Brexit Through The Gift Shop

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23rd June 2016 was a shit day for most of us Brits as this was the day that marked the UK’s decision to leave the E.U and thus officially creating Brexit. 

Fucking politics…

Anyway, the Brexit-inspired mural appeared on the wall of the derelict Castle Amusements building in Dover back in May this year, around the time of the general election, in which the Tories remained in power. Fucking politics.

To highlight the state of what is currently happening in the United Kingdom, the piece depicts a worker chiselling away a star from the European Union flag, oh the irony. The beautiful thing about this piece is not only its representation of the UK leaving the E.U, but also the fact that the building itself is actually cracking right underneath the worker and his chisel. A nice and subtle double meaning behind this masterpiece.

Today I took the journey from London to Dover to see the work for myself. Getting to Dover from St Prancas International is a straight forward journey and it will set you back about £40 for a return fare.

From St Pancras, you can either get a direct train into Dover Priory, otherwise you have to change at Ashford Int. The journey takes about 1 hour 40 minutes so it’s not too bad.

Once you get into Dover the Banksy is about a 12 minute walk from the station. Like most seaside towns in the country the place feels a bit run down and in need of some TLC. That said, it is rather picturesque down in Dover, so if you make the journey there leave yourself some time for a bit of a wonder around.

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In the town centre there’s some nice old buildings – if you like that sort of thing – and in the distance you can see the English Channel and the famous white cliffs.

Dover Town Hall [below] sits in the middle of a rather small town centre, which has a typical high street, you know, Carphone Warehouse, McDonald’s, Sports Direct, Boots and all of that. So don’t go there expecting a good shop, let’s put it that way.

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Dover Town Hall

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White Cliffs of Dover

Walking away from the town centre is the way to go if you want to see the Banksy. It’s on York Street and is in the direction of the seafront.

Once you’re heading the right way you’ll see it a mile off. This was the first new Banksy I’ve seen in over a year so once it was in sight I was getting goosebumps. There’s always something pretty special about finding work by the infamous Bristolian graffiti artist.

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Approaching Banksy’s mural on York Street

As soon as I got closer to the piece I was literally in awe. It is truly incredible. Not only is it in pretty much perfect condition, it’s also huge, which for me makes it one of the best Banky’s I’ve found to date. I also liked the fact I was the only one there taking photos and other than that the place was pretty desolate.

I took a ton of pictures, but still didn’t feel like I had taken enough. It felt like a great accomplishment seeing this work in person and I think that’s what it’s all about.

Here’s some snaps of the ‘Brexit’ Banksy:

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Unfortunately, due to the nature of the street art scene, nothing lasts forever. And especially not when it’s a Banksy as people will pay insane amounts of cash for them.

Not only that, this piece is on an old, derelict building that doesn’t look like it will be there much longer. There’s already talks that the work could be sold, which is a real shame in my opinion.

So my recommendation is get down to Dover and see it for yourself and appreciate this inspiring ‘Brexit’ mural by the one and only Banksy.

If you’ve got a minute head over to change.org and sign the petition to save this piece.

For further Banksy reading check out my other blog posts:

Banksy in NYC (New York)

Banky’s ‘The Drinker’ (London)

Banksy Hunting in LDN (London)

The one and only Banksy (Bristol) 

Dismaland Opens for Business (Banksy’s 2015 dystopian theme park)

Feel free to add comments and share your favourite street art/ artists.

Peace

X

 

 

 

 

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Banksy does NYC

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Little did I know that when I travelled out to New York in August this year that I would find one of the last-standing Banksy’s from the infamous street artist’s 2013 residency entitled “Better Out Than In”.

As a lover of the urban art scene I knew going to NYC (the birthplace of graffiti) would be pretty special, but I didn’t think I’d get chance to hunt down one of very few Banksy pieces left in the busiest city in the world. I’d been reading blogs and checking Instagram before my trip to see if any his work was still there. I noticed one piece on a lot of Instagram posts which was “Hammer Boy”, so I knew I had one good opportunity to find something.

Looking at a lot of the images I also noticed ‘Help save Zabar’s Banksy’ written above the work. This meant it could potentially go at any point and I would be pretty lucky to see it.

This goes to show, it doesn’t matter who you are in the street art world, one day your graff could be a thing of the past. It’s ever-changing scene which keeps it exciting and gives off a certain buzz in a city. While I was in the Lower East Side I managed to stumble upon work by two of my other favourite street artists; Stik and Os Gêmeos (who also featured in Banksy’s New York residency).

