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art

T

he beauty of street

culture. More recently it has become

Banksy. Popular because of the

art as a genre is

a space used for legal art work to be

irony, political edge and sense of

that it is extremely

shown. In August last year Shift-

humour he injects into his work,

accessible to people

Work was an urban art event held at the Portobello Road end of the Westway. The exciting project saw street artists from London, and further afield, ‘clocking in’ for an allotted time to create works of art in the vast, urban space. The live street art project was open for viewing throughout the week and gave a unique and rare

much of Banksy’s earlier work

unfamiliar with the

art world; it allows anyone from any background to view art without feeling intimidated. Skirting the border between art and crime, street art was once seen as a dirty art form that blighted our city’s walls, trains and bridges with indecipherable tags. Not any more.

can be found in and around the Notting Hill area. Banksy continued the Westway graffiti tradition with his Che Guevara monkeys on the Portobello Road railway bridge proclaiming “Nuclear waste fades your genes”, while an early “Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge” Banksy monkey graced the wall by

A part of London seeing street art

The Elgin along Ladbroke Grove.

as more than just spray paint on the

At the 2004 Notting Hill Carnival,

wall is Notting Hill. In recent years

Banksy £10 notes, featuring Princess

the area has embraced the genre by playing host to a handful of street art events and seen galleries that specialise in street art pop up locally as the demand for it increases. Since the 1980s the area under the Westway, the dual carriage that passes over Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove, has been a popular place for Britain’s burgeoning street

Diana’s head instead of the Queen’s,

Street art has always had its roots firmly planted in Notting Hill but it is only recently that the art is coming off the street and into the mainstream

were thrown into the crowd. The following year his Crude Oils show at 100 Westbourne Grove famously featured live rats running about the gallery. Much of Banksy’s early work has either been vandalised or stolen, such as the Banksy rat on Needham Road which was gouged from the wall and sold. Notting Hill now boasts several galleries and spaces dedicated

Artistic licence opportunity for the public to see street artists such as Pure Evil, Blek Le Rat and Copyright at work. In 2009, Joe Rush returned to the Westway with the MuTate Britain:

One Foot in the Grove gallery of radical techno art and graffiti, in the former Acklam Road adventure playground bays off Portobello. Within Britain, much of the media frenzy that brought street art to the public attention has been centred on our very own Scarlet Pimpernel, Bristolian-born

to street art. Grenade Art Gallery (grenadeartgallery.com) is a tiny room specialising in urban art, while Bankrobber (bankrobberlondon. com) showcases Banksy pieces. Urban art gallery-cum-shop Graffik London (graffiklondon. co.uk) opened in Notting Hill over a year ago and is fast becoming a hub for the urban art scene. With a “legal” wall for artists to share their work, Graffik exhibits some of the best street artists in the world. No longer all derided as criminals and vandals but lauded for their creations, it seems London, and in particular Notting Hill, is finally seeing the beauty in street art.

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