Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Foundry Underground Art Show

The Krah stands out among his Greek compatriots for several reasons, whilst he is one of the few male Greeks that hasn’t failed a sprinter’s drugs test in the last 4 years at the same time he has tested positive for having a seriously good time. He persuaded many of his friends from Greece and London to participate in a wacky group show in the old underground car park at Shoreditch’s Foundry bar.

Recently new to these shores is Australian artist Shannon Crees. Her combined multi-pigmented flesh tones, lush faces and montaged coiffures look lush, quite the star of the show, though you’d want a promise that the artist would touch up if the pieces started to fall apart hung above your radiator at home.

Shannon Crees

The Krah decorated a seriously big painted laminate board not with his usual hybrid mutoid Krahworld characters, just their abstract tentacle bits. The composition captures a sense of flow, of immersion and descent to the depths of an alien octopus lair. Deeply sweet as usual.

The Krah

One special bonus was catching up with Athens street artist Fors even though most of the pieces looked like a retina challenge for the kaleidoscope generation.


Pam Glew’s brooding and disturbing distressed horror flic chicks on flags beguile in a very very dark way. They are just so damn big, hopefully Pam will find a set of those small hand-held flags the crowds wave when returning American heroes like Earl Hickey drive through town. Interestingly, what was described as “discharge medium” at Black Rat’s charity show earlier this month is now translated as “bleach”, which is a relief.

Pam Glew

Cans 1 resulted in a surge of commercial screenprint, giclee and canvas activity from many of the artist involved. Anyway, if you short-sightedly thought that was a bad thing it would be grossly unfair to tar artists at this show with the same brush – The Krah, Copyright, Pure Evil, Shannon Crees, Richt and 45RPM all decorated tunnel walls at Cans Recycled – since this group was put together before the artists had been told about Cans Recycled (we are aware of one who was given just 2 days warning).

What Crew members Richt and 45RPM did some graphic doodles on montages of old 7” sleeves, not a single owl in sight.

Richt - 45RPM. Contender for worst show foto ever

Among the shot vacuum packaged cans, Blam has un-earthed a vintage tube map and paid
tribute to recognisable generic London sub-species.

Blam - London Calling

Rugman continues to mine children’s cartoon imagery though Minnie’s risqué provocative posing would raise eyebrows in most nurseries. Curious how this image draws you in yet when Bast does a Smurf with a 10 foot cock you can’t even look at it, how does that work? This camera was not tainted with such faux porno imagery so satisfaction must be derived from the mice, skulls and swaztika cliches here.


Another gorgeous mini collection-ette was a set of drawings on cardboard boxes by (possibly – tbc) Lotz, they seemed to arrive halfway during the evening and they definitely left before the end and ended up on the street. Notwithstanding the serial offences under the Street-Art Bandwaggon Prevention Act, these were sweet.

Lotz of boxes

This show had a really enjoyable vibe and a ton of cool folk in attendance. The wackiest part of this former bank cellar space is that although the ramp down to the car park has been blocked off, the car turntable at the bottom has not been immobilised which lends itself to heaps of turntable surfing and centrifuge related beer slops, not to mention even a piece of lego art toppling as the whirly gig nearly rose off its spindle. Every gallery should have one.

The Turntable Surfah Crew – just a whizz

Other artists appearing at the show included Copyright, Pure Evil, Snub, Hutch, Mr Gauky, James Johnson, the 5685 and more. More pictures here.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Diggs We Are Shitting . . . .

Loving the new Grafter street works. You can definately see his style evolving with each outing and more and more details being added to the simple but elegant one layer stencils that made him famous.

His studio work seen recently at the Urban Angel "Corked" show, and then small outing at the recycled Cans Festival this weekend also go a long way to putting a "cork" in the gobs of the Grafter haters thinking all he was capable of was simple stuff, some real emotion showing in his "Shoe Shine" piece. Very evocative and many have said in the style of Chris Stain, but in my book Grafter wins as his characters dont have abnormally sized heads*.

@ Cans Festival "Recycled"

"Shoe Shine" - Urban Angel original piece - Pic courtesy of Nolions..."tarted" by HowAboutNo!

