It’s back! Eine’s SCARY on Rivington Street, familiar to many many Shoreditch Street Art tour guests as the penultimate piece of art on the tour has been restored to its original colour scheme.
EINE SCARY 2021 Repaint
Painted in 2007, back in the days when if a street artist wanted a wall they had to damn well sort it out themselves, SCARY is London’s oldest street art mural (terms and conditions apply).
EINE SCARY Nights 2012
This SCARY was a partner to the VANDALISM mural on the corresponding wall on the next street, making the ironic statement “SCARY VANDALISM” in the year when EINE really came of age as a sought after street artist with his first solo show. Notice in 2007, no Citizen M, no elevated East London Line and no boutique next door to Village Underground!
EINE VANDALISM 2007
In 2019, Eine updated the mural as a charity art piece dedicated to Movember to raise funds in support of men’s mental health. The background was painted yellow and 60 stylised handlebar moustaches were added. 60 because the message on the wall was “Globally, 60 men die by suicide every hour” and moustaches because men raise sponsorship money for Movember by stopping shaving throughout November. Eine back up the awareness raising by releasing 100 copies of a signed limited edition screenprint sold for £100 each, proceeds going to Movember.
EINE SCARY 2019 Movember colour scheme
The plan always was that it would eventually be returned to the original background and this week, Eine finally got around to restoring SCARY’s classic screaming redness.
All photos Dave Stuart
Sunday, 1 August 2021
Saturday, 10 July 2021
“It was 30 years ago today” that Nirvana released Nevermind, with apologies for that inept abuse of the Beatles’ lyrical mastery and the actual facts (release date Sep 24th 1991). One of the standout tracks on a standout album is “In Bloom”, Kurt Cobain’s lament on the impact of their growing success and within the song is the line “Nature Is A Whore”. Nature Is A Whore is the tagline anointing some but not all of a collection of naïve and economical artworks appearing around London over the past few months.
The smile is often innocent, almost angelic and frequently the curiously four fingered character offers flowers or seems to relish the beauty in a fresh cut flower. The crossed arms styling is curious as well, is this a dance move or a gangster style vogue?
You have got to chuckle when the buff inadvertently facilitates a tinted homage to the original.
Painting large scale on a couple of currently un-utilised advert walls, the artist is proposing that they are not racist as they have a coloured TV, which at face value looks like a joke available in black and white version but could easily be a very clever statement of a race blind preference for transvestites.
Street art produces a never dry fountain of inspiration, the themes are diverse, the motives varied, the creators are legion and even in a few cases legendary. Sometimes, the artist impulse comes from an anonymous mind whose satisfaction would appear to derive from beautification rather than ego gratification. Thus far, I have no firm idea who these short lived minimalist masterpieces should be attributed to. I am equally curious about the perpetually crossed arms stance.
Here is a sample of just a few, guests have report their own sightings of other specimens in other locations.
All photos: Dave Stuart
Wednesday, 23 June 2021
Why does a street art tour guide snap adverts? The answer is simply for love of the graphic response adverts provoke. The way people subvert, augment and modify adverts is pretty much an artform in itself. The printed advert becomes a host for forced artistic collaboration and capturing the “before and after” timeline yields fascinating mini histories of public intervention.
don't buy it, don't buy it....
A week ago I photographed an illegal flyposter advertising a new album release, in itself it was a quite compelling photograph. When I returned from a week in Wales the advert was still there, to my surprise, though now it hosted several graffiti enhancements. The black tag with the jagged arrow underlining reads ARTIK LTB who is an hugely impressive creator of large scale rollerbrush graffiti all over London. There is also a vertical tag which could be “Sey”; the large “throw” over the three characters in the advert appears to read PY and there is an arcing “Shmokey” tag in a white marker with quote marks and triple dotted underlining.
Artik, Shmokey and others vs Migos
The next morning the Shoreditch Street Art Tour strolled through the tunnel and that advert had been replaced with a fresh crop of flyposters which I dutifully snapped at high speed as we passed by. Although I am I swear completely and utterly immune to adverts, there is an advert for Ed Sheeran in that collection which is a curious coincidence as last Summer on a Shoreditch Street Art Tour we spotted Ed Sheeran serving burgers out of a silver airstream style street food truck just yards from that very spot.
June 2021 Flyposters
Ed Sheeran padding his CV, 2020
To my delight, just 24 hours later on Sunday that collection of adverts had augmented with a gorgeous fat chrome and black dub by Noyse.
Noyze 1 Flyposters 0
So, why do people make marks on adverts? In the case of street artists, being anti advertising has been a core sentiment since the movement’s origins, for many artists it justified illegal street art created in response to desecration of the visual public landscape by overwhelming advertising.
Decapacitator vs Uniqlo, 2008
Graffiti writers will point to the fact that the adverts are in locations designed to attract eyeballs, they also provide a nice clean surface for easy marking. In the case of the locations photographed here they also happen to be right next to key graffiti spots and many graffiti writers just happen to be in the area with the right equipment.
spraypainted watch advert subverted by Sony (ironic? lol)
Just a brief note on the title of this essay which may seem a little obscure particularly if you are not British or a football fan. There is an iconic fragment of BBC commentary from 1966 seared into the nation’s most patriotic memory – just watch the short clip below; an advert is a “pitch”; people intervening on an advert are “on the pitch” and the football theme is relevant as the Euros are currently underway 1 year late.
