January 2014 Archives

A few nights ago, I was over in Knightsbridge (London) and stopped by Harrods. The famous department store's windows were decorated for Chinese New Year. This year is the "year of the horse", which is also the Chinese animal for the year that I was born. Chinese New Year takes place this weekend. I hope that all of my visitors have a successful year.

Year of the Horse

Street Art: Saki

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Street artist Saki and B*tches was busy creating paste-ups in London in the middle of 2013. Several of the paste-ups and boards were taken down fairly quickly, as I assume complaints were received about them because they depicted erotic ladies.

I did not photograph some of the work as it was not my favourite, and it was removed quickly. However, I did like the zoo girls that were placed on Sclater Street (pictured below). Just before these were placed here, the spot was occupied by a set of Saki's Geisha girls, but they were removed within a week or two. The zoo girls have remained for the past few months, and when the weather started to turn cold, the girls obtained hats and scarves to keep warm.

Zoo Girls by Saki 

The zoo girls get scarves and hats

Saki, a street art artist originally from Japan, creates these erotic images of women and is inspired by vintage. I've included a few more images below, but this is only a small sample of her work on the streets last summer.

Saki's doughnut and bicycle girl

Skateboarding girl and the freshly-squeezed MILF


Fourth Plinth's Big Blue Bird

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

At the end of July, the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square received a new resident in the form of a giant blue rooster. Previously, the plinth was occupied by a boy on a rocking horse, a work by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.  Photographs of it can be seen in my entry here: Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth 'Rocking Horse'


The new work, Hahn/Cock, is by German artist Katharina Fritsch, and it is meant to symbolise posturing and awakening, according to the artist (1). Like a few of the fourth plinth's past sculptures, the giant rooster has created controversy. The giant blue bird will be resident on the plinth until later in 2014.

Blue bird

1) Sinclair, Mark. The big blue cock is nearly here. http://creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2013/june/blue-cock-fourth-plinth [27 June, 2013].

South Bank Street Art Festival 2013

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Last summer, several London-based street artists painted walls at South Bank for the South Bank Festival. Visitors could see the artists at work and also create their own. I have already blogged about the work by Phlegm and ROA, both well-known street artists, who created the two largest murals at South Bank. (Read the article here: Phlegm and ROA Street Art at South Bank.) Other street artists involved in the festival included Dan Kitchener, Stik, Wahaca, and Grems.

Dan Kitchener painted one of his unique city street scenes. This one features a city street scene with a lot of people carrying umbrellas. I enjoy seeing new pieces from him. This one was located at the back of the buildings. (I blogged about him last summer, and you can read the article and see more of his work here: Street Art: Dan Kitchener.)

Dan Kitchener

Grems is a street artist from France, and his work is colourful; some of the work features a lot of shapes. I love the buildings mural below.


The following photograph contains additional work by Grems in the background. I am not sure about the artist who painted the other work.

Grems and unknown

Spzero and Squirl (along with the other street artists they collaborate with) created a mural on a wall at the back of one of the buildings on South Bank. It was difficult to get photographs of the mural as there were items in the foreground blocking it. However, here's a piece of the mural by Squirl.


Stik painted a mural under the bridge on South Bank of several stick figures. The stick figures started at babies and ended up as children and then families. The public painted clothing and other items on the figures to make them more colourful and individual. (You can see more work by Stik here: Street Art: Stik.)


Street artists Remed and Saner created a few pieces of street art for the Wahaca restaurant at South Bank. The murals are inspired by eastern and Mexican influences.

Saner and Remed

I am hoping that there is a South Bank festival with some new street art in store for 2014. I was not able to make it in 2013 and only snapped the photographs a couple of months later. It would be good to see the street artists at work.

Last month, Dscreet painted a mural on the Village Underground wall, which replaced the colourful 'Badgergate' mural by Ron Martin (Street Art: Martin Ron's "Badgergate" Mural). The mural is a tribute to 'Monty Python' and features lyrics to the song 'Look at the bright side of life'. The words "C'mon Britain, cheer up" possibly refer to people being a little bit down in the past year, since the highs of the previous year with the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee. The mural also features one of Dscreet's trademark owl characters.


The mural did not seem to last long as it has been painted over fairly recently, but no new artwork has taken its place yet.

I posted some photographs of Dscreet's work throughout London here: Street Art: Dscreet 

Gingerbread Houses (Amish Cookie Tour)

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

When I visited the Ohio Amish Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns last December, some of the hotels and inns had gingerbread houses on display. The visitors could vote for their favourite gingerbread house at the end of their tour. I am not sure who won and the winner has not been announced anywhere online.

