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Street artists get cashed up!

Street artists get cashed up!

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This week’s post rather synchronistically follows last week’s “Set Your Game Plan” for Make it Happen Monday. If you missed it, make sure you check it out… it’s chock full of seriously useful resources!  I have a very fitting real life “Game Plan” case study (don’t yawn… it’s not the boring kinda text-book case study) that will hopefully inspire your socks off… (it did for me!)

 

I spent last weekend in London visiting a good friend and exploring what the city has on offer!

 

It was the first time I’d stepped on British soil, yet I’m a citizen… go figure?! I didn’t really know what to expect except for maybe grey skies and traffic jams, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

 

I’m not much of a city person generally (forests are more my thing), but London seemed to be buzzing with an aliveness that I’ve rarely felt in cities… especially for a cold, drizzly Winter!

 

I have to admit, it was also a nice luxury to be back in an English-speaking country. I’ve been living in Switzerland for the last year and though it’s a beautiful place, the language barrier has been more of a social challenge than I realised it would be.

 

It’s funny because while I was living in Malawi (Southern Africa), no-one expected me to know more than a handful of words and phrases. I clearly stuck out like a sore thumb, though in many ways I felt more at home for my distinct differences.

 

In Switzerland I look just like everyone else and ironically, that seems to make it a bit harder to fit in. I’m not sure if that really makes sense, but that seems to be how it’s played! Swiss German isn’t exactly the easiest language to pick up, but I know that the ball’s in my court to make more of an effort.

 

Anyway… I was very excited to be able to eavesdrop on conversations in the tube and make pointless chit-chat with shop owners, just because I could! :)

 

Back to artists creating abundance…

 

There’s a small company called Alternative London that runs highly popular, “pay what you like” walking tours around the Brick Lane area which is a mega hot spot for local (and international) street art.

This place is just oozing with creative juice, I could have just about licked it!

 

Street artists have claimed the area as their canvas and just about everywhere you look, from the curry restaurant building walls to the sign posts and the cracks in the pavement, you can find a world of hidden (and not so hidden) treasures.

 

What’s even more beautiful about this area, is that most of the community really respects and supports the work of these artists.

 

I’m not usually one for tours, but I’d heard such good things about this one from my friend and was keen to learn more about the area so I gave it a whirl. Our guide, Josh was a local street artist who was super passionate about the local street art scene.

 

His eyes lit up when he explained the ins and outs of the fascinating history of the area that built the foundations for the supportive art community that it now holds and we got the inside story of the politics and rivalry between street artists and graffiti taggers in the area.

 

He showed us the most elaborately stunning, intricately hidden and down-right clever works that appear and change from day to day, including some of his own pieces. Many of the artists were friends of his so we got to hear about their stories and the meaning and significance of the pieces to not only the artists but the community as a whole.

 

 

The art and history of the area was deeply fascinating, but what I surprisingly found to be just as inspiring was to see how Josh was creating his own abundance. He was working for a couple of hours every other day (unless he had other paid work), sharing his passion for local street art, show-casing his and his peers work, meeting new people and discovering fresh pieces, all whilst earning some decent money (let’s not freak out about the dirty “m” word now) and actually having time to do his art.

 

I was so stoked to see this in action!

 

There were at least 20-25 of us, paying around £10 each (do the maths) and paying because we were felt inspired and wanted to. It was worth every penny to us and he earned it without any of the “ick” feeling. Now I’m sure he’s not pocketing the lot, but even still… certainly gives you food for thought!

 

Alternative London does no advertising, they simply have a website and rely on word of mouth. Because the tour guides are so passionate about what they’re talking about, the energy simply draws people to the tours. People tell other people about it (like I’m now telling you) and they become really popular.

 

That’s what I call a kick arse Game Plan!

 

If you haven’t yet created your own Game Plan yet, make sure you go back to last week’s post and download the free PDF action sheet.

 

Now for some eye candy straight from Brick Lane to you on your favourite comfy couch (or bus stop bench?)…

 

owl   stick

hand   hat

heart   stork

walls   scratched

elephant   brazil

vhils

 

This last piece is by a Portuguese artist named “Vhils” and was by far the highlight for me (and no, not just because my wonderful partner is Portuguese!). He chisels his stunning pieces right into the concrete on the wall. Really amazing!

 

Check out this 5 min doco about some of the work he did in Brazil where a whole community of homes was being demolished to build a cable car in time for the world cup. He immortalised the previous dwellers’ presence by chiseling their portraits into the ruined walls of what was left behind.

 

Really special…

 

 

Until next week… come say hi over on my facebook page!

 

new sign green trimmed

 

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Comments

12 Responses to Street artists get cashed up!

  1. This blog is so good Nicola! It is truly inspiring and reads like a very well made documentary (not a boring documentary, but one that transforms the reader to the site being documented and makes the reader desire to be there themselves). I love the YouTubes and pictures! I can see why the art by Vhils is your favorite. It reminds me of some of your work. it is amazing that he chisels it into the brick! Holy! My favorite is the elephant and ths colorful street shot. Reading this excites me! It makes me want to do something! xo

    • Thank you so much Jeanette!! I’ve never been much of a writer, so I often feel a bit nervous putting stuff I’ve written out in to the world! Your support means so much. This all excites and inspires me too!! Ah… to cover the whole world in art! :D Much love to you… xxx PS I love the elephant one too!

  2. This is so cool, Nicola – I would LOVE to go on a street art tour. I’m a huge fan of street art…the mystery behind it is what I love so much!! Thanks for sharing. If I ever make it out to London, I’ll have to remember these guys!

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