IMG_2738Funnily enough, when travelling on the Piccadilly Line to London’s Heathrow Airport (on my way out to New York) when passing through Acton Town it was nice to see that Stik’s piece on the side Charles Hocking House – the tallest piece of street art in the world – was still standing strong. It was kind of romantic to accidentally find his piece on a water tower in Lower Manhattan.

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As you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult doing everything you want in New York as the place is insanely massive. As it was my first time there I had to do the tourist stuff like Top of the Rock (best view of NYC by the way), Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero, Times Square, Yankees v The Mets, as well working a few days in between. On my last day I decided it was time to try finding one of the last Banksy pieces in New York.

I looked at a through Instagram posts and had seen a few people had tagged the location (79th and Broadway) and I also read a few blog posts which stated the piece was still there, which is what I really needed to know.

It was boiling that day and it’s safe to say I was sweating from all areas of my body by the time I made it to 79th St. I got the wrong Subway too so I had to get off at 72nd St and walk a few blocks. Though I highly recommend walking as much as possible as the Subway is rather hot (actually it’s fucking boiling) and not as easy to navigate as the London Underground.

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The area itself wasn’t really what you’d usually associate with a place you’d find street art (which I guess is typical of the Bristolian artist), and to be honest, I thought I was on a wild goose chase at first. But then as I started walking down 79th Street I looked across the road and could make out the protective glass… I had found what is one of the last few Banksy’s in NYC.

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It was a peaceful day and I was the only person taking photos of the piece. Which was pretty nice as in the documentary there is utter pandemonium on the streets every time Banksy sprays a wall. I had time to take it in without any bother and probably took more pictures than I needed to.

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It felt like quite a symbolic moment as I’ve been lucky enough to find some amazing Banksy’s in Bristol and London so it was a good feeling to find one of his last remaining pieces in the world’s greatest city.

So if you’re going in search of this Banksy this is the location:

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For more Banksy guides read my Bristol and London blog posts:

Banksy Hunting in LDN (London)

Dismaland Opens for Business (Banksy’s 2015 dystopian theme park)

The one and only Banksy (Bristol) 

Back in Bristol (Post on Bristol street art, including Banksy’s ‘Girl with the Pierced Eardrum’)

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite Banksy’s.

Peace X

 

Brighton: sun, sea and street art

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Brighton & Hove, on England’s South Coast, is not just a popular place for families to go on their summer jollies; it’s a city that offers a lot for any urban art enthusiast. So much so, I decided to write a blog post dedicated to it. 

Brighton is a city that reminds me a lot of Bristol and East London, in a laid-back, independent coffee, vintage market, smells of weed, anti-establishment kind of way. Don’t get me wrong, there’s the standard Starbucks, Boots, Tesco Local-themed high street that we’re all used to, but mix that with coffee roasters like Small Batch and the quirky shops on North Laine and you’ll feel something quite unique about this town on the South Coast.

For me, Brighton cements itself as one of the best cities in the UK for street art and the sheer scale of the graffiti makes it comparable to Paris and Berlin. The likes of Banksy, Blek le Rat, RONE and Gary Stranger, to name a few, have all plied their trade in this seaside town.

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The narrow and winding streets down North Laine are well worth a look

North Laine is a pretty good place to start graffiti hunting in Brighton as the surrounding streets are plastered with colourful tagging, stencils and huge murals.

In typically British fashion it was pissing it down throughout my trip to the South Coast, but it didn’t spoil the urban art on offer:

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While strolling around the streets of Brighton I came across this old school camper van, which I feel says it all about the city and its culture:

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Up the top end of town and about a 10-15 minute walk from the seafront is Trafalgar Lane – a street not too dis-similar to the Rue Dénoyez in Paris, aka the graffiti street – where street art in any form is legal.

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Many backstreets in this part of Brighton strike a familiar theme, and from here, right down to the city centre each road and every road is worth walking down.

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I couldn’t really post about street art in Brighton without mentioning Banksy…

Back in 2004, the Bristolian street artist, sprayed the ‘Kissing Coppers’ piece on the side of the Prince Albert boozer in Brighton city centre, only for it to be sold-on for an astonishing amount. Ten years later, after same-sex marriage was legalised in the UK, the piece returned on the old and abandoned Astoria, though representatives of the graffiti-legend stated it was not his work this time round.

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Kissing Coppers on the Brighton Astoria

Whether Banksy returned to do this himself or not, I guess we’ll never know. However, I did find this a rather romantic aspect to the urban art scene (no pun intended).

