Street art tour of east London – part 2

Carrying on from part 1 of the virtual street art tour of east London, which ended at the north end of Brick Lane, I meander my way back from Hanbury Street, cross back over Shoreditch High street and catch a few really nice walls on my way back to my initial starting point on Scrutton street, picking up a new favourite in Francisco de Pajaro along the way. More on that shortly…

To recap, we’ve had work from Alexis Diaz, Matt Adnate and C215 among others, but not to be outdone, this concluding part of the tour takes in some equally impressive art.

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Cheshire Street…

Art is Trash. Art is Rubbish. Art is Garbage. This is anti-art. This is Francisco de Pajaro, and I absolutely love it. His statement on his website, although badly translated via an online tool, can’t help but keep the fire of the original text.

“Art is Trash rebels against all of you, to all of you who look the other way, toward walking poisoned with eyes glued to a mobile phone and to those who prefer to look at the windows of a fashion store, or admire the abhorrent architectures of large cities.”

His description of his work as being “an anti-art aesthetic weapon of mass destruction to human savagery, ignorance and intolerance in our society” can’t help but get a reaction. Created from the rubbish that is discarded on the streets, his work appears to be a comment perhaps on a global society increasingly prone to disposing of the imperfect without a second thought.

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Dray Walk…

Carrying on down the main artery of East London’s street art scene, I veered off towards Rough Trade Records for a dig about their store. Last time I was down there Paul ‘Don’ Smith had just completed a really cool piece nearby as a tribute to the Godfather of House Music – Frankie Knuckles.

Another legend of music has sadly passed away since then. He paid his respects in the same spot by producing this portrait of the Bobby Womack.

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More recently the suicide of Robin Williams highlighted the often taboo subject of depression that affects many today. A character whose work is still some of the finest in the business was appreciated by Smith by painting his character ‘Mork’ (from the TV programme, Mork and Mindy) on the same pillar.

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Hanbury Street…

I pulled myself away from Rough Trade Records and rejoined Brick Lane briefly before nipping off onto Hanbury Street to catch this from Sheffield’s Phlegm completed, making great use of the slightly unusual space available.

His incredible, and slightly creepy monochrome wooden characters are always great to get up close to and see how they are put together.

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Spinning round I caught this older shutter work from Dscreet, whose electrified owls only appear, fittingly, in the evenings and early mornings when this shop is closed – for nocturnal eyes only.

Behind this shutter lies work from Borondo, a window painted white and scratched away to create a really impressive effect. Take a look at Borondo’s work from this post earlier in the year.

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This street is something of a hotspot, only a few yards down from Dscreet is this from NDA – an artist I’m not overly familiar with, but I’m definitely excited to see and find out more about.

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Leonard Street…

Swedish artist and designer Amara por Dios, now living in London, created this just across from one of my favourite spots in this part of town, the Book Club. Her designs are great, her t-shirts I particularly like, with that vibrant Incan/Aztec inspiration bubbling just beneath the surface.

You should definitely check out more of her work.

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Ravey Street…

What can been said about Ben Eine’s work that hasn’t been said before. A former graffiti writer whose lettering adorned many a wall and train in the past (illegally), now creates legal artworks in the main, not too dissimilar to this example. Iconic stuff.

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New North Place…

Scrutton Street, and the end of the tour, is just around the corner, but what a way to finish. Roes’ wall just along the road from what appeared to be Boiler Room HQ – at least that’s what the gleaning metallic sign suggested – blew me away a bit! A surreal masterpiece, whose colours burst out against the backdrop of dirty brick walls.

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And that was that – my super speedy tour around some of the finest art on the streets of this section of east London right now. Chances are by the time you’re reading this at least one will have disappeared (probably Francis de Pajaro’s Art is Trash installation), but if you get the chance to retrace my steps and check out at least a few of these, you’ll not be disappointed. And you’ll probably pick up a few new pieces along the way…

Steven
UKB

Street art tour of east London – part 1

Last week I found myself with a spare hour or so while down in London, so armed with a bottle of Scotland’s finest hangover cure, and embracing a refreshing but biting morning wind, I took myself on a mini tour of some of Shoreditch’s best street art spots.

