Friday, 30 January 2015

Dr D Designates Curfew Zone In City Of London

all photos: NoLionsInEngland (with anonymous passerby help gratefully received where noted!)

Dr D is a perhaps the perfect street artist. His paste up works are epic in scale and they commandeer outdoor channels generally exploited for advertising or control, if they can advertise there, Dr D will hijack it. His guerrilla advertising talkeovers inject political truisms and subverted corporate messages into our consciousness. His needle sharp wit pops the balloon of up-your-own-surgically-sculpted derriere celebrity pomposity and mocks the self interested control assumed by authoritarian state bodies. That’s why I love him.

Dr D - HMP London
Dr D, Kingsland Rd, London 2008

Dr. D - Amy spreads those Duffy Rumours
Dr D Whitecross St 2009

After an evening in Shoreditch, my late dash to the tube station was abruptly halted at the sight across the road of a very official looking warning sign which faced traffic up the very busy Shoreditch High Street. This enormous paper sign had evidently slowly detached itself from its host surface but even from across the road it was evident that was a pasted “pastiche”. The paste was still wet but a hunt for a stick or brush or any kind of implement to push the peeling paper back up into its intended position proved fruitless so holding up the paper myself, a passing kind young lady who didn’t run off with my phone when my back was turned took a photograph.

Dr d Curfew Zone (repair in vain)
Dr D Curfew Zone

Dr D’s Curfew Zone spoofs the conventional “Congestion Zone” signs which fortify the “Central Zone” where traffic has to pay for the privilege of less vehicle strangled roads to allows for faster assaults on cyclists and pedestrians. That big threatening red letter C now stands for Curfew. Now Dr D brings it to our attention, doesn't “Central Zone” sound quite sinister, used to be that all our districts had historical names, not designations that look like geographic Big Brother tags.

Congestion Zone sign London
Enter Ye At Great Cost

Dr D doesn't rail against injustice by daubing screaming capitalised angry messages over official signage(*), he creates subverted adverts that use the same visuals and prose as corporate advertising, or he creates signs that look so much like the authority's signs that we initially think they are. His witty distortions hit us with the realisation that actually, we are pretty damn close to the authority abusing its mandates and powers in exactly that way. Our new official Dr D designated Curfew Zone highlights the police powers to Stop And Search which can be exercised without reasonable suspicion so long as it has been approved by.....the police!
(* Maybe he does actually)

About the location, this is virtually the north eastern gateway to the City, London’s financial district. Dr D's unilateral curfew denies ne’erdowells free access from 6pm until 7am but keeps the City open and safe during financial market opening hours. Guess whose benefit that might be for.

I am pretty sure that the last time I looked closely at this wall, which was only a few days ago, there wasn’t a wooden frame masquerading as an official billboard spot. Dr D, going that extra mile is applauded! Even if you didn’t do that framing… the accuracy of the reproduction and the scale of the spoof. This is how you get your message up on the public highway yourself, don’t wait for consent, don’t pay, just do it.


Dr d returned the next day and skilfully repaired the peeling paste up where your scribe failed miserably.

Dr d Curfew Zone

Taggers also left their mark, either they mistook this for new official signage or they were just asserting graff's natural superior position over street art.

Representatives of Dr d have also confirmed that the frame is a fresh addition to the wall and that the piece also has relevance as a reaction to the response of authorities to the Charlie Hebdo atrocity or a housing issue, itself subject of a major march today from just up the road from this spot to City Hall.

To get the idea of the intelligence and concepts which have made Dr D’s street art stand out you can see a selection of pieces from down the years on this photo set here.

I also went to a Dr D show a few years ago in the unpromising location of a fully functioning open as usual Bethnal Green launderette which I wrote about here.

Saturday, 10 January 2015


All photos NoLionsInEngland except Jef Aerosol where stated

On Weds 7th January, two masked men claiming to belong to Al Qiada armed with Kalashnikov rifles burst into the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris and embarked on a killing orgy that saw 12 killed in the that building including editor Stephane Charbonnier and cartoonists Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski, Philippe Honore and Bernard Verlhac (BBC). The attack was carried out in “revenge” for satirical cartoons which the murderers considered offensive to their religion.

Street artists have been quick to express various forms of outrage at the specifics of the incident as well as the more general assault on freedom of speech. Using the collective association of the hashtag #Jesuischarlie, artists are assuming the identity Charlie to emphasize that an assault on one person’s freedom of speech is an assault on freedom of speech of all. This is going back to the heart of street art, taking control of the message and the medium, using this freedom to re-assert the fundamental right of freedom of speech.

