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London Christmas Window Displays (2017)

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The Christmas window displays in London are one item that I look forward to seeing each year. I enjoy seeing how creative the displays are and if there are any themes used in the displays. This year, I visited the usual shops on and around Oxford Street and Regent Street (Selfridges, John Lewis, Debenhams, Liberty, Fortnum and Mason, and Hamleys) to see what they have in store for us this Christmas (no pun intended!).

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First stop is Selfridges, and they used many Christmas party themes and large inflatible items (Santa and robin) in their shop windows to create more movement and interest. The first corner of the building (the one opposite to the food hall entrance) has now been transformed into the centrepiece, featuring a giant inflatible Santa, which spins. The previous centrepiece corner window (at the side of Marks and Spencer) is now downgraded this year. Some of the settings depict people with a giant cracker, a Christmas float, a dinner party, and other scenes. The colours used are red with gold and blue.

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On the food hall side of the building, we have lower-key London landmarks constructed out of different blue and silver shades, and I loved these and thought that they really rivaled the main window displays. 

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Hamleys always have fantastic displays with their stuffed toys, and their windows are always so crazy-packed with children and adults photographing them that I try my best to avoid that whole area of the street. It's just too busy. In the past, it's been so busy that I've had to walk in the road to get around everyone. (Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if they want to move to Oxford Street once it is pedestrianised.) This year, I was around during the day and managed to avoid the nasty weekend crowds.

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Fortnum and Mason went a bit abstract, exaggerated, and cartoonish with their series of mis-matched animals in over-the-top scenes this year. There was not a key feature window. 

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Liberty was not worth photographing this year as they had simple window displays with the rooftops of old buildings (spires, Tudor-style timbers, etc). I was disappointed and did not feel that they deserved to be placed here this year because it was low-key. I also felt the same about John Lewis, Debenhams, and others.

Overall, I felt that this year was toned down on the Christmas window displays, and the only one worth really noting is Selfridges this year, even though it is not my favourite. The inflatible round Santa Claus and bopping robin were quite cute and grabbed my attention.

Previous write-ups about London's shop windows over Christmas can be read here:

This evening, Mount Street Lights took place in Mayfair, which was also the evening where The Connaught hotel illuminated their annual Christmas tree and businesses in the area had special opening hours and prizes/treats for shoppers. This year, the Christmas tree in front of the Connaught Hotel is designed by artist Tracey Emin. The tree is illuminated with soft pink neon glowing words, which create sentences. Her works usually exhibit her personal successes, failures, and other milestones in her life.

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The Connaught Christmas tree is becoming a London art attraction as demonstrated in previous years when the tree was designed by Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst.

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Previous Connaught Christmas trees that I covered on my blog are below:

Carnaby Christmas Carnival

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Each year, Carnaby Street host fantastic Christmas lights that are different every year. In the past, we have seen Carnaby Christmas Revolution, Carnaby Christmas PartyrobinsSanta, and Rolling Stones (rock and roll). This year's theme is "Carnaby Christmas Carnival" and transforms Carnaby Street into a tropical and colourful festival complete with giant parrots, palm trees, shimmery floats, and confetti. Early each Christmas season, Carnaby Street hosts a Christmas party with discounts on area businesses, and this coincides with the light switch-on.

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A nice touch is the plug outlet sculpture on Ganton Street, which is always transformed into the Christmas light theme.

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Kingly Court on Carnaby Street hosts a fantastic selection of restaurants, cafes, and drinking venues and is filled with a rainbow of lights this year.

To see previous Carnaby Street Christmas lights in my blog, see the below posts:

Fleur De Lis Street: Street Art Paint Jam

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Although some people were opposed to painting street art on Fleur De Lis street due to the historical significance of the area and the buildings, the street has been in need of a bit of care for some time, and street art and grafitti here is nothing new. This little passageway is a shortcut through to Commercial Road and one that I used if it was not too dark. Of course, it has never been a pleasant experience walking down the street with the dirt, faeces, and needles scattered about as well as the strong smell of urine.

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Earlier in the autumn, the street hosted a paint jam with around twenty artists including Oust, G-Wiz, Tizer, Itaewon, Core, Captain Kris, Eoin, Trafik, 2Rise, Faver, Creed, ThisOne and others. By the time I checked out the street art here, it was probably about a month later and a couple of the pieces have been replaced.