* This is in no way intended to be a dig at Chris Stain in any other way than I think his characters should be a tad smaller and situated at ground level...they tend to scare me in the same way those bumblebee things with babies facies in the back of the News of The World Sunday magazine do.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Alphabet Soup - The Cans 2 Letter Hunt

I haven't seen any comment anywhere else so I am begining to wonder if I am reading too much into the letters in the tunnel! Anyway, without doubt the Cans tunnel has a Hunt The Thimble game involving each letter of the alphabet, I have only found 23 - could someone return the E, the F and the G please.

[edit: the following comment kindly provided by Copyright on flikr photos: "some of the letters were painted early on, as relatively small peices over old work, as the day went on and more artists turned up, a few of the letters got painted over by bigger pieces."]

The full set of letters (except, dammit, the missing ones) are in this flickr set here

London's legendary and elusive NoNose was obviously in the tunnel today judging by the flotilla of flourescent sputknik potatoes (yes - there is an e in the plural) and the dayglo ciabatta.

More Nonose here

The NoLions brat pack decided that the SweetToof (pic in the post below this one) has one bad tooth and is changing it for a good tooth. Perceptive little blighters, but that won't help them when I send them up the chimneys.


Cans Festival proved to be something Graffoto had to devote far more than this post to, here is the full set of related posts:

Cans Festival - the first preview night visit
Cans Festival - Let Us Spray - what went on in Banksy's pet project, the public access spray zone
Banksy, No Lions, Eelus Group Show - Banksy wanted anyone apart from artists to take up stencilling, we accepted the challenge
Cans Festival - One More Sniff - How the Cans wall art evolved in the first month or so after the event
Cans Recycled - First Peek - An un-scheduled sneak peek at the second version of Cans Festival when the tunnel was closed for a few days.
Cans Recycled Opens - Like it says on the tin
Alphabet Soup - The Cans 2 Letter Hunt - A Rarekind of letter game played at Cans Recycled
Cans2 Recycled Revisited - more.

Cans Recycled Opens

Leake Street tunnel re-opened this morning to reveal a lush kaleidoscope of freehand spray graffiti and ensemble of burnt out cars. Crowd control barriers not required this time - no crowds! No ice cream vans, no posters, not even any staff, just a no-fuss “ok, at your leisure look at what we’ve done this time” vibe.

Lucy McLauchlan

Cans 2 presents a teasing little treasure hunt for us…an alphabet “learner” (“A is for ATG”, “K is for Kool Skool) of letters sprayed at various points in various styles. Having identified a mere 15 letters on first visit, the presumption must be the full alphabet is there, ya just got to find ‘em. [update - now up to 23/26. when you have finished enjoying this post (thats an order!) read the subsequent post about the Alphabet hunt here or check out the flickr alphabet soup here]

The original un-missable “Gentrify This” hoarding by Insect has been done over by a wonderful piece of reverse graffiti consisting of torn layers of advertisements, which by the face portrait and technique shouts Vhils, though this needs to be confirmed.


The West Country is well represented in the first few yards of the tunnel, with the first of several owls by 45RPM, a pair of Inkie laydies and next to them a Mau Mau bo-peep allegory on the public fear of graffiti (its not the graffiti that makes places scary, it’s the scary people doing it!).


Mau Mau

The eerily quiet tunnel is haunted by the ghost of the May bank holiday festival, this time the one name missing appears to be Banksy, there isn’t any particular piece which might make you think of the freehand pre-stencil Banksy from the mid 90s and Walls Of Fire Bristol days. Though of course, this may be wrong. Attribution is a challenge at this early stage of the “reveal” (unless you are an insider with a list or an awesome global graff expert), though we are reasonably confident of the identities attributed in this report, if you go to the related collection of picks on flickr (link below), the names of many artists probably should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Alexone opened a show of new work this week at the Stolen Space Gallery in Brick Lane, some liked it, others were indifferent. Response to Alexone’s new piece in the total must be a unanimous wow! Compositionally Alexone’s firebreathing dragon blends into the adjacent Conor Harrington horse rider thought the join is fudged by an explosion of gold paint. The pair together look gorgeous

Connor Harrington, Alexone

London based Greek and long time favourite The Krah has worked a sinuous organo-robotic piece intertwined with his more recent plague victim aliens. Slightly surprisingly there is no sign of his Athens buddy FORS who by recent evidence on London streets (well, outside The Foundry Bar actually) is known to be around.

