Friday, February 20th 2015
Freya is becoming very picky about her food. She has grown tired of the brand that she has happily eaten so far and I am always looking around for other makes to find something she will like. This morning I caught a bus to Camden Town hoping to find something in Palmers Pet Store, an establishment I have visited on many occasions before.
The bus carried us up Camden High Street and stopped at traffic lights. On the left I saw an alley and noticed that the walls were covered with paintings. A few yards further on, the bus halted at a bus stop and I thought about getting off and taking a look at the art but instead went on to do my shopping.
Having done that, I decided to go back and find the art, after all. The above map (click for a Google Map of the area) shows where it is, in an alleyway off Camden High Street, opposite Plender Street. I looked for the name of the alley but found it had been painted out.
While street name panels in London are usually in the form of embossed metal plates, one does come across quite a few that are painted. It may be that the Council is in the process of repainting the name of this alley but in the meantime, visitors like me don’t know what it is called. I notice from the map that it is possibly a continuation of Miller Street which is joined to it by an even narrower passage. In the meantime, the easiest way to locate it is to say that it is beside a pub called the Wheelbarrow. However, this establishment, as Google notes, is closed and if and when it reopens, the name may change.
Right at the beginning of the passageway and painted on the pub wall is this lively rendition of a parakeet by artist One Love. Parakeets were exotic birds imported as pets but some escaped and the species is now well established in the UK. They gather in flocks in trees in the evening merrily chattering away but not everyone is happy about their presence, especially in such numbers. This one is mischievously performing gymnastics on a branch that is also a paintbrush.
Continuing along the wall from left to right is a series of paintings. The alley is too narrow to include them in a single photo and I don’t think the panorama function, with its distortion, would give a good rendition, so I will show it in sections.
Unfortunately, I do not know who the author of the other, colourful painting is. There is some lettering at lower left and what might be the signature “DS”, but while there is a street artist who signs himself ‘DS’, his style seem to be very different (and so is the signature). Nor can I find any meaning for the letters ‘KLO’. If any one knows, please tell, and I will add a note.
On the opposite wall is this intriguing head and shoulders view (please click to see a larger version). Its size makes it difficult to photograph. I tried a panorama shot but wasn’t happy with the result. Note how the painting takes the windows in its stride.
The final painting is a realistic-style full face portrait in mono.
I have included some context in this picture because I think the way the portrait fits its surroundings is important to the impression it gives. I call it the “Hole in the head portrait” because there seems to be a black hole in the middle of the forehead, though there is no indication as to its significance. The dramatic piece of work is signed top left by Pang. This artist paints in a variety of styles as can be seen from his Facebook and Instagram entries.
I was glad that I did indeed make this diversion to see these paintings and I don’t doubt that when next I return to this spot, there will be an entirely new collection awaiting discovery.
Update March 1st 2015
I have been experimenting with softwares that perform “panorama photo stitching”, that is, combine overlapping photos of a scene into a single image. I used one called Autostitch to combine four pictures of the wall of the Wheelbarrow and the result appears below.
There is some distortion but I think this is caused by inequalities in the perspective in the different photos. On the whole, I think the result gives a good impression of the wall as a whole.