Don't Fret is an artist from Chicago who started out as a grafitti artist but went on to create paste-ups and paint characters in silly situations to have a laugh at the world as well as to make a social or political statement. The artist visited London at the end of last year, and one of the murals left behind was the wall on Bacon Street that Belgian artist Bisser had painted earlier in 2016. This new artwork is a take on the artist's home town of Chicago. A farmer chases pigs, and a butcher waits. The refined hog sits on top of a man's head and sips a martini. dontfret01.jpg

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In addition to the mural above, I did notice some sentences sprayed around London, such as "The Distinct Sound of Laughter in the Distance". I also saw a couple of character paste-ups with political themes. I did not realise that these were also from the artist and did not photograph them.

For more information about Don't Fret, visit his Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/dontfretart

Jay Kaes on Pedley Street

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When I came back to London from my holiday in December, one of the new pieces of street art was by Jay Kaes. Kaes is based in London, so the city does get to see his work from time to time. This time, he painted one of the most popular walls off Brick Lane with a three-panel 'virtual reality'/'social media' scene. Kaes' work is often characterised with bright and bold colours, and they are often stylised in that "comic book" manner.

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The artist's name appears on the wall in various places, but he may have been part of a collaboration with some of the image due to the mention of RMGW. If you know anything more about this, do let me know in the comments.

The Sketchbook Project Community

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The Sketchbook Project came onto my radar several years ago. They organise collaborative art projects and sketchbooks from artists all over the world and catalogue them like a library. They began in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia with over 70,000 artists. Now, they are based in Brooklyn and catalog over 35,000 artworks by different artists. They also display the works to the public to inspire others.

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Suzie Scott - Make Mine a Double: Coventry, UK

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Gavin Churcher - Heroes and Villans: Southampton, Hampshire, England

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Holly Genzen - Fall Wildflowers of the Ocala National Forest: Florida, USA

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Picamimi - My Life, Your Life: Istanbul, Turkey

For more information about The Sketchbook Project, visit the official website at https://www.sketchbookproject.com or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SketchbookProject/

Street Art By Sweet Toof, Mo, and Gold Peg

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Today's post features grafitti and street art by Sweet Toof, Mo (Mighty Mo), and PEG. These artists have been painting the walls around north and east London for a long time, and some of their work is amongst the oldest on the streets. Quite a few of these pieces were taken along the canal.

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I originally covered Sweet Toof's work in a round-up post featuring other street artists here. Sweet Toof is London-based, although it's rare to find newer work from the artist. His trademark (or tag) is a set of bright pink gums and teeth. According to his Wikipedia page, the tooth is a favourite subject of his because it symbolises life as well as death. Some of his work features the faces of clowns or Shakespeare-like with the bright pink gums and teeth. If you are lucky, you can see his artwork on a boat in the canal.

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The newest piece by Sweet Toof that I came across was the one below, which may have been a collaboration with another artist. It's not in the same style as his other work.

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Of course, many of the pieces are collaborations with other street artists. The next piece is a monkey face, and these are located along the tops of several buildings; if you look up, you are bound to spot one. The artist is Mighty Mo, and I've previously covered his work in this post when he collaborated with other artists.

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In some of the walls along the canal, I noticed that he collaborated with Sweet Toof a few times, including this image of his monkey character with the teeth.

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Also, the image below shows a wall that Mightly Mo, Sweet Toof, Gold Peg, and possibly other street artists in The Burning Candy Crew collaborated on. Gold Peg's clothes pegs are a common sight in east London as well.

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I will be adding more photographs of the artwork as soon as I come across them. At some point this year, I'd like to complete my canal walk to cover the remainder of the canal through Hackney Wick.