The Krah

The only Cans Mk I pieces from the original invited artists which are still in place are the Vihls reverse graffiti pair of faces (hurray!), Banky’s gorilla painter, the Faile wall stencils, and Pobel’s man trapped in shopping trolley. Oh – and all the people’s wall stuff is untouched.

I Wonder

The honour of vandalising the car wrecks this time is shared by Lucy McLauchlan, ATG Crew, Zeus and Dotmasters among others (ie. – no idea who they are). ATG play with the taxi, a shady looking passenger with his feet up gets driven around by a masked bandit, both by Alex One, whilst on the other side they reprise the “ATG love Ldn” piece seen earlier this year on the End Of The Line wall in Shoreditch. Lucy McLauchlan attacks the car with more abandon and dash than is usually seen in her characteristic crisply painted face-scapes, the characters present sterner, less alluring faces than her usual svelte pristine beauties, and there are no birds.

Lucy McLauchlan

ATG, hardcore graff crew that they are, live up to their rooftop portfolio, popping up all over the tunnel up in the eaves and high above other pieces, fostering in the imagination an indifference to the control of the organisers which is true to the spirit of graff writing.

”A Is For ATG”, Asure (ATG Crew)

WordToMother has a piece with the painter character sitting in front of a modern city of towers with smoke belching cooling towers in the foreground. Opposite that, rather than conventionally declare his love for a maiden, WTM boasts the maiden loves him (though it could also be a homage to his actual mother!).


Pure Evil brings the sprit of rebellion to the show with the stolen slogans of Thomas Jefferson and even climbing into the roadworks to spray “I am so underground” in the excavation. Naughty puppy.

Pure Evil

Busk has taken over those two slanted walls previously hosting the luscious Logan Hicks pieces and done some really tight photo realistic portraits.


An enormous cloudscape with birds and infinitely tall trees is instantly recognisable as pure Xenz.


One piece we love but have no idea (yet) who it’s by is this smaller piece incorporating a trio of figures, a woman with some kind of gas machine or gun perhaps, a superhero and a fleeing woman/child, can hardly make head or tail of what it might be about but it looks delicious.

update: Will Barras

Near the Lower Marsh exit, two of London’s cutest vandals get their space in the spotlight. SweetToof, possibly in a collaboration, and possibly with Cyclops has done a very large face with pink gums as usual but clothes pegs instead of teeth! The character extends an arm over the roof of the tunnel and clasps another clothes peg whilst the other hand works a peg loose from the gums, some kind of nightmare self administered dentistry. Again, the static ambiguity means this creature could be filling his gums with improvised clothes peg teeth. CEPT has declared his love for spray paint in the morning (presumably meaning the 3am type morning rather than cornflakes and toast time).



Copyright’s curious absence from the initial line up at Cans Festival is corrected this time with a lush but ambiguously captioned Love War with three gun toting maiden with practise targets marked on their torsos.


This piece with a pair of skeletons weeping over a scary eagle based animal whilst handing over diamonds (US exploitation of third world resources? – a always this is a complete guess) which is awesome for both the symbolism and the execution.

I-Lib, Dead By Thirty

A very coarse count suggests somewhere between 80 and 100 new pieces or work by possibly 40 or 50 artists. It’s a huge show, incredible that on the whole it was put up in two days. Beyond the sample of pieces shown or mentioned here is an awesome selection of top quality pieces, check out the much much bigger set of pictures on the link below.

L Is For London + Panik (ATG Crew)

What is the point? Well there’s loads. First simply is a response to the feeling that graffiti guys have no talent and can are at the limit of their abilities using stencils, well have a look now at what good street artists can do freehand armed with spray cans on rough walls. Second is to present an array of superb domestic and international graffiti and street art talents. Another is to enjoy, do it.