And to make it even more interesting, when wondering through the city centre I stumbled upon a piece by Blek le Rat – a French street artist and pioneer of stencil graffiti (who claims ‘Banksy stole his style’). I found it quite compelling that the  Frenchman’s work was particularly unnoticed; it wasn’t covered in plexiglass, nor was it tagged over by someone else, in fact, there wasn’t even hoards of tourists frantically trying to get a picture of it. Yet, if this had been done by Banksy it would have been covered up by the building’s owners and sold to Brad Pitt or some other Hollywood celebrity by now.

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The stencil pioneer: Blek le Rat

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Blek le Rat meets the fish eye lens

Back in the city centre there’s some amazing existing artwork by RONE (an Australian-based street artist) and Gary Stranger (famous for his typographic pieces) that are well worth checking out:

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Classic, clean typography by Gary Stranger

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Stunning work by RONE

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I highly recommend a trip to Brighton, and even if you don’t like street art; who doesn’t like fish and chips, cheesy arcade games on the seafront, donuts and skinny dipping?!

Just don’t go in February…

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Check out my other blog posts for more pictures and guides to street art in the UK, including how to find the best Banksy’s in London.

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, please add comments, share your favourite pieces and add any info I’ve missed.

Peace x

 

Urban Art: East LDN

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Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you’re ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ prosper and you don’t end up giving up on dry January by the second week – like I probably will.

Anyhow…

It’s been a while since my last street art post, and a while since I’ve had the pleasure of strolling around the graffiti hub that is East London. After spending a couple of weeks back in the motherland of Leeds over Christmas – where the closest thing to street art is normally a something like ‘jon waz ere’ tagged on a wall in the city centre – it was good to be finally back in London Town.

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The vibrant Brick Lane is a place that gets under your skin, and once it does, you’ll never want to leave. There’s always something going on; be it the famous Market on a Sunday, eating cereal in the hipster cafe, or simply just getting harassed to go for ‘London’s best curry’ in one of the many restaurants on the curry mile.

The street is also well-known for street art, and the likes of Banksy, OBEY and Invader all have work (past and present) on Brick Lane and the surrounding area.

As it’s about a month since my last visit not much had changed –  it was almost as if the street artists had taken a break for the festivities of December too – though there was some pretty good new pieces too:

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Work by Sakia and Bitches 

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Nerone LeCocktail 

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Chilean street artist, Otto Schade, knows how to create truly thought-provoking work. This is one of his latest in the East End.

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c125 has plenty of work around London, look out for his unique style. 

And finally, here’s a new piece by Trust Icon, up near Broadway Market in Hackney.

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‘Nothing to see here…’

Do you have any favourite pieces of urban art in East London or any other cities? Share the street art love here. 

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments, share your favourite street art, and any info I’ve missed.

Peace x

 

 

 

Paris est beautiful

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In light of the terrible events that have happened in Paris over the weekend (and earlier on this year) I wanted to write quick blog post highlighting how beautiful and incredible this city is. 

Why anyone wants to bring harm on the lives of the innocent is beyond me.

My thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones and to the many affected by these acts of mindless violence. There is no place on our planet for inhumanity. I hope the rest of us can stick together and unite against extremism. Give peace a chance.

Paris is beautiful:

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One of the best restaurants in Paris. Proper Parisian cuisine.

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Je Suis Charlie tributes shot up all over Paris after the tragic Charlie Hedbo shooting in January.

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‘Beware of words’ by Ben 93.

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Beautiful work by street artist Seth overlooking Paris.

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Street art by C215 in Nationale

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Huge piece by OBEY in Nationale

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The stunning Pantheon

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Work by the famous Parisian street artist Invader

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A see of stunning white architecture

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I’m saddened again to hear about what’s happened in one of my favourite cities. Paris is such an incredible, multi-cultural and welcoming place and it’s shocking to hear the horror that has taken place. I hope the Parisians and the country of France remain strong and know that they have the rest of the world on their side.

#PrayForParis

Dismaland opens for business!

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“The fairytale is over, the world is sleepwalking towards climate catastrophe, maybe all that escapism will have to wait.” – Banksy

The wait for Banksy’s latest exhibition is finally over as Dismaland opened to the public on Saturday 23rd August. If you’re a Banksy obsessive like me this event is a must!

The Bristolian street artist (and his PR crew) built up so much hype over the event that six million crazed fans crashed the Dismaland website on Friday trying to get hold of a £3 ticket. I was one of those fans attempting to get a ticket as soon as Friday dawned at midnight.

