Thursday 17 August 2017 – London.
I have settled nicely in to my new job, I have a good team, everyone has been really welcoming and has made me feel at home. A good start. The best bit is there have been no stressful days, hopefully that will remain. I work in a fabulous bit of London, not far from the Houses of Parliament. I expect I will be taking the camera in when the days start to get shorter and sunrise and sunset more closely bookend my working day.
I have not been on street art run for months, so I was really looking forward to seeing my mate Daryl after work and going to check out a bit of street art. Daryl still goes out most weeks and still posts the best bits on Instagram, he is the right man to show me around.
We met at Liverpool St station, I was 20 mins early so stopped in for a swift pint with the city types, nice pint of something I cannot remember. The first stop was some new boards that have been put up by the front of a new tower. A tower that is part of a complex built on the ruins of the warehouses, shops and businesses that lined these streets only a few years ago.
Mr Cenz is one or a few artists to have painted where I live in Walthamstow in NE London, in fact he painted a side wall of a snooker hall at the end of my street. Sadly the wall, along with the entire hall has recently been demolished so a new (and probably hideous) block of flats can be built. Mr Cenz has been painting in London for a few years, though this is the first time I have seen a piece that is largely monochrome. I liked it.
Another artist to grace the walls of Walthamstow is Carne Griffiths, I particularly liked this piece of his.
Daryl and I did not have much a plan, short of finding somewhere later on for a drink and maybe something to eat. In the end we stuck to a fairly traditional path and headed up towards Great Eastern St. This area has changed a lot since I first came here, buildings have come and gone, hoardings have come and gone, and a lot of the painting spaces have disappeared along with them. A pub that used to be pretty much deserted after work on a Thursday was now heaving with new city types and the younger, hipper, wealthier crowd that has moved in to the area. There were a couple of things I liked. This by Loreto,
and a traditional, old school work from Dscreet, which did not quite fit in the frame. It was good to see that as much as things have changed, Dscreet has remained true to his art.
Daryl was keen to show me a new bar that had opened in an old police station, the reception was a bottle store and the cells down in the basement have been converted into a cocktail bar. It had a very nice whisky menu, so it would have been rude to walk out without sampling some of the product. On the way we passed a more traditional and colourful Mr Cenz piece and a Fanakan, in a style that he has developed since I last saw some of his work.
It turned out that having one whisky was not enough to form an opinion on the new bar, so we had a second before heading back out again to explore a bit more of the new work around. It seems that the big global artists are not coming to London as much these days. There has been a big surge in the popularity of street art around the world, and around the UK, so there are now festivals in a whole bunch of new, and sometimes obscure places. Good for them, not so good for us as there is not a great range of big and interesting work to see. The upside to this is loads of small paste ups and painting on the old walls. I quite enjoyed exploring again after such a long time.
There were a couple of pieces by Kai, the first has been tagged,
and a bunch of stuff by artists whose names I can no longer remember, though I am sure Daryl pointed them out to me at the time.
In a yard near Truman’s Brewery there were a couple of large pieces, one by Conor Harrington, who I have blogged about before; he has also painted in Walthamstow before.
I do not know who painted this, but I like it.
The light was starting to fade as we got to Hanbury St, always a good location for bigger pieces and bigger name artists. First up was a traditional Dale Grimshaw piece.
With a fairly traditional Alex Senna opposite.
The far end of the street has a couple of newer walls, I really like this large piece, though again I cannot remember the artists name!
Ant Carver had the wall at the end of Hanbury Street.
The light had dropped too much to be able to take a decent hand hold shot so we decided to head off and find something to eat. We passed a new work by a recent visitor to London, Falko One. He had caused some controversy by painting one of his signature elephants on to the bottom of an old piece by Stik. This was deemed, and I sort of agree, as some form of artistic vandalism. Though to counter that argument, street art should be transitory, and in my mind nothing should last forever. Though, if some artists work should last forever, Stik should be one of those artists!
I had a really good time, it is always good to catch up with Daryl, and it was great to rediscover a bit of street art again, it was almost like I had not been before.