April 2014 Archives

Yarn Bombing

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Yarn Bombing, also known as guerrilla knitting or urban knitting, is a form of street art where fabric is used to knit street furniture, trees, vehicles, statues, and other items. Yarn bombing involves creating colour in an otherwise forgotten or bleak setting. The pastime is popular and has a lot of followers; there's even an International Yarn Bombing Day. International Yarn Bombing Day happens in the middle of June, and this year's is on June 7.

A yarn-bombed tree on Brick Lane

Knit the City is a group of yarn bombers based in London. (To see examples of their work, view their Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/knitthecity/). Their official website is here: http://knitthecity.com


Yarn-bombed chain fence

Yarn bombing has even taken place in Basingstoke with a yarn-bombed tree at last summer's Basingstoke festival (covered here: Basingstoke 2013 Festival Yarn Bombing) and the following photograph of a yarn-bombed state outside of the train station. The knitting has been there for a long while now, and I got my photograph when it was worn.

Statue yarn bomb

I also captured more yarn-bombed statues in Gothenburg, Sweden, several years ago. Yarn bombing seems to enjoy adding to statues. These two statues of women did look particularly cold.

Yarn-bombed statues

Yarn-bombed tree in Shoreditch

One popular artist who produced knit street art is Agata Olek (covered here: Street Art: Olek's Crochet Art). The following knitted mural appeared at the bottom of Brick Lane in March, and I captured it being knitted. The mural contains a political message to celebrate International Women's Day. This must have taken awhile to complete.

Agata Olek's International Women's Day mural

New Art in the Leonard Street Car Park

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Leonard Street car park has recently had numerous murals painted in it, and these have changed regularly in the past few weeks. There's now some really interesting and good pieces of artwork in the car park.

Mysterious Al's trademark Frankenstein portrait was one of the most recent pieces to grace the walls in the car park. The figure replaced a giant shoe (by an artist using the initials P.E.). Mysterious Al has been in the London street art scene for some time now, although he has not painted anything in London for a couple of years before this new piece.

RUN and Mysterious Al

For more information about Mysterious Al, visit the website: http://www.mysteriousal.com or Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/mysteriousal 

The giant shoe, pictured below, did not grace the spot for too long. The initials of the artist is P.E., but I really do not know anything more about the artist.



Another mural that appeared is signed Wooly. (The woman's portrait on the white is by Pure Evil.)

Pure Evil and Wooly

The above mural replaced the one below. It featured a message for breast cancer awareness and included a Twitter hash LIGAdoROSA.

Breast Cancer - LIGAdoROSA

A pair of horns appeared on the wall several weeks ago, and artwork has appeared around them.



The following skeleton-faced figure was painted recently by Satterugly, a Mexican street artist.


And, finally, the following two pieces of grafitti were painted in east London, but they were not in the car park. One of the pieces was a tribute to the model and celebrity Peaches.

Vibes and a tribute to Peaches

At the fringe of the City of London, just off of City Road, is "The Eagle" pub. The pub is popular as it is on the route in and out of the old city, and it could often be visited by city workers leaving the city after work. The pub is noted for appearing in the nursery rhyme "Pop! Goes the Weasle"; it was demolished and a music hall took its place before that was demolished and rebuilt as another pub.

The Eagle

The lyrics in the rhyme mention the pub. The rhyme was once a popular dance which was coined in the mid-1800s. It also became a children's game. The lyrics, quoted below, mention the name of the pub. The other lyrics include themes related to market and city workers.

"Up and down the City Road
In and out the Eagle
That's the way the money goes
Pop! goes the weasel"

The lyrics are also placed on the exterior of the pub as a tribute to its history.

Pop! Goes the weasel

I went inside the pub and had a meal with a colleague. The food was alright and it was worth a stop to have a meal and a drink after visiting the historical pub. 

The Eagle - food and interior of the bar area

Perhaps you have heard the rhyme before but did not know the origins. 

Street Art: Mighty Mo

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Street artist Mighty Mo (also known as Mightly Monkey) paints colourful monkey faces near the tops of buildings in London, and these are commonly seen in east and north London. The artist often paints with Dscreet, Sweet Toof and others, who are collectively known as the Burning Candy Crew. Mighty Mo also created a piece with artist Cranio this summer (Street Art: Cranio, Senna, HIN, and Mo).

Mighty Mo started painting the streets in 2005, and every now and again a new piece can be found, but most of the work I have found and photographed is older. Walk around Bethnal Green Road, Hackney, and Shoreditch and his work is easy to spot if you look up.