In Lille, French stencilist Jef Aerosol was quick to produce tributes to the editor and three of the cartoonist cartoonists (It appears Philippe Honore is omitted), the images were stencilled on to paper then pasted to a wall. Jef Aerosol sees this atrocity as making victims of all of us, we are all Charlie.

10929015_10152932847252225_4787075268080939536_n art and photo by Jef Aerosol
Art: Jef Aerosol; photo courtesy Jef Aerosol

10891896_10153023373311310_4252148813345942426_n art and photo by Jef Aerosol
Art in the studio: Jef Aerosol; photo courtesy Jef Aerosol

In London, Pure Evil, a frequent user of protest slogans, modified an existing collection of Pure Evil Bunny tags with the message “Crayons are mightier than bullets #JeSuisCharlie”

Pure Evil
Pure Evil #jesuischarllie

“Charlie” has painted a huge chrome and black boomer on a wall in Shoreditch with a Lichtenstein-esque hand claiming “Freedom of Speech” back. Although “unsigned2, the piece is not anonymous, it is by Charlie.  Charlie was likely assisted by a member of The Rolling People crew whose name may also begin with “C”! The way this piece was stopping passers-by in their tracks was incredible, reminiscent of the sort of the response to a new piece by Banksy.

Je Suis Charlie

Freedom of Speech

Commercial spraypaint artists Graffiti Life put up their rapid response to the atrocity by painting this anti gun plea to disarm.

Graffiti Life
Graffiti Life #jesuischarlie

Many other artists have produced tributes and protests in their studios and on the streets, just google “street art #jesuischarlie”.

Apart from the attack on freedom of speech there is a very shocking human tragedy and our thoughts and evidently those of artists across the world are with all those who lost their lives at the hands of those fanatical murders in the past few days.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Years Eve? Never Too Late For Street Art

All photos: NoLionsInEngland

We’ve done our 2014 review ,twice, already but we just fancy signing off 2014 doing our favourite things..taking photos and spouting shite. All these photos were taken mid afternoon on New Years Eve and we believe the art to have been put up in the preceding 24 hours.

Donk had an epic 2014 and signed off with a major mission on the past 24 hours. How on earth did I forgot in the Graffoto 2014 Review that Donk did two of the most awesome paste ups in 2014 both placed without permission? He has put out a curious new image in the past month or so featuring a dude in a whisky bottle holding a whisky bottle which contains ..a dude..holding a whisky bottle. Here is a small medley of some of his (eve of?) New Years Eve hits.


The fragile translucence of this tissue paper must make the printing and pasting of this a very delicate process.


This could also be a new addition to the DONK oeuvre, I don’t recall seeing it before.


This is like a hall of fame featuring three of our favourite street artists ACE, Mr.Farenheit and Donk though we can’t be sure that any of those pieces were put up in the past 24 hours.

clockwise from top left: Mr.Farenheit (x2), Donk, Ace

A couple of weeks ago we spotted a guy very verrrryyyyyyyyy carefully lifting a Donk print from its street gallery display; this morning in an alleyway we spied a pair of Donk screen prints pasted onto a sticker battered unloved window but when we returned mid afternoon wafting a camera in the general direction of anything street arty, lo – that pair of Donk screenprints had gone. Also, speaking of the ephemeral existence of the best street art, another of Donk’s paste ups had already been gone over this morning by a repeat of a Paisley image imprinted with rubbings of old Republic of Ireland coinage. The image is by Belfast artist TLO, apparently critiquing the cult of Ian Paisley.

Ian Paisley by TLO

A number of other paste ups appeared wishing “evolutionary Greetings From Ireland”. These may also be by TLO given the coincidence of the timing of their appearance, the fact that both these and the paisley posters were printed over multiple sheets of A4 paper and both touch on “The Irish Question”.  It’s hard to be certain what the Ikea logo juxtaposed with terrorists is about, something to do with modern corporate colonialism perhaps. Artist unknown (TLO is a guess).

Artist Unknown

Last but definitely not least, The Rolling People rang in 2014 with a big piece on the Sclater St wall and they signed off 2014 doing what they did quite often throughout 2014, taking over that wall with a fresh new blockbuster. Cap doffed to Karim too who hadn’t finished on a spot next to TRP.

BRK, Snoe and Kev ring in the new


So, you get a feel here for what we love and little impromptu wanders like this New Years Eve perambulation reinforce why we love this art. Thanks again to all the artists who made 2014 a fantastic year, many of you were just plain forgotten on the reviews I wrote and for that I am humbly sorry but HowAboutNo, Shellshock & I wish you and all the audience for the blog, our photographs and everyone involved in so many ways in this culture a peaceful/successful/exciting/prosperous (pick as many as you wish) 2015.