The display of street art photographs in our Stroud Green office has certainly made heads turn with regular customers and passers-by. Park Life talks to Stoke Newington resident Nurit about her love of street art.
When and why did you become interested in street art?
I always liked to take photos of street art but around five years ago after I took a guided tour and became familiar with the main artists working in the east of London I started following them more closely on social media to learn when a new wall is popping up and where. The area of Shorditch, Camden and Hackney Wick is known as the capital of street art and artists from all over the world come to display their art here to gain popularity.
What is special in this kind of art?
It’s a democratic type of art; there is no establishment deciding what is ‘good’ or 'bad'. The major galleries go by what the public like to see and is willing to pay for, so they stick with the most famous artists. In street art, everyone can become famous even for a short period of time. Banksy is of course world famous and has contributed to changing perceptions about this form of art. Then there are other less well known artists like ALO with his unique portraits and the German artist Thierry Noir who was one of the first artists to paint on the Berlin Wall. He has a wonderful wall piece opposite Rectory Road overground station in Stoke Newington. I also like Stik who is from Shoreditch who creates large stick figures on tall buildings; Zabou the French artist whose work has a great sense of humour; Jim Vision's murals are always dramatic, even epic; Ant Carver who combines paste-up with bold strokes of paint brush for his striking portraits; Dan Kitchener's Electric Geishas and fluid lights and Frankie Strand's Flamingos octopuses and alligators and finally Fanakapan whose helium balloons jump in three dimensions from the walls and Otto Schade's silhouette circles with a very distinct sarcasm. These are just a few of the artists I love to explore on my walking trips.
What different kinds of street art can you find in north London
There are three main types of street art: the first is grafitti, people who tag their names in a particular style which is only recognisable by people who are familiar with the style; then there are people who do paste-up where a poster or artwork is prepared at home and then mounted on walls; the third type is freestyle and spraying of stencils.
What about the legality of street art, can it be classed as vandalism?
A lot of street art is illegal and was not considered appropriate. But with the success of Banksy et al, people began to realise that some street art can be valuable and landlords of both residential and commercial buildings actively commission this kind of work. Licenses are normally granted for certain amounts of time, and corporations, organisations and charities apply on behalf of artists for permission to produce the art. There are certain walls that are free of restrictions and they attract many different street artists which paint on top of work already there. For me, this transient style is the essence of the democracy of street art. A lot of street art is done on temporary hoardings which makes a potentially boring structure put up while building work is taking place, look more vibrant.
Where do you see street art going forward?
The trend which started with Banksy showing that there is money to be gain from street artist has convinced galleries to invest and they are now exhibiting street artists' work on canvases and prints. So the more popular street artists can sell their work through these galleries and perhaps start earning from their art. There is a trend of moving the main activity away from Shoreditch and Camden to outposts like Penge, Bristol and Manchester. And major galleries such as the Tate Modern are inviting street artists to paint on temporary walls.
To discover more about street art, see these interesting links.