A new store dedicated to the famous toy brick, Lego, has opened in Leicester Square at the end of November last year. The shop was in the process of being constructed for at least the last couple of years. The lines/queues to enter the store were very long as it was busy, but I had a look at the new store a couple of weeks ago when I took a day off during the week. The Leicester Square Lego store is the largest Lego store and features several large-scale Lego models. In addition to these, it includes a Mosaic Maker that turns your image into Lego and includes printed instructions and the bricks to re-create it. The full-sized Lego models include Big Ben, telephone boxes, post boxes, map of London, a tube map, and a London tube. The tube is the largest structure in the shop and took over 637,903 bricks. Inside the tube carriage, visitors can sit next to other famous London-based celebrities, such as Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, and a Royal Guard.

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The Lego store opens just in time for the holidays, which is just right around the corner from Covent Garden. Covent Garden often puts a display of Lego on during the season, and it was a little late this year. Last year, a steam train was the focus. Previous years of Christmas-themed sculptures built using Lego in Covent Garden included Santa and his reindeer, a large snowglobe filled with London monuments made from Lego that visitors could walk through and a large Lego advent calendar which was opened daily to reveal a new surprise.  

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The Lego store in Leicester Square is open daily from 10:00am to 10:00pm, except on Sundays when it is open from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. It is located in the same area as a lot of similar shops dedicated to tourism trade, including the M&M store and the Nickelodeon shop. 

"Hunto Says Get Kissed Here" Mural

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Hunto is a street artist from Italy who is no stranger to London. I originally covered the artist's work here, but another recent mural that he completed last year was just off Brick Lane. Toward the end of last year, Hunto created a new mural on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch. The piece is titled "Hunto Says Get Kissed Here..." and the other side of the mural, which is painted on scaffolding, has two figures facing each other on it.

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Another mural on the second piece of scaffolding shows another face.

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While I was in Nuremberg at the end of 2014, I visited the Albrecht Dürer house, located in the old part of town near the castle. Dürer was a painter, engraver, and printer who lived from the late 1400s until the mid 1500s. He spent time in Italy and knew famous Renaissance painters da Vinci and Raphael. His work was praised. 

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The Albrecht Dürer House in Nuremberg, Germany contains a gallery with a large selection of artwork from the artist, including some of his famous paintings. It is arranged in a gallery inside the house. The house also contains engravings, illustrations, and sketches that he made during his life. In addition, it includes personal possessions. The house itself has been left to what it would have been like during Dürer's life and time, and this also includes furniture. 

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One of the rooms at the top also has information about the style of work and how it was achieved. Although the audio guide can be listened to in English, none of the information boards had English text on them, including the interesting techniques room. There was also a section with different colours of jars that were mixed with the paint to achieve certain colours. (This was interesting, but it was in German only and I could not read it.)

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"Keep Out!" Street Art by Zabou

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At the end of October, street artist Zabou refreshed her mural located near Petticoat Lane in London. Previously, it was the "Cabinet of Curiousity" mural featuring a Sherlock Holmes character. This time, the wall is titled "Keep Out!" and featured zombie children that look as though they are breaking out of the wall. In addition to painting the ghoulish faces, Zabou nailed up pieces of wooden board to the wall.

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I always enjoy seeing new work by Zabou.

Pantone® 2017 Colour of the Year

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The Pantone® "colour of the year" has been decided, and next year is all about PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery. This is a yellow-green shade that reminds me of spring, and it is a fresh and reviving colour that makes me feel optimistic and hopeful. According to Leatrice Eiseman, "Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose." (1)

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Image from Pantone®

Expect to see these colours used in the world of fashion, interior design, and other design over the next year. Some past 'colours of the year' are listed below.

2016: Serenity & Rose Quartz

2015: Marsala

2014: Radiant Orchid

2013: Emerald

2012: Tangerine Tango

2011: Honeysuckle

1) Pantone®. https://www.pantone.com/press-release-pantone-unveils-color-of-the-year-2017-pantone-15-0343-greenery [8 December, 2016].

London Street Art Review of 2016

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Although I could not really keep on top of what was happening in the street art world this year as much as I liked, I was able to discover a lot of new pieces, and I did attend some events and visited the areas in order to get photographs. This post will showcase some of my favourite pieces of street art that were in London in 2016.

