London Art Spot: Femme Fierce

Photo from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

When I heard about Femme Fierce, my ears perked up: A week-long, all-female street art event drawing nearly 100 artists into London from around the world with a Leake Street takeover on International Women’s Day (March 8) and a documentary about women in this male-dominated scene? Count me in! There’s lots of free events and one cheap one for which the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Awareness charity. To find out a bit more, I’ve thrown a few questions at a couple of the key people involved in making this fabulous event a reality and they were kind enough to answer. Meet Zina and Chock (from the Girls on Top Crew), two of the artists involved; Darren, the curator; and Catherine Cort Koppel, the film-maker behind the documentary.

Photo of Zina from Cre8 Gallery

LLO: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Where are you from originally?
Zina (Artist): I’m an Illustrator and Street artist based in London. I’m Norwegian, and yes I’ve got an accent. I did a bachelor in illustration at Falmouth Uni, in Cornwall. I moved to London in 2010, and started spraying after few months in the city. It was hard to not get inspired walking around seeing all the art around East London, even though with an older brother who is into graffiti, I was already familiar with parts of the scene. Music, mainly hiphop has been a great inspiration when making my art.

Photo of Decent Beatz from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: What are some of your main hobbies or interests? 
Zina: The thing is, I’ve been working on making my hobby my full time job. Maybe not the safest bet some would say, but if I try hard enough and sacrifice a little on the way, I might just get there. Hopefully very soon. Other then urban art, illustration and painting, I enjoy music and dancing. Also, I love researching and looking into subjects like philosophy, consciousness and symbolism, which also influence the subjects I paint.

Photo – CBloxx from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: Femme Fierce must be one of the biggest all-female street art events ever. What can we expect?
Darren (Curator): We are hosting a 7-day art exhibition featuring artists like Amara Por Dios, Artista, Ashes 57, Boxhead, Girls on Top Crew, Theiu and Zina. Imagine a female ruled planet where street art defines the rules and what we call reality. This exhibition will provoke the thought of a female planet that is governed by art… a world where you will find everything from the earthly, surreal to otherworldly. Over the seven days we also have the Leake Street takeover event, a graffiti workshop and film screening, plus all the girls are going to come together to create a group mural for the closing.

Photo of freakSTATIC from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: It’s a huge undertaking and very exciting. How and when did the idea develop? 
Darren: We (Earth Tone Arts / Cre8 Gallery) were in the process of developing an all female street art show towards the end of last year for 2014… Ironically, the Street Art Agency were coordinating the Leake Street event around the same time and we were both talking to some of the same artists. After a meeting at the gallery and a little give and take between both parties, we decided to pull our resources together and make the projects bigger and better. Femme Fierce was born and the rest is history…or better yet – herstory.

Photo of ZABOU from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: With 100 artists involved, it’s hard to narrow it down, but tell us about three you are most excited about.
Darren: That’s difficult… All the ladies involved in the gallery exhibit are top notch and some of my favourites, but if I had to pick three, I’ll choose, Amara, Neonita and Zina because they all have an indigenous surreal style, look and feel to their work that I personally like and I’m interested in that kind of artwork.

Photo of NEONITA from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: It’s a wonderfully international bunch of artists. Where are some of them flying in from and how did you all connect?
Darren: We have people coming in from all around the UK, plus artists flying in from South Africa, Japan, Dubai, Sweden, Norway and Italy to name a few… The internet is the tool we used to make it all happen, taking advantage of all the social networking sites plus our contacts to spread the word.

Photo – work by Midge from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: Tell us more about the documentary film “Women on Walls”, which will launch during this time. What is the storyline and the message the film aims to communicate?
Catherine Cort Koppel (Film Maker): The documentary explores how it was to be a female in the male-dominated graffiti scene in the late 90s and how the coming of street art changed the scene for women involved in the subculture. Graffiti and street art has been a popular topic for yearss, but much attention has been given to the male artists. For the first time some of the few English female graffiti writers active in the 90s tell stories of their experience being a female in a rough, sexist and male-dominated subculture. In the early 2000s, the face of graffiti changed with the coming of Banksy and street art. Through the eyes of graffiti writers, street artists and experts, “Women on Walls” looks into the current street art and graffiti landscape and how the scene has changed for women artists involved over the last decade. The documentary showcase female talent and asks why the scene has been so male-dominated in the past and why that is rapidly changing as more female street artists gain recognition for their work in the current climate.