After trying my luck for an hour or so I realised that nothing was actually happening on the website and gave in. I was checking Twitter simultaneously at this point and it seemed it wasn’t just me staring at a JPEG of a calendar.

I thought to myself, would Banksy really allow for such organisation with one of his events, or is this all just part of his genius plan? I believe in the latter.

The website has since apologised to people who tried to get tickets and states they will go on sale on Tuesday 25th August – we shall see…

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I was already in Bristol on the opening weekend on Dismaland as I was visiting some of my old work mates for a bit of a piss up. So as news broke through the week that Banksy was in town I knew I had to make it. After trying, and failing to buy tickets online (and becoming part of the dismal experience) I decided on Dismaland’s opening day I would head over to Weston-Super-Mare anyway and have a look, and maybe have an ice cream and build a sandcastle on the beach too.

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Approaching the seafront in Weston-Super-Mare

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The view from the front

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My first glance of Dismaland!

As I walked down the seafront I could see the Cinderella Castle in the distance. Now my only hope was buying a ticket (if they even existed?!) and getting into the Bemusement Park. I joined the rather huge queue at around 11:30, it was massive. There must have been at least 1,000 people there already.

I didn’t let that put me off and took my place at the back of the queue, and was slowly joined by more and more eager Banksy fans. To be fair the queue moved down quicker than I expected which made it a little less dismal.

This is what my three hour queueing experience looked like:

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This is what the queue looked like at 11:15 on the opening day…

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An hour in and the ticket office was getting closer. As you can see it was a classic British summer day.

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13:00 and my £3 ticket was in spitting distance

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The best three notes I’ve ever spent!

At last, I had my ticket. There was just another hour and a half of queueing to go…

For those who want to buy more than one wristband, or a ticket for another day from the ticket office, you can’t. Nor can you take in pens (so no tagging over Banksy’s work). After purchasing my ticket I joined the back of another massive queue. The Weston-Super-Mare sun came out for the second part of my queuing extravaganza and I was sweating my tits off. My neck is now ridiculously sunburnt. When you’re British you just can’t win; it’s either too hot, or too cold.

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Just after one o’clock and almost two hours into my Dismaland experience I was almost there…

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14:00 and I found myself in the next group to go into Dimsaland!

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After three hours queuing and standing around in the sweltering sun, the time had come for me to enter Dismaland.

The experience wasn’t just about the creations of Banksy and the 50 other artists (including Damien Hirst), the staff also added to the truly dismal atmosphere. Walking through security the staff mocked everyone and did their best to make it as uncomfortable as possible.

The guy on the entrance mocked my moustache and appearance in general. I was pretty hungover that day so I was expecting something. Before entering Dismaland you have to go through Banksy’s security checkpoint where the ‘guards’ ask you a series of questions and set the scene for what’s to come.

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After surviving the security interrogation I was free to enter the Bemusement Park! When you enter the park you’re greeted by someone handing out brochures, which you have to really pull to get out of their hands! The staff are all about being dismal, from the expressions on their faces to their attitudes, and it’s all part of the Dismaland experience.

Dismaland is fucking amazing! And I’m going to give it a very dismal 10 out of 10. 

It was like walking into Banksy’s mind and at points I didn’t know whether it was real or if I was still dreaming.

Dismaland is worth the hype, it’s worth the wait and I feel privileged I got to experience it on the day it opened to the public.

Here’s some of my favourite bits from Dismaland:

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Cinderella’s Castle: Here’s one for you Disney fans!

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Exit-through-the-giftshop Punch-and-Judy Selfie-hole Puppets Police-van2 Sand-castle-1 Horse Ferris-wheel Being-British Boat David-Cameron Lorry-sculpture- Stencil Migrant-boat Topple-the-anvil Cinderalla's-cart Winning Sandpit Whale Terrorists Exit-sign

Dismaland was as dark as it was inspiring, and as bleak as it was beautiful. Banksy, we salute you.

Did you make it to Dismaland this weekend or are you planning to go soon? Share your thoughts and dismal experience with me!

Follow me on Instagram:  @rickmacmacca | @loveeastlondon | @black_and_white_ldn

Peace x

Street art daily: day twelve

Invader was here

One of my favourite street artists is the one and only Parisian artist, Invader. Like Banksy his identity is kept secret and only a select few know who the man behind the retro-game-inspired work actually is.

His unique mosaic street art can be found all over the world and I’ve been lucky to see some of his amazing work in Paris and London… so far. To make finding his work even more fun he created a smartphone app: flash invaders! You get points for each piece you find and the app uses your location to tell you which you found. It’s pretty clever and makes finding his work even more addictive.

