Aryz Fauxreel Grafter Mantis Mode 2 Paul Insect Probs Sickboy Space Invader Tizer vhils Word to Mother

Is Street Art Dead?

all photos: NoLionsInEngland

I come to praise street art not to bury it. If that gives away my answer to my own question fear not, for purpose of dramatic suspense the best is still saved till last.

There are a myriad variety of ways I can cycle across London from home in the West to work in the East and luckily today I was able to choose a meandering tour-de-W1 which took in two new pieces which I had spotted in Ian Cox aka Wallkandy teaser pics.

This Paul Insect was not difficult to locate (ok – it’s W2 but lets not quibble) and as I took some flicks the adjacent door disgorged a family of mum and three kids under the age of 5. They loved the art but hadn’t witnessed its creation as the kids asked if I did it, ho ho ho ho. Somewhere in London, a young family may now believe Paul Insect goes to work in Lycra.

Paul Insect

The Mode 2 piece is rather saucy and of course, being W1 I couldn’t get this shot without some damn gorgeous woman walking into the frame.

Mode 2

Mode 2

Lunchtime presented the opportunity for a 1 hour whizz around Shoreditch, wandering the streets is great for blowing through the synapses after a hectic morning and this time I had five specific objectives.

I met Fauxreel aka Mr Dan bergeron at Pure Evil’s gallery last week and although he has been a flickr contact for a while I wasn’t really conscious of his art, my ears pricked up when he talked of his plans for a paste-up in a grubby but frequently hit alleyway. Seeing a flick of the end result on unusualimage’s flickr put the idea in my mind for a shot as if the camera was the eye of someone holding the ladder looking upwards, the pic here is the full piece, the “propping-up-the-ladder” shot is here on my flickr. Tick the box marked “not permissioned”, always worth an extra star on the street art rating scale and also the piece works so well with the wall furniture so top marks for placement.


Continuing towards Brick Lane I paused at End Of The Line’s Curtain Road wall to photograph some Aryz, Tizer, Probs, Nychos, Biser and Does pieces, when I chanced upon them painting this last week i got some comedy pics of a grass on a moped watching them brazenly painting away in daylight without a care.


Just yards further on, there were the Village Underground wall panels painted last week in parallel with Probs/Tizer’s stunning “Shades of Things To Come” show. Got some decent pics of more Probs, Aryz, Snugone, Does, Nychos, Biser among others and this masterful and witty Tizer confection.


And on, still on a 1 hour schedule, came across a very nice new Mantis, check the paths in the maze, they’re not as random as you might think.


Yards further on came across another Fauxreel that I hadn’t known about, so with this one there was not only the illegal aspect but also the chance discovery element as well, getting close to perfect (free hand spray required for top marks!).


And I haven’t mentioned the two new (to me) Elbow Toe written word pieces or the Sinboy shutter character and tags, save them for another day though recently there has been a lot of pieces kept back for such “nothing new” days which have been a long time waiting.

Sickboy’s flickr streamed yesterday revealed a new Sickboy letter piece on a familiar gate – so freehand spray but not “chanced upon”, Sickboys part had been partially spoiled by someone tearing off the flyers it was painted over, perhaps an audacious attempt to steal the whole piece!

Sickboy, Word To Mother (I think)

Mr Cox’s weekend flicks confirmed suspicions this Vhils piece was only about 80% complete when I snapped it last Thursday but it was still worth strolling into the Old Truman Brewery to capture the piece in its finished state, my fifth intended location. Curiously the lunchtime curry stall often positioned in front of it wasn’t there, sometimes you get lucky (other times, there’s be a bloody white van parked hard against it).

Vhils (sculpted render)

How did I get to the Brewery from the Sickboy piece, well I paused and pondered – go back to brick Lane or round the opposite side down a dog-legged road between a wall and a derelict warehouse. Easy choice! Rounding the corner I spied a cherry picker up against a warehouse brick wall and even from about 100 yards at a very oblique angle there was no doubt in my mind what I had found.

However after a matter of feet I came across this lush Grafter stencil piece that I had seen pics of but whose location I didn’t know, this wonderful and peaceful innocence in the midst of the urban crush feels like a throw-back to a rose-tinted previous world where kids could play outdoors unsupervised and un-threatened. Try leaving your kids alone at that age today and people not only wonder if she is safe they mentally start forming the unfit negligent parenting accusations. When street art triggers reflections like that, it’s clearly doing something right.


Finally, the crowning glory of the walk, the un-expected chancing upon a street art legend in the act of creating a piece which stands a chance of lasting for the life of the building it is placed upon. They don’t come much more revered than the legendary French street artist Space Invader and here he was in front of me, working with a friend putting up a piece which is going to be enormous when it is finished.

Space Invader

Of course, quite a bit of the art photographed today isn’t there by chance, apart from the “Shades Of Things To Come” show mentioned earlier, the Paul Insect, Mode 2 and Space Invader pieces are connected to Lazarides “The Grifters” Christmas Show” which opens this week. The joy of discovering un-expected street art and illegal street art creates a wonderful rush and whilst today my cup truly did runneth over, thankfully this is not as rare an emotion as some might have you believe.

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