The following photos show some of the gingerbread houses on display, including one made of dried fruit, a barn one, and one inspired by the animated film 'Up'. I felt that all of them were creative in their own way, but I voted for the Christmasy green, white, and red one 'N & D Faculty Inn'.


Two of the gingerbread houses were completed by professionals over several months, and I liked this mock-Tudor timber-framed house with chocolate poptart roof tiles. In the above photograph, the last picture shows the second professional gingerbread house, and part of it is constructed from candycane sticks and hard boiled sweets.


Hannah's House had a small selection of gingerbread houses on display, but these were not a part of the competition. 


Newark, Ohio's 2013 Christmas Lights

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Every year, the courthouse in Newark, Ohio (Licking County Courthouse) is decorated with lights for Christmas. The courthouse has been lit for Christmas with since 1949. This past Christmas, I visited downtown Newark and got some photographs of the lights. I had pizza (Christy's Pizza) and frozen wine slushies from Buckeye Winery, which are both located downtown. In fact, the glow of the courthouse lights can be seen from the winery. 


Last December was extremely cold, and there was snow on the ground. This did not deter me from getting photographs. In fact, others were doing the same.


Some of the lights twinkled, such as the large snowflake decorations on the facade of the building.


Christmas trees, a Santa and snowman, and other light decorations filled the ground around the courthouse.




More photographs can be found on their official website and Facebook page: 

We recently visited The Museum of London to see the Cheapside Hoard exhibit, which is on display until the end of April. We both work in or near the City, so we went on one of the exhibition's late opening nights. The exhibit is still putting on a couple of late weeknight openings before it closes.

The Cheapside Hoard is several pieces of jewellery from the early to mid-1600s that was discovered in the early 1900s by workers who were tearing down foundations of buildings on Cheapside. The hoard of jewellery was thought to have been placed in a cellar beneath a jeweller's shop (Cheapside was full of them) in the mid-1600s and escaped being destroyed in the great fire of London in 1666. New buildings were built on top of the ashes in 1667, and the hoard was forgotten about. No one knows where it came from or who it belonged to or why it was hidden. There are many speculations about those questions.

Emerald box clock and salamander

The importance of the hoard is that is represents a slice of London's history and the role of fashion, trade, and social status. The exhibit showed several portraits of individuals wearing similar items. It also explained where the gemstones came from, and this represented London as an important world city with trade links to India, Sri Lanka, south America, Asia, and Europe. It also represented the workmanship of the jewellers with influences in other European countries and explained how the different markets (other European countries) preferred particular styles or how these styles and specific designs became popular in England.

Gems in Cheapside Hoard

Some of the most notable pieces include a large piece of emerald carved into a small box and hollowed out to include a Swiss watch, a salamander-pendant made with emeralds and diamonds, a jewelled perfume bottle, a parrot carved from emerald, a cameo of Elizabeth I, a selection of necklaces in gold and enamel with gemstones, and a pin sculpted to look like a ship. 

The exhibition is the first time that the entire hoard has been put together for display since it was discovered.


Street Art Toasters in London

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

The Toaster Crew started painting images of toasters around London in 1999. I captured a couple of these toaster images around Shoreditch. The large one, which appeared on Hackney Road, has since been painted over.


Toaster with a space invader 

An interview by the Toaster Crew is located here: http://streetartlondon.co.uk/blog/2011/02/21/street-artist-interview-toasters/

The official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/toasterseverywhere

Street Art: Alo, Part 3

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

I had been seeing a lot of new work pop up over east London by one of my new favourite street artists last summer - ALO. (I covered ALO's work in two separate editions this spring and summer:  Street Art: Alo Aristide Loria and Street Art: Alo, Part 2.) I am glad to see that more work keeps appearing on the streets. In fact, the building on Great Eastern Street was painted at the end of summer. I am hoping that there will be new street art from ALO in London for 2014.


Great Eastern Street building

ALO's work has been popping up for several months, and I spotted some new work a couple of weeks ago. This selection of photographs have been compiled over the past several months, and some of these no longer exist. I absolutely love it, and it is one of my favourite.

Various work and close-ups

Poor vs Poor


I love the red-haired girl piece above.

Yellow is a common background colour of the work, and the man is holding a wine bottle.




