Sunday, 26 April 2020

Diggin In The Archives 4

Diggin into the archives bring back lots of mostly good memories but some of these artists have done so much brilliant street art that picking just one or two highlights is cruelly dismissive of their street opus. Another week of suspended animation has rolled past so here we go with the 4th collection of flashbacks trawled up from a long forgotten sector of the hard drive.

Anthony Lister did quite a number of stunning superheroes and faces over a number of years and a number of visits. It was quite easy to miss that Lister was parodying the Banksy in Cargo with this piece. Responding to the Banksy piece Lister declares himself over stencils and certainly now with the advent of muralism and greater tolerance of street art the old fashioned single layer stencil is nothing like as common as in the old days.

Antony Lister, 2012
Lister, 2012

Industrial revolution superhighway meets imaginative Sweet Toof vandalism. Although not terribly far away, the location was quite different to the usual Shoreditch street art beat.

Sweet Toof, 2010
Sweet Toof, Regents Canal, 2010

Louis Masai has done a phenomenal number of projects and art campaigning in support of species preservation and the environment generally. These two are the earliest Masai artworks I found on the streets, dating from late 2011. This blast from the past surfaced on the annual Earth Day last week. One planet, one love, one chance.

Masai & False, 2011
Masai featuring False

Masai, 2011

One of my lockdown distractions has been reading JR’s “Can Art Change The World”. The first time I came across his Inside Out project was this large mugshot on Redchurch St in 2011. The idea was that you sent JR a photo, he would print it and send it back to you and you had to paste it up on the wall. You may have had to send a photo of it in situ back to him. The self imortalising person in the photo is Ross T. The juxtaposition of Ross’ #insideout portrait with Ron English’s speech bubble was too good to be mere coincidence. Rock The Mouse was a shutter relic from a 2009 Mickey Mouse by Yan77 from Chrome and Black shop which used to be across the road.

Ross T in JR's Inside Out project, 2011
Ross T in JR's Inside Out, 2011

There are many artists whose style, ability and creativity have evolved dramatically over the years such as Airborne Mark, or The Pilot as he was known back in 2009. The first photo comes from a hoarding under the Westway where Garfield Hackett and Mutoid Waste staged One Foot In The Grove in 2009. Looking back through my archives One Foot In The Grove was a stunning event, I pass that location on the tube every time I go to QPR and never fail to peep into the space under the flyover and think of that show.

The Pilot, 2009
The Pilot, Acklam Rd, 2009

Airborne Mark was an OG mid 80s graffiti writer, this specimen of his graff was in Leake St back in 2008.

The Pilot, 2008
The Pilot, 2008

As a reminder of how far Airborne Mark has come, here's a gorgeous specimen of his origami folds painting style today.

Airborne Mark. 2019
Airborne Mark, Shoreditch, 2019

Sometimes it’s about the beauty, the drama or the politics of the street art; sometimes it’s about being in the right spot at the right moment. Monsieur Qui has visited Shoreditch a few times, leaving just a few tantalising illustrations to hunt down each. Love the art, love the bird nesting in the passerby’s topknot giving extravagant coiffure's to both art and life.

Monsieur Qui, 2011
Monsieur Qui, 2011

Saki and Bitches’ voluptuous temptresses appeared in some pretty eyecatching spots. Given Saki’s home country is Japan, the influence of Japanese art and use of Japanese subjects in Saki’s work, the appearance of “Tokyo Rising” alongside this Saki’s sturdy study of feminine charm was pure chance. Saki held down this elevated high street spot for several years.

Saki and Bitches, 2011
Saki and Bitches, 2011

I'll try to make time for daily blasts from the past this week but I'm making no promises ok. Check out the previous weekly compendiums: DITA 1, DITA 2 and DITA 3

Art credits and links are by each photo. All photos: Dave Stuart

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Diggin In The Archives 3

Four weeks of Lockdown now, most sensible countries have extended their lockdown period for a few more weeks but don’t worry, the archive isn’t going to be running on fumes any time soon.

The relationship between impact and size is not at all clear in street art. Isaac Cordal's forlorn concrete figures were found in nooks and cranies in London over several years from 2010. Spotting them was difficult, how the artist installed them at their illegal elevated perches was inspiring. A few survive to this day.

Isaac Cordal 2010
Issac Cordal, 2010

As a great fan of stickers it is a bit remiss not to have looked back at some great stickers of times past. PS, or "Public Spirit" was an amazing sticker artist, the examples here date from 2010 and 2011. PS was comfortable with a range of styles from fantasy illustration to op art via pure abstract geometeric but always in a very distinctive teardrop style. The first sticker in this series has a little clue how to look for the initials PS embedded in the swirling shape of the art - other than the purely symmetrical ones (so far as I can see anyway).

At least one PS sticker dating from that period survives in Shoreditch.

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Fake stencil. Fake Street artist K-Guy. Fake photo from 2017. K-Guy has total authority.

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K-Guy, 2017

Burning Candy represented by Cept, Sweet Toof, Tek 33 and DScreet had the first spot on lockdown for many years. The Garage owner received a council enforcement notice demanding the piece be buffed but flatly refused. Garage now rolled over by development.

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Cept, Sweet Toof, Tek 33 and Dscreet

Burning Candy at its largest grew to 9 members, the next photo features two of London's hottest #rooftop kings of that time, MightyMo and Goldpeg

Mighty Mo, Goldpeg, 2010

Otto Schade painted very intricate musing on human emotions using a stencil technique, symbolically connecting the emotions and the nervous system to external stimuli. This was one of his earliest ribbon paintings on the street, the owners buffed this very shortly after Otto finished it.

Otto Schade, Shoreditch, 2010
Otto Schade, 2010

Stewy Stencils populated Shoreditch and Norf London with a menagerie of animals, reaching a zenith with the size of this horse. The horse appears to be tethered and getting fed, not sure if that was Stewy or a clever augmentation by someone else. Either way its great when there is a little more to the stencil than just a spot where there was no cctv. Then virgin wall, now a hotel stands on the property opposite the Pure Evil Gallery. A version of this horse closer to Brick Lane was brilliantly augmented by Saki, might have to dig that pic out later but let’s hope we aren't in Lockdown that long.

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Stewy Stencils, 2012

From the days when artists did find virgin unpainted derelict walls in Shoreditch. "Plastic Bones" Best Ever v. Deadleg

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Best Ever v. Deadleg, 2011

Next week, same time same place yeah?  Check out Part 1 and Part 2

Art credits and links are by each photo. All photos: Dave Stuart

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Diggin In The Archives 2

Another seven days of posting photos of street art dredged from the archives. In lockdown you have plenty of time with your thoughts and the wandering mind generates random recollections. Those which stand out lead to a photo being thrust into the limelight. So there was some kind of logical process behind the selection of images from week 3 in lockdown, even if the process is irrefutable evidence of lockdown fever.

In 2009 Jeff Soto painted some awesome street art in Shoreditch. Graffoto reviewed his StolenSpace show Inland Empire starting per Graffoto's wont with a look at some street art. At time of the review 4 pieces of Jeff Soto street art in Shoreditch had been found, this beauty was the 5th, his “Thanks London”. Ultimately there were 6.

Jeff Soto 2009
Jeff Soto, 2009

On the Posher fringes of the Notting Hill - Paddington border this was an unexpected mewsy location full of character. Paul Insect's spider was the size of a small child and provoked the awe of this big child.

Paul Insect, 2009
Paul Insect, Paddington, 2009

Vhils was pretty much the star of Cans Festival in 2008, he returned in 2009 and created some awesome art. This pair of portraits in Camden were amazing, the technique is basically removing the hoarding surface, like chiselling or drilling perhaps but quite how the patterned effect on the other portrait was achieved best remains an artistic mystery.

Vhils 2009
Vhils, Camden, 2009

Vhils 2009
Vhils, Camden, 2009

If interiors designers could replicate the distressed wood effect of 124 Hackney Road it would be in every wooden staircase in Islington - oh wait! Many many lovely pieces of art appeared on this faƧade at the beginning of the last decade, it is actually sad to see it looking so sterile these days. This collaboration between Ella et Pitr and Macay complimented that surface beautifully.

Ella et Pir and macay collab, 2010
Ella et Pitr & Macay, Shoreditch, 2010

For many years my mental equilibrium was both preserved and yet shattered by daily breaks from the grindstone for walks with photography companion and art show/drinking/blog buddy Sam Martin aka Howaboutno. Anything could happen and rarely did. One lunchbreak we spotted a pair of traffic wardens about a hundred yards distant, something made us suspect they weren't run of the mill meter maids. Turned out it was Tinsel Edwards and Twinkle Troughton ticketing parked cars with spoof parking ticket/artworks. I still have mine. Bonkers but fun, these days its just charity chuggers and product samples.