Scrutton Street…

Starting and finishing at Scrutton Street, I wandered my way without any real plan and stumbled across some great new (well, new since my last visit in April) pieces from some familiar and less familiar names. Check out the best of my mini tour below, and use the map beneath if you want to retrace my steps the next time you’re in town.

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Invader’s Star Wars mosaic was one I came across online back in May, but it was a real thrill to see it in the flesh (or in the…ceramic), with the sun just beginning to rise. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the Flash Invaders street art collector app installed which I reviewed a month or so ago, if I did that would have been the perfect opportunity to open my account. Regardless, I really like this 8-bit take on a classic piece of movie history, and it’s a considerable size for a mosaic piece when compared to his smaller original alien artworks.

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Holywell Lane…

Along Holywell Lane I made a point of stopping by the Village Underground showcase wall. Some seriously impressive murals have covered this staple of the London scene over the last few years. Martin Ron, and Nick Kuszyk most recently making the most of the sizable canvas.

This piece by Ian Stevenson is characteristic of his satirical illustrations, and was created with support from sworn enemy of the Fox network, Russell Brand. The revolution will not be televised…but it may well be photographed.

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Bethnal Green Road…

Strolling on along Bethnal Green Road, and with the hangover beginning to subside, I couldn’t miss this colourful creation from Barcelona’s El Pez. His signature fish are simple but effective and stood out among some of the other pieces that fill the walls of this part of town.

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Sclater Street…

I moved on along Sclater Street and began walking down graffiti mecca, Brick Lane. Too early, but only just, for a curry I settled for a bagel and stumbled across a two-legged piece of toast within this vibrant potion from Artista*, in the doorway of an empty shop.

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Bacon Street…

As I began to move further down Brick Lane, I remembered about the spaces on Bacon Street round from the Sclater Street car park. This short stretch always seems to have some of the finest work on it, so I swung round for an unplanned, but essential, detour. Roa has left his mark here, and in the past the likes of Dscreet have also painted the walls too. This new work from Alexis Diaz ensured that reputation remained untarnished, with such staggering detail I got up closer for a few zoomed in snaps.

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Spin round 180 degrees and you’ll be greeted by a piece of aboriginal inspired art from Aussie Matt Adnate. The subject of this painting is Djalu Gurruwiwi who is arguably the most important Australian musician alive today.

According to the project Dscreet was working on when we last spoke, “Baywara: The Film” that documented the life of Djalu, “he is a spiritual custodian of Australia’s most iconic instrument, the Didgeridoo. He carries with him ancient songlines that have documented our planet’s history for the past 60,000 years. Though Djalu is highly respected by those familiar with his music, he has yet to receive the wider recognition that he deserves.”

This almost photo-real piece mirrors the importance of Djalu  Gurruwiwi with it’s intense level of detail.

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Over on the east side of Brick Lane, Bacon street continues, and holds this hidden gem from one of my favourite stencil artists, C215 aka Christian Guemy. This portrait is the perfect example of his style, not usually in your face (although he has worked on a number of larger scale projects recently) but hidden away, which makes it all the more satisfying to stumble upon.

Beneath it lies a piece from Paul ‘Don’ Smith whose similar work will crop up in part 2 of this blog (to be posted shortly) as the tour continued from Brick Lane onto Hanbury St, looping back round over Shoreditch High St and onto where it started back on Scrutton St.

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Steven
UKB

 

UKB Guest Mix #23 – ZeitlupenUwe [UKB023]

Let’s slow things down…

Part of Marcel Knopf’s Clap Your Hands house label, and head of the popular OpenAir To Go events held in Berlin parkland, ZeitlupenUwe‘s recent mixes are always among my favourite.

Spinning a blend of downtempo house and slowmo techno, this mix is no different, recorded live at Friedrichshain’s ‘Kosmonaut’.

ZeitlupenUwe’s OpenAir To Go project brings the parks of Berlin to life musically. Invitees are asked to bring radios of varying size, with the DJ transmitting his mix via the ‘free’ frequency which they tune into. A completely DIY surround sound soundsystem! Such a fantastic concept deserves its own fantastic podcast series, it can be found here – Open Air To Go podcast series.

As a popular DJ with Clap Your Hands, a young Berlin based label founded by Marcel Knopf, Uwe’s talent hasn’t gone unnoticed.

The label has become a brand for a rough and modern approach to house music demonstrating the label’s diverse outlook without losing the focus on what is really important – the dancefloor.

Steven
UKB

Will & Held talking ‘Ours’ EP

Last time Will Berridge spoke to UKB, the young DJ and producer based in Leeds had just released his debut EP ‘Make a move’ on Save You Records and was preparing to promote his track ‘We Could’ [Octafiga EP] released on the Sccucci Manucci imprint.

A lot’s changed since then, with a couple of new EPs on the way this time co-produced with Held as well as new solo work, a stack of unreleased gems, and one pretty special remix tied down too. This all feels like a ticking career timebomb.

We got to chatting about the change to his music over the past year, as well as a different approach to production, and details of his latest release.

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Talking about the ‘Ours’ EP, he’s obviously very excited about the release. “It’ll be a double sided 12″ with 3 tracks from Will & Held and also features a remix from Prime Numbers head honcho, boss man, big dog…Trus’me!  It’s being released by Save You Records’ new vinyl-only project ‘Spinning Plates’ . It’s the first of a string of collaborative releases planned for this year.”

The process of working in collaboration with Held is relatively new one which you could say, based on previous experiences, he might not have been particularly looking forward to.

Will explained, “Rich (Held) has worked quite heavily with numerous producers under an old alias but I have previously found the process difficult.  But this new project felt incredibly organic and natural so producing new pieces was never a difficult process.”

“The plan was to combine the texture, depth and weight of dub techno with a stronger grounding in ambience & musicality”

“The collab came from us both working at a sound design company called Samplephonics.  We both figured it could be a good idea given we have mixed musical backgrounds yet both of us have the same admiration for texture and progressive music.”

“The production process was a combination of musical experimentation with numerous ‘jam’ sessions to find our sound. We’ve spent a large amount of time building tracks using analogue synths and random bits of outboard which eventually became integral to the final sound.”

And what is this new sound, I hear you ask…?

“The plan was to combine the texture, depth and weight of dub techno with a stronger grounding in ambience & musicality. Coming from different backgrounds has allowed the music to move in directions neither us of us had previously ventured in. ”

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This is definitely evident, particularly when comparing this new work with Held to his last EP ‘Make a Move’. The former having a wider range of styles, and being more upbeat in many ways. ‘Ours’ has the feel of a maturer production, darker and more complex than what has gone before, blazing a trail for future releases. His appreciation of “that dusty old Detroit sound with flabby kick drums and lazy synths” (best description I’ve heard in a while) continually influences his work.  Of course, that’s not to say one EP is better than the other, but they are definitely very different creatures.

“My individual music is going deeper & dubbier still.  I’m currently sitting on a lot of material waiting to find the right label”

“Yeah I’d agree this project is slightly more consistent than previous releases.  Having not released a solid body of work for 14 months I guess this is the next stage in where I want to be musically.”

“My individual music is going deeper & dubbier still.  I’m currently sitting on a lot of material waiting to find the right label.”

His unmastered track NaCl(aq) that appeared briefly on Soundcloud for a couple of weeks was an exciting glimpse of what’s to come. I got my ears around a couple of those productions he’s been spending time on too, and was really impressed by what I heard.

It’s doubtlessly a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ these will get picked up…

At the time of writing Trus’me was still working on the remix, so it’s hard to comment on the full EP as a piece of work, but what did stand out for me was the final track, ‘Tape’. I wanted to find out a little more about this one and how it had come about – it seemed like the process of creating this track might have been different to the 2 (Buoys & Ours).

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“Tape for us re-enforces everything we’d learnt from the previous two compositions.”

“Many of the sounds that we attempted to add to the piece began to take away from the emotion and notes hence the piece was left predominantly bare.  It was quite a swift process but took a lot of restraint to not just keep adding sounds for the sake of it.”

“The ability to recognise when something is or isn’t done has been crucial throughout the project”

“The project caught us both at the same point in our musical progression so the compositions were never a case of compromise for either producer.  The biggest thing that we’ve both learnt is patience.  Attempting to implement so many different ideas into each tracks but still trying to ensure some form of continuity has forced us to be very appreciative of each other’s work.

“The ability to recognise when something is or isn’t done has been crucial throughout the project.  We’ve been implementing this ethos ever since.”

It was great to catch up with Will again this year and find out what’s been happening. The release of this latest EP and more solo and collaborative work with Held means the next 12 months will be very interesting. The tracks are also garnering support from the likes of Mounter & Ste Roberts on their recent Rinse FM show (below, 50 mins in), who labelled the track ‘Buoys’ as “something a bit special” and “one of the best records of the last 10 years”.

Hopefully next time we hook up we can bring a UKB x Will x Held collaboration of our own, fingers crossed that’s something we can deliver…

Steven
UKB

Getting into Dubl Trubl with Dscreet

Dub TrublThis week I caught up with London based artist Dscreet for an interview to find out about the work he’s been putting out lately, as well as collaborating with other artists to curate the highly anticipated Dubl Tubl show, launching later this week at Urban Spree in Berlin. The show brings together a staggering 80 street artists to collaborate in pairs, with some very interesting combinations.

Although perhaps more commonly known among street art fans as the man behind the ‘electrified owls’ that perch around parts of east London, he’s worked with a range other media – film, interactive design, painting, sculpture and installation.

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Dscreet first experienced graffiti, as many do, through friends who painted. “We used to tag all the spots we skated and at some point drawing and piecing became more important to me than skating”. He later moved onto his trademark character, “the owl is a really loaded image, it means different things to me and the more I learn about owl symbology around the world the more I realise how diverse the interpretations are.” [Interview with Street Art London, 2012]

In between filming in Australia for “Baywara: The Film” and setting up at Revaler Str., he took some time to shoot the breeze with UKB.

UKB: You mention you got into street art now via skating, painting & tagging etc, but how did you come to settle on the character you have now?

D: I was doing letter throwups but I grew up drawing cartoons and just wanted to incorporate that character style into a quick iconic throwie.

Owls are my favourite animals and they already look like caricatures of a bird, so they fit the bill. I love painting those dudes.

UKB: Have you ever felt like changing style completely and starting over? DJs/Producers start to release stuff under different aliases, can a street artist do the same?

D: Yea I already did. I used to do really technical wildstyles, detailed characters and experimental abstract pieces, played with 3D rendering and all that good stuff, but it got boring and so I reinvented my style and went back to basics, a lot more fun. People who used to dig my shit dubl hate it now, I think that’s the sign of a good move.

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UKB: Where would people be most likely to find you/your work in London just now? Any favourite parts of the city to paint at the moment?

D: Mostly East, a bit played out but I still like it there.

UKB: As a tagger back in the day, what are your thoughts on the so called ‘internet-age’ of street art and graffiti? Good or bad? A natural progression? Does the internet /street art blogs take away some of the appeal of street art?

D: Its all good, the internet’s cool, I often use it. You can also walk the street and kick cans in the gutter on your way to the internet caf.

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UKB: In an interview with Street Art London blog a few years back you mentioned that you thought “graffiti legends will be taught about in school”. How much closer do you think that is to becoming a reality given the number of street art based shows/exhibitions art auctions there are now?

D: It’s already happening, I get so many uni students writing and asking to do interviews for their latest art thesis and I’m not even a “Grafffiti Legend” so I know they are studying the big guns at school or at least incorporating those artists into their research.

UKB: You’re stranger to diverse collaborations having worked with Connor Harrington and Lush among others. What do you think makes a good collaborative piece? Does painting as a duo introduce any fear about screwing it up for your partner?! And, do you have any particular favourites of your own from the past?

