Monday, 31 August 2015

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible

not-actually-Stik, actual Cerne Abbas Giant, not-actually-MyDogSighs obviously

Everybody graffitis sometime.  Maybe it's just on a post-it note while you're on the phone, Maybe down the side of a magazine.  Then it's a small step to adding a moustache and an eye patch to that photo of a model.  You start to make your mark.  The moustache and eye patch could be viewed as
1. a bored doodle
2. wilful damage
3. a critique of capitalist society, sexism and the fall of the Roman Empire.

Same is true on the street.  The intention of the graffiti artist may have been 
1. absent minded
2. wilful damage, demonstrating a disconnect from mainstream society and the need to reclaim his/her environment
3. an attempt to provide social commentary and even improve the locale, 

Former-homeless-person now published-author Stik has spoken about feeling invisible and the creation of the Stik people was his way of showing "I'm here!"  Before long the Stik people became part of the community, at the same time reflecting back.

At one level the 125 ft high Big Mother and Child on the Charles Hocking house (left) is simply something that brightens up the area.  At the same time the Mother is looking sadly at the change all around and the Child just looks scared.  The area is being redeveloped, homes are being cleared, communities are being uprooted. Charles Hocking is being demolished next year.  The new homes will be unaffordable for those who currently live in the area.

And the planes flying over every 20 seconds to Heathrow Airport provide the best viewing platform.  So, for many travellers their first sight of London will be a giant sad parent and scared child.  Or is it the last sight on leaving?  Either way Stik is no longer invisible.

Stik has also said that one of his inspirations has been the chalk hill figures in the south of England. Figures like the Cerne Abbas giant at the top of the page, the Long Man of Wilmington and the Uffington White Horse.

We have no way of knowing for certain the purpose behind these chalk figures.  They may have been to commemorate a battle won or a leader who died.  Maybe a commissioned piece of art  like the Angel of the North.  There may have been a prehistoric Andrew Gormley.  And a committee headed by Nicholas Serota and Charles Saatchi.  Maybe a non-commissioned work like a Stik.  Or maybe it was just the tribe saying WE ARE HERE.

Stik people are much loved.  Here's the moment when three Street Art tours of Shoreditch met in front of a Stik.

And here's more more Stiks.  Just because.

 Stik's former studio, currently being converted to apartments

Another Shoreditch building being demolished - but it looks like they're preserving Stik's wall.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Joy of a Toy

666, Camden Lock

Here come the elephants and tigers
here come the kangaroo
anyone can go to the circus
we'll be waiting for you
Kevin Ayers

Friday, 28 August 2015

Silent witness

Mehdi Ghadyanloo, Shoreditch

The warm wind blows gently
and the corn poppies dance in mute witness
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
As another generation is butchered and damned

Hungarian police say they have arrested four people over the discovery of the bodies of 71 migrants, thought to be Syrian, in a lorry in Austria.

The victims included 59 men, eight women and four children who are thought to have been dead for about two days.

The decomposing bodies were discovered by Austrian police on Thursday morning in the abandoned lorry, near the Hungarian border.

Officials said the victims probably died after suffocating in the vehicle.

The people are thought to have been dead when the vehicle crossed into Austria from Hungary. 

Among the victims was a girl aged between one and two years old.

from BBC news

. . . the winds came, gently, 
several heads became one 
n the summertime, 
though august people sneered;
we were at peace, and we cheered
We walked alone, sometimes hand in hand, between the thin lines marking sea and sand; 
smiling very peacefully, we began to notice that we could be free, 
and we moved together to the West. 
West is where all days will someday end; 
where the colours turn from grey to gold, and you can be with friends 
and light flakes the golden clouds above all; 
West is Mike and Susie, 
West is where I love.  
There we shall spend our final days of our lives; 
tell the same old stories: 
yeah well, at least we tried.  
Into the West, smiles on our faces, we'll go; 
oh, yes, 
and our apologies to those who'll never really know the way. 
We're refugees, 
walking away from the life that we've known and loved; 
nothing to do or say, 
nowhere to stay; 
now we are alone. 
We're refugees, 
carrying all we own in brown bags, tied up with string; 
nothing to think, 
it doesn't mean a thing, 
but we'll be happy on our own. 
West is Mike and Susie; 
West is where I love,
West is refugees' home.
Refugees, Peter Hammill, VDGG

Mehdi Ghadyanloo, Shoreditch

Thursday, 27 August 2015

pure evil, nightmares

what was I saying about gallery art on the street and street art in galleries?  Does it matter?  Not really.  

I was waiting for a sign, but there was no sign, so I made my own mind up

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Big country, small world


At the risk of labouring the point it is not just the BIG street art that is worth seeing.  There are hundreds of hidden gems, little pieces that you could just walk by.  The work of Gregos for example.  Painted casts of Gregos, in different moods, can be seen all over if you look hard enough.  Here's a couple from Shoreditch.

Gregos, Noriaki


baby face, overpainted by The Rolling People 


Here's another way that the street furniture of the modern metropolis is being subverted.  Blue Plaques remembering actual local people who had enough friends and influence to earn their own unofficial blue plaques. 

Urban Still Life, Yipi Yipi Yeah

These two are from Madrid's Yipi Yipi Yeah.  Some of YYY's other work is more political and interesting.  These look as though they should mean something, be a telling comment about urban life or factory farming or some such. Or maybe they're just an exercise in colour and text.

This next one IS a comment on the cruelty of factory farming.

Paul Dan Smith

 Here's some cat art from the streets

 And here's some portraiture

Ben Wilson, Chewing gum graffiti

this is painted on chewing gum, stuck to the pavement.  Painted in situ. With a ridiculously thin brush.  What can I say?


Done and done

Monday, 24 August 2015


Looking good, London

Welcome home 

Lila Engel


Gedenkminute (Fur A + K)

 Hallo Excentrico!


 Big Mother, Stik, Charles Hocking House, Acton
Fur Immer

  Big Mother, Stik
Liber Honig


Between 7 and 42 depending on the colour of the month