Friday, 31 May 2013

Hit Shot Walls May 2013

All photos: NoLionsInEngland

May was a busy month for street artists and photographers of street art. London has been blessed by visits from a plethora of overseas street art stars, let’s start with a few shots of work by an artist new to us, Dede who is reported to come from Israel. Dede’s paste ups were all nice, original and well placed but specially noteworthy were the huge quantity of evidently handmade (screenprinted?) individual stickers

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Also from Israel, regular recent visitors Unga and Tant of Broken Fingerz crew popped back to Shoreditch recently to paint some naked chicks on bikes with big handle bars stuff. It’s what decaying disused doorways are for really.

Unga, Tant Broken Fingaz

The international invasion turned intergalactic with the arrival of Space Invader, whose Earth base is in France.

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Space Invader

London always welcomes Belgian artist ROA and this month he obliged with two of his finest large scale murals. One located on South Bank must by dint of the nature of the tourist spot and also the heavy traffic on passing railway lines be in with a shout of being his most eyeballed ever, while the other in a grim alleyway is far from the beaten track for anyone other than winos, junkies and street art photographers.

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ROA (detail)

DALeast and Mrs DALeast, herself more commonly known as Faith47, arrived to decorate various walls around Shoreditch. DALeast ran a cheeky little competition for the first 50 people to photograph all 7 pieces he did in London, the twist being the 7th one is located on private property behind locked doors and I can testify that a polite knock earns a frosty reception, so no image here of that particular holy grail.


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Yola is another artist previously unheard of who visited London and put up some large scale paste-up. Whilst this particular wall has been running for far longer that is healthy in an active street art scene, we weren’t impressed with the lack of respect in papering over this DScreet/Cept collab on Bacon St. On the other hand, this may possibly be a symptom of the pressure on space these days with so many spots reserved for curated/permissioned street art.

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YOLA over Dscreet

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South Coast native Shuby visited London and revealed a complete potty-mouthed approach to letterpress paste ups though frankly who’s surprised, surely you remember the “knickers” portraits from a couple of years ago?

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Early in the month we located a cluster of Lad stickers by The London Police but the star find were these custom kicks done in “get your chems here” boots over the telephone wires style.

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Not all invasions were intergalactic, Kid Acne brought a fresh wave of his Bouddica referencing Stabby Women to various front doors.

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At some point local hero Benjamin Murphy did this stab through the heart though we only found it in May so it qualifies for this months’ HSW.

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BENJAMIN MURPHY (artist formerly known as AD/SO?)

An all too infrequent visit to Hackney Wick for a whistlestop shutter clicking frenzy yielded a cluster of ballerinas by spraycan impressionist and rude tagger Neoh.

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Many London graff photographers have got used to popping in to the Kings Court car park to photograph the high spec spraycan artistry available there on a fairly good turnover. However, about 6 months ago the moody bastard on the gate who I always made a point of checking in with said "no photographs on weekdays, punters don’t like it; weekends only”. More recently this became "no photographers at all", a point reinforced with a laminated notice displayed at the gate. You can take spray paint into the car park but not camera lenses???? Cue our community’s applause and general mirth at Malabrocca’s huge fuck-off notice directly opposite. Apart from the dig at the car park proprietor’s, there is of course the irony that documenting the art breaches its prohibition, ho ho.

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We have been hugely impressed with Jonesy’s use of street art to promote environmental awareness and score political points. This seemingly unique piece appears to show an over-furry figure with a stunted tree growing out of his head squatting behind a begging bowl, so while we like the art its meaning has us a little baffled.

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Aida’s fluorescent cheebra’s, half zebra, half cheetahs have been popping up in a few locations, curiously they always seem to yield good photo opportunities which reflects good placement.

