As the 32nd longest serving Prime Minister in UK history Boris Johnson certainly provided plenty of material to fuel the imaginations of street artists in his 3 years and 44 days in charge of the country. On 6 September 2022 Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson stepped down from the role and handed the metaphorical baton to Liz Truss. Now seems a good time to bring together a selection of the many and varied pasteups, murals and other artwork he inspired that has been shared on our streets over the last few years.
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Her art focuses primarily on characters set in a world of blue shades, combining colours that inspire a peaceful atmosphere and invigorate a sense of calm and wellbeing. She uses a variety of techniques to create her artwork and tries to make use of eco-friendly materials and fabrics.
In 2021 we wrote about Noah whose art project, choreographed by his stepdad Nathan, during the first COVID-19 lockdown became a media sensation. Noah, a young teenager who paints under the name Background Bob, was born with hydrocephalus and he also has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy. The art project was a way to provide a focus and some structure during the COVID restrictions.
The idea was that ever smiling Bob – Noah – would paint some A4 cardboard (easily sourced, easy to post) backgrounds and invite artists to collaborate by adding their work. A simple yet great idea that snowballed into an international project with contributions from many established street artists. The resulting exhibition – Background Bob and his Amazing Friends – held at Firstsite in Colchester, displayed all 240 of the works. There was a sellout book with proceeds going to his local children’s ward and the works were all sold in a frantic eBay auction and raised almost £100,000 for the Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity. A truly amazing achievement and a proper good news story to come from the pandemic.
The project went so well and was so well received that Noah and his family decided to do it all over again in 2021. The new exhibition, again at Firstsite, has just finished its run. Taking the title “Background Bob and his amazing friends – guess who’s back?” it is the product of another 250 artists, care workers and members of the general public who responded to the call in spring 2021 to team up with Noah. The lineup this time is no less impressive than the first time around with a whole host of street and urban artists clamouring to be involved. In a wander round the gallery last weekend we were met with a smorgasbord of works including collaborations with 7th Pencil, RX Skulls, Ben Eine, Zabou, Fanakapan, Akut, Lost Hills, DS, Jay Sharples and Alice Pasquini. Once again there is a book cataloguing the artwork (available here) and the pictures will all be auctioned at the end of March 2022 to raise, we hope and expect, lots more money.
There aren’t enough superlatives to express what Noah has achieved over the last couple of years. In the future we will hopefully have COVID-19 behind us and we will remember the tough times we and our loved ones have had to endure. But we will also remember the good things that were catalysed by the pandemic. The enthusiasm of Noah and his family, along with the almost 500 artists who have contributed to date, Firstsite for hosting the exhibitions and those involved in producing the books are right at the top of that list.
TheStreet Art Directory is an independent website showcasing the works of the world’s street artists. The site currently presents gallery pages for 1400 artists with works from (so far) 5 continents. More artists and works are being uploaded all the time. You can receive emails with news about updates by signing up here.
OK, the title of this article may be a bit misleading given that all art is subjective and everyone will have their favourite street artists but bear with us. As 2021 drew to a close we had a look at the stats for our The Street art Directory website to see which artist gallery pages were visited most often during the year. Just as we found in 2020 the top 10 was a a varied and interesting mix of artists and not just the ‘big hitters’ that one might have expected would dominate the popular searches. With over 1400 artists now featured we give all street artists a platform and exposure, not just the big names. It is great to brilliant see up and coming artists and those not yet on everyone’s radar taking some of the top spots.
So here we go – the most visited artist gallery pages of 2021 in the time-honoured tradition of reverse order…
In 10th place we have the ever busy Savant. Each time we venture to East London we can guarantee there will be new selection of his printed or spray-painted pasteups on display. We particularly like the ongoing series of stencilled text character works, such as the one below, which are instantly identifiable and enhance any wall.
Aydar describes themselves as “Just a simple Parisian street artist” but their artworks are anything but simple. When this native American figure appeared on East London it caused quite a stir and has been much appreciated – and thankfully (last time we looked at least) has not been tagged over or otherwise ruined.
Simple but endearingly attractive panda pasteups started to appear in London during COVID lockdown. The design was originally created early on during the pandemic to bring a smile to the people of London but the Pandas can now also be found further afield in Britain – Bristol, Brighton & Exeter at least – as well as overseas in Lisbon, Barcelona, Porto, Kraków and Riga. The panda invasion started our with fairly small wheatepaste designs but over time the portfolio has expanded and there are now much larger stencils and painted works hitting the walls whilst retaining the delightful panda graphic. The panda design is also, commendably, being used to raise money for charity. We have to agree with the artist that these pandas do indeed bring a smile to the face.
Italian artist Emanuela Montorro is our 7th placed artist for 2021. Her works, largely presenting the female form, are very much in demand and a number of pieces are available for sale via the excellent Secret Art Gallery in London. We feature a few of her lips pasteups on our site.
Fosh hit our list at number 2 last year. With a limited range of wheatpastes and stencils centred around either the portrait depicted below or the “Have you seen Fosh” motif, Fosh’s work became instantly recognisable. A number of people contacted YouTuber Max Fosh so see if the street pieces were his (they aren’t) and Max contacted us to find out more about the artist. We couldn’t help much other than to point him to Fosh’s Instagram: @forshurr.
We don’t know a lot about Nicky Nailed It either but these child’s face pasteups have been quite prominent in East London at least for some time now and have landed the artist at No 5 in this year’s most visited galleries list. According to their website, “Nicky Nailed It has been created to encourage the spirit of childhood in the sense of curiosity, freedom and the innocence that drives us to do what makes us happy regardless of outside influence” and the Instagram page @nickynailedit indicates the brand embraces ‘carpentry, skateboarding, creativity, adventure, and good vibes’.
Ghost is a self-taught artist originally from South Wales. He has a fondness for portraits and there’s an anti-establishment theme to many of his pasteups which we have photographed on the streets of East London.
Lee Tokeley, the artist behind the LT66 moniker has been nothing short of prolific over the last year. We probably have added more work by this artist to the website than any other (with the possible exception of Oddo!). LT66’s stencil portraits hit the walls as wheatpastes, typically on newsprint. Usually, but not exclusively, illustrating female characters – from unknown faces to celebrities (Amy Winehouse and Emma Raducanu make an appearance) – the style is very bold and distinctive. LT66 can be found on Instagram at @lt66art.
Although we only feature one piece by Humor on the website he has been consistently popular, taking 6th place in last year’s list and up to the silver medal spot this year. The piece we feature is a tribute to the late artist Pow and was to be found in a prominent position in Allen Gardens, off Brick Lane in London. Humor is a very talented portrait artist and we love his recent painting of the much-missed comedian Sean Lock in Brighton (which we’ve not been able to get to the south coast to see yet). Humor’s Instagram account indicated on the mural is now defunct but he can be found at @humorstreetart.
In fourth place last year but it is top spot this time round for Cliff Phillips. Cliff is one artist we have aways admired and we have have enjoyed finding his pasteups. We have photographed Cliff’s work mainly in Manchester’s Northern Quarter but have also found a few pieces in Shoreditch. We were really pleased to catch up with Cliff during the year and publish an interview with the artist which you can read here. Cliff does not currently have an active presence on social media.
The Street Art Directory is an independent website showcasing the works of the world’s street artists. The site currently presents gallery pages for 1400 artists with works from 5 continents. More artists and works are being uploaded all the time. You can receive The Street Art Directory posts by signing up here.
Many thanks to all the artists and website visitors for your support. We are looking forward to exciting 2022 full of new and vibrant street art.
In our last post to The Street Art Directory website we shared photos of a selection of new pieces of street art that have appeared, seemingly overnight, in the Suffolk and Norfolk coastal towns of Lowestoft, Gorleston-on-Sea and Great Yarmouth. These excellent works have been widely attributed to the mysterious street artist Banksy in the local and national media.
At least partly in disbelief we weren’t convinced that these were the work of Banksy. I mean, Banksy – in Suffolk?? And hitting multiple locations??
As if just to prove The Street Art Directory wrong (and we are very happy in this instance to be proven wrong) Banksy has posted to his Instagram feed on Friday to confirm that all the works that we snapped in the three towns are his. Banksy’s ‘spraycation’ video also confirms three further pieces are his handiwork:
a fabulous hermit crab stencil in Cromer with shell-less crabs being shown a sign saying “Luxury rentals only” in front of a collection of empty shells,
the statue of Frederick Savage – steam engineer and mayor of King’s Lynn between 1889 and 1890 – in the town now holding an ice cream cone (made from the top of a traffic cone with insulating foam ice cream) and with his pink tongue sticking out ready to give it a lick.
a rare signed addition to the Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth. A new miniature stable building has appeared in the village featuring a stencilled rat, the spray painted slogan “Go big or go home” and “Banksy” sprayed across the front. Alongside the stable a young girl has dropped her basket of apples in surprise at the graffiti.
So that’s a total of nine new Banksy works popping up at the same time if our maths is right, and surely the biggest drop by the artist since his audacious 2013 month-long residency in New York.
This has to be great news for the towns concerned and will further increase the interest in the street art and lead to more people visiting from out of the area and contributing more to the local economy than the purchase of two ’99s’ that we mustered last week. I expect the local merchants of perspex sheets are already rubbing their hands at the prospect of the undoubted upturn in their profits before of the local taggers fire up their spray cans. The Nicholas Everitt Park stencil in Lowestoft has already been covered in perspex and has had part of the work removed by council contractors (not, as we had suspected, local ne’er-do-wells) for fear of its siting being a flood risk – it’s not often a boat can be considered a flood risk!.
By complete coincidence we had already planned to be soaking up the rays in Cromer this week so with a short stroll east of the pier were able to add the hermit crabs to our website.
A further addition to the Banksy East Anglian collection is another stencil that has appeared in Gorleston on the wall of the model yacht pond. It shows a drunk man over-inflating a rubber dinghy and propelling it, complete with small children, into the air. This one doesn’t seem to appear in Banksy’s video but is confirmed on his website.
So a week on from the initial flurry of excitement what do we know about the long term prospects for these Banksys?
The council in Lowestoft is considering protecting all the works and now that they have been confirmed as genuine we can expect decisions to to be made sooner rather than later. It is expected that the corrugated metal ‘boat’ will be returned to the Nicholas Everitt Park piece though we expect this may be on a limited time or seasonal basis to prevent flood problems or theft.
The grabber crane in Gorleston has had teddy bear stencils added by local artist Emo along with along with the text “Banksy Collaboration Emo” and a supposed Banksy signature stencilled in red. This work has sadly since been defaced. We await a decision on whether and how the drunk/dinghy stencil will be preserved.
Now that the Great Yarmouth bus shelter work has been claimed by Banksy we expect efforts will be made to preserve it but have yet to see confirmation of this. In the Merrivale Model Village the new Banksy building has already been encased in perspex and is only being put on show to visitors between 1pm and 3pm. It is being stored securely away from the model village to prevent theft (a wise move given that the tiny thatched stable probably has a value in excess of the average full-size Great Yarmouth house). The model of the small girl with the dropped basket of apples appears to have been removed from display (possibly by a light-fingered visitor?).
Cromer‘s hermit crabs are to be found on the beach and we understand that the decision has already been made to allow the public to continue to enjoy this piece until high winter North Sea tides remove it.
The ice cream cone and pink tongue added to the statue of Frederick Savage in King’s Lynn, have already been removed due to complaints from unappreciative members of the public (echoing Clacton’s far-too-quick decision to buff Banksy’s pigeon stencil a few years ago). We hope they can remember which bin they threw the cone into.
Visits to Manchester and Sheffield in the last few weeks have probed extremely productive and our street art photo vaults have been topped up nicely. Works by a quite a few artists not currently showcased in The Street Art Directory were duly snapped and we are pleased to share with you the first batch of these.
Last year we did a run down of the top 10 most visited artist gallery pages on The Street Art Directory website and thought it would be a good thing to do again for 2020. Before sitting down to compile this year’s list we were expecting it to end up being a who’s who of household names – those street artists who seem to be never too far from media attention – Banksy, Stik, Ben Eine, Shepard Fairey and the like. Instead what we found was these big hitters nowhere to be found at he top of the list. So here they are, in reverse order, this year’s most popular artists on the website.
First up, and in 10th place, we have Anne McCloy. Anne is a multi-disciplinary artist working in the visual and multimedia arts and design. She trained at Central St Martins College of Art and Design where she now lectures on the BA Fashion course. Anne McCloy works in music and design under the moniker ‘Some Product’ under which banner she can be found on Instagram.
On The Street Art Directory website we feature a large mural which used to reside at the junction of Great Eastern St and Old St in London. The building (which has also hosted works by Phlegm, Invader, Thierry Noir, Roa and many more over the years) has now been demolished.
Next we have Deranged Elf in 9th place. Anyone who has spent time wandering the streets around Brick Lane is likely to have stumbled across Deranged Elf’s diverse range of paste-ups, stencils and stickers. The artist’s work sometimes make political comment such as this Boris Johnson/Pinnochio portrayed here and other works which highlight environmental issues. Deranged Elf can be found on Instagram here.
We’ve found a few of Eiknarf’s paste-ups in East London, including the above typical “Crying but still punk” piece. On Eiknarf’s website you can purchase similar herpetologically-themed paintings, prints and T-shirts and you can also see more on their Instagram page.
The 7th most visited gallery is that of the prolific Atomic Hercules. Looking for interesting information about this artist we found this on their Twitter page: “As snake oil salesman, I prefer to shows off my quaint quirkiness with quackery. A practitioner of Choas Magik, Graphic Design & Linocut.” Atomic Hercules’s snails, beermat-style pasteups and stamp designs are to be found widely across East London at least and we feature a good selection on the website.
Humor (Hugh Whitaker) is represented on the website by just this one piece – a tribute to the street artist who painted under the name Pow. This work, in Allen Gardens in London, is one of many tributes to Alex that have hit the walls since he passed away in 2019.
Captain Eyeliner is the 5th most visited gallery and an artist that describes themselves as “a wheat paster, culture jammer, and an occasional pain in the ass“. We’ve captured a few of their cat skull images around London for the site. Captain Eyeliner has a presence on Instagram.
Our number 4 is Cliff Phillips. Born in 1975, Phillips comments on contemporary social behaviours through his vibrant portraits. As well as powerful works on the streets of Manchester and London he works in acrylic on reclaimed canvas, boards and found objects. We can’t find a website or social media profile for Cliff Phillips.
Our Number 3 is London based Cyborg iconoclast, Hallidonto whose “Cyborgia Manifesto” art, is created through the use of a variety of media, including virtual reality, crypto, digital, painting, drawing and poetry. On his website he explains his cyborg obsession:
“The cyborg image has been an integral part of my childhood. The cold war had just ended – the cultural landscape of the 80’s, was very much rooted in the future, the inherent feeling of that time was dystopia from the cartoons/films I watched as a kid, the advent of console gaming: Nintendo, etc. The image of man was always his metamorphism into the machine, or the machines taking over. I identified with the cyborg image, I wanted to be one. I identified with the concept of such a being and it has informed my work to date. They are infantile and simplistic in their appearance but not in their construction, being drawn in one continuous line. My visual discourse is motivated by transcribing the sociological constructions of our age, the evolution of the flesh its reflection of the coming state of mankind, flesh anxiety, the departure into a new being.”
Fosh topped the list last year and is still ‘up there’ this time around, taking the 2020 number 2 place. Fosh’s Instagram page doesn’t give away a lot about the artist behind the tags, paster-ups and stencils. Some seem to have wondered if Fosh the artist was Max Fosh the London-based YouTuber though this appears not to be the case.
The 2020 most visited artist gallery is that of the artist who goes by the name Bedroom. Several works by this text-based artist have appeared in Ipswich over the last year. The first of these doffed its cap to the highly successful ‘Sound City‘ music event in the town whilst subsequent stencils and plastic lettering pays homage to Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed. Bedroom appears not to have a website or social media profile currently.
So there we have it – The Street Art Directory‘s most viewed artists of 2020. We have many more artists in our archive still to upload to the site but very much look forward to the post-vaccine freedom of being able to wander the streets and find more new and interesting art.