This weekend is one of the biggest in the London art world with the huge Frieze exhibitions in Regent’s Park and many associated events. In 2010 Village Underground started to host the Moniker art fair, which is a showcase for leading urban, street and contemporary artists timed to coincide with the Frieze festivities.
The Moniker fair attracts a number of well-known artists from all over the world and one of the highlights of this year’s schedule is a new work by Ben Eine (see post about his other work in Shoreditch), who has a long association with Village Underground (he painted the ‘Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other’ message high up on the Great Eastern Street wall.
InÂ The AngelÂ Kim has her studio in one of the tube carriages on the roof of Village Underground in Shoreditch. I’ve been there quite a few times (up in the carriages and in the venue space below). I paid a flying visit to the fair (which unlike Frieze at Â£20+ is free to enter) yesterday evening and on my way up towards Old Street (where I also paid a flying visit to the National Academy of Writing fair) I noticed the lower part of the wall on Great Eastern Street was being painted.
Unusually, it was a female artist at work and her style was distinctly different to much of the street art that normally covers the walls around Shoreditch — lots of yellow and pink — Â not monochromatic blacks and greys or electrifying primary colours. She also used some intricate stencilling work to apply small coloured stars, crosses and lines to the mural. Â And featuring figures of children in the work is fairly radical for street art.
I’d not seen a street artist at work and I was intrigued by the stencilling before so I asked if I could take a few pictures and we had a short chat. She told me that she was Amanda Marie from Colorado (website here), who’d come over from the US for the fair, and she had work on show inside the exhibition. The Moniker website describes it as ‘storybook imagery [that] can feel edgy cute, but it is washed with mischief,Â and can be a bit spooky. Â Her work is Child-Like, but not Childish. Â The paintings areÂ allegorical and proverbial.’ The project on the Village Underground walls is calledÂ â€˜Gravity Gardenâ€™ (sponsored by a gallery in Amsterdam) and it’s of ‘children gently falling through wonderfully endless skies painted directly on the walls. Â It will be a spooky oasis.’
When I got home I thought the photos looked quite interesting so I posted one on Village Underground’s Facebook page and said I had a few more if they were interested. They were and I e-mailed the photos over and they appear to have liked them so much that they’ve not only put all of them on their Facebook and Flickr pages (and giving me the credit) but one is currently Village Underground’s cover page (see photos) — as liked by over 10,000 people. The photos themselves have got nearly 100 ‘likes’ in a few hours. I’m feeling quite impressed that I’ve promoted the London street art scene, even if only in a small, accidental way.
As a quick aside, the most interesting thing that came out of the panel discussion I went on to see at the National Academy of Writing creative fair was the comment by Andrew Cowan (who runs the famous UEA MA programme) that most of their alumni who achieved distinctions did not go on to become published writers. It was those whose writing was less lauded by the academics who tended to make up their impressive list of students who went on to later success when the course ended. I was quite encouraged by that.
Update on the photo on Sunday 14th Oct: the artist herself has shared my photo on her Facebook page with my credit (see below).
(If I get so excited about having a photo of mine shared around the web, I can’t imagine what I’d be like if the novel was to be published.)