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I mentioned this was a busy month for photographers what with 2 street art photography shows and a debate on the nature of the incestuous relationship between street art and photography, there is also the small matter of the Street Art Photography Workshops which I want to brazenly plug here. The essence of the idea is spending about an hour talking through tips, hints and ideas for photographing street art with the aid of a slide show then to go out onto the Shoreditch streets to play with the wide range of opportunities for street art phototgraphy. The feedback has been pretty awesome and the workshops continue. Check HERE for updated news and schedule. Plug over. For this time.

love for Trust Icon and Stik

Reflect on this!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Take To The Streets - 11 Street Art Photographers

Street Art Photography Group Show feat Alex Ellison, Cheff031, Delete08, Doug Sherman, HowAboutNo, Ian Cox, Joe Epstein, Mark Rigney, Myriam JC Preston, NoLionsInEngland, Unusualimage

Curated by Esther F. Castelo

Fun Factory at Top Office Machines, 133-135 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 7DG
25 April – 19 May 2013
Email funfactory at gmail dot com to confirm opening hours

All photos (of photos!): NoLionsInEngland

This may seem like a vigorous puffing of one’s own wind instrument but with 2 out of 3 of Graffoto’s photographer-writers in the show and in support of the fantastic effort by Esther F Castelo to conceive and curate this show, and anyway we post what the hell we like on our own blog, here’s our take on the Fun Factory’s pop up Take To The Streets photography show.

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feat Myriam JC Preston, Alex Ellison, Joe Epstein, HowAboutNo, Mark Rigney, Ian Cox

Two contrasting approaches to the artist-at-work shot face off against eachother on opposing brick walls. Cheffo1 is a fellow VNA magazine photo contributor, his photos certainly show a leaning towards strong colour and half of his quartet show a liking for work-in-progress shots of the artists in action.


On the opposite wall, Texan Doug Sherman’s delicious mounted-but-not-framed images are split between massive top-to-bottom building mural and a trio of close up artist-in-action shots which tantalisingly reveal neither the artwork nor the artist, though not many will fail to figure out which Whitehouse botherer is laying down the letters in the middle shot.

Doug Sherman
Doug Sherman

Doug said this about his selection of photos for this show:

“They mainly focus on two subjects that i really enjoy shooting which is the artist at work as i am very interested in the process of creating the work sometimes even more so than the final piece. The other is the piece in its new environment and how it interacts with everything else and how everything else interacts with it.”

Joe Epstein captures long walls and halls of fame in a signature joiner style. 6 panoramic shots arranged ladder style make Jo’s presentation a hugely effective and eye-catching display of energetic graff.

Joe Epstein
Joe Epstein

My favourites – and I know this was the case for many – were Myriam JC Preston’s shots from her car. Since I first came across them on Flickr I’ve loved the unique perspective her “can’t be arsed to get out of the car” approach brings to framing these shots. Myriam had this to say about her selection:

I chose six of my favourite photographs from the last couple of years, not the most popular with other people, simply ones which resonate with me on a deep level. The similarity they all have with one another is that within each one the focus is not on the art but rather on what is going on in the surrounding environment or what is contrasting with the art (which is clear with the 30 years of British Graff image and also the Dan Kitchener piece) and also on the impact and statement these elements make.”

Myriam JC Preston
Myriam JC Preston

Delete08 is committed to a harder, grittier form of art photography. Knowing Delete08 well, I know that he cherishes the mission as much as if not more than the photographic end result. Delete frequently finds ways over walls and fences into yards and tunnels and his edgy selection of photographs comes from a kind of location that not many of the Brick Lane audience will have been privy to.


Ian Cox is the doyen of urban art photographers with a long pedigree of contributing to the scene and can be considered, I guess, in-house photographer for the Lazarides stable. His signature (now that the novelty of that bloody fish-eye has worn off ;-) ) is the sharp focus and narrow depth-of-field shot of the artist at work. I love the way the shot of Juice 126, taken on Agent Of Change’s seminal Ghost Town Project is out of focus by half way down the artist’s arm and the background is more colour wash than paint stains.