Mighty Mo

Australian street artist Rone recently painted a new mural in London on Hanbury Street off of Brick Lane, a popular place for street art. The mural features the portrait of a woman in purple shading with roses. Last year, the artist was in London and painted a portrait of a woman on a brick building above the Leonard Street car park. The piece on Hanbury Street replaces the elephant octopus by Alexis Díaz: Street Art: Alexis Díaz.

Rone's most recent piece in London

Rone with Nemo and Stik in Leonard Street car park

For more information about Rone, visit the artist's official website: http://r-o-n-e.com 

Next to Rone's piece on Hanbury Street and on Bacon Street are some new additions by UK-based stencil artist Snik. This work is also portraiture featuring women. The work shows emotion through motion of the hair, poses, and colour. This series of murals features the women in an orange-yellow cast, and I love the portrayal of emotion here with the use of the hands of the subjects (orange 'gloves' around the face and the praying pose in another one of the murals) and the waves and motion of the hair. These are a nice addition to Brick Lane and they also complement Rone's larger mural.



For more information about this artist, visit the official website: http://www.visualdirt.co.uk or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/snikarts

Whitechapel Bell Foundry

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A few weeks ago, I paid a visit to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Some famous bells were cast in this factory, such as Big Ben and the Liberty Bell. The foundry is located not far from where I work, at the bottom of Brick Lane. When the tour began, we were told a brief history of the foundry and told that this is the only one that remains now, but there were a few in London in older times. 


The Whitechapel Bell Foundry is located on Whitechapel Road, just a block away from where the church stood that once occupied the spot before it was destroyed in World War II. The premises was expanded over the years, so the rooms are different sizes with low ceilings in some places and narrow walkways. 

Facade of the foundry building

Inside the bell foundry is a small museum and a gift shop. Images of some of the bells and making bells is shown on a screen. The queen visited it recently, and they had a busy year in 2012 with various bells for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics as there were bells used in the river Thames pageant.


We were shown around the rooms, and in the first room, we were told about how the metal was made by combining different substances (stone, bronze, etc.) and melting the metal, pouring into moulds, and the machinery to do this. 


Several bells were around the room in various states of repair. I enjoyed the very brief history and some of the information about making bells, but we had a very large group who seemed to be very interested in bell-ringing and the musical side (I think they were part of a group who ring bells), so most of the tour was taken over by the musical side of bells. This did not interest me or make sense to me, so I was a little bit disappointed as I wanted to know more about the history and about how the bells were made.


We were shown where the bells were 'trimmed' of metal in order to create the correct notes and we were told in detail about how this was done and shown where this happened.


The last room showed how bells could be hung and various mechanics for this. There were a lot of bells under repair in this room. A lot of these bells come from all over the world as there are not many bell foundries in the world.


I liked reading the inscriptions on the bells and seeing the detail and typography used to decorate the bells. 


The bells made at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry have their own special seal. The one below was made last year.


In addition, the company make musical bells and small hand bells. I bought a couple of dinner bells when I booked the tour last summer. These are made in part of the expanded cottages, which are located up some flights of stairs. There's also a carpenter's room on site.


We were told about how the bells were tuned.


On the way out, we went through a courtyard and listened to one of the bells ring.


Exterior of foundry

Ben Slow's New Charlie Burns Mural

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Street artist Ben Slow recently re-painted his tribute to Charlie Burns on Bacon Street, just off of Brick Lane in London. I originally blogged at Ben Slow here: Street Art: Ben Slow. I was glad to see the portrait return as it had been wearing out over the past few months, and it had been tagged over. I actually prefer the newer mural to the older sky-blue Charlie Burns mural.

The mural of "Charlie Burns" commemorates a local 95-year-old man who ran a charity and who was a well-known figure, often seen on Bacon Street. The mural is painted on Bacon Street. 


If you have not seen the new mural yet, pop over to Brick Lane to take a look.

Leaves by Irma Pellegrini

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I discovered some work by Irma Pellegrini on Brick Lane after one weekend, and the little wooden figures remained there for a couple of weeks. The little figures were stuck onto the brickwork along with branches of leaves, all with umbrellas as if they were floating away in the breeze. The artist, original from Argentina, works with wooden carvings.


For more information about the artist, view the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Irma-Pellegrini/144866808879156) or website (http://www.irmapellegrini.com).

NemO's - Decaying Street Art

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"BEFORE and AFTER" is a range of work depicting street art decaying over time. Artist NemO's starts with building up the layers of the image, starting with the skeleton. This is then covered with newspaper before the newspaper is painted with a figure. Over a number of days, the image suddenly changes gradually with bits of the newspaper torn off to reveal the skeleton underneath.

The mural below appeared one weekend in Shoreditch, London. By the next weekend, it had progressed to its skeleton stage. I walked by the mural every day to photograph the changes, but the changes were less gradual in this instance, and there were only two stages. I was happy to see the process finished without too many people tagging over the mural, which is what I feared would be the fate of this mural. The "before" and "after" stages are documented below with the word "Prey" changed from "Pray".


You can watch one example of his work decay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPehBL5c7vo&feature=youtu.be 

More work and information about the artist can be found on his website: http://www.whoisnemos.com/

A few weeks ago, the bloke and I took a day trip at one day over the weekend to see friends in the Cotswolds. On the way, we decided to visit Chipping Campden, which is one of my favourite Cotswold villages. The village was a market town, and in the middle ages, the area was famous for the wool trade. The village is picturesque and the buildings are all made of light brown stone, similar to the buildings in Bath. When the sun is shining and in the evening, the buildings are particularly attractive and turn "gold" in colour. There are also a few thatched cottages in the village.

Chipping Campden

Buildings in Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden

While in Chipping Campden, we decided to get a bite to eat and ended up in the Badger's Hall Tea Rooms across from the old covered market hall. I ordered the tea that came with cheesey crumpets, teacakes, scones, and a slice of cake. The food was nice, but the tea was a bit of a let-down.  

Afternoon tea with cheesy crumpets and teacakes

Afternoon tea in the Cotswolds

Scones and clotted cream

There was too much food, so the cake went home with us, but it was delicious. The cake was banana, coconut and cherry. 

Coconut, cherry and banana cake

After the afternoon tea, we had a wander around the village and stopped in a couple of different shops.




Chipping Campden

We admired the old covered market hall, which had been around since the middle ages. The cobbled stones inside were worn down. I wish I could go back in time to see what this was like.

Old Market Hall

Old Market Hall


While we were driving out of Chipping Campden, we saw a few beautiful "dream houses" - thatched cottages. Some of these had beautiful landscaped gardens. I took a few photographs of some of the cottages. We saw a group of tourists getting photographs as well; they must have been on a bus tour.


Thatched cottages

Street Art: Fezwitch

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Fezwitch, a street artist born in Melbourne, currently lives in London and pastes up old computer storage discs, known as 'floppy discs', onto London's streets. For those who are too young to remember, 8" and 3.5" floppy discs were storage devices, which have now been replaced by USB sticks. The 8" floppy disc was used in the 1980s, and the discs got smaller as technology advanced. The 3.5" floppy disc was common in the mid-1990s to early 2000s before USBs became popular.


The floppy discs can be discovered on the walls, and they are usually painted or marked with a design or sticker. In some places, several are combined together to make their own artwork. I've included a selection of these below, and there are many more that I have seen that I have not included here.


These started to appear in the middle of the summer with the first one appearing in Ely's Yard off of Brick Lane. It was a couple of months before others were added to the streets, but I see them in a lot of places now. Don't forget to look up as many of these are just above eye level.

According to the artist's website, the floppy discs poke fun at consumer brands (1).

1) For more information about Fezwitch, visit the official website here: http://www.fezwitch.com

To start of 2014, we visited The Cider Pantry Tearooms. (This post is a little late in coming!) There were a lot of floods at the start of the year, and we managed to make it through the floodwaters to Burley in the New Forest (England). The Cider Pantry Tearooms serve roast lunch, dinner, breakfast, and afternoon tea. We had the full English breakfast, and I'd love to go back again to try the pancake breakfast and afternoon tea.


I like Burley. I went to university just down the road in Bournemouth, and I did some freelance website work for someone in Burley. It's a nice New Forest village with some touristy shops, and it's right in the middle of the forest with plenty of pleasant walks and cycle ways. There's usually a group of New Forest ponies nearby, but in the floodwaters and rain, I think they had all gone into the forest to keep dry.


We both had English breakfasts: bacon, egg, sausage, toast, mushrooms, and tomatoes. It was good. The bacon had a smoked flavour. The eggs could be cooked any way that you wanted. This was accompanied by a pot of tea.

I liked the green grass-like placemats and the table numbers made out the half of a slice of tree. Because it was just after Christmas, they were selling iced Christmas sugar cookies. I bought a couple of these.


I just visited Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium for the second time, and this time, I brought along another guest. I visited right after the cafe opened and also booked a weekend with a guest to see the cats and have afternoon tea. (My original post with a lot of cat photographs is Tea, Cake and Cats at London's First Cat Cafe.) 

I took a lot of photographs of the cats, which I will share with you below. I was not disappointed, and I felt that this visit was better than my first. This time, a lot of the cats stayed upstairs, and although some of them were sleepy for part or all of the duration, some cats vyed for attention and we watched them play-fight each other, play with string, and climb upon the shelves. I enjoyed seeing the cats again.

Carbonelle and Adamska (or is it Loki?)


Afternoon tea and a special Lady Dinah's cat biscuit

Mue, the mother



Adamska (or is it Loki?)

Biscuit, Indiana, and Petra

Indiana and Petra

Indiana and Petra

Biscuit, Indiana, and Petra

Biscuit, Indiana, and Petra




Enjoy the cats!

When I first saw the random "art is trash" tags plastered around Brick Lane, I did not think very much of the artist. I thought that the artist was ranting about the value of street art instead of trash being art, literally. One of the first pieces I saw was a collaboration with street artist 616, the "potential skateboard" below. A couple weeks or more after, I discovered a trash bag-covered bin on Brick Lane with white paint on it and a face, with the words "art is trash" (pictured below). However, the transformation came soon after with many trash sculptures being created over the summer by this artist. 



Of course, he received coverage for creating art out of trash, and upon seeing his first sculptures, I was in awe. I loved the work.  There's never a shortage of trash in east London, so there's always opportunity. Although, sadly, the artwork never hangs around for too long until it is taken by the council or interfered with by someone or something else. (I have 'fixed' one of these sculptures fairly recently as part of it had fallen so others could not enjoy it in its full potential.)


Unfortunately, I missed several of these and only saw the remains of them, but I have been lucky to capture a few. The artist is from Spain, and his name is Francisco de Pajaro. His work is now one of my favoruites to see around Shoreditch and Spitalfields, and it always brings a smile to my face. One of my colleagues even saw him working early one morning on the sculpture above, but I have unfortunately not seen him working. 


Art Is Trash was popular last summer and autumn, and there was a new piece appearing somewhere nearly once a week. I have not seen anything new for awhile, so this post is late coming as I've managed to photograph quite a collection of the artist's work.








Although I have taken several photographs of his work, I am not able to see all of them due to the fact that they never last too long, and I visit different areas on different days when I take my lunch break; it's not really possible to cover the whole area in an hour. I've posted more examples of his work from his own blog and the blogs of others, credited. I hope you enjoy seeing a mix of his work.



For more information about the artist, visit his website at http://depajaro.blogspot.co.uk.

Earlier this year, I published a write-up of work by Paris stencil-and-spray-paint street artist C215, who had come to London to add some more colour to the streets: Street Art: C215. I enjoyed seeing more of his work around Brick Lane as many of his earier pieces have since disappeared and been tagged over. In addition to the new piece that I already pictured, published in the previous link, I caught a couple of new pieces just off of Brick Lane. The piece is large in size and features a portrait of a woman with a large, vintage-style hat.


Near to this piece was a portrait of a smoking business man with a somewhat startled expression. I also discovered a new piece in Shoreditch on a postbox of two children on a swing. I believe that that piece was older, but I had only just come across it.


One of my favourite subjects from the artist also recently appeared in Shoreditch: cats. This cat portrait is a previous stencil that had been painted around, but most of these cats have disappeared now. I was happy to discover this new one.


Another stencil artist, Paul 'Don' Smith, has also been busy recently, and some of his work has not lasted too long without being tagged over. I managed to snap a photograph of this horse with the title "Getting Over" and a couple of pieces on Blackall Street, although I was unable to take a photograph of one before it was tagged over. Read an additional post with work by this artist: New Street Art from Don 'Paul' Smith, including pieces from Whitecross Street.




Street Art: 616 and Ben Murphy

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Street artist 616 creates patterned and tribal-like images, paste-ups and installations around London. His work is always popping up across London, and there's always something to be discovered. Often, it's in an obscure place or somewhere that is not immediately noticable. I've posted some examples here. I've not been able to find out too much about the artist. (I have had noticable work by 616 attributed to artist Benjamin Murphy, but it's possible that this was a collaboration?) 



I enjoy finding these pieces as they are usually where you would not expect, and they just add a flash of colour. The artist has used paste-ups, paint, glue, cardboard, and other items to make his work. Below are more recent installations by 616 that popped up this summer.

In one of the above, it looks like Obit and 616 were having a little bit of fun with a piece of board outside Grey Eagle Street.



616 and additional street art

And, as I mentioned Benjamin Murphy above, here's some work by him. His Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Benjamin-Murphy-adso



Murphy and Silks

To see more artwork by 616, see the photostream on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/75015454@N08/ or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sixonesix616


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