London Street Art: Pearly Whites at the Heygate Estate

Mighty Mo, Malarky, Sweet Toof (of course)… have been painting lots of big old teeth in all varieties on the walls of London’s abandoned Heygate Estate lately, judging by Alex Ellison‘s latest additions to the Flickr pool. I haven’t been since my Elephant & Castle walk, but here’s a few photos (All from Alex, all at the Heygate!):

Malarky, Mighty Mo, Gold Peg & Sweet ToofMalarky, Mighty Mo, Gold Peg & Sweet Toof


Gold Peg / RowdyGold Peg, Rowdy


Paul Insect, Sweet Toof & Gold PegPaul Insect, Sweet Toof, Gold Peg

Mighty MoMighty Mo

Mighty Mo & RowdyMighty Mo, Rowdy

It’s hard to choose but I think the stairs and the one using garage doors for teeth are my favourites. So creative. You?

Some Rugged Bits of London

Loving Fred255‘s contributions to the Flickr pool while I was away last week. Something different to share with you. I’ve left his descriptions beneath each one.

Building SiteNot all of the London Dock area have been redeveloped yet, but it not far off. The site is on the south bank opposite Canary Wharf.

Monk and Glass  Custard
This sad looking Victorian warehouse now awaiting it’s fate, either demolition or conversion into posh flats. Was once owned by Wilfred Adrian Monkhouse, father of the late comedian Bob Monkhouse. 

Monkhouse’s father was a prosperous Methodist businessman who owned Monk and Glass, which made custard powder. 

While looking around this building the urbexer in me came out, I was desperate to find a way inside. I caught the attention of more than one security camera. I gave up, trying to get in and decided to use my fish eye lens to create this imposing view of this once great building.

 The Cooperage
Fire exit to a wine bar in London.

Seen Better Days Looks like this boat has had a nasty fire. It was moored on The River Thames near Chelsea bridge.

Trading Places
Taken about the same time as this one was taken. 

Here we see old Thames barges, used for moving and selling goods up and down the Thames. Behind Canary Wharf. 

Canary Wharf is a major business district in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, England. Rivalling London’s traditional financial centre, the City of London, Canary Wharf contains many of the United Kingdom’s premier office spaces and tallest buildings

Dedicated to Ronnie, a reminder of the good times. They will be back.

70's Style Bridge Ramp

On the side of the A102 one of the major roads in and out of London. Taken on a trip with my good friend Ronnie (Badgerrat 1) This was one of the few times that day I managed to wrestle my fish eye lens away from Ronnie.


If you have have photos of London to share, add them to the LLO Flickr pool for a chance to be featured.

London Art Spot: Rachel Gadsden

Fragility, the human condition, disability, hope, decay. These are some of the topics that drive Rachel Gadsden to create the pieces that mark her stunning abstract collection with a sometimes chilling, raw connection to reality that comes from a close look at the psychology of the human mind. The narrative paintings often seem scrawled with a nearly unconscious reaction to her experiences that comes out in layers of paint, found objects and some other unique materials.

Rachel has spent time as Artist-in-Residence at Hampton Court. Her work has led her to explore the derelict North Wales Asylum in Denbigh North Wales and Cane Hill Asylum in Surrey. It has taken her to far away places where hope is a part of everyday life, to Ethiopia and Colombia.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Rachel gives us some insight into the heavy themes that inspire her art, talks about her proudest moments as an artist and lets us in on the most unusual material that has made an appearance in her paintings.


LLO: Which aspects of London life most influence your creativity?
RG: Without doubt theatre, my work explores the human condition and the theatre of life, and I weekly go to the theatre to feed my imagination, rarely West End productions, mostly fringe, off beat performances that suspend disbelief beyond the reality of daily life.


LLO: How would you describe your artistic style?
RG: I am expressionistic at heart, and I feel most comfortable when the fussy materiality of my work is abandoned. My artwork is steadily becoming freer and the landscape is the unconscious where abstraction and visceral impulses dictate the unfolding narratives.


LLO: Your work is made of layers, using found items, photographs, hair… What’s the most unusual item or material that has made an appearance in a finished piece?
RG: I was commissioned a couple of years ago to create an artwork in memory of a significant London actor, the patron asked if I would put some of the deceased actor’s ashes in the artwork.


LLO: Your art has taken you to some far away places like Colombia and Ethiopia. Can you talk a bit about which experiences you had in these places that stood out most in the paintings that were created from each visit?
RG: My subject is fragility, survival and hope and I am interested in the universal experience, hence my desire to reach beyond my own reality. I spent the first 20 years of my life living outside of the UK. Perhaps I am searching for  lost childhood memories in my travels? The trip to Bogota was for Children of the Andes charity who work to support displaced children, meeting the young people was a highlight in Colombia. In Ethiopia the many nomadic tribal groups of the Southern Omo Valley became my subject, witnessing their beauty and life spirit was an apotheosis experience.


LLO: One of your main inspirations is derelict, decaying buildings. What do these places mean for you and your art?
RG: The derelict building becomes the metaphor for human mortality. A life long severe lung condition has meant that I am acutely conscious of fragility, and the layers of decay that one witnesses inside a derelict space provides the foundation for layered narratives and a consideration of the complexities of the human condition.


LLO: Your art uses a “psychogeographic methodology”. Expand on that for us?
RG: My practice does encompass a psychogeographic methodology, a process that brings together both the harsh realities of the everyday with psychological responses, where time and place become fragmented and the unconscious infiltrates the narrative. This process allows for a dynamic multi layered approach to the subject.


LLO: Another focus in your paintings and drawings is mental health and disability. How do you translate emotion into something tangible like a painting?
RG: I don’t know is the honest answer, but my motivation is always to express the human condition, and the visceral qualities of paint and detritus are the substance of life. Our lives are bombarded by photographic imagery and the evidence of the human touch on the canvas makes painting a tangible means of expression for emotion for me. I use multi media in my art practice from installation to photography film and performance, but somehow paint has the ability to capture the corporeal substance of life in a way that the others don’t.


LLO: Which painting are you most proud of at the moment and why?
RG: My recent drawing/paintings are revealing a new direction and I am interested in what is unfolding. Proudest moments include being selected to be the first contemporary artist in residence at Hampton Court Palace, the 18 month residency for Parliamentary Outreach and creating huge paintings in Trafalgar Sq and the Turbine Hall.

LLO: Other favourite London-based artists?
RG: Too many to name them all, I am a big fan of Bacon’s early work and revisit it constantly, Rego excites me, the scholarship of Deanna Petherbridge, Diane Kaufman and many more…….


LLO: What are you working on now?
RG: I am working towards an exhibition at the end of November of mainly small works called “Alchemy”, and I have put in a bid to collaborate with Nondumiso Hlwele who lives in a Township in Cape Town, let see what happens………I also continue to be involved in a number of projects relating to London 2012.

Thanks Rachel!

For more of Rachel’s work, visit her site:

She’s also featured in a BBC video, the first two minutes of which features her residency at Hampton Court.

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

Derelict London: Truman Hanbury Buxton & Co Ltd

A great contribution to the Little London Observationist Flickr pool from Buckeroo Kid, whose photography was also featured a while ago in London Art Spot.

This abandoned pub, Truman Hanbury Buxton & Co Ltd, stands at 757 Woolwich Road in Charlton, SE7.

Since 1997, some 3,500 traditional pubs have shut their doors in Britain.