Street Art though the noughties

2010-2019 A Decade of Street Art Sculpture

At the beginning of the 2010 decade, a decade forever tainted by lack of a decent single word to define the period, the street art of Darius Downey, Ronzo and even the occasional Banksy sculpture (pickaxe phonebox) notwithstanding, there was not much sculptural street art to speak of. As a more benign accepting tolerance of street art developed in the 2010s we began to see a broader range of artists willing to put work on the streets and a growth in street art exploring the third dimension.

Unknown Stainless Steel Bird On Perch, Brick Lane 2013
(edit: Brilliant reader Lucy identified artist as Metalbird, thanks Lucy)

Someone who frankly could have been included in several of these 2010s flashbacks is Ronzo. Ronzo did a variety of sculptures of various sizes including spoof coats of arms, weird cockroaches and fake fossils but what tickled people’s appreciation of naughtiness most was the time Ronzo went round drilling into pavements to install “Pity of London”, his own version of the City Of London’s guardian dragons. Its magnificence can be relived on the Graffoto post “Crunchy: the Ronzo Credit Crunch Monster

Pity Of London, Ronzo, Aldegate 2010

City Of Ronzo Coat Of Arms, 2011

Someone who has been in many of these decade reviews already is the brilliant, thoughtful, inspiring Jonesy.  These are the ultimate in unshouty sculptures and it was impossible to decide which ones to include in a list of favourites, so here are just a few:

Jonesy Hear No Evil 2019
Hear No Evil, Jonesy, Brick Lane 2019

Jonesy 2019
Radiation warning, Jonesy, Shoreditch, 2019

Jonesy 2014
Glitter bust, Jonesy, Seven Stars 2014

Jonesy Pesticide 2018
Pesticide, Jonesy, Old Truman Brewery 2018

Jonesy Griefing Oil 2012
Griefing Oil, Jonesy, Brick Lane 2012

Jonesy Methane Permafrost 2015
Methane Permafrost, Jonesy, Seven Stars 2015

Dan Witz was also mentioned in the review of political street art through the 2010s but his two campaigns in London had such a strong installation element it is a pleasure to feature him again here;

Dan Witz, London West End, 2013

Spanish street artist Arte Es Basura / Art Is Trash visited London several times during the decade and his art embraced painting, sculpture, salvage, installation and performance. Art Is Trash is truly epic, outrageou, quick and one of the most inventive street artists of the decade.

tn_WP_20141003_16_40_59_Pro copy
Robbo RIP tribute, Art Is Trash, Shoreditch 2014

tn_DSC_9583 copy
Art Is Trash

London has its own amazing trash sculpturist who spent most of the decade using the moniker Sell Out. Sell Outs trash installations typically followed a more political or contemporary news relevance such is this one shortly after Madonna fall off stage performing at an awards ceremony

tn_DSC_0322 copy
Madonna Stage Dive Malfunction, Sell Out, Brick Lane 2015

In 2017 The UK nearly buckled under the stress of shortage of broccoli but one man wasn’t going to give in to Spain’s attempt to bring the UK to its knees with a broccoli blockade. Broccoli man Adrian Boswell mocked the broccoli crisis with a series of broccoli street art installations.  Ongoing.

Broccoli Man, Shoreditch 2017

Broccoli Lane, Adrian Boswell, Spitalfields 2019

Goddess of the crochet art installation is New York based Polish artist Olek. Olek suffered outrageously at the hand of the British legal system after fending off unsolicited approaches from a Russian in a bar which under any interpretation today would be categorised as a sexual assault but unfortunately her assailant happened to have immense wealth and political connections. This sadly curtailed Olek’s appetite for visiting London but she did at least produce some great art during the year long period she was under curfew and prohibited from leaving London.

OLEK - Injustice “Injustice Anywhere”, Crochet panels, Olek, London 2012

OLEK - "We Love London"
Crochet clad bike, Olek, London 2011

Another artist who did some wonderful combined crochet and knitting was 8armstohug from Cologne, some of her charming octopi lasted several years. This octopus in its octopus tank just scream 9 on the cuteness scale,

Stop Worrying, 8armstohug, Shoreditch 2018

Just as the decade counter was about to turn over another 10 years, Lost Hills came in with one of the most novel sculptures of the lot. It’s not just that these were large, lurid fluffy creatures but more that they had eyes that glowed in the dark, a genius bit of hacking of technology available at every garden centre.

tn__DSC8043 copy
Day. Lost Hills, Brick lane, 2019

tn__DSC8080 copy
Night. Lost Hills, Brick lane, 2019

You might not “Adam and Eve” this but the maligned and distressed life size (Italian) figures just off Brick Lane have been there for over two years, enduring on a wall that used to be regularly buffed but whose accretion of art possibly says something about the triumph of tolerance over scarce financial resources.

