Sunday, November 1st 2015
Brick Lane is a famous and lively street in the Spitalfields-Shoreditch area. Originally called Whitechapel Lane, it gained its present name with the foundation of brick works in the 16th century. Breweries were established here in the 17th century and the area has seen successive waves of immigration, most notably the Huguenots in the 17h century and the Bangladeshis in the 20th century. The latter have had such an impact that the Lane and its neighbourhood are known popularly as Banglatown. Nearly every second commercial address in Brick Lane is an ‘Indian’ restaurant and you cannot walk down the street without being accosted and invited in to sample their wares, though this practice is now illegal and carries a fine.
Culturally, the area is eclectic and continually evolving, something that is reflected in the street art. This afternoon we went for a walk around Brick Lane and I ‘collected’ a few of the artworks on display. I will show them without bothering to be too precise as to their locations because, in any case, they will soon disappear and be replaced. Where I know the name of the painter I have indicated it.
This colourful and luxuriant under-sea scenario occupies the end wall of a row of buildings, overlooking a yard. It is by One Love and has presumably been commissioned, as it must have taken quite a while to complete on what is private property not accessible to passers-by. It was attracting a fair amount of interest from other photographers.
This portrait bears the caption ‘#DOIN’ MA BEST FER YOUR TOURIST PHOTO’ but there is no indication that I can see of the identity of the artist. The subject seems to snarl at the viewer. It is done in grey monotone except for the hair, eyes and garment which are picked out in vivid blue.
Four comic-book super heroes are jointly perusing a magazine (one burning through it with his X-ray vision!) entitled COMICS PARKOUR, on the back of which appear the artist’s name, Solo, and an advertisement or article title reading ‘The Magpie Project’. This name is not unique but I am guessing it refers here to the Manchester band, though I could be wrong,of course.
What may not be noticed at a casual glance is that traces remain of previous artworks on this piece of wall. In particular, look at the green figure’s face, just to the left of his red spectacle lens.
It is a mask in relief, roughly disguised by over-painting but not removed. At one time, quite a lot of street art was being made with three-dimensional objects like this but I have not seen so many recently. Perhaps it was a passing fad.
This sinister human figure, sprawling as though floating helplessly in space, adorns the wall of the Kincao Thai restaurant. It is not signed but is by the French street artist Bom.K and carries an admonitory message about our future on the planet. This is set out in detail in a blog post on London Calling.
These ‘samurai pizza cats’, accompanied by a six-nippled robot, seem ready for, presumably violent, retributory activity – once they finish their pizza, of course. The piece is by Lost Souls, a collaborative group or ‘crew’ of painters. Their works are typically complex and detailed.
Love is… is a tape figure painted by Otto Schade, who also signs as Osch. This Chilean artist produces a varied selection of works in many different styles. Two genres tend to reappear in his work, and might be called ‘trademark’. First are scenes of war and violence contrasted with innocence and vulnerability, presented as silhouettes set in a ‘sunset disc’ (e.g. see this example) and second, human or animal figures formed of tape. The above is an example of the latter type, a meerkat made of loosely wound tape bearing the names of cities. For a dazzling catalogue of this artist’s work, see his Instagram site.
When builders or interior decorators work on a commercial property, they often blank the windows with a coat of whitewash. This white coat frequently acquires inscriptions made by scraping off the paint. This is the first time, though, that I have seen the medium used to create a work of art, in this case a portrait. It will presumably disappear once the building or decorating is finished and the window is cleaned. At bottom left appears the word ‘Orondo’. Is this the artist’s name?
SHOK-1 is another artist of varied styles but he seems recently to have become fascinated with insects and, in particular, X-ray views of the human skeleton. The above is an example of such paintings in which the bones are carefully delineated and light and colour also play an important role.
Fabio Panone Lopes is from Brasil but, like most street artists active today, has painted in many cities around the world. He works in many styles but sometimes produces flat colourful images like this one.
My attempts to photograph this painting were hampered by a car parked almost in front of it. Parking is allowed there, so I cannot complain! This work is also by a team, this one called Un Kolor Distinto Crew. The name means ‘A Different Colour’ (distinto in Spanish means ‘different’ not ‘distinct’) and the ‘crew’ seems to consist of two people, Cines (Cynthia ‘Cines’ Aguilera) and Jekse (Sammy ‘Jekse’ Espinosa), both from Chile. You will find more information on their Web site and Facebook page.