His work can be found in the last places you would expect. For example, on a recent trip to Paris we went to see the Sacre Coeur and as we left this iconic French piece of architecture we spotted work by Invader on a house just opposite the landmark. So always be on the look out. Look up, instead of checking Twitter.

Here’s some of my favourite Invader pieces to date:

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Invader work just opposite the Sacre Coeur!

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Brick Lane: This piece is slightly damaged but still remains on the famous East London street.

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One of my favourite Invader pieces. This tribute to Star Wars can be found just off Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch behind the American Car Wash.

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Can you see it? This piece blends in pretty well with the grey wall but you can see it’s red eyes staring back at you. This Invader is in the Belleville area in Paris.

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Real or copycat Invader? Certainly looks like the real deal however we were told there are a few Invader copycats in Paris. If only I had the Flash Invader app on my iPhone at the time!

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More Invader work in Paris

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This Invader piece is in Brixton, just above Shaza’s Fried Chicken joint!

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A huge Invader piece in Shoreditch, just off Brick Lane. It’s nicely placed next to a huge mural by OBEY.

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This must have been his 100th invasion of London, as this Invader is accompanied with the number ‘100’. Again didn’t check it on my app, but I will! This one can be found on Broadway Market, just opposite the Cat and Mutton pub.

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This little Invader piece can be found in between Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus.

How many Invader pieces have you found, and which is your favourite? 

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite London street art.

And follow me on Instagram @rickmacmacca, @loveeastlondon, @black_and_white_ldn!

Peace x

Street art daily: day eleven

STREET ART SKULLS

Everyone loves a skull, right? Whether you’re an artist, a tattooist or a bit of an alternative – skulls are very much anti-establishment and against the mainstream.

They look just as good as a tattoo as they do on the wall of a building. With that in mind, here are some of my favourite street art skulls:

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Skull by Alexis Diaz – just off Brick Lane – a few minutes from the Cereal Killer Cafe!

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Work by #EDMX in Camden

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Another piece by Alexis Diaz, this time with the help of Borondo.

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Hanbury Street: Skull by DesX.

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Artist not known: please add if you do!

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Artist not known: please add if you do!

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AMAZING! Colourful skulls on Brick Lane by @fanakapan.

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Artist not known: please add if you do!

What’s your favourite skull street art in London? 

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite London street art.

And follow me on Instagram @rickmacmacca, @loveeastlondon, @black_and_white_ldn!

Peace x

Street art daily: day ten

Camden Town, London.

Camden is the hub for all things alternative and it’s one of London’s major attractions for those looking for something a bit different to Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and The London Eye. 

Like Shoreditch, and East London in general, Camden is becoming an top spot for street artists from all over the world to ply their trade. Just minutes from the tube station there’s some amazing murals to be found by the likes of Jimmy C, Otto Schade, Irony and Boe and Dan Kitchener (and many more).

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Work by the unmistakable Brazilian, Cranio.

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And here he is again!

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Beautiful work by Dan Kitchener

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Work by Himbad

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Camden really is ‘home street (art) home’.

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Piranha’s made out of rolled up cash. Maybe that’s an interesting look on our government? Work by Irony and Airborne Mark.

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This is an absolutely incredible piece by Jimmy C. It’s worthy of any gallery and yet we have his work on the streets of London for free.

Much of the street art in this post is in an area in Camden soon to be demolished and turned into accommodation (with extortionate rent no doubt), so get down to Camden and explore the streets instead of the markets for a change. You never know, you might just like what you see.

Where do you think is the best area for street art in London? Is Camden better than Shoreditch?

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite London street art.

And follow me on Instagram @rickmacmacca!

Peace x

Street art daily: day nine

Underneath the London Transport Police Headquarters on Regent’s Canal in Camden is the place the street art war between Banksy and King Robbo started.

The feud resulted in them destroying each others work, most notably, Banksy ruining a 25 year old Robbo tag, and London’s oldest piece of graffiti. The street art war between Banksy and King Robbo was documented by Channel 4 in a programme called ‘Graffiti Wars’.

During the filming of the documentary, Robbo had a life-threatening head injury leaving him in hospital in a critical condition.

After spending three years in a coma Robbo sadly passed away, and although his original piece is long gone, a tag still stands in his honour under the police HQ.

RIP KING ROBBO

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Watch Channel 4’s Graffiti Wars here.

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite King Robbo street art.

Peace x