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John Dolan and George the Dog

In early Janaury, an all-female group of street artists had a paint jam on Blackall Street and left a lot of new artwork to be enjoyed. Not long after, JimmyC's existing David Bowie mural in Brixton became a popular icon as people left flowers and messages on the wall for the singer. (He also painted a new mural on Calendonian Road in the summer.)

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Ant Carver is a London-based artist who creates paste-ups and finishes them with paint; his work mainly consists of portraits. He pasted a lot of his work up at the start of the year, and I saw a few new ones appear every now and again.

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Ben Eine also made a return to London after a few years and re-painted over a couple of his existing walls and painted at Old Street. He painted "Like Nothing Else" on Ebor Street. He also painted "Last Days of Shoreditch".

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Earlier in the year, Dale Grimshaw painted one of the most striking murals off Brick Lane to draw attention to Papau New Guinea. He would later paint the Village Underground wall in Shoreditch with a similar style.

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Ador & Semor, a pair of French artists, painted a high-profile wall off Brick Lane. The piece included a child shooting an arrow into a carrot in a shopping basket.

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It's also been a few years since Alice Pasquini, the Italian-based artist, visited London. This year, she was here for an exhibition and painted three small murals around east London. I do wish that she'd left something larger.

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Louis Masai was popular this year with his work for Endangered13 in Bow in April; he helped to organise the event. I covered this in Part I and Part II as I came back on both days in order to see the progress. The paint jam had many artists collaborate, including Jonesy, Andy Council, Faunagrpaphic, Louis Masai, Vibes, Jim Vision, and more. I had a lot of fun visiting this.

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Louis Masai also collaborated with Birdo in the summer at Bethnal Green and with Fanakapan in the spring for the Meeting of the Styles annual paint jam and created "Freedom?" showcasing sharks and dolphins in a plastic bag.

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Also in the spring, London-based Mobstr created a couple of pieces, and this was the first of his works that I had seen in a couple of years. One of the pieces was a sculpture placed high on a lamp post: "He left me hanging when I was alone and high".

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In the spring, American street artist Kai Aspire pasted up his three-dimensional pictures around Shoreditch and Brick Lane with social and political messages. Apparently, there are some around King's Cross as well, but I never found them. I loved tracking down the pieces by the artist.

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DANK (Dan Kitchener) also painted throughout the year, but the largest piece, named "London Rush", is located at the far end of Hanbury Street. 

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I loved the pig by Belgian street artist Bisser on Bacon Street. The big has a somber look and has the butcher lines across its body. It's also on the same walls as ROA's famous big and the butcher girl that Saki & B added a year or two ago.

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Artista's artwork was continuously being added throughout the year with one wall on Blackall Street continuously being refreshed with her toast character. I loved checking back on this from time to time in order to see the changes. I wasn't able to capture every incarnation of the work as it would change frequently at times, and it was impossible to photograph it at other times due to the building work and fences placed in front or the odd photography studio deciding to use it as a backdrop in order to get portraits done.

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Another artist who painted throughout the year is Zabou, and I photographed several pieces of her work. This included Cabinet of Curiousity, and various other murals on walls and shutters

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London-based street artist Dreph painted many murals across London during the year, and his focus is primarily on portraits. I saw him painting one of these and photographed many more.

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In October, one of the best pieces of the year was painted on the South Bank, near Borough Market. This is an area with no street art except for the one wall where it was painted. Australian artist JimmyC painted William Shakespeare's portrait on the wall, and it has attracted a lot of attention from tourists. This year marks 400 years since Shakespeare's death.

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In November, Russian artist Lora Zombie left three murals in London, with "Tank Girl" possibly becoming my favourite of the three.

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Toward the end of the year, the Urban Solid duo from Italy returned to London after a few years and pasted up some new sculptures around Brick Lane, and I had fun spotting these; some of these were very popular with tourists getting selfies.

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The street art scene has been relatively quiet this year, and I think this is due to many of the walls disappearing as gentrification takes over. This year, there are fewer walls as there have been at least six areas that I can think of that have changed so that street art cannot be painted there anymore. Brick Lane still seems to be the focus area as the other areas are dwindling now.

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