Drone and a man with a cup




Girl with ribbon in hair is crying

More tears

Several months ago, I was unable to track down any information about this artist. Since then, I learned that he is from Italy and has a Facebook page and a website now. More of ALO's work can be seen on the Facebook page and website: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aloartofstreet

Blogspot: http://alostreetart.blogspot.co.uk/

Street Art: Clet Abraham

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

French artist Clet Abraham added some street art to London's signs at the end of last year. The work featured around the fringe of the City and east London and consisted of several stickers being added to the road signs. I've photographed a few of these and added them below.


One sign was made into a man in stocks, and another 'one way' sign was made into a heart.

'Freedom' sign

A collection of street art signs


For more information, visit Clet Abraham's Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/clet.abraham

The Sunday UpMarket at Brick Lane, located in a car park at the Truman Brewery, contains a little bit of everything for visitors. Brick Lane's market also extends down from the Sunday UpMarket and past Sclater Street. Second-hand items can be bought on Sclater Street, which used to be a market selling pets and exotic birds until the 1980s. Further up the road and about a ten-minute walk away is the colourful Columbia Road Flower Market, which is also held on Sundays.

Amongst the crafts, jewellery, clothing, books, stationary, artwork, and vintage items are baked goods. The baked goods always look so good.




I decided to try brownies from the cheekily-named 'Bad Brownie' stand. The brownies looked so good, and they also tasted nice. I had a chilli brownie and a triple chocolate brownie. There were so many different brownie flavours to choose from. (For more information on Bad Brownie, see their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BadBrownieCo.)


Bad Brownie

The Brick Lane Sunday UpMarket has been open to visitors since the autumn of 2004. Visitors can also get their lunch here as there are several options for cooked food from paella to kebabs, Caribbean to Indian, Chinese to sandwiches. 

Street Art: Hunto

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Hunto is the name of a street artist with several shutter and wall designs in the east end of London. He is originally from Italy, and his work shows that he is inspired by Picasso and the cubism art movement. His work is characterised by bright colours and Piccasso-esque figures. Often, his paintings depict sensual scenes - food and relationships.

He painted some work in London at the end of last year, including the below contribution with artist Millo.

Hunto and Millo

Another work on Rivington Street, which appeared at the end of 2013, was sadly tagged over before I was able to get a photograph.

Hunto tagged over






An interview of the artist Hunto can be read here: http://blog.globalstreetart.com/post/45262573713/the-graffiti-cubist-an-interview-with-hunto 

The artist's Facebook page is located here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Huntoland/155393097814272

Street Art: Above

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

A few months ago and soon after the MadC mural was painted (Street Art: Murals by Reka and MadC on Chance Street), the last and most recent artist to add their mark to the street was an artist from California known as Above. In between two walls dominated by Ben Eine's (Street Art: Ben Eine) work, Above painted a series of arrows on the corner of the building. Above's work uses stencils, and some of the work features large and bold arrows. He has also painted his arrows on some shutters in Brick Lane. 


In addition to the arrows, the artist has painted some stencil work in London where the artwork changes depending on the time of day, and he paints a lot of artwork that changes that depend on timing - being in the right place at the right time and viewing from the correct angle. The below stencil is to be viewed at night as the street lamp casts a shadow from the parking sign on the left of the picture directly below, and it looks as if the figure is doing a hand-stand on it. At the moment, I have taken a photo of the stencil doing a hand-stand on a parked car. Below this image, I have included a close-up of the artwork.


Although the stencil above had a protective sheet of plastic around it, this was partially taken down within a few weeks, and another artist tagged over it. At the time of publishing this, it has since been removed from the wall. (For more information about the artist, view https://www.facebook.com/goabove.)

New street art appeared in the last couple of months with Christmas and New Year's themes. At the end of this entry, I have also added a few pieces that I photographed last year. Some of these no longer exist as street art is always changing, but I thought that I would include them. Artists Nemo, Nando Mambo, David Walker and others are featured.

The New Year's Eve piece is by street artist Zabou, who creates many stencil pieces in east London. The piece says "2014 has started. Let's get wasted!"


Another piece to appear had appeared before Christmas and was located in the same place as Grafitti Life's Bart Simpson artwork. This piece, by Grafitti Life, features Bart and Homer Simpson and a Christmas tree. I am not sure what caused Homer to strangle Bart, but it may have related to the spray can under the tree and the words 'merry xmas' scrawled onto the wall.