Adam and Eve, UrbanSolid, Brick Lane May 2017

Elephants in many different guises have had representation on London streets throughout the decade including campaigns such as The Elephant Parade in 2010, Olek’s support of the Elephant Family in 2013. Perhaps the most curious is the Elephant Sculpture campaign to have elephants recognised as sentient beings and given equivalent legal rights to humans.

We Are people, Elephant Man, Old Street 2017

Elephant Man, Hackney Wick 2018 (eyeballs may or may not be a subsequent addition)

One of the most impressive perhaps even iconic sculptures in Shoreditch was “Portal“,  CityzenKane’s relief sculpture tribute to his son sadly departed very young, in certain conditions the sculpture actually wept.

CityzenKane, Shoreditch 2014

CityzenKane (detail), 2014

Skully’s art appeared infrequently, in part due to the act that skully is now based on the far side of the planet. The skulls were exciting anonymous artefacts in the noughties but some did appear during the early years of this decade and amazingly, some still survive.

Skully was the first street artist we spotted incorporating growing plants into their art, when these daffodils erupted from a skull in Spring 2015.

tn_Skull daffodils before after 1
Skully, Blackall Street Shoreditch, 2015

The abstract concrete castings of 3x3x3 first excited us back in 2011. These are usually buggers to find and usually just a few are added on the streets each year. 3x3x3 has also put up ironmongry tags which in their own crumbling oxidised way look as brutal as his concrete sculptures.

Abstract concrete thing, 3x3x3, Buxton St, also feat Arrex Skulls and C3 (detail), 2018

tn_P1150338 copy
Iron tag, 3x3x3, Shoreditch 2013

Also working in concrete was Spanish artist Isaac Cordal. His figures perched on walls, poles and in puddles looking resigned, contemplative and generally accepting of their fate, apart from the bankers of course.

Isaac Cordal, Brick Lane 2010

Lovepiepenbrinck spent a substantial part of the decade subverting the urban landscape with her small piggy sculptures. These kind of popped up and usually disappeared, a few survive though and I was utterly gobsmacked this autumn when a small child on a tour bent down and looked into a tiny knee high fissure in a posh Hoxton street and spotted a piggy, hidden for years and years and possibly never chanced upon by anyone else.

Very Well Hidden Piggy, Lovepiepenbrink date unknown, discovered 2019

This is the ultimate in art that is not pandering to audience of fans, what were the chances of that one being discovered by the public, it is one of those artworks a street artist puts up and then smiles as it survives undetected for days/weeks/months/years (delete according to implausibility). Lovepiepenbrinck never gave exact locations, it was a treasure hunt but a piggy was never at the end of the rainbow.

Lizard Piggy, Lovepiepenbrick, Shoreditch 2014

This compilation of favourite street art sculptures from the about to disappear decade is woefully inadequate is so many ways, the most frustrating perhaps being that it would possibly take another 10 years to sift through all the photos and produce comprehensive list of all the ones worthy of merit. For fear of blight through omission, this post will close with a volley of other wonderful sculptures which have been the source of immense delight over the past 10 years.

Tribal Sculptures, LDashD, Brick Lane 2018

Jace, Stik 2017
Small faces in great places – Homage to Stik’s Brick Lane Couple, Jace, 2017 (this photo), 2018, 2019 (re-installations)

3D D-Dog, D*Face, Shoreditch, 2016

“He Left Me Hanging”, text based sculpture, Mobstr, Brick Lane 2016

“Up Yours Sarkozy”, Gregos, London 2015

tn_DSC_5355 copy copy
Rae (NY), Shoreditch, 2013

616's dangly bits
Kinetic “running legs” sculpture, 616, Shoreditch 2013

Concrete Cameras, Chinagirl Tile, Brick Lane

It would be remiss not follow up with another artist working in concrete, the east London genius of Floating Concrete, already featured in the decade 2010s review of political schizz.

Egoman, Floating Concrete, Old Truman brewery 2018

All those other artists who put up busts, hands, penises, vaginas, angels, abstract mirror shards, gargoyles, insects, birds, trash sculptures, mosaics, luchadore masks etc etc – thank you for your erections.


This series of reviews started with street art at the beginning of the decade: Graffoto 10 year Review Intro

Next as a review of 10 years of murals

On Christmas Day we slipped in an unscheduled flashback A Decade On – King Robbo

Then came Political Street Art of the 2010s Decade

Other links:

3x3x3 Graffoto Blog: “To The Power Of Three
616 Street Art Old and New
Show review Art Is Trash “Police and Horse”
Adrian Boswell Broccoli Man on Graffoto
CitizenKane “Portal” making of

 D*Face Autobiography Review “One Man and His Dog”
Graffoto Blog: Dan Witz – Empty The Cages
Gregos: A Street Art Face Off
Jace Small Face homage Stik In Time
Olek, Injustice, Anti Slavery International, Dirty White Cotton on Graffoto

Rae show review “Nocturnal Trips”
Crunchy: the Ronzo Credit Crunch Monster” on Graffoto
Street Artist Sell Out installations

All photos: Dave Stuart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *