A mural apparently by Banksy has appeared next to the Marble Arch in London. Showing a child planting a sapling into the ground and holding the ‘Extinction Rebellion‘ logo. It also contains some scrawled writing which says ‘From this moment despair ends and tactics begin.”
By the time we had arrived the piece had of course been covered in perspex. It’s always a race against time these days when a new Banksy appears. Sitting on a low wall next to the Arch it had become an impromptu tourist attraction. Lines of people were already there waiting patiently to have their photo taken next to the work.
Banksy on the Marble Arch
The mural appeared just after the conclusion of the Extinction Rebellion protests which saw demonstrations across London. The Marble Arch was one of the key locations at which protesters would gather. The choice of topic isn’t a surprise. Much of Banksy’s previous work has had an environmental flavour to it. A recent piece in Port Talbot showed a child seemingly enjoying the snow. Before revealing that it was actually waste from a nearby incineration.
Although, at the time of writing, the art has not been confirmed by Banksy himself. It is remarkably similar to the artists most recent installation at the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem. That artwork shows a child drawn in the same style playing with some building blocks next to a love heart sized hole in the West Bank Barrier. The style of stencil, the scrawled message and the political theme all point to the artist as being responsible.
The Extinction Rebellion concept and idea has been growing over recent years, The symbol itself having first being designed in 2011 by the artist ESP. Now used as a rallying banner. It was adopted in 2018 as the symbol for the mass movement which has grown exponentially over the past year. We saw it for the first time in 2016. Created by Carrie Reichardt as a giant mosaic as part of the ENDANGERED13 event on the arches next to the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Banksy’s use in this latest work is another powerful affirmation that the symbol is here to stay.
Painted within the public space of Marble Arch it’s always a question as to what the council will choose to do with it. Posing a dilemma to the local authorities, Westminster council would normally clamp down on unauthorised graffiti or street art in the area. It’s a fact that no doubt would not be lost on Banksy who will be well aware of the public value of his art. It’s another feature of the artist that, following a series of protests which disrupted so much. The symbol of that disruption might well now be protected next to one of London’s greatest landmarks.
The extinction rebellion mural appeared on 25 April 2019 and was photographed by Inspiring City on 28 April 2019. It can be found next to the Marble Arch in London.
From the Coacalco district of Mexico, Sune Nesu is an artist inspired by the fantastical creatures of the region. Painting bright coloured combinations of different types of birds and animals. His street art internationally is very much a homage to his home area.
Aberdeen! The granite city, the city of grey! Who knew it would become such a hotbed of street art. The cities Nuart festival has already produced some amazing murals as part of it’s two previous festivals. Now established firmly as a key event in the urban art calendar. It’s third installment once again sees some of the world’s very best street artists heading to the city.
This isn’t something we say lightly. The truth is that already Nuart has attracted some real talent to the city. Firmly established over the North Sea in the Norwegian city of Stavanger, the move to Aberdeen payed homage to the close links between the two cities. The first event in 2017 really played on those links. Bringing artists across who were already well established in the Nuart family. The likes of Martin Whatson, Alice Pasquini, Fintan Magee and Herakut all creating stand out works.
Elki multi-layer stencil piece. Part of Nuart 2018. Photo by Inspiring City
An imposing piece overlooking the market from Herakut. Created as part of Nuart 2017. Photo by Inspiring City
STREET ART IN ABERDEEN
In 2018 the focus centered much more on the Scottish scene. Local artist Elki returning to the city to produce one of his largest and most ambitious pieces to date. Whilst Glasgow artists Conzo & Globel combined to create a much photographed comedic tribute to the chip stealing seagulls of the area. Carrie Reichardt meanwhile created a number of works in mosaic paying tribute to inspirational Aberdonian and Scottish women.
So for 2019 an even more ambitious line up beckons. A serious nod to stencil art is driven by the presence of Norway’s Strøk, Hama Woods and the UK’s Dotmasters. Street installation artists are representated by Jan Vormanns who creates art out of LEGO by utilizing spaces occuring within the urban environment. He is joined by Ememem whose tiles will fill cracks in the street and potholes in the road. Portugal’s Vhils, one of the most exciting talents on the scene at the moement, is renowned for his quite literally ‘explosive’ work. Axel Void’s dark muralism comes to Scotland for the first time. While Australian SMUG, now resident in Glasgow promises to bring a showstopper to the city.
An artist whose multi-layer stencils cause viewers to double take. Showing figures clambering along often giant walls. They cast long shadows which distort perspective. Seemingly inhabiting a reality in which gravity is not an option and time has suddenly frozen. His work has an other-worldy and rhythmic nature to it. Often juxtaposed as they are against the ruins of factory buildings, rusting metal and decaying plaster.
Axel Void is a multimedia artist driven by a passionate interest in the art of storytelling. Inspired by truth in all its forms the artist aims to explore the visceral realness of an uncomfortable reality, or the hazy delight of nostalgia. Each and every one of Axel Voids works documents sincerity, presented with an almost journalistic intrigue. Over recent years he’s visited the UK a number of times painting in Manchester and London.
Axel Void mural in Walthamstow
Alex void mural. Part of Banksys 2015 Dismaland exhibition in Weston Super Mare
Known for his unique typography he paints his colourful letters large wherever he goes. Eine is a staple of the London scene. He was there at the birth of the modern day graffiti movement and his letterforms are his current evolution. Now known more for his large scale words painted high and wide. It’s a far cry from his days tagging the streets of the city which had led him to the attention of the law a number of times. Now his work is feted by the likes of David Cameron who famously presented one of his canvases as a gift to Barack Obama. Have a look at his Petticoat Lane Alphabet here and his work at the Olympic Park here.Ben Eine’s “You saw it in the tears of those who survived” on the Village Underground wall in Shoreditch. Photo by Inspiring City
Another core of the UK scene. Dotmasters is also an intrinsic part of the early days of the Nuart festival. Acting sometimes as a producer and co-curator as well as artist at previous events. His work has featured in both Banksy’s CANS festivals as well as in the documentary ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’. Well known in London we’ve seen his work most recently in Croydon and Penge. We also featured his campaign to highlight the unjust expulsion of homeless people from an unused office block in the city.
An artist whose interventions cut into the fabric of a city. He creates colouful works of art within roads and pavements. Inviting us to observe the details as he draws attention to it’s imperfections. Filling potholes and cracks with colour using locally sourced ceramic tiles and grout. He calls it his ‘street flacking’ project. Stepping into spots where city council’s have failed to maintain. The result is a little bit of surrealism and magic to the structure of the city.Ememem patching up potholes with tiles around the world
Inspired by architecture which the artist sees as a mirror for society. Evol utilizes stencil techniques to transform electric enclosures, concrete planters and other familiar elements of the modern city into unique pieces of art. Interested in depicting the urban lives of ordinary people. Many of his works are also narrative or suggestive of the turbulent history of Berlin. The artist is particularly interested in the postwar socialist architecture of the former East Germany. As a result many of his pieces depict grey and functional buildings with a brutalist and monumental appeal. These ‘cities within cities’ are rendered so precisely it is often hard to tell whether or not you’re not looking at real buildings when viewing his work in photographs.EVOL’s work inspired by the turbulent history of Berlin
Showing a reverence for nature and its immediate connection to humanity. Hama’s multi-layer stencils draw attention to greed and human consumption and its effect on our natural environment. Her hope is that her work empowers and challenges viewers to come to their own conclusions and to rethink the choices they make. Particularly those choices which might have an impact on the natural world.Stencil art from Norway’s Hama Woods
An artist whose work on the street looks like it would not be out of place on canvas in a studio. Her murals weave together images from mass media which she combines through digital collage. Her work examines how the over-saturation of imagery and information can leave us in a state of disorientation and confusion.
Helen Bur mural at the Stavanger Nuart festival in 2018
Helen Bur painting at Upfest in 2018. Photo by Inspriring City
HUSH fuses traditional eastern art with the more western tradition of action painting and graffiti. Fascinated by Asian graphic novels and inspired by the likes of Mimmo Rotella, Roy Lichenstein and Sir Peter Blake, Hush has a unique style. A visual treat, HUSH’s work results in a layering of complex textures and colours in a fusion of anime, pop-graphics and graffiti. Multiple layers of tagging and graffiti transition from the street to the studio and back again. Forming a deeper, richer exploration of colour, shape, form and ultimately, culture.
Bringing his Dispatchwork project to Aberdeen. Jans Vormann uses LEGO bricks to repair damaged walls. He describes the project as “a forum to further develop, piece by piece, a global game together”, one that encourages citizens to take back public space and leave their mark on the city in a playful way. Some of the installations use a handful of toy bricks while others have used up to 40 kilos. Having started spontaneously patching-up surfaces in Bocchignano, Italy in 2011, Vormann has since employed the technique on walls in nearly 40 cities across Europe, Central America, Asia, and the United States.LEGO bricks from Jans Vormann patching up a wall
Taking what might be considered to be more traditional art out of the gallery setting and into the street. Julio Anaya Cabanding displaces these often well known paintings by re-producing them in often inhospitable settings. Searching for adandoned places in which to host them. The result is that he ends up ‘unlocking’ these paintings from the ‘sacred’ space of the gallery into somewhere altogether different. Generating new meaning given the new environment and how people might interact with them.
Known for his photo-realist graffiti work, Smug, or SmugOne, is a contemporary graffiti writer originally from a small Australian town. Now living and working in Glasgow his murals are highly technical photo realistic figurative pieces. His murals, favoured by photographers for their engaging appeal, are created using only spray paint. A popular artist we’ve featured his work before in Leicester where his work for the Bring the Paint festival is still a stand out mural in the town.
Destroying in order to create. The Portuguese street artist who openly operates under his real name, Alexandre Farto, is internationally recognized in the forming of dramatic, oversized portraits. Made by carving directly into outdoor walls. Growing up in Seixal, an industrialised suburb across the river from Lisbon,he was deeply influenced by the transformations brought on by the intensive urban development the country underwent in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s this which has influenced his artistic process. He often involves industrial methods such as drilling and controlled explosions. The majority of the subjects in his artworks are anonymous and formerly unremarkable urban citizens. These are ‘common people’ turned into icons to create a contrast this with the need people seem to have to create icons in the first place.
The Nuart festival in Aberdeen takes place between 18 April 2019 and 21 April 2019. Photos provided in this article have been provided by Nuart unless otherwise stated. For more articles on the 2019 event have a look here for the graffiti grannies of Aberdeen. Click on the links for the murals of 2018 and the Street Art of Aberdeen.