27 April 2012

Street Art, East London

This superb crane in Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, was drawn by the Belgian artist Roa, who is noted for his animal subjects. The Gentle Author – author of Spitalfields Life – saw Roa as he was painting this from a motorized cherry picker. Initially, Roa had intended to depict a heron, but on learning that the crane is a bird sacred to Bengalis he decided to change it.

This shot brings out more of the detail of the work.

Unfortunately, only the top part of Roa's work here, in the Foundry parking lot, Old Street, can be seen from ground level.

And I note a report that his squirrel on the corner of Club Row and Redchurch Street has been attacked by vandals.

Hanbury Street is a rich site for street art. Ben Slow's mural shows a member of the extreme right-wing English Defence League and an Islamic extremist. He intended it as a challenge to others and himself, to show two sides of evil. The two people represent intolerance, racism, and hate. Slow was encouraged by the essentially positive response his work received.

A Pleasure Unknown, on Hanbury Street again, shows a girl wearing a tee shirt of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album cover, and was painted by Fin DAC, who describes himself as a painter who 'ignores the accepted visual language of street art', and terms it 'Urban Aesthetics' after the 19th century art movement.

At the top (Liverpool Street) end of Middlesex Street or Petticoat Lane is a mural whose subject (the alphabet) is perhaps more recognizable than most, as it's by Ben Eine, who also painted the alphabet on shop shutters further down Middlesex Street. Eine also gained considerable interest when David Cameron gave Barack Obama Eine's painting Twenty First Century City in 2010.

More examples of the four artists' work can be seen by clicking on the links below.
Ben Slow
Ben Eine

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