Get yer Cans 2 pics ere

Friday, 22 August 2008

Cans Recycled - First Peek

Off the back of a bogus tip off on one of the more decidely dodgy streetart forums this morning, myself and nolions hot footed over the Lower Marsh for a "Banksy print release"...... no surprise that it turned out to be complete and utter bollocks, we at least got a sneaky peak over the barriers and can share these exclusive pictures with you

So clear presence from Part2ism, the on of the long shot of the tunnel looks like a Cept on the orange background from what I could see, but lets wait and see!
EDIT: Here ya go HAN, a few more of my snaps
Inkie, Sickboy + Zosen, ATG Crew, M-City
Such a beautiful word:


Cans Festival proved to be something Graffoto had to devote far more than this post to, here is the full set of related posts:

Cans Festival - the first preview night visit
Cans Festival - Let Us Spray - what went on in Banksy's pet project, the public access spray zone
Banksy, No Lions, Eelus Group Show - Banksy wanted anyone apart from artists to take up stencilling, we accepted the challenge
Cans Festival - One More Sniff - How the Cans wall art evolved in the first month or so after the event
Cans Recycled - First Peek - An un-scheduled sneak peek at the second version of Cans Festival when the tunnel was closed for a few days.
Cans Recycled Opens - Like it says on the tin
Alphabet Soup - The Cans 2 Letter Hunt - A Rarekind of letter game played at Cans Recycled
Cans2 Recycled Revisited - more.

WK Interact Show - Elms Lester

WK Interact hails from France but is based in New York and has about 20 years of street art practise under his belt. No surprise then that, unlike a certain relay team [this was written a day or two after the US relay team played some version of pooh sticks], practise pays off in a gorgeous display of moody, tense and dark street art. WK Interact has a strong pedigree as an artist getting up on the streets, he estimates his puts out about 75% illegal street work and comparatively limited amount of studio work, apparently this show represented close to a year’s output according to someone who just made that up.

photo: "WK Skater" by Luna Park, NY. huge thanks

Walk in the door and straight away, like a javelin between the eyes, “Caution”, the first comparatively small piece prods you awake and presses home this is a special collection of work. Using collaged elements of wood, photographs and painted figures, this builds around warning/danger signs, a common fragment of New York street life.


The next piece, a big big landscape board with lots more wood nailed on, introduces the familiar vibrant dynamic fast moving balaclaved terrorist figures with the added bonus of a Clark Kent look-a-like having his neck broken.

Left Or Right

Many pieces are set on background collage of period American photos that bring to mind a 1960s ideal of a future-tech life, the optimism of race into space technology development, white shirted scientists with brylcreemed hair and retro/kitch American autos. Of course no genre respecting artist is going to omit the obligatory “found” elements, crude pieces of short chipped and worn strips of wood are daubed and nailed on. All of this forming a context for the customary dynamic speed marked villains.

Control Yourself

WK Interact presents these athletic and sinister figures in scenes that speak of the streets. Common elements through the work include cut-away exploded engineering diagrams representing real “proper job” activities, skulls, bar codes and numbers indicating the digitisation not of society but each individual – we are all becoming numbers, stand up and let us be counted.

Behind The Door

Crime Scene

What you can’t see from the photos is the texture of the surfaces, the relief of the layers and the number of heavy, almost dangerous objects incorporated in the composition. A red fire bell signifies the warning signs people should have detected prior to JFK’s assassination, a rabbit trap invites you to stick your fingers in, a high voltage regulator demands you turn things to HIGH on “Voltage On or Off”.

Voltage On or Off (switch thingy half way up on right)

The artist who illustrates the dynamic of his work by tapping it, rubbing it and drumming it is a rare beast, WK Interact sees the added objects as invitation to the viewer to touch and tweak, though no one was particularly keen on the gin trap.

Beware Of The Animals

It would be cool to say that whilst WK Interact’s work, replete with masked terrorists and fraught with undercurrents of tension represented the opposite side of the coin from Lister’s colourful superheroes on white canvas, WK Interact’s view was that Lister’s figures portray a seedier more sexual evil view of life.

Not seedy or sexual

To avoid doubt, neither the pieces on show nor his street wheatpastes are based upon stencil techniques. So there, a real artist. Elements of the collage seemed to touch on the paste on and tear way Faile method. Gimme deep sinister symbolism over cartoon pop art Lichenstein homages any day.

Photo: Wallkandy – huge thanks as well

Eye grazing in front of individual works yields an appreciation of the depth of the work, there’s a lot of meaning to be excavated from the movements and moments in each picture, this is much more than instantly gratifying eye candy. People there were saying “oh yeah, his work has really moved on”, which is an odd way to view a show which didn’t include a single peep-hole corset.

Butterfly Hatch

These pics can be seen in much better quality here, though I'd recommend Wallkandy's pics here