Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Best of London Street Art Part 2 - The Mural Bites Back

London has witnessed in 2013 a pretty significant growth in the number of large scale street art productions created with permission and indeed it seems, a growth in the number of organisations arranging spots for artists. Whilst Graffoto’s natural tendency is to prefer street art created without permission, we don’t judge just because something is painted without the frission of illegality, which is anyway a over-romanticised notion most of the time when what is really meant is “without explicit permission”.

We review the big, the wild, the bright and the spectacular here in part 2 of our review of 2013’s London street art, part 1 looked at the grittier less house trained stuff done without permission and should be read first HERE 

Words: NoLionsInEngland
Photos: NoLionsInEngland except HowAboutNo where stated.

Moniker Art Fair moved location and changed up a gear in October, attracting a large number of street art galleries and street artists. One of the best consequences was the lads from Souled Out Studios, Bon and Alex Face from Thailand and Mau Mau from the West Country painting this fun composition in which they gave Roa’s iconic bird a leg, which they proceed to barbecue.

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Bon, Mau Mau, Alex Face. Also feat Roa, Martin Ron

Not far away Alex Face and Bon illustrate themselves literally delivering a splash of colour to London’s walls.

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Alex Face, Bon

Dal East played a cunning game with a series of murals, staging a competition based around photographing all his fresh London murals which you could only complete by photographing the final hidden mural revealed at the launch of his London show.

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Dal East

At the same time Faith 47 executed her most spectacular work in London to date, though the timing won’t surprise anyone aware that Dal East and Faith47 are a married couple.

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The most stunning project by a mile was spraycan virtuoso Shok-1’s ten part X-Ray Rainbows paintings which commenced in 2012 and concluded in August 2013. Not all of our photographs in this slide show capture the pieces in their best condition as the artist intended, sorry Shok-1 Sir.

All photos: NoLionsInEngland

Miss Van’s last outdoor wall decoration in London was an illegal piece out in Ladbroke Grove, West London which survived until about 2007 so it was nice that she painted this stunning piece in Shoreditch in collaboration with Italian sculptor Ciro Schu.

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Miss Van, Ciro Schu (with Pure Evil mugging in the shot

Cranio visited from Brazil for the second time in just under 12 months and did a mixture of stunning illegal, permissioned and gallery work all based around the theme of the Amazon Indians indulging themselves with the gains from selling off their rainforest.

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The permissioned Cranio collaboration with HIN photographed below caused a little upset and mural organiser censorship, not because of the nudity or the suicide bomber or the obscene gestures but seemingly due to the pasted face portraits of evil dictators.

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Cranio, HIN, feat Alex Senna

Roa worked his large scale magic in a couple of London spots, most visibly on the Southbank but to more gory effect in an alley on the way to Hackney.


Alex Senna seemed to get to paint lots of spots in the Shoreditch area, this one featured a then topical nod to the new born Prince George.

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Alex Senna

Award for the least appropriate most thoughtless mural goes to the upside down break dancer painted by Martin Ron next to Roa’s bird on Hanbury Street, you might as well try to fit a Jackson Pollock and a Turner on the same canvas for all the relationship and harmony there is between the two subjects on that wall. After Cosmo Sarsen first in Bristol and Above in Shoreditch before him in 2013, did we really need another upside down breakdancer anyway?

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Martin Ron v. Roa, no contest!

During the London Art Fair week RYCA put up a crisp clean Clone troopers paste up collage on the boards erected outside Shoreditch Junk following the McDonalds sponsored buff at that spot.

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A particularly wild and wet night saw RYCA's paste up virtually jet blasted off the wall producing an effect RYCA liked so much he repaired the damage by recreating it with paste ups and stencils. As a sort of post script note – the weather over the Christmas break has added real damage to the simulated damage!

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Zadok has hit a lot of walls, not all of them necessarily with prior consent we suspect but all superbly realised.

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Dr Zadok

One of our favourite permissioned pieces in 2013 is the wild abstract assault RSH executed on the Lord Napier premises at Hackney Wick just prior to the Hackney Wicked Festival, a stunning visual attack on premises and eyeballs.

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One of the less fortunate projects realised during the year has been the “rejuvenation” of Hackney’s canal sides. Where once there was un-curated street art and graffiti there is now, in the case of the old sugar factory wall, a huge mural painted by foreign artists (ok..Scottish in one case) and rumour has it then coated with anti graffiti paint, oh the irony. So, that’s the displacement of many local un-curated artists in favour of curated and protected outsiders, not surprising really that feathers have been ruffled in the area. Nevermind, it’ll look nice in the brochure and the Olympic Legacy reports.

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Lyken, Moneyless

A local based artist who has been getting good walls this year is Dale Grimshaw who pulled off a couple of stunning gothic horror portraits, which is a good thing of course.

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Dale Grimshaw

Dan Kitchener got a lot of spraypaint onto walls this year as well, it’s hard to decide whether to favour the underground tracks paintings or the rainy neon nights studies more, he does them both beautifully.

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Dan Kitchener

Jimmy C has a pretty productive year, apparently the first of these images produced a 3D effect when viewed through 3D glasses, which could explain all those weird glasses we see people wearing in the area.


Jimmy C photos by HowAboutNo

Seems you could hardly walk around Shoreditch this year without seeing a new Lost Souls mural, bloody everywhere!

Lost Souls feat Captain Kris, SP047, Si Mitchell, Squirl

As usual, all opinions are those of the authors of Graffoto, happy to share ;-)

Happy New Year to all Graffoto readers and may you have a happy and colourful 2014.

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