Here is a small selection of some favourite earlier examples of advert subversion:
Anna Laurini “Let’s Advertise”, 2016
Very arty advert
D*Face vs Lady Gaga
Does the advertising work? There is still no way I would buy an Ed Sheeran album :-)
Nathan Bowen instagram
Anna Laurini instagram
all photos: Dave Stuart
Tuesday, 8 June 2021
As we enjoyed a rare hot late May bank holiday in the UK, the Bank holiday Monday Shoreditch Street Art Tour discovered a fascinating range of new street art that had been put up since just the day before. One curious aspect was the number of gorgeous collaborations, in fact just for fun we could link the artist combinations in a street art “degrees of separation” web of connectivity. The main image at the top of the post features Planet Selfie & Hello The Mushroom.
Hello The Mushroom in collaboration with So.Schoen.Immer.Wieder
Paste up artist Hello The Mushroom, previously of London now based in Oslo, has collaborated creatively with many street artists from other countries and it was a pleasure to find eye catching art works with So.Schoen.Immer.Wieder, Planet Selfie, both of Cologne, Jens Regler from Sweden and Eraquario of Brazil.
Hello The Mushroom in collab with Eraquario
Hello The Mushroom and Jens Regler
Hello The Mushroom in collab with Planet Selfie
Planet Selfie in turn has a collaboration up with Dacarter
Planet Selfie, Dacarter
The above photo features also Fanakapan's anamorphic balloon at the entrance to that alley, meanwhile also in that alley is another Planet Selfie, this time with Rad aka Raddington Falls
Planet Selfie, Rad aka Raddington Falls
Here for good measure is a small sample of the many collaborations that have delighted and inspired us in the past year starting with a couple of my favourite street artists, Smiler and Face The Strange.
Smiler & Face The Strange
UltramarineDream & Coloquix
Neon Savage, City Kitty, Sketch Rat, Mowcka – March 2021
Mowcka revisited this collaboration and added a new hair piece to it, Mowcka told us
“ I put a new paste ups on the previous one because it had been broken and I wanted to keep the collaboration”
Check out the fading of the original colours since the photo below was taken in its infancy.
Neon Savage, City Kitty, Sketch Rat, Mowcka – June 2020
City Kitty has a podcast in which he chats with fellow street artist Lunge Box about this very subject, collaborations, check that out HERE
All photos Dave Stuart except where noted
Wednesday, 26 May 2021
The graffiti scene recently lost a true virtuoso with the passing at a very young age of Jano. Jano was a master of style. He pulled off the almost impossible feat of constantly innovating and developing new directions while always remaining distinctive and instantly recognisable.
Jano, Bishopsgate 2017
Whenever you came across a Jano piece or saw his latest upload there was always a kaleidescope of geometry and colour that made the letter form almost redundant yet on close inspection Jano’s very inventive and unconventional take on letter shapes would be revealed to the patient and curious eye. You did not need to be a graff obsessive to see the beauty in Jano’s style and this cross-over appeal may explain a lot about the esteem in which Jano was held as well as something about the growing general appreciation of graffiti as a significant, valid culture.
Jano frequently painted concrete structures at the former sewage works in south west London now known as the Feltham Circles and it is at this location that a large number of tributes to Jano, by fellow writers have appeared – hat tip to Romanwg who messaged me to draw my attention to this.
Thanks also to local boy Art Of The State who pointed out that Feltham Circles is next to the crematorium where Jano’s funeral service was held. After the service and the next day friends, relatives and writers gathered at Jano’s favourite location to celebrate his life and pay tribute.
RIP Jano by Gasp, background MrMeana
Jano tribute by Paul "Don" Smith UA
Jano tribute by Sky High
Some graffiti writers, a talented few, develop a character which becomes as much a signature for their identity as their handstyle, the character is so distinctive and recognisable you are in no doubt who the creator was. Zomby has it, Tizer has it. Jano had it too. “The Boy” as the character is known, a seated character based essentially on a circle, was often found close to Jano’s graffiti and all around his usual writing haunts.
The Boy - Jano, Sclater St 2009
The Boy is replicated in homage in many of the tributes.
The Boy character homage by Chum
Jano Rest In Piece
The Boy, homage by Gem vcs
The Boy, homage by Dice
Among the many character tributes was this particularly poignant shrine, also seen closer up in the feature image at the top of this post. It is possible that this version of the character may be protected under plastic as a genuine Jano relic, comments seen online from writers paying tribute to Jano suggest this may be the case.
I met Jano on just a few occasions many years apart and found him courteous and tolerant of my intrusion on his painting. RIP Jano, not forgotten.
Jano work in progress, Shoreditch 2017
With apologies to all those writers and friends of Jano whose art features in this post but who through my ignorance I can't credit. If you know who any of the uncredited pieces are by, just drop me an email: nolionsinengland at gmail or insta DM @dave_stuart_ldn, all polite messages most appreciated!
All photos: Dave Stuart