Street Art

INSA – “The Cycle Of Futility”

All photos NoLionsInEngland except where stated

(Update: see new news on NO AD in footnote at bottom)

Street artist INSA has explored the far off boundaries of technology with his latest hi-tech work “The Cycle Of Futility” in Shoreditch.


With most street art basically what you see is what you get, the image is the message. INSA though works with the old animation idea of painted frames each one incorporating a small movement from the previous one which you subsequently view as a looping gif online.

He has now pushed the art a further step by exploiting Augmented Reality technology. You download the free App onto your iPhone, point the phone at the wall and the powers of augmented reality replace the static real-art on the walls with the whirling animated gif on your phone. Wow!

INSA Gif-iti Tumblr

The Cycle of Futility features the full rites of passage from life’s beginnings to skulls representing death, while the in-between bit is an unrelenting assault of authority – who’d be a street artist?  Perhaps we can take some pleasure from the fact that the police endlessly chase but never catch anything.

tn_DSC_0964 cropped copy

Each painted mural was an important and equal step on the process of creating an animated piece of art, what remains on the wall may appear as a mural but actually the art piece is the App animation. The mural on the wall is no more than just the last frame of the animation, not that it is any less valid as a mural of course.

The technology isn’t new, adverts have utilised Augmented Reality for a while and Jordan Seilers advert busters have appeared in New York where Augmented Reality replaces the advert with a piece of art, thankfully RJ at Vandalog has that covered.

The earliest INSA piece we can recall was a comparatively small seemingly abstract patterned paste up spotted in 2006 though these two photos date from 2007 and 2008 respectively, curiously the tattered remnants of that 2008 can still be made out by Old St roundabout to this day.

London, 2007

London, 2008

We realised later that the abstract patterns were in fact women’s legs in stripy tights ending in a foot shod in very high heeled stilettos and these were complimented by abstract studies of female buttocks, combined in this 2008 repeating pattern.


We also caught up with the fact that INSA started out as a graffiti writer, a background we saw in some stunning bits glossy graffiti writing, this man LOVES bling.

London, 2009

INSA’s art shows have been epic magnificence. In 2012 he showed “Self Reflection Is Greater Than Self Projection“, a superb immersive installation room inside the very building the Futility Cycle mural is painted on.


INSA Self Reflection

Before that, Insa was “Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places” (2009)


And this seen at a Brighton show is because we think it is important to appreciate the man’s fashion aesthetic

INSA heels


From mid-October through the end of November, NO AD will display photographic works in conjunction with the renowned International Center of Photography. The first part of the ICP’s participation will be dedicated to Sebastião Salgado: Genesis, an exhibition on view through January 11, 2015, at the International Center of Photography, 1133 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY. NO AD will include 54 arresting images of fleeting cultures and environment, presented alongside a video of the artist’s thoughts on climate change.

As the first of many collaborations ahead, we want to thank ICP for its vision and support. We hope that NO AD will become an alternative exhibition space for New Yorkers, bringing them closer to the rich cultural content this city has to offer. We could not be happier that ICP has chosen to use this new format to reach out to new audiences in progressive ways.

NO AD x ICP (Oct. 15 – Nov. 31)


INSA free App viewer:

Graffoto Love:  Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places:

Graffoto Love: Self Reflection Is Greater Than Self Projection:

NY Subway Ad Busting “NO AD”:  App

Ad busting

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