Ian Cox
Ian Cox

The stand out quality of Ian’s work over many years has earned him many exciting trips, he is a photographer that graffiti writer’s and artists trust to deliver the photographs AND not betray a confidence. Shooting both legal and illegal artistic endeavours around the World is second nature to Ian but the image that struck me as being the most imaginative and unique was his shot of the Kings Cross Megaro Hotel “Marmite” mural, again by Agents Of Change. Here is Ian’s synopsis of how he came to realise this shot:

“With such a huge production it was really hard to find the right vista without the picture being cluttered with corporate logos or other distractions. Armed with a long lens and ladder we blagged our way through station security and set up on the bridge above the platforms. I'd be lying if I said I was comfortable being perched above the rails on a ladder on a bridge but it was the only way to get the right perspective through the window.

Seeing the shot – that’s what makes the difference.

Ian Cox
Ian Cox

Alex Ellison has possibly the most single minded determination to devote every breath available to photographing street art and graffiti. Its not just the easy accessible Shoreditch/West End stuff he chases, he is genuinely all-city and indeed all-UK in his chase after preferrably illegal graff and art. One aspect Alex has mastered is the reflection and among his three images is this Malarky cracker.

Alex Ellison
Alex Ellison

Fellow blogmate and companion for many hundreds of photography walks over the best part of a decade HowAboutNo always has a natural leaning towards highly colourful images. His varied quartet shows a Cept (his pics often do!), an unusual angle, a person perambulating through the shot and a lot of texture and colour.

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As for my own photos, in the words young Master Nolions whispered to Lady NoLions “Dad’s got better photos than these!". Punchy criticism from the mouths of babies but he’s confusing a picture that is more interesting to me with a picture showing great street art. This canal photo is framed to capture just the reflection, the writing isn’t special, the location totally unremarkable, the artwork itself isn’t even in the shot but it’s just the idea of inverting the reality then not giving a clue to the original that got this shot in.


This small C215 cat was on the side of a wall mounted bin, the idea behind the photo is a simple bit of playing with scale with the oversize cat appearing to stalk the dude with the pink umbrella.


Mark Rigney stands out as the longest time served of street art photographer’s present. His selection also favours the artist-at-work shot, a roller action shot in the tunnels behind Leake street proving particularly evocative of a mood while an inspired choice of metallic paper for his Canalside photo lends vibrancy to a very colourful scene. My favourite among Mark’s photos is the shot of Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada in action, both for its almost surreal juxtaposition of scales and for focussing on a detail rather than showing us the full work.

MarK Rigney
Mark Rigney

Three of Unusualimage’s four shots – the Jimmy Cauty and the two Specter pieces - go deep into high-concept street art. The Jimmy Cauty Old Street mirror piece aka Tra toN Si sihT dates from May 08 and remains my all time favourite piece of street art and I think that "mirror" shot is possibly the single shot that merits the most "thinking" about.


This show had the tragic possibility of bringing together a bunch of indistinguishable photographers snapping generic shots of street art in a manner that had no more intrigue and appeal that a google image result for street art pics. What actually transpires is that each photographer brought a different perspective, a different eye and a wide variety of distinctive takes on how to view street art to the party. Each then framed the photographs to their own preferred style and indeed hung them differently which combined with the variety of wall surfaces in Fun Factory’s pop up space makes this an interesting and varied show. At the time of writing, there is still a week left for the show to run and is well worth making the effort to see.

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Over 400 folk milled around the space on the opening night. As a participant, I owe huge thanks to Esther for masterminding AND keeping her patience with her unruly and very tardy not to say sometimes rude posse of photographers, and to Roberto for tons of work in setting up the space. Mark Rigney did a great job on flyer design and general social media manipulation, while Aida pulled some beautiful screen prints of the show poster – hopefully one will magic its way into my possession some time! The opening night went with a swing thanks to crates of Desperadoes beer. We also owe thanks for the space to Kevin and Ed at, cheers dude. Shout to Garfield at the Birdcage pub, Columbia road for a great after-show party which saw some serious rug cutting to 3 DJs and pub price alkyhol.

*other photographers are available

Take To THe Streets
beer by Desperados!

Take To The Streets
MORE beer by Desperados - did I mention how delicious it is?