D: Good collabs; just being pals who can have a laugh at each other and bounce ideas, it’s best if you bring completely different styles and ideas to the table and embrace the fact that someone else is way better than you at certain things. The duo thing actually frees you from all that anxiety about fucking it up ‘cus you can just blame the other dude, everybody’s happy.

“…the duo thing actually frees you from all that anxiety about fucking it up ‘cus you can just blame the other dude, everybody’s happy…”

Past favourite; the DUBL TRUBL streetfighter collab with Reka (below).

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UKB: Dubl Trubl sounds like it’ll be a blast – why did you decide to host the show in Berlin & Urban Spree? Will it make use of the big outdoor space, or will it be indoor? Or both?

D: Yea it’s gonna be a smash boom banger. Why Urban Spree? Because it’s the best fucking space in the universe and perfect to host the best fucking exhibition ever in the universe. Everything is in imminent danger of being “arted”.

“… [Dubl Trubl is] a bad idea that I fished out of the ether during a transcendental meditation session with David Lynch, the beast put it there….”

UKB: Where did the idea come from? Organising it must have been some serious ball ache?! What’s been the most fun & least fun (apart from answering these questions…) part of the whole experience?

D: Oh yea all these flakey fuckers are aching my balls to the max, it was a bad idea that I fished out of the ether during a transcendental meditation session with David Lynch, the beast put it there. Actually its been relatively painless so far…I know I’m speaking too soon.

I dig it when people tell me they had fun doing their collabs, if they’re having a laugh I know the piece is gonna be sick and loose and not the norm.

Least fun? We don’t speak about that here…

UKB: How did you pick the pairings ? Which of the pairings are you most looking forward to seeing complete a piece?

D: I chose people who despise each other and knew it would be difficult to spend time together with hatred oozing through their fake clenched smiles. I specifically look forward to seeing Timba and Twoone’s collab, because Timba told me it’s the best thing since Arnie immortalized the phrase “get to the chopper!”, he’s basically set himself up for a huge fall…

UKB: Any surprises/plans for the opening night? What should people expect?

D: Uber-long minimal techno sets, currywurst, glowsticks and Peruvian energy drinks, if that doesn’t get you excited then you’re dead inside.

I tend to agree with him there! Sounds like it’ll be a great exhibition and opening. If you’re in Berlin between the 18th of September and 26th October go check out the 40 collaborations of street art’s finest. Names like Reka, Lush, Thierry Noir, Nychos and Dave the Chimp will give you an idea of the standard!

In the meantime, check the video above of Skewville, who while unable to make any work for the upcoming exhibition, found 2 dead rats instead…

Steven
UKB

UKB Guest Mix #22 – Christian Schiemann [UKB022]

Dresden born Christian Schiemann [Circus Night Records / Kanja Records] steps up for UKB022, with something a little different to his signature tech house / deep tech sound.

Now living in Zürich, the DJ/producer first caught our ears over of the Friede Freude Freitag podcast, and having checked out his first EP ‘Somewhere Else’ on Circus Night Records, I set about securing a mix from him as soon as I could.

Christian describes this as “really trippy and definitely an after hours mix” – it certainly doesn’t disappoint!

Well-known on the Swiss circuit as one half of Hug & Schiemann, he is also part of a group of DJs and producer known as called Les Enfants Terribles Zürich or L.E.T. Zürich who also host their own parties, highly anticipated among Zürich’s in-the-know crowd.

Having collaborated with good friend Phil Cole to record ‘Sometimes’ on Kanja Records to widespread acclaim, the pair have started a new project called Novotek, and released ‘Drunk and Smoke’ on Raw Level Records.

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So what’s coming from Christian?

“At the moment I am working on a lot of things, a remix for Moon Records, a remix for Kathi Busch together with Nicole Hug and my new EP ‘Lora’ is coming very soon on Forward Education, which includes remixes from Kitzt, Rob Pearson and more.”

If you like what you hear, be sure to keep track of his upcoming releases via Facebook and his Soundcloud channel.

Steven
UKB