An Abandoned House (Temporary Gallery) Covered in Street Art

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Griff from Street Art London to check out a secret street art project (which I’ve been holding out on blogging about until now!). The photos in this post are from my visit, which was a few weeks ago and I’m sure it has changed and developed in an incredible way by now!


After two hours on a bus that crawled over the bridge toward Vauxhall Station, three lines merging into one, and eventually onward to South East London, I arrived in an area of London almost completely unfamiliar to me: Dulwich.


I jumped off the bus and walked up to an abandoned house at 265 Lordship Lane, pressed the buzzer. The door was opened by a man covered in paint. He works in the building trade and was lending a hand with some painting. The walls were half red. Behind him, someone else walked in and I introduced myself. Turned out I was standing face to face with the fabulous Cityzen Kane! Also covered in paint, he happily agreed to show me around.



We were in a seven bedroom Victorian house that the council was ready to knock down and build new flats in its place. It was temporarily rescued by Griff along with Ingrid Beazley of the Dulwich Picture Gallery.


This is an unlikely collaboration but a successful one. Griff works with a lot of street artists and is very well connected to some great talent. Ingrid also works with talented artists, but at the other end of the spectrum – the more traditional type of creatives.


Together they have masterminded “Baroque The Streets” a festival featuring an outdoor gallery of large scale public murals inspired by works held by Dulwich Picture Gallery which is England’s oldest public gallery. The house on Lordship Lane that I was visiting is a part of this, but will then be knocked down as originally planned after the festival. But imagine being an artist with an entire house at your disposal!


Over the past month or so, quite a few of the artists participating in the festival have taken up residence in the house on Lordship Lane and have been given the entire fabric of this huge house to paint, each one in a room of their own and then more scattered throughout.


I was there several weeks ago so it was all a work in progress. The place was colourful, smelled of paint, spray paint bottles piled up in corners.


Cement structures that Cityzen Kane was working on were settled in the first room. He let me pick one up. They weigh a ton and he was just finishing up a new one that would take four people to lift it! He is also using the back garden area as a work space.



Looking up, a blue-green Christian Nagel mushroom is perched on the corner of the roof.


Mushrooms were everywhere.


There were piles of half constructed mushrooms in a room and a giant balloon in the middle that serves as a mould for the caps.



In another room, the walls completely covered in Christiaan Nagel’s foam.



And of course there were more mushrooms there already completed.


From the top floor, you could look out onto the roof and see another.


There was a room blocked off that was covered in tiny Pablo Delgado pasteups. Outside of the room, there was a bird and a small hole in the door.


Through the hole? Another bird and a window. I couldn’t aim the camera any other way but straight so I’ll leave the rest of it a secret.


There’s a surprise huge one at the foot of the steps.


There are other tiny ones hidden around the house like the one below in a door frame.


There’s more Pablo Delgado pieces along the bottoms of the walls – where you would initially expect to find them.


There were others perched on ledges a bit higher up.


Some of the artists participating in the festival (either murals or decorating the house or both) include REKA, My Dog Sighs, Christiaan Nagel, Pablo Delgado, Hitnes, Kid Acne, Ben Wilson, Liqen, Conor Harrington, ROA, Dscreet, Thierry Noir, Mad C, RUN, Malabrocca, Phlegm, Agent Provocateur, Remi Rough and System and The Rolling People.


There’s also a room painted completely black where films can be shown.


The RUN room was looking pretty fabulous.



The Rolling People had made good progress on theirs as well.



They even covered the window.


Cityzen Kane and I went back outside to survey his work. His wife and son showed up to see the house. I love being able to put faces and names and families to pieces of street art.


I won’t tell you his real name, but Cityzen Kane’s wife says his work is all over their house as well, which you could just picture. Stories like that really bring street art to life and show the human side of it and the pure talent of these artists. He’s agreed to do an interview with me for LLO toward the end of the Summer so I am very much looking forward to that!


But back to the house.


There were some random bits and piece around, scribbles on the walls.


If you have the time, head down to Dulwich to check it out. It won’t be around for long as it’s still tagged for demolition. It will be viewable for one weekend only – this coming weekend!


I unfortunately won’t make it to the event (I will be having a fabulous girly weekend in Amsterdam!) so take photos for me of the finished house if you do!


Details on the Facebook event page:


While you’re down there, here’s the rest of the festival events:


Mural sites are located all around Dulwich.

