artists remembered to respond to the political situation at the time of our elections in May, cue a lot of anti UKIP art and a very focussed anti badger cull campaign by Clancy.

Clancy
Clancy


One of my favourite artists Neoh had a great year, some of his colourful impressionist ballerinas started to display rather a lot of their feminine charms and on one piece he even ventured into cubism to symbolise mental health issues. He was also not shy about getting a few reaches up as well.

Neoh
Neoh


NEOH
Advertise here - Neoh


Sell Out has been one of our busiest street artists this year, taking his work in a much more topical, political and sculptural direction. At the start of the year an old drinking fountain housed a dolphin snaring environmental disaster, politicians (Boris) and celebrity mishaps (Madonna falling off stage) and the targeting of a cereal café by anti gentrification protestors were all rendered in coarse trash sculptures , in total I photographed some 26 different installations by Sell Out, a very productive year evidently.

Sell Out
Sell Out's champagne swigging Boris Johnson

Sell Out
Sell Out's environmental catastrophe in a drinking fountain (out of service)


Sell Out
Sell Out's Madonna takes a stage tumble


The first of what turned out to be four visits to the West country was to have a peep at Bristol’s Upfest, you can probably guess the reason for the other three visits. Resting co-blogger HowAboutNo and I joined a free street art tour by the charm machine and legend that is John Nation. Among an awesome display of street art by local and visiting heroes, one piece that stood out for its originality was this stunning photorealistic right eye by My Dog Sighs, the multi-media experience had to be completed using a card and luckily John Nation had one to hand, I’ve never seen this device used before.

My Dog Sighs
My Dog Sighs


On the subject of Banksy, a notable feature of attending the private view of Banksy’s Dismaland extravaganza was the delight of seeing a Banksy on an outside wall which I didn’t already know about or hadn’t seen on his website or rinsed to death on the internet, that is special these days and while the location meant this wasn’t quite the same as discovering a Banksy in a random back alley the last time I experienced that thrill was in 2006.

Banksy
Banksy at Dismaland


The year was book-ended by two atrocities in Paris, the Charlie Hebdo killings in January produced a large “freedom of speech” response from street artists in Shoreditch.

The Rolling People
TRP #JeSuisCharlie


Pure Evil
Pure Evil #jeSuisCharlie


This year’s sticker champion was an artist whose identity is a bit of a mystery but who has populated Shoreditch with naïve expressionist portraits of hermaphrodite characters on letter box sized stickers and lifesize paintings.

unknown

unknown

unknown


Interactive art is always treasured and bored and distracted pedestrians were assaulted by this ravenous beasty by SR.X, cleverly painted on the building site hoarding behind the bus stop.

SR.X
SR.X


Vermibus attacked the fashion industry’s obsession with fame, celebrity and skinny good looking girls with his display of oil rinsed advert takeovers.

Vermibus
Vermibus


Vermibus
Vermibus


Mr Farenheit was extraordinarily prolific this year and could fill another entire blog post with his work intensive paste up collages and stencils.

Mr Farenheit
Mr Farenheit


One of the most curious street art pieces seen this year was a stencilled piece of html. Artist unknown, the weblink in the image of course won’t function as a weblink but if you tyope it into your browser you are taken to a page titled “universal library of claimed images” which then has descriptions of photographs taken in Shoreditch locations. Perhaps by frustrating the easy interactivity normally provided by the weblinks (the internet has a lot of those, just thought I’d point that out), the artist was making a comment about more street art being accessed online than actually viewed on walls. I don’t know if either is close to the mark but it made me think and that’s where this stuff on walls starts becoming art, either way it is either deeply profound or complete bollocks.

unknown html street art
niche html street art by "unknown"


Multi-layer stencillist Paul “DON” Smith was prolific over the first 9 months of 2015, my favourite being this beautiful pair of portraits of a Moroccan model and Peter O’Toole as Lawrence of Arabia set against a stunning desert background.

Paul DON Smith
Paul "DON" Smith


Old school street art legend Dotmasters returned to the streets of London with a message promoting heightened anti social behaviour.

Dotmasters
Dotmasters


Jimmy C was quite busy this year doing mainly large and long lasting murals (except that Sclater Street one) but my favourite Jimmy C piece was this small brick installation.

Jimmy C
Requiem To Shoreditch by Jimmy C


John D’Oh came all the way up from the West Country a couple of times this year to do some immaculate produced and witty sculptural pieces.

John D'Oh
John D'Oh hopes you don't mind him tagging your wall


Back to stencils, Elly What The Funk did some of my favourite stencils this year with multi layer greyscale images stencilled onto collaged pages torn out of books (heresy!), the few which lasted (and still cling on today) proceeded to peel and decay quite beautifully.

Elly What The Funk
Elly What The Funk


In street art as in life, novelty is often exciting and this skull innocuously placed up on a wall sprang a surprise in Spring when daffodils grew out of its cranium, in death the skull still evolved. Shame the lower jaw originally present seemed to fall prey to an incompetent attempt at art theft.

UNknown Skull daffodils before after
unknown


We didn’t fail to notice that quite a lot of murals were painted throughout Shoreditch, Camden and particularly Hackney Wick this year. In Shoreditch one of the largest was this magnificent Louis Masai piece sharing SynchEarths’s concern about reef destruction.

Masai
Masai


One of the most exquisite pieces of spray painting seen this year was the chrome balloon exercise in photorealism by Fanakapan (aka Mr Fan), virtuoso spray painting technique. I have photos of the piece but I am going to choose a photo taken by a guest on the Shoreditch Night Street Art Photography Tour, this light painted image really brings those balloon letters off the wall. The scrum of Jeremy Corbyns in chalk are a later addition by Sell Out.

Mr Fan/Fanakapan
Mr Fan - photo Alex Faulkener on the Shoreditch Night Street Art Photography Tour

The year continued to see an alarming decline in the tagging of permissioned murals, an essential part of the street art biosphere. The addition of a pair of Y Fronts on street art looked like perceptive and direct art critique but sadly it died out before it gathered enough power to irritate fans and artists too much.

Pants
Pants


This review has become ridiculously huge but 2015 saw so many many other fantastic additions to the street art gallery it has become a bit embarrassing to see what has been omitted. Assuming it works, who knows with this blog, here is a short slide show of a few other gems that made our eyes pop in 2015.