Grafitti Life

One of the earliest Christmas pieces to appear was a whole building on Great Eastern Street painted with Christmas themes and words, including peppermint cane hearts, birds, holly, mistletoe, bells, crackers, Christmas pudding, and more.

Christmas building

With the theme of giving animals as Christmas gifts, artist Teddy Baden painted this warm-looking pug dog with the words "A dog is for life not just for Christmas" on a door in Shoreditch.

Teddy Baden

Another piece, a wintery one, included a skiier. 


Just off of Brick Lane, new Christmas pieces by Fan Horror Crew featuring balloon or sweets creatures appeared. These include a humbug-balloon reindeer or sheep and a licqourish snowman and balloon Santas and reindeer.

Fan Horror Crew

Fan Horror Crew

Fan Horror Crew

Additional work by a group of collaborative street artists also popped off just off of Brick Land and also off of Great Eastern Street. The following is by Lost Souls and SPZero. The other one is a contribution and appears off Great Eastern Street. These artists always collaborate on their work, and I saw this one and many others in progress. In particular, they have been busier in the past couple of months.

Lost Souls, SPZero

Captain Kris, Squirl, SPZero, Lost Souls

A Christmas tree and message appeared on a road in Hackney.


In addition to the Christmas and New Year's pieces, I've included some other artwork by other street artists below.

Nemo and Dias often create work featuring carrots or chillis. These can be seen over east London.

Nemo and Dias

Nando Mambo's work features realistic portraits of superheroes. Batman, Wolverwine, and the Incredible Hulk have all featured in Nando Mambo's work. The Incredible Hulk is the most recent piece, and I never got a photograph of the finished piece before I went on holiday.




Nando Mambo

David Walker uses spray paint to build up his artwork. A common subject is portraits, such as the two below that I photographed a little while ago now. More about David Walker can be found at http://www.artofdavidwalker.com/.


David Walker

Paul 'Don' Smith created some new artwork at the end of the year, and this featured a phone number for donating to a typhoon.
Additional artwork in east London includes some of the following that I have photographed over the past year.


Rone with Nemo and Stik

Clet Abraham


Paola Delfin



Illuminated Kew Gardens at Christmas

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Just after Christmas, I visited the Illuminated Kew Gardens. This is their 'Christmas at Kew' event, which also contained a small Christmas market with a few shops for crafts and food. Before Christmas, it included a Santa for the children. A small trail throughout a part of the gardens was illuminated, and they had a couple of small talks and interactive displays for children. One included throwing small stones into a lake and hearing the noise projected. Another included hitting buttons to change the colour of the light projected onto a large tree. 

Dusk at Kew

King Williams' Temple

The trails included various types of lights or lanterns or illuminated designs onto pavement. I enjoyed the paper lanterns, photographed below, because they were different colours.


Paper lanterns

Seeing the trees illuminated in different colours around the lake with their reflections in the water was pretty to see. 



Illuminated trees and their reflections in Kew Gardens' lake

One of the interactive areas for children was listening to noise that seemed to come from this island of trees in the middle of the lake when stones were thrown into the water.


Another interactive display was changing the colour of the light on three tall trees by pressing a button. When the colours matched on the trees, then something special would happen, but there were too many children pressing the buttons that we never did get to see what happened.

Illuminated trees

Further along the path, we came across a small fire garden where the lights were arranged in a spiral design.

Fire garden

One of the prettiest attractions was the illuminated (fake) lotus flower and the reflection of it inside a pool of water in one of the greenhouses. This was really beautiful and looked magical.

Lotus flower

Upon leaving the lotus flower greenhouse, we walked past the Victorian glass greenhouse to be treated to a small lgith display projected onto the greenhouse. Some of the lights were projected from inside, creating shadows of the tall plants. The light display was only short, so we stayed to watch it twice.

Lighthouse illuminated

While the trail was pretty, I was expecting it to be a little more Christmas-oriented with Christmas lights. There were not too many illuminations, and it was a slight disappointment. Despite trying to add a few things for children, I felt that they were a little bored and some seemed to be more interested in the planes flying overhead every three minutes. The Victorian lighthouse illuminated was nice to see, but I would have expected the light display to be continuous. The illuminated lotus was pretty, but the gardens were also very busy and this took away the magic. 

In December, I treated myself to the Festive Afternoon Tea at The Lobby Lounge at the Corinthia Hotel in London. The hotel is a five-star hotel located on Whitehall and just yards away from Embankment tube station and the Hungerford foot bridge. I had this tea just after Christmas as this was the only slot that I could get into with my schedule, but it still felt like Christmas at the hotel. The lobby was decorated with white and silver snow-covered trees, baubles in glass vases as centrepieces on tables and white roses. The large glass-domed ceiling and chandelier added to the grandeur of the hotel.  

