As eagle-eyed readers may have spied across the neighbourhood, the inaugural London Mural Festival has just kicked off.
And it’s quite a thing: over 150 artists from around the world, 50-plus large-scale walls across the capital. One of the world’s biggest ever celebrations of street art, in fact, says the blurb.
Like the extremely uplifting Walala Parade, it’s a happy idea for difficult times. The festival lets everyone see art, and feel a bit of civic pride at the same time, while showcasing artists to people who may not normally see their work. Win-win.
An open call led to 500 applications, with a mix of local, national and international artists selected. And there’s no theme; the artists can do whatever the hell they want. The organisers also sought to reflect the wishes of the wall owners, occupants and local communities, to choose the artists and artwork that best suits their location.
The painted walls have just started going up and will be finished by early October, but quite a few are already finished – or will be next week. Yes, there are simply loads around Leytonstone, Leyton, Walthamstow, Stratford and Hackney Wick.
The big E11 one is at 390 Grove Green Road adjacent to Filly Brook, whose courtyard-facing wall is being painted right now by Lucy Mclauchlan (completed 13th Sept); while over on Claude Road E10 is a striking circular finished work by Gary Stranger (see above, you can see it waiting outside Yardarm, in fact). Keep your mind busy, indeed.
Down on Lea Bridge Road is another finished specimen (see main image, above), possibly my favourite so far of the E10/11 ones. By the formidable duo of Ben Eine (read our interview with him here) & Rachel Joy (187 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, E10 7PN) and boldly entitled Stronger Together, it’s a brilliant neon-effect reminder to stay strong – and, incidentally, a useful street marker for those interested in popping off the main drag to the nearby Neckstamper Brewery.
What else? Nearby in Walthamstow is a piece by Faunagraphic (UK), to be completed 14th Sept at 1 Essex Close, E17 6JS; and head down to Stratford for half a dozen murals, including those by Adele Renault (Belgium), at 40 Water Lane E15 4NL, and Ed Hicks (UK) at 5 Westfield Avenue E15.
And all set to be completed by this Friday (11th Sept) are more works by Mur0ne (Spain) at 37 Cruickshank Rd E15 1SR, 1UP, and 1UP (Germany) at Carpenters & Docklands Centre, 98 Gibbins Rd E15 2HU. Finally, cross the canal to Hackney Wick for Dale Grimshaw (UK), 92 White Post Ln, Hackney Wick, E9 5EN.
Also worth noting is that the festival is privately funded by Global Street Art (GSA), with zero UK taxpayers’ money used towards any of the murals painted, and no inclusion of any branding on any of the walls painted during LMF. So it really is simply about the art.
That’s really just the start of it. Best to follow London Mural Festival @LondonMuralFest for the latest; or click on the map here from 14th Sept. You can also travel round the city to see murals everywhere from Peckham to Camden, King’s Cross and Shoreditch, too: below are a few more you could check out this weekend.
Main image, Ben Eine & Rachel Joy, 187 Lea Bridge Road: Stephen Emms