Photo – work by Hannah Adamaszek from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: How has the street art scene evolved recently to attract more female artists to something that has typically been male-dominated?
Chock (Artist): I think over the past 10 years, there has been more internet and media attention and graffiti and street artist have been shown not just to be angry little boys vandalising peoples houses anymore. People have begun to realise that it is a legitimate art form too. There have always been a select group of hardcore girls as there are hardcore males, but with the arrival of Instagram and social networking, it has become more fashionable and girls love fashion. Haha. Artists such as Mad C totally destroying most guys skills has really pushed graffiti to the max and inspired many female artists to push themselves, I believe. Street Art has become very accessible and an industry has built up around it now, especially in East london. This makes it more open to anyone and less elitist.

Photo – work by Amara Por Dios from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: Why is street art important?
Zina: Street art for me is about sharing art, thoughts and ideas with more people, instead of hiding it all in a gallery. It’s also good exposure of one’s work, and personally I enjoy the feedback, seeing people’s reactions and appreciation is great. Their excitement about the work is what makes me want to keep painting, and I wish sometimes the excitement will rob off on me too.

Photo: Steffi Bow from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: How much do tickets cost and where does the money go? Where can we buy them?
Darren: The exhibition, workshops and film screening are all FREE events. Tickets cost £2.50 to take part in the Leake Street event. All the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Awareness charity. Tickets can be purchased through eventbrite.

Image – work by Pyklops from the Femme Fierce Facebook page

LLO: What does this project mean to you personally?
Zina: This show is a great start to the year and it seems lots of people have heard about it already. It’s nice to be more involved and get to know the other girls who are spraying. I’m looking forward to the Leake street takeover more than anything, to meet people and see new and different art work.

Thanks Zina, Darren, Catherine & Chock!

London Street Art Catch Up: Part 2

Continuing on from yesterday’s catch up of London street art – some new, some a bit older but recently revisited – that’s been added to the Flickr pool, here’s a few more!

Photo: Malarky by Alex Ellison

Paul Insect / Sweet Toof
Photo: Paul Insect and Sweet Toof by Alex Ellison

Paul Insect
Photo: Paul Insect by Alex Ellison

Photo: ARTunDeR THeHOOD by Takphoto

Stik Spitalfields City Farm, London - April 2013
Photo: Stik on Spitalfields City Farm by D7606

Photo: Obit by Takphoto

Photo: RUN & Hunto by Takphoto

Photo: Gaia by Takphoto

D7606 + C215
Photo: D7606 & C215 by Takphoto

Paul Insect
Photo: Paul Insect by Alex Ellison

The Krah, Cambridge Heath - March 2013
Photo: The Krah, Cambridge Heath by D7606

Photo: id-iom by Takphoto

Photo: Otter by Takphoto

Photo: Stik by Bob MacCallum

global  street art
Photo: Global Street Art by Takphoto

Photo: Edwin by Alex Ellison

Thierry Noir / Tek13 / Jam / Stik
Photo: Thierry Noir / Tek13 / Jam / Stik by Alex Ellison

Photo: 616 by Alex Ellison

Mighty Mo / Malarky
Photo: Mighty Mo and Malarky by Alex Ellison

The Burning Candy Crew, Heygate Estate, Southwark - April 2013
Photo: The Burning Candy Crew on Heygate Estate by D7606

616 Heygate Estate, Southwark, London - April 2013
Photo: 616 on Heygate Estate by D7606

Yago Dzugala, Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch - April 2013
Photo: Yago Dzugala on Great Eastern Street by D7606

Dscreet Austin Street, Shoreditch - April 2013
Photo: Dscreet on Austin Street by D7606

Give a dog a bone
Photo: Give a dog a bone by Takphoto

Photo: Spike by Takphoto

Photo: Hail to the loser by Takphoto

Photo: Londoners on Blucher Road, Camberwell by Steve Reed

Photo: Londoners on Blucher Road, Camberwell by Steve Reed

Unbelievable how quickly art pops up around here lately!

London Street Art Catch Up: Part 1

Some brand new and some have been around a while, these are a few of the shots that have been added to the LLO Flickr pool recently from our street art photographers.

 Horse & Groom
Photo: Otto Schade by Takphoto

Photo: Nathan Bowen by Takphoto

Irony, Stockwell - April 2013
Photo: Irony in Stockwell by D7606

Photo: A moustache for Movember by Jan Rockar

Irony and friends
Photo: Irony & friends, a work in progress by Takphoto

Irony and friends
Photo: Irony & friends, a work in progress by Takphoto

Nathan Bowen, Hanbury Street, Brick Lane - April 2013
Photo: Nathan Bowen, Hanbury Street by D7606

Pedly St
Photo: Pedley Street by Takphoto

Street Art, London
Photo: Otto Schade by Where The Art Is

Photo: Dale Grimshaw by Takphoto

LiskBot and Obit, Heygate Estate, Southward, South London - April 2013
Photo: Liskbot & Obit on the Heygate Estate by D7606

Photo: Rowdy in South London by Alex Ellison

Photo: Run by Takphoto

Gee Street Art, What If Gallery, Dartford - April 2013
Photo: Gee in Dartford by D7606

ALICE – White Church Lane
Photo: Alice Pasquini on White Church Lane by Mickyh2011

Photo: Edwin in South London by Alex Ellison

Lost Monkey
Photo: Lost Monkey by Takphoto

Extra Terrestrial
Photo: iCON by Joanna Mansfield

Unknown, Pedley Street, Brick Lane, Shoreditch - March 2013
Photo: Pedley Street by D7606

Photo: Irony by Takphoto

The Letter Box Bandit by Id-iom, Sclater Street, Shoreditch
Photo: The Letter Box Bandit by Id-iom on Sclater Street by D7606

Three in one
Photo: Artista, Irony and Deco Life by Takphoto

Low Bros & Mr Penfold
Photo: Low Bros & Mr Penfold by Alex Ellison

Video: Dr Cream by Where The Art Is

Back yard
Photo: Backyard by Takphoto

Ravey Street
Photo: Ravey Street by Takphoto

Work in progress
Photo: Work in progress by Takphoto

Photo: Gaia by Hookedblog

Butterfly Skulls
Photo: Otto Schade by Takphoto

Art in the yard
Photo: Art in the Yard by Takphoto

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow and if you have any of your own street art photos, add them to the Flickr pool!

London Art Spot: D7606

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 20.27.39D7606 is a new face on the London street art scene, pasting up his first piece at the end of last year. You may have noticed his work – the iconic London telephone boxes in a Crayola box range of colours housing some people who are icons themselves like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. I’ve tracked him down to discuss.

Read on to find out the meaning behind his unusual name, what he thinks of the street art tours storming the East End of London lately and, well, where he’d like to store his ashes… And if you have a chance, head down to the What If Gallery in Dartford to see his first two framed pieces in a show – Don’t Hold Back. It opens tomorrow at 6:30pm.

D7606 colabs with 616 and Benjamin Murphy -top- Ian Curtis - bottom- Dalston - March 2013Photo: D7606 colabs with 616 and Benjamin Murphy on top; Ian Curtis on bottom in Dalston, March 2013

LLO: Tell us a bit about your background. Are you from London originally? Which area of the city is home for you?
D7606: I am not an artist by trade. In fact, this is just a love of mine. I am a relatively new boy to town and although I have always loved art and street art, it’s only recently I have found the time to actually start creating my own work.

I am from Hertfordshire originally, but found myself living in East London a few years ago before moving up north to Lancashire where I currently live, although most people think I still live around London as I’m rarely away from the place! Thank god for Mr Branson’s Virgin Trains!

Street Art Jack White by D7606, Brick Lane, Shoreditch - February 2013Photo: Jack White by D7606, Brick Lane, Shoreditch – February 2013

LLO: The next obvious question has to be about your name: D7606. What’s the story behind it?
D7606: The question I love to avoid?? Well, D7606 comes from my former life when I was a railway photographer, D7606 being a class 25 British Railways diesel locomotive. Enough said there in case you all thought I was a closet trainspotter!! (Honest, I’m not!)

Street Art by Phlegm and D7606, Heanage Street, Shoreditch - February 2013Photo: Street Art by Phlegm and D7606, Heanage Street, Shoreditch – February 2013

LLO: Famous ladies in colourful versions of iconic phone boxes have been popping up constantly in London lately. What do you hope to communicate through your work?
D7606: I’m not into deep meaningful art. If I see something I like, then that’s it. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate art and some pieces do take my breath away for sure, but my work is more of a visual statement. I merely want to bring a bit of colour and fun to the streets of London and what better way with iconic people, especially ladies, in bright and colourful telephone boxes?

Street Art by D7606 Hackney Wick - February 2013Photo: Street Art by D7606 Hackney Wick – February 2013

LLO: Who can we expect to find hiding in a D7606 phone box next? How do you choose? 
D7606: I chose the first few I did, Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor, but mostly they are requested by friends and people who like my work. The theme is mostly iconic women and my telephone boxes have so far included:  Rihanna, Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Windsor, Gwen Stefani and Emeli Sande.

Street Art by D7606 featuring Joy Division's Ian Curtis, Brick Lane - March 2013Photo: Street Art by D7606 featuring Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, Brick Lane

So what can you expect next? Defiantly more iconic ladies, maybe the American movie star Dorothy Lamour or the Spice Girls?? But there will be a change to more iconic guys I think. I have just done Ian Curtis from Joy Division and there are many more from the world of music I would love to feature. Then there are a number of collaborations I have been asked to do. They will bring something new and different to my work. I am very sure of that.

Street Art by D7606 and D3B, Shoreditch - February 2013Photo: Street Art by D7606 and D3B, Shoreditch – February 2013

LLO: Where did you put your first paste-up, when and what was it?
D7606: It was in Manchester’s Northern Quarter next to the well known music venue Band on the Wall. It was early November 2012 and was a red telephone box with Liz Taylor. My first in London was shortly afterward in the dark alleyways of Brick Lane. Again, it was telephone boxes with Liz Taylor plus Marilyn and Rihanna!

Street Art by Alice Pasquini and D7606, Brick Lane Shoreditch - January 2013Photo: Street Art by Alice Pasquini and D7606, Brick Lane, Shoreditch – January 2013

LLO: Why is street art important to both yourself and to the community?
D7606: Important to me? That’s a hard one. I’m not sure “important” is a word I would choose. For me, I just love street art. It’s so much fun creating your own work then going out and pasting it up. It’s such a great feeling when you create something new, print it, cut it out then finally paste it up in the right spot.

As far as the importance to the community, yes, it is very important indeed. There are so many dull and run down looking places around our cities. Street art brings art out of the galleries so all people from all walks of life can see and appreciate it and it certainly does brighten up our communities. When you walk through East London or Bristol, for example, on a Sunday morning and you see rows of shops with their anti-vandal shutters down proudly displaying work by some of  the best street artist around, that surely has to be a good thing?

King size telphone box colab with Gee Street Art, Brick Lane - March 2013Photo: King size telphone box colab with Gee, Brick Lane – March 2013

LLO: What’s your opinion on the influx of street art tours in London lately?
D7606: Best be careful here as I know some of the guys who do the tours! Personally, I wouldn’t go on one, but if it brings tourist to Brick Lane and the Hackney Road rather than Oxford Street or the Tower of London, then it can’t be all bad. I think if they are done right by the right people who do actually love street art then it’s okay.

D7606 Blackall Street - March 2013Photo: D7606 Blackall Street – March 2013

LLO: Outside of street art, what are your hobbies?
D7606: Apart from street art there is very little time left in my life for much else. I love travelling and photography, but if I were to travel and take pictures, it probably would be to take more pictures of street art!

D7606 and 616 Collaberation, Shoreditch - March 2013Photo: D7606 and 616 collaboration, Shