The locks of love, part #2

Do you remember back in January when I wrote about the “love locks” I found on Brooklyn Bridge in New York, and how they hailed from a tradition started by an Italian novelist, Federico Moccia? Well, it looks like the tradition has also made its way over to England…

You’ve got to keep your eyes open in London – there’s so much going on that it’s easy to miss the small things sometimes. Next time you’re walking over Hungerford Bridge or Tower Bridge have a look, because these bridges are covered in declarations of long-lasting love!

Love lock on Tower Bridge

Locks on Hungerford Bridge, London

Locks on Hungerford Bridge, London

Love lock on Tower Bridge

I’m glad to see this tradition being continued in loved-up London! What do you think of it? Would you declare your love in this way?

Britain’s got talent, but…

I admit that for the last 7 weeks or so Britain’s Got Talent has been my guilty pleasure. I’ve cheered on the good acts, laughed at the terrible acts, and cried at the ones that tugged on my heart strings). It’s amazing to see how much talent there is in this country (and how many nutters there are too).

Tonight was the final and, if you haven’t seen it yet, I warn you now that this post does contain spoilers.

The show tonight contained 11 thoroughly entertaining acts. In my opinion, some deserved to win more than others, but they did all deserved a place in the final. The finalists were:

When the results were announced, the top three were Only Boys Aloud, Ashleigh and Pudsey, and Jonathan and Charlotte. I thought it was a real shame the Loveable Rogues didn’t make it into the top three, as I really enjoyed their music and thought it was great that they were brave enough to play something original. I would go out and buy their album tomorrow. Here’s their song “Lovesick”:

Only Boys Aloud were probably the finalists who would have made the best use of the £500,000 prize money, as their choir master clearly had ideas for the future. Sadly it was announced that they were in third place.

This meant that the top two acts were Ashleigh and Pudsey:

And Jonathan and Charlotte:

The winner was voted by the viewing public, and I knew that the chosen act would reflect the interests of the nation. Both acts were entertaining, but for me the clear winners were Jonathan and Charlotte. I mean, just listen to those voices!

Unfortunately, the great British public is a nation of animal lovers… and the dog won. Yes, Great Britain voted for Ashleigh and Pudsey, and now this is one rich pooch.

Don’t get me wrong, the act was very entertaining and that is one talented dog, but was it really the best act in all of Britain? No. It’s hard to choose one winner because there was so much variety in the show. It’s not just a singing contest, or a dance contest. But, clearly, Britain has gone a bit soft in the head to choose a dancing dog as the winning act.

I feel cheated, but at least Jonathan and Charlotte will hopefully have gained some confidence by coming second, and I’m sure they will go on to great things!  You see, Britain’s certainly got talent, even though the voting public seem to enjoy “lighter” entertainment.

From graffiti to gallery…

There seems to be a growing trend for graffiti artists to make their way into galleries. I’ve seen a few exhibitions of street artists’ work in galleries recently, and still remain unsure as to whether or not I like it. In the case of the two artists I’m going to mention below, both are artists whose work I respect. Both work to large-scale and, for me, part of the joy in seeing their work is thinking “how on earth did they get away with that?”. Street art isn’t always about the most intricate detail or mastered technique – sometimes it’s about the time and place.

I’ll start with Stik. ‘Walk’ by Stik was an exhibition at the Imitate Modern in London which was held from 19th April – 10th May.

Walk by Stik at the Imitate Modern

Stik usually paints on walls and doors around London, and is famous for his simple stick man character and brightly coloured backgrounds.

Street Art & Graffiti in Shoreditch - Stik

His work which was on display in the gallery was similar, but for me it lacked something.

Walk by Stik at the Imitate Modern

The character was the same, and the playfulness was certainly there, but the atmosphere of the gallery and the fact that these pieces were now considered pieces of art to be bought and sold, altered my impression of the work.

Walk by Stik at the Imitate Modern

Moving on to another artist, let’s look at ROA. ROA’s exhibition ‘Hypnagogia’ was on at the StolenSpace Gallery in London from 20th April – 6th May.

ROA - 'Hypnagogia' at the Stolenspace Gallery

ROA usually paints huge-scale animals on the sides of buildings. In fact, the same day I went to the exhibition I happened to see him at work:

New ROA piece in progress, Chance Street

The exhibition consisted of pieces which the viewer was encouraged to touch and move. I liked this, but I found his work much less interesting than I had hoped.

ROA - 'Hypnagogia' at the Stolenspace Gallery

The scale was, naturally, much smaller, but I found the quality lacking in these imaginative yet macabre pieces.

ROA - 'Hypnagogia' at the Stolenspace Gallery

So, I’m still not sure what I think of graffiti artists presenting their work in gallery spaces. In a way, I think I prefer to see their work on the streets. I like the excitement of ‘discovering’ a new piece when I’m walking around Shoreditch, and that excitement is somewhat taken away when the work is in a gallery constrained by four walls. Another thing I like about the work on the streets is that it has this element of roughness about it. Often these pieces are illegal, and the artist has to rush a bit to get it finished before being caught. The pieces displayed in galleries are 100% legal, and that takes a bit of the fun away, doesn’t it? Also, the rough surfaces that graffiti artists often paint on bring something to the pieces – whether it’s a wall, a door, or something else, it becomes part of the art. In the case of Stik’s work, the smooth canvases almost ruin the piece for me. ROA has obviously tried to keep some of the roughness, but I’m not convinced it works.

What do you think? Would you rather see this:


Or this:

Walk by Stik at the Imitate Modern


Ben Slow, ROA, Malarky...

Or this:

ROA - 'Hypnagogia' at the Stolenspace Gallery

Have your say below, and don’t forget to leave a comment in the comments section!