Baroque the Streets: Festival Show
265 Lordship Lane, SE22
Opening celebration of artworks by street artists involved in the Baroque the Streets with works for sale. 17 May, 8-10PM.

Starts at 17 Grove Vale, SE22 –> Dulwich Picture Gallery, SE21, 19 May, 2PM

Street Art Masterclass
Dog Kennel Hill Adventure Playground, 18 May, 1PM and 3PM


More about the festival from Street Art London here:

Listen to a Londoner: Neil Arnold

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you want to be interviewed, email

Neil Arnold, 35

Neil is a full-time monster-hunter and author. He runs the Beasts of London blog, has just had published PARANORMAL LONDON and has recently written a book on monsters in London folklore.

LLO: What sort of beasts are lurking around London then?
My research covers mythical beasts, as well as the more complex folkloric stuff, and very real creatures. The flrsh and blood beasts lurking around London are mainly ‘big cats’ – puma, black leopard and lynx. These have been observed from as far and wide as Shooters Hill (Surrey puma of the 1960s), Sydenham (the ‘beast’ of Sydenham – subject of a huge hoax in 2005 when a man claimed he was attacked by a ‘panther’, although a black leopard did chase a jogger through a wood in Dulwich last year and domestic cats have been found eaten in the area), Cricklewood (a lynx was caught in a back garden by London Zoo in 2001)…however, you’d be surprised the amount of other strange beasts reported. Alligator found dead in a Dollis Hill pond, Crocodile in a Peckham bath tub, eagles, vultures escaping…London is a concrete jungle quite literally!

LLO: How long have you been interested in beasts and what sparked the interest?
I became interested in monsters around the age of nine when I was given a book on mythological monsters, but also a film called ‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’ was very influential as a child.

LLO: How did you develop your reputation as an authority on the subject?
I simply realised that no-one else was doing it. I took a risk, gave up my day job, and decided i wanted to follow my dreams and become a monster-hunter. With over two decades of experience, it’s been an amazing journey, and quite a weird one!

LLO: As a full time “monster hunter”, what’s your most interesting find?
It does get a bit weird sometimes, and that’s just the people I’ve met over the years! However, it’s just a huge buzz researching cases throughout the world. Some are more sinister than others, and others quite down to earth, but also it involves a lot of documentation and it’s great unearthing very old newspaper reports of escaped beasts or monster sightings. I’ve seen ‘big cats’ in the wilds of Kent, been to Loch Ness, but London has reports of vampires, dragons, giant rats and killer foxes….

LLO: Best place to go for a taste of paranormal London?
Certainly one of the strangest places is Highgate Cemetery which in the 1960s and early ’70s was the setting for a vampire panic, after many witnesses described seeing a seven-foot tall, red-eyed spextre behind the North Gate of the Western cemetery. It’s a tremendously gothic place.

LLO: Tell us a bit about your latest book.
Paranormal London is my third book and it’s something very different. I’ve read so many regurgitative books on London folklore, ghosts ,etc, and I wanted to write something different. The book is full of short tales regarding monsters, strange beasts, the occasional UFO/ghost report, but most concerns very obscure mysteries and sheds light on more known mysteries such as the Brentford Griffin, the Highgate Vampire, Spring-Heeled Jack, etc.

LLO: What’s a typical day of “monster hunting” like, anyway?
It depends…most of my time concerns writing, but at any point I could get an interesting call from a witness, or film something with a news crew. Not many people are out there ‘in the field’ as such, and I’ve had some odd experiences from being shot at, to being threatened by Satanists. It’s a colourful life!

LLO: You wrote The Saturday Strangeness on Londonist for a long time. Since this is being posted on a Saturday, want to give it one more go today?
The Saturday Strangeness was Londonist’s longest running feature, but they suddenly ended it. I’d love to write something similar again…London has so many unknown stories just waiting to bewilder audiences!

LLO: Touching on a few other interests, where’s your favourite place to catch a gig in London?
I used to go to gigs all the time in London, particularly The Marquee when it was on Charing Cross Road, and also the Astoria. I like the Appollo, and Forum, and also Camden Underworld is cool for smaller bands.

LLO: And the best place to deck yourself out in 60’s fashion?
I think as a monster-hunter people expect me to look like some bearded, wizard-type in a safari jacket, ha! I love ’60s culture and tend to pick stuff up in markets really because then you tend to find an item noone else has, rather than the more commercial stores which are destroying the boutiques.

Thanks Neil!

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