Read about the ire they provoked on the streets on

Tinsel Edwards & Twinkle Troughton, Oct 2009
Tinsel Edwards and Twinkle Troughton, Oct 2009

Tinsel Edwards & Twinkle Troughton, Oct 2009
Parking Ticket

Tinsel Edwards & Twinkle Troughton, Oct 2009
“Best of Times, Worst of Times”, ed 500

Is it an armada of invading toaster erupting from a portal or toasters being sucked into a black abyss? It was 2009. The genius of something so banal! You could not help but smile every time you saw Toasters sporting the colours of Wolverhampton Wanderers home kit pop up, except when it was in the away end cos that generally signalled home defeat for QPR.

Toasters, 2009
Toasters, Kingsland Road, 2009

Phlegm, one of my fav artists, has been doing a very entertaining series of daily sketches of life in lockdown in his own unique style. Yesterday's was a characteristically Heath Robinson bike.

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Phlegm, “Bike maintenance”, 2020

Here is a couple of photos which “interrogates the boundary” between hipster bikes and street art. "AMAZING" is by Eine from 2009. The dude on the elevated bike which looks like the prototype for Phlegm's drawing must surely have had an interesting time doing emergency stops (2008). In the background is a fragment of Eine’s 2008 EXCITING.

I could have responded to the theme with photos of street art where my bike accidentally encroached on the shot, got loads of thosešŸ˜‚

AMAZING Unicyclist, art by Eine
AMAZING unicyclist, Hackney Road, 2009

Exciting cyclist, art by Eine
EXCITING two storey bike, Old St, 2008

Art credits and links are by each photo. All photos: Dave Stuart

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Jamie Reid - Taking Liberties

Taking Liberties!

Jamie Reid political work 1970 – 2020
Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury
London WC1N 1JD

Opened March 6th, extended to end April

Jamie Reid is the activist artist who is probably best known in popular culture as the artist behind the Sex Pistols album artwork. The Horse Hospital in London has a retrospective exhibition of Jamie Reid’s artwork which, like a huge amount of cultural activity, is now spilling its guts to a vast empty space.

Jamie Reid is based in Liverpool and has done a remote control commentary of the exhibition, speaking to a short camera walk through and it is absolutely fascinating to hear the purposes and origins of the art and the multitude of protest causes it supported. That’s coming up below later, circumstances mean Graffoto didn’t get to see the exhibition but it is interesting to look at just a few examples of street art with Jamie Reid’s influence stamped all over it.

Starting with the man himself, here is the entrance to Reid’s Islington exhibition “Time For Magic”

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Jamie Reid, 2011

Shepard Fairey, who makes no secret of his willingness to pick and choose from his favourite influences had the good grace to credit this as a Reid/Fairey collaboration.

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Shoplifters Welcome, Shepard Fairey after Jamie Reid

Corrosive8 has himself a history of activism and protest art, the Reid influence can’t be denied indeed this is based on a Reid image. Borrow from the best.

Corrosive8, 2019

ACE, Rider and Faile are all street artists whose aesthetics channel Reid's collage style.

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Faile (cheeky MN sticker included), 2008

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ACE, 2008

Rider 2017
Rider, 2017

There are so many more but the point of this is the fascinating “artist talk” on the exhibition at the Horse Hospital, a stunning venue sadly threatened with closure. Enjoy.

Jamie Reid has released a very limited edition print in support of the Horse Hospital, details HERE

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"God Save The Horse Hospital", Jamie Reid, 2020

All photos Dave Stuart except Jamie Reid print image courtesy Horse Hospital

Artist links are in the text

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Digging In The Archives 1

Two weeks ago today I received a text message from the NHS telling me I had to isolate, though I had pretty much gone into a self imposed lockdown a week earlier when I returned from my Father’s funeral in Ireland. On a daily basis I have been digging through the photo archives and posting some older gems with a few thoughts on why they stood out. This is a compendium of the first two weeks worth.

This first photo I captioned “When dumpster diving goes wrong.” but it was about combining street art with found surreal elements, also the strong colours complemented the colour of Gianni Lee’s character outside Cargo.

Gianni Lee, Mar 2019

Sweet Toof, Rowdy and Knapple shenanigans last year, check their instas for a dose of artistic positivity . This photo reveals the scale of this collab which perhaps isn't so apparent when you view it from street level. Also, light as candyfloss as Knapple is, impressive piggy back stamina from da Toof geezer.

