London Visit

Once I reached London I got to the hostel safely and as quick as possible in order to get as much sleep to prepare me for the gallery visits the next day.

The next day, when I got to the Royal Academy of Arts, I heard the security guard explaining to someone that the predicted queuing time was 1 and a half hours. To be sure, I decided to ask the security guard if this was the queue for the Ai Weiwei exhibition – to which he laughed and replied that the exhibition had ended a long time ago.

I was adamant that the website had said that the exhibition was running this year. I got this up and showed the security guard on my phone:

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He repeatedly apologised for the mistake on the website and the misunderstanding, and my waste of journey! I later realised that the exhibition was being displayed online, so I therefore plan on taking this online exhibition tour in order to find out more about Ai Weiwei’s work and influences.

I decided that I could not waste a trip down to London, and decided to look for other things which would be relevant and interesting research for my project. After searching on the internet, I found that there was a Camden street art tour that day starting at 11:00am. I bought the ticket for £20 and quickly got the tube to Camden.

The tour guide was very interesting and got talking to me about how she arranges spaces for upcoming artists to install and create street art. I took her e-mail address for future reference. We also talked about a possible opportunity to design an installation for a park in Camden, which has problems with keeping people from littering in the area.

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This is by street artist Mau Mau. The writing which he painted over is an advertisement which is protected – and therefore the owner of the building cannot remove the work. Mau Mau took this into consideration, painting over it, hence meaning that the owner of the building would not remove his piece, to avoid damaging the original advertisement.

Mau Mau was criticised for ruining the historical advertisement by painting over it. His reply to such criticism, was that that new bank building had already ruined the writing by building above the writing’s finishing point. With Mau Mau being an anti-capitalist, this backed up his whole concept – adding context to the phrase which he has painted (‘Get rich or try sharing’).

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This work, displaying Amy Winehouse, was by famous street artist ‘Bambi’ who remains anonymous. This piece was placed in Camden shortly after the singers death. Amy was a huge member of Camden Town, as even after her huge successes and stardom, she continued to live in the town, in her same home – until her death.

Depicting a local star so simply and beautifully earned Bambi a lot of press and fame, as the image was shared virally.

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French street artist Gregos leaves casts of his face stuck to walls in different destinations all over the world.

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Japanese artist Saki was gaining a name for herself, meaning that many of her pieces were getting stolen. She therefore devised a device which attached to street post, so that it would be harder for someone to take.

The piece is interactive and can be manipulated by the viewer, as each block rotates, creating different combinations.

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The above two pieces are by artist Dale Grimshaw. Within this piece he is aiming to raise awareness about the crimes and tragedies on going in Papau New Guinea. Grimshaw is from Blackburn and studied at the same college, which obviously creates added interest for me. I feel that the imagery is very striking and unmissable.

The fact that he dedicates pieces to a particular cause is very heart warming and makes the purpose of his art very valid.

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After seeing this board I decided to look into what ‘@thecuriousproject’ was. I found the account on Instagram. The page documents images of handwritten note which are found on the streets all over the world. I thought that this was a lovely idea, as it anonymously reveals secrets/ideas or letters which would otherwise probably only be for personal use. I thought that this was a really interesting concept which I may look at interpreting into my project.

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