April 2017 Archives

Jim Vision, a London-based street artist, has been busy this year, and I've managed to spot four new murals in Shoreditch. Earlier in the year, I had noticed that famous Belgian street artist ROA's hedgehog on Chance Street had become the victim of tagging on the lower part of the body. It had been targeted previously and restored. This time, Jim Vision decided to add a little scene of his native American people appearing to hunt the giant hedgehog with a similar sikhouette of hunters and a giant hedgehog in the background. The work is titled "Hedgehog Warriors".




Also off Chance Street, Jim Vision painted a mural on the wall where Mr. Cenz has occupied for several years. It features a bright white lady on a flaming horse. It reminds me of Lady Godiva.


Another addition was this new shutter mural on Bistrot cafe. It had previously been a Jim Vision mural, but it was recently refreshed with a new one. 


The last mural, located off Great Eastern Street at the back of the Village Underground, is a mural on scaffoldign boards titled "Fall of Empire" and features several native Americans hunting buffalo in an urban landscape. This was a long mural, and I could not get it all in shot.


A few weeks ago, London-based street artist Otto Schade painted two new murals in his silhouette style. One is located off of Brick Lane, and the other is located off Shoreditch High Street. Although Oschade enjoys re-creating his stencil-based murals, both of these pieces are brand new. These murals always have a political or social theme.


The first mural features a scarecrow made of paper money with many hands reaching out at it. It is titled "The Believers". According to the artist's Instagram account, it is meant to symbolise those people who only believe in money. The second mural, pictured below, shows two cowboy-esque figures on horseback but with spears and shields in the foreground with two smoke towers in the distance. It is titled "WTF (Don Quijote)".


I've previously posted about Otto Schade's work in the following posts:

Otto Schade 'Peace and Love on the Streets'
Street Artist Otto Schade Paints Southampton 'Zany Zebra' for Charity (and other work)
Street Art Round-up: Spring & Summer 2015
Otto Schade's New Street Art (Meerkats, Portraits, & More) in East London
New Street Art from Horror Crew, Swoon, Otto Schade, HIN, and others
Street Art: Otto Schade

The village of Imber is situated in the middle of the Salisbury Plains in Wiltshire, England. The village was evacuated and abandoned in 1943 so that it could be used as a military exercise area for American troops before invading Europe during the second World War. The residents of the village were not allowed to return home to Imber after the war, and the town and area around it is currently used by the military. The village has a church, and this church is open for a few days each year. Each year, visitors can visit the church (St. Giles Parish Church) and village as the military ceases to use it for a few days. One of the weekends that it is open to the public is on Easter weekend. Other than that, the village is abandoned and is used by the military.


I visited Imber on the Saturday before Easter. The St. Giles Parish Church was open at this weekend and held a special Sunday Easter service. I was curious to see this abandoned village that the villagers could not return to after the war. There are a few times out of the year where you are permitted to drive to the village of Imber, which is seven miles down a dirt track. Before entering, you are given warnings not to enter the live firing range. I believe that (and hope) that people who try to are turned back on days when it is in use. Along the dirt road, we were warned constantly not to get out of the car or leave the carriageway. Following these instructions is very important, even though going off to get photographs can be tempting.


Especially when you drive past several of these rusting tanks along the road....


...and a whole graveyard of burnt-out and rusting tanks along the hillsides.


We then passed by some of the old buildings of Imber and buildings that are now used and constructed by the military for urban warfare training. There are warnings not to go into many of these buildings.


Many of the old village homes and buildings have been demolished, but the church is still in very good condition. Below is a photograph of the St. Giles Parish Church from near where the High Street used to be. The road leading up to the church is now named "American Road".


Inside the church, people were selling refreshments and information about the village and its history.




I also had a walk around the church, which is on the top of a hill overlooking the village of Imber.



A war memorial is located at the base of the hill where the church is.


Also at the bottom of the hill is the old farmhouse (Seagram's Farm), and this building was constructed in 1870. Most people in the remote village were in the agriculture business and would have primarily raised sheep. I checked out a couple of the old buildings here, and you can step inside and look through the windows of the old homes and buildings. There are a couple of old farm buildings next to the one pictured below.




This borders "Church Street", which leads to the church but has been renamed "American Road".


All along the road here, the signs warn about unexploded bombs and warn visitors to keep to the main road and not walk around.


One of the abandoned buildings was the village pub, known as The Bell Inn. The landlord kept renewing the license into the 1960s in the hope that the villagers would be allowed back. 

On the exit, I looked at the tanks again and wished that we could have stopped for some better photographs, but too many others were driving slow and deciding to do the same.


I do feel sorry for all of the villagers that were given only a few weeks to leave the village and then were never allowed to return after the war. The village of Imber is an interesting place to visit.

One of my cousins lives in New York City, and he arrived in London this past weekend in order to spend a few days at seminars and an opera for his research on a particular composer. He had some spare time at the weekend, so we caught up on Saturday and then again on Sunday. We decided to have Sunday brunch, and I suggested Mews of Mayfair. London was celebrating Saint George's Day and the London Marathon.


Mews of Mayfair is tucked away in Lancashire Court in the middle of Mayfair; it's at the southern end of South Molton Street and located in a cobbled alleyway that used to be stables for horses (mews). This is how the restaurant got its name.


The weather was very nice, so we sat at one of the tables outside. The English flag was placed on a lot of the tables to celebrate St. George's Day, and the restaurant also had a special selection of cocktails to celebrate.


Instead of the special cocktails, I had the Berry Mews cocktail, which was very fruity.


For some reason, they did not give us the Sunday brunch menu when we asked, so we decided to just opt for the traditional Sunday roast. I had the roast chicken, and my cousin had the pork belly with applesauce. Both meals came with vegetables (brocolli, parsnip, and swede mash), cauliflower cheese, and roast potatoes. The food was delicious.


After finishing, we headed off to do some sight-seeing and watched a couple of minutes of the London Marathon near Buckingham Palace. Some additional photographs of Mews of Mayfair are below.




Have you ever visited Mews of Mayfair? What did you think?

Ruislip Fairy Village

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I spent Easter Sunday visiting the local market and an Easter Egg Hunt in Ruislip, which you can read about on a previous post here. I also went to visit the Ruislip Fairy Village, which is located in The Orchard near Winston Churchill Theatre, the Old Barn, and Ruislip Manor House. Ruislip Fairy Village is a group of tiny doors put onto the bases of tree trunks and stumps, and each one is unique and crafted beautifully by the mother of the fairies, Ellie Travis. 


Unfortunately, vandals have destroyed the fairy village twice now, and it has re-opened on Easter morning, minus one of the doors that could not be saved. I met Ellie and spoke to her about the village, and she told me that there are 12 doors, but there used to be 13. (The Fairy Village is also now under CCTV surveillance so that anyone who damages it will be caught.) When I learned about Ruislip Fairy Village earlier this year, the village had already been destroyed. I have been waiting for it to be rebuilt. I am glad it has been rebuilt so that others can enjoy it.


Originally, the Ruislip Fairy Village was installed in the base of one large tree. The door could be opened to reveal gifts left for children behind it. Children would then leave notes, and they could also receive a note and small gift from the fairies in return. This tree was later chopped down, so the door was eventually moved to The Orchard and more doors were created. The new doors started with a theme with homes for the fishermen, woodsman, washer, dress-maker, witch, and fairy dust maker.


The Ruislip Fairy Village is beautifully-created and a pleasure to walk around to discover the little doors and the little items that have been created around each door. More photographs can be seen below.









For more information about the Ruislip Fairy Village, visit https://www.facebook.com/ruislipfairies

Nerone Paints Great Eastern Street

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Nerone is an artist from France who is influenced by graphic design and paints bold and colourful designs on walls. The theme of much of his work is cocktail parties or flowers with bright and bold colours contrasting against dark backgrounds. I originally covered the artist here after seeing many pieces go up on London's walls in the past couple of years. The most recent addition to London's streets by the artist is on Great Eastern Street where he has painted four panels with a flower design and his tag, which is painted to glow like a neon sign.



Do Not Trust Robots

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Several science fiction stories, television shows, and films portray robots as being unfriendly and wishing to destroy the human race. In the 1960s with the invention and advancement of machines and robots, people believed that robots would be taking all of the jobs in the future. Robot characters became more popular in television, books, and film. The neon sign below simply reads "Do not trust robots". It made me smile.


I discovered this sign on my walks around Shoreditch during my lunch break earlier this year. 

As you may have read from my previous post, I did not travel far for Easter this year. On Easter Sunday, I walked to Duck Pond Markets north of Ruislip High Street and where the Old Barn and Manor House (Ruislip Castle) is located. I visited Duck Pond Markets for the first time right before Christmas soon after I moved to the area. Duck Pond Markets offers an alternating artisan market and a food market every other Sunday in Ruislip, and vendors for the market can travel to other locations on the other weeks. 


Before arriving at the market, I have to walk up Ruislip High Street. Most shops were shut, but I did notice that a few coffee shops and cafes were open. One of them, Fields, is new to Ruislip High Street. I decided to pop in and had a hot chocolate and a croissant.


Duck Pond Markets and the Old Barn/Manor House is located at the top of Ruislip High Street, and the lower end of Ruislip High Street is where the Ruislip tube station (Metropolitan line) is located. The walk to Duck Pond Markets is nearly ten minutes from there. The Manor House is clearly visible once entering the area, and it is a museum and open free to the public. It's worth a visit.


Information panels are located around the Old Barn and Manor House area to inform about the history of the location and the site of the castle. There's also a panel for the duck pond, which was where the work horses would be washed after a day of working.


The Old Barn is a listed building and beautiful inside. Part of the market takes place here. As the day was Easter Sunday, the market was less busy with vendors and people, but there were still many gifts and other items on display. 


Outside were a few vendors selling food items. These ranged from gluten and vegan baked goods, cheese, meat, treats for dogs, pies, honey, chutney and sauces, bread, sweets, cooked food, and coffee.





Inside the barn, children can play with the large selection of Lego; the table is filled with Lego. The Lego belongs to the son of the organiser of Ruislip's Duck Pond Market. Money can be donated, and he spends it on more Lego.


After wandering around the market, I headed outdoors to wait for the beginning of the Easter Egg Hunt, which was held in the grounds of the Manor House (called "The Orchard" although many of the trees are not fruit trees). The hunt started at 11:00, and the children were encouraged to dress up like bunnies or with fairy wings. The Easter Egg Hunt was held in conjunction with the organiser of the Ruislip Fairy Village. I will be covering this in another post, but many small doors for the fairies' houses are put up at the bases of the trees, and the fairies leave little gifts for the children. Unfortunately, someone keeps damaging the fairy village, and it was only re-instated on Easter morning. I do hope that the vandals leave it alone now. In addition to the easter egg hunt, the children could participate in a quiz. The Easter Egg Hunt attracted a huge crowd.



When it was time to begin, the children ran for it. The eggs were hidden very well!



The weather was quite nice with spells of sunshine, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. I even helped the children to spot some eggs with my keen eye; some of the smaller eggs had been well-hidden in the grass, and my height was an advantage. A couple of the children I had helped had not found any of the eggs yet, so it was appreciated.


After the egg hunt, an Easter bonnet contest and parade was due to be held back at the Old Barn. I did not go to see it, but I did see a few of the Easter bonnets, and they looked very creative. My personal favourite one (that I saw) was a tall green one that was decorated like Super Mario Brothers. Okay, it is not as Easter-y as some of them, but I thought that it was creative. 

Happy Easter 2017

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Happy Easter and spring to all of my readers! Your writer was looking forward to unpacking and "moving in" to the house this weekend as it has been under renovation since early December, and I've been confined to a single bedroom packed full of boxes upstairs while the whole of the ground floor was gutted. However, a couple of set-backs, builder mistakes, and contactors not turning up has meant that I'm stuck in this room for at least another couple of weeks. One of the worst bits about this has been not being able to cook and relying on take-aways that can be eaten without plates and cutlery as everything is covered in dust. I was hoping to cook a nice Easter meal, but that will now not happen. In fact, I've been planning everything so that I do not have to stick around the house much. In fact, I went to Whitechapel on Saturday to Rinkoff's Bakery. (You may remember that I covered the rainbow bagels and their bakery in general in previous posts.)


I really needed a pick-me up because of these set-backs beyond my control. The above rainbow cake is a chocolate cake, and it was filled with Cadbury's Mini Eggs in the middle; these were also placed on top of the cake. The cake is delicious, but it's very rich so I have been saving it.


I also brought home the special limited edition Cadbury Creme Egg Croughnuts (a.k.a Crodough or Cronut), which is the cross between a doughnut and a croissant. These are particularly delicious with the vanilla icing, creme egg on top, and the middle contains a creme egg fondant inside. The "dough" is flakey and gooey at the same time. It really is a treat.


I've also been craving hot cross buns, but the lack of a kitchen has meant that I've been unable to have any. However, I picked up a couple of these and managed to dust off the toaster and toast them. I hope that I am able to have more hot cross buns next year as I do enjoy a hot cross bun with a cup of tea.

Street artist Wasp Elder was born in the UK but now lives in Berlin. The artist has painted in Cardiff and also paints as a duo with fellow street artist Helen Bur. In fact, both artists collaborated on a mural on Hanbury Street at the end of last year. Wasp Elder's paints figures who appear to have been in some sort of disaster, and the style used is impressionistic. The figures express emotion while keeping the background a blur and using the impressionist style and muted colours.


The new artwork appears on Hanbury Street and features three figures that appear to be running from something unknown. The figure at the back looks as though he has been pelted by yellow eggs. The other figures are covering their faces.


This spring, Wasp Elder is hosting a show with 1963 Gallery titled "Victims of Circumstance".


In January, Wasp Elder and Helen Bur collaborated on a mural on another wall on Hanbury Street (virtually opposite of the newly-painted wall). The figures show emotion and expression, and they appear slightly out of focus, as does the background. Each figure is looking a different way but appears to be looking "within". 




The new mural on Hanbury Street is especially stunning and painted on a large scale on a wall popular with great street art.

Fanakapan Paints Shoreditch Clowns

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Street artist Fanakapan recently painted a new wall in Shoreditch last week. The wall is between off Hoxton Square and features two glass clowns holding a foil smile balloon. Fanakapan started out painting items out of sweets and balloons before mastering the silver foil balloon over the past couple of years. He has recently expanded to painting glass items and using colour in his artworks. The new mural features two glass clowns, and both are painted using bright colours.


Below is a zoomed-in photograph to see the detail and shadows.


I've zoomed further into the balloon to see the artist's technique with colour, light, and shade.


I also forgot to post the artist's "X" (made in his silver balloon style), which appeared in Star Yard in January and the "YES" (in the silver balloon style), which appeared in the run up to the voting for Europe.



Previous posts with Fanakapan's work on this blog are below:

Chrome Balloon Dog in Star Yard
Fanakapan Paints "Power Tools" on Village Underground Wall

Fanakapan Paints "Drunk Glass Elephants"
Fanakapan, Horror Crew, & Jerry Rugg
Louis Masai and Fanakapan: "Freedom?"
New Chrome Street Art Mask by Fanakapan
Balloon Animal Street Art
Cranio & Fanakapan
Fanakapan and Horror Crew

Alex Senna Paints Wall on Hackney Road

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Last week, I covered Alex Senna's recent work on Hanbury and Bacon Streets (off Brick Lane). The South American artist is back in London to support his solo show at Unit 5 Gallery off Hackney Road, and this is around the corner from his latest large-scale mural. Senna's work is characterised by thoughtful and/or witty black and white illustrations, and he often paints a stylised bird with long legs. 


This new mural shows a group of three people in a huddle. This looks like a family to me, and it appears that they are supporting each other as a unit. The wall is located on Ion Square off Hackney Road and virtually opposite the Unit 5 Gallery where the artist's work is on display.



A smaller wall outside the Unit 5 Gallery also bears a mural by Senna. This time, it is a lone figure of a man walking across a zebra crossing.


Previous work by Alex Senna can be seen in the following posts on my blog:

Alex Senna Paints Hanbury and Bacon Streets
2013 Alex Senna work here

Several years ago, I visited the Warner Brother Studios on my birthday and found the exhibit on the graphic design of Harry Potter to be very interesting on the tour. I think that creating all of the graphic design (newspapers, advertising, packaging, and so on) for the Harry Potter world would have been one of my dream jobs. One wall was dedicated to exploring the graphic design that was created for the films. It appeared that those lucky to work in this area for the films did enjoy what they did. 


My next visit to Warner Brother Studios tour was last February, and a few new areas had been added to visit, including the new Platform 9 3/4 and train. Unfortunately, the wall and exhibition about the graphic design aspect had been removed. I did not see it in any other part of the tour.


I had hoped to include a piece about it in my blog, which was a bit more focused on design. However, I couldn't locate the photogrpahs and wanted to go back to take some more and read a bit more about it. Since it's not there, I couldn't. But, the story does not end here. Last summer, I went to see 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child', and Mina Lima were advertising a free exhibition focused on the design of 'Harry Potter'. I finally got to pay a visit last month.


To be honest, I was expecting it to be a little more like a museum with the graphic design exhibits at Warner Brother Studios to have moved here along with information about the pieces. However, there wasn't any information. Instead, the building was filled with graphic design from the films. (This was the same building used for the Cadbury Cream Egg Cafe pop-up last January.) These items were signed and framed, and others could be purchased. They included book covers, posters, newspapers, sweet and toy packaging, certificates, and so much more. The items ranged from the original 'Harry Potter' films to the new film 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'.


The graphic design and MinaLima shop has been opened by two designers (Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima) who worked together for the original films. Below are the photographs I took inside the shop and museum at the House of MinaLima.












Have you been to see the House of MinaLima yet?

Ant Carver Portraits of Models

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The week before last, London-based street artist Ant Carver painted the art wall on Great Eastern Street with four panels featuring models. The four pnanels were under construction for a few days, and by the time I took my lunch on Monday in order to glimpse the finished work, one had already been painted over. Of course, all of them have been painted over by now. I do wish that work would last a bit longer on this wall. Each of the portraits are based on photographs.


Brazilian model Cindy Mello is on the blue background.


Canadian model Meghna Lall is painted on a pink background.


Kenyan model Giannina Oteto is on a teal background. The one that I missed photographing as it was being painted over when I saw it was on a yellow background and featured Grace Hodge.

I have previously covered Ant Carver's work here:

Street Art: Ant Carver
Ant Carver Pastes New Portraits on East London Streets

Street Art: Dr. D

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Dr. D is a political street artist who places his works guerrilla-style by taking over advertising boards and re-purposing them with his signs. I've seen his work in east London dozens of times, but I've never posted about the artist. Dr. D mocks the government, celebrities, and popular media. Below are two of the artist's common styles. The first is the "Curfew" sign, which mimics the vehicle congestion charge signs; if you weren't really paying attention, you'd miss the sign as they are so common. The curfew sign mentions "social cleansing".


The "H.M.P. London" (Her Majesty's Prison) sign is also a popular one. I've seen this before with additional accompanying text, but this one is placed on an abandoned building on Sclater Street. It seems to suggest that London is a prison. It works well on the building (which I wish I would have gotten a fuller photograph of) in its abandoned state with bars across the windows and doors.


These paste-ups are a great find because many people just walk by and accept the official-looking signage or advertising across the city. It is only when doing a double-look that you realise that it is a political message.

Airborne Mark is a street artist based in London, and I have seen his work evolve over the past several years from grafitti-style characters with fantasy overtones to a new origami style that he's adopted over the past couple of years. Airborne Mark started painting the walls in his home country of Poland before coming to the UK in 2005. His latest work is a range called "Origami Riots", and new murals based on this range are added to the streets from time to time. The newest of these appeared in Star Yard, off Brick Lane, a couple of weeks ago. It is called "Paper Sprite". He paints this range based on music he is recording.


For those interested in seeing more form the artist, I previously covered some of Airborne Mark's work, in with a round-up of other artwork in early 2014 here, a round-up in 2015 here and here, in early 2016. The artist's official website is here: http://airbornemark.com 

Greek street artist SER (Argiris Ser) is the latest artist to paint the large mural on the Village Underground. I had previously covered the artist's work in my round-up in 2015-2016 and a collaboration with Captain Kris. SER's work is based on fantasy lands and creatures, and he names this land "Popartia". Bright colours are used, and the fantastic characters always catch the eye. This newest addition to Shoreditch is named the "Sea of Knowledge" and features a mother "Chipac" with three babies floating in water. The artwork supports education objectives, namely the "Education is Not a Crime" campaign to support education against all people denied it in Iran.



This is a fun piece and works really well in this spot, so do have a look before it's painted over.

Nearly four years have passed since South American (São Paulo) street artist Alex Senna has come to London to paint art on the streets. I originally covered a selection of his work here, when he hit up London in 2013 and painted several walls and shutters across east London. I enjoyed the simple black and white illustrations, which often evoked a sense of humour and perspective. Senna is currently in London to support his solo show at Unit 5 Gallery, and he's painted two murals so far at Bacon Street and Hanbury Street.


The above mural is painted on Hanbury Street. The artist has been experimenting with other styles since his last visit, and the elongated shadow features in some of his work. This style appears on Hanbury Street against the white wall where a figure of a man is casting a shadow. The artist has painted his bird illustration next to the man.


A group of cyclists on a bicycle has been painted on Bacon Street.


For more information about Alex Senna, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/senna.alex/

Street Art: Ricky Also (Also)

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Ricky Also (who signs his work 'Also') is a street artist who is based in the UK and who has painted numerous walls in London and also in Bournemouth. He collaborates with several other artists and also has a studio where he paints glass. Below is a small selection of some of his work that has appeared in London over the last couple of years. His style is to exaggerate the human characters, which he illustrates with grafitti; his work is a mesh of grafitti and these whimsical characters. He often uses an element of humour in his work. 







More about Ricky Also can be seen and read on his website http://www.paintshopstudio.com


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