Sweet Toof, Rowdy, Knapple, 2019
Knapple, Rowdy, Sweet Toof, January 2019

In 2009 David Choe dropped a heap of awesome stuff in London, I only found out [last week] that the guy spraypainting the underpass from the passenger seat of a moving car in the opening montage of Exit Through The Gift Shop is David Choe.  Loved this plot.

David Choe 2009
David Choe, Nov 2009

Own that intrigue. Street art stimulates passers by in a way that adverts don't. People notice. Circles by L’Enfant, figure by David David, tile by Nathan Bowen, calligraphy (aka tag) by YAS21. This is the Old Truman Brewery wall that now is a canvas for Shepard Fairey’s Shadowplay mural.

Own that intrigue!
L’Enfant, David David, Nathan Bowen, Yas21, 2018

Although captioned “Give Us A bite”, I will confess that in 2011 I captioned this street photography styled photo of Stik’s family group “Who Ate All The Pies”.

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"Give Us A Bite", Stik, 2009

Of all the weird, wonderful, beautiful, clever and funny stuff that appeared on Cargo’s walls, this by Bortusk Leer has to be the wackiest! Anyone else remember his kid’s tv series?

Bortusk Leer, 2009

A squadron of Banksy Happy Choppers on Holywell Row, Shoreditch, there is a better photo by Steve Lazarides in his “Banksy Captured” book.

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Banksy, 2006

Escif got a lot of coverage in the past week for his spectacular sculpture in Valencia which was torched as part of the Fallas celebrations, though with Spain in lockdown few got to see it actually live. In 2010 Escif had a show at Pictures On Walls in that period when it was welcoming folk in off the street, as opposed to the “by apppointment only” fortress it had been in its Scrutton St and Willow St days. These are POW’s shutters painted by Escif with Petro on window dressing detail.

Escif at Pictures On Walls, 2010
Escif, also feat Petro, 2010

Elbow Toe had a stunning installation at the urban art epicentre The Leonard St Gallery. He visited London more than once in that era. He commented to me at the time that getting up in London felt so chilled compared to NY. This piece if I recall correct was a representation of his wife. 2007.

Elbow Toe 2007
Elbow Toe

This context photo also features then Shoreditch based artist Jawa, and Mudwig is a small puce apparently but the many faults of Mudwig were regularly discussed on walls in those days.

Elbow Toe 2007
Elbow Toe feat Jawa and Mudwig, 2007

Burning Candy owned the East End. Sweet Toof and Cyclops went large here on the plot opposite where CitizenM stands today, before the North London line curved past that building. Back of Chariots for those familiar with that landmark. Also features SNOE TRP, EINE and REAK.

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Burning Candy, Snoe, Eine, Reak et al 2007

If you are going to admire someone else's genius, nothing says "wow" quite as much as having your art admire theirs. Pure Evil’s Pearly Kings express what the rest of us thought of Swoon’s 2007 amazing filigree paste up on Coronet St. Also features Jef Aerosol looking pretty hyper and The Krah. This wall used to host some great street art. Street art photography companion and Graffoto founder Howaboutno and I always disagreed on whether you should clear shit and rubbish out of photos.

Swoon, Pure Evil, Jef Aerosol, The Krah, photo 2008

Judith Supine from NY made surreal psychedelic art which really paid attention to its surroundings, location was everything. This one is by the entrance to the long lost iconic Dragon Bar. Such a shame we don't get visits from Judith Supine any more.

Judith Supine, 2007

Nurses and doctors are the front line, they are performing heroics without thought of their own safety and in the face of apparent shortages of safety equipment that would render their service less fraught with risk. It is saddening to hear just now (when first posted to Instagram) of two nurses in the UK who have passed away after treating patients affected by COVID-19. Both were mothers of 3. My thoughts are with the family. This piece by Stik now seems sadly prophetic.

Stik 2009
Stik, 2009

Roa had been dropping an amazing menagerie of dishevelled creatures in Shoreditch since 2009 but this gate in 2012 kicked thing up another level in terms of making visible a degree of #gore which characterised man’s relationship with his fellow creatures. If it was shocking then, you hadn’t been paying attention. Also, this was one of his less long lived London pieces and is correspondingly less well known.

ROA, 2012

Damn tourists getting in the group portrait, Suriani’s dramatic pasteups made great photos.

Suriani 2009
Suriani, 2009

Standby for more blasts from the past for as long the shutdown prevents my return to work.

Art credits and links are by each photo. All photos: Dave Stuart