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Gums and Tongues: Obit, Dahkoh, Captain Kris, The Real Dill

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Tizer

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Eoin

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Itaewon

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2Rise

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Stedhead

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Oust

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Jano Vicious

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Sleaf

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ThisOne

With street art walls disappearing from east London due to gentrification, I am glad to see that older walls are being made use of.

Juane is a stencil street artist from Belgium. He visited London in October during the Monkier Art Fair (along with many other artists) and left behind some street art for Londoners. His work features small-scale sanitation workers who appear to fit in with the real objects on the walls and street; the workers are in humorous poses and appearing to bring tricks and chaos to unsuspecting people.

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I captured Juane's small workers on and just off Brick Lane.

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If you know of anymore of these little construction workers around the Brick Lane area, let me know.

Jim Vision "Battlechasers" Street Art

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Jim Vision is a London-based street artist who is a regular painter to London's walls. His subjects typically tend to fall into the science fiction/fantasy or environmental/social message. Native Americans on horses with American flags, native warriors, and science fiction/fantasy dragons, demons, and warriors all feature in his artwork. Recently, Jim Vision had been busy painting just opposite Box Park/Shoreditch overground and on Pedley Street.

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The title of both of the new artworks is "Battlechasers" and shows a small group of heroes in battle against zombie-like, alien, or dragon creatures. The mural below is on Pedley Street and was left unfinished with blue paint for a week while the artist switched to work at the Bethnal Green Road location, where I saw him painting the new mural.

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The Bethnal Green Road mural is below.

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I previously featured Jim Vision on this blog in the following posts: 

Jim Vision "Lost Paradise" and Street Art

Jim Vision Adds to tagged ROA Hedgehog and New Work

Jim Vision and Other Street Artists 

Golden Eggs Appear Across East London

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Several golden eggs have appeared across east London over the past month; these have all been placed where there is a concentration of street art. I am not sure who the artist is who placed these golden eggs as there is no tag on or near them. Many of these are fairly high up, and many have since disappeared.

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If anyone knows why these eggs are placed around or know who is responsible, please leave a comment.

ThisOne has been one of the busiest street artists in London over the past couple of years with several new artworks appearing throughout the year. Most recently, ThisOne has contributed with Spanish street artist Koctel. ThisOne typically paints animals and other subjects in monochrome colours using a highly-illustrated and detailed technique. Koctel paints colourful artwork with Spanish graphical influences.

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The largest of the two new collaboration murals is located on Bethnal Green Road opposite BoxPark.

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The smaller mural features two rats with oranges and appears in Star Yard.

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I have previously covered street art by ThisOne on this blog on the following pages:

Street Art: HNRX and ThisOne
Street Art: This One

SHOK-1 is a London-based artist who is a master with the spray can. His style is to create a thin mist with the spray paint and to layer it to create images that appear to be X-ray photographs. The last time that I covered SHOK-1 on this blog was the "Elvis"/pelvis mural that he completed earlier this year at the entrance of Ely's Yard off Hanbury Street. I watched him use the technique to create his eye-catching work.

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Over the weekend, a new mural appeared to replace his earlier "MasterPeace" mural off Brick Lane, which featured an X-ray of a hand making the universal "peace" sign. The new mural pays tribute to all of the fallen soldiers in past mistakes/wars, featuring the simple poppy flower. The stem of the poppy flower appears to be made of barbed wire, perhaps a tribute to the trenches during the first world war.

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This time, the background is a navy blue colour instead of black or grey, which makes a nice change.

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In addition to the above mural, Shok-1 also completed another mural off Sclater Street. This mural was actually painted a few weeks ago and is painted to bring attention to recycling. "The Future is Rubbish" is the title given on the artist's Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/shok_1). It shows an X-ray hand tossing a crumpled aluminium soda can.

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For more information and work from Shok-1 in my blog, see the following links:

'Elvis' by Shok-1
Shok-1 'MasterPeace' Street Art
Street Art: Shok-1
Street Art Round-up: Spring & Summer 2015
Street Art Round-up in Early Spring 2014

Street Art: Neon Savage

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Today's post covers the street art of Neon Savage. Neon Savage has been responsible for pasting up plaster ducks and sugar mice and paste-ups of rockets, Tom from 'Tom & Jerry' in psychadelic situations, ducks, mice, and much more. These appear have been mass-produced and pasted up in a quick way. Occassionally, I find a really creative one.

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I've seen some really interesting ones in my walks around east London. Because there are so many of these pieces, I have not photographed all of them.

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The artist is always adding new artwork to the streets. 

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