The Lobby Lounge

The tables for two on the outer ring overlooked the windows that pointed to an inner courtyard. The tables were arranged with leather chairs facing angled toward the centre of the room. Each table was made to feel private with a frosted and decorated Christmas tree between each. 

Christmas in the Lobby Lounge

I had champagne to start, and the sandwiches followed. Sandwiches included smoked salmon with cream cheese, beef with mustard, egg mayonnaise, and goat's cheese with cucumber. After we had our fill of sandwiches (we were offered seconds), we ordered our choice of tea. I ordered the 'Afternoon at the Palace' tea, which was an easy-going special blend available at the hotel. My partner had the 'English Rose' as the 'Madagascan Vanilla' tea was out of stock. The rose tea tasted fragrant of roses, and it was enjoyable.

There is not a lot of room at the tables, but the staff had this covered. An extra smaller table was brought to hold our two teapots, and our festive pastries and scones arrived on a three-tier stand that could sit on the floor.

Festive tea on three tiers

The scones came with miniature pots of clotted cream and strawberry jam and raspberry jam. The scones tasted nice and were fresh, but I felt that they were a little too small and I wished that I had put a little less jam on my first one.

Scones with clotted cream and jam

The festive fancies had Christmas names, but I could not recall which each fancy was named. The first plate of festive fancies included a macaroon which I thought tasted a little like pumpkin but was told that it was Christmas pudding. I'm not fond of Christmas pudding, but the macaroon tasted nice. The other items included an apple-flavoured mousse, a coffee-flavoured biscuit with a Christmas-print chocolate on top, and a slice of lemon pastry. The lemon was my favourite.

A selection of festive fancies

The other plate of festive treats included a chocolate-cherry slice, another coffee-chocolate pastry, an orange bun, and a snowflake white chocolate mousse. 

Festive fancies

Festive tea fancies

Overall, the afternoon tea was a success - mainly for the ambience and the friendliness of the staff. The champagne hit the right spot, but I've had nicer tea. The pastries were not my favourite that I have had in my afternoon tea experience, but they were some of the prettiest that I have seen. The lemon pastry was my favourite, and I ended up leaving three of the others because I simply did not care for the taste. I loved the decoration and attention to detail.

Street Art: Midge and My Dog Sighs

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Before the holidays, street artist My Dog Sighs and Midge collaborated on some artwork that were pasted up in east London. Earlier this year, My Dog Sighs collaborated with other street artists on a house in Dulwich, which I covered here: Open Day at the Street Art House, Dulwich Arts Festival: Part 2. The artist most recently had a show in Bristol this autumn. The artist leaves objects around, such as faces painted on cans, for others to find. I would love to find one of these. My Dog Sighs paints faces on recycled materials, such as cans and cardboard, and another common subject for the artist is painting realistic eyes. I love the way that the artist captures eyes, reflections, and droplets of water. All of these subjects (eyes, reflections, water drops) are a bit tricky to paint.

The collaborations with street artist This Is Midge (originally from Southsea) are displayed below. There's a lot more on the streets than my selection photographed here suggests, but you can see a sample of the style of artwork. The artwork that shows My Dog Sighs' style are the characters with the more-defined faces. These same faces are the ones painted on the bottoms of cans.



Selection of work by Midge and My Dog Sighs

My Dog Sighs also created a range of paintings with the colourful characters with quotations below.


My Dog Sighs

I will keep my eyes open for some of My Dog Sighs' 'found' artwork on the streets in east London, but I have a feeling that it may only be in Bristol.

For more information about Midge, visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thisismidge

For more information about My Dog Sighs, visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Dog-Sighs/115489371467


Recent Comments

  • jenn: Thank you. read more
  • Murge: Amazing post. read more
  • Herbert: good post. site read more
  • Frank Quake: Hey, This is great when you said that I had read more
  • Chappy: You mention peptides here? I have had first hand experience read more
  • jenn: Thanks! I love the work. I have got more recent read more
  • Fanakapan: Thanks for the write up. This was some of my read more
  • jenn: Yes.... but that's only for the islands. Mostar and Montenegro read more
  • jenn: Hello, the code is not mine to hand out. I'll read more
  • pantich: More info about the best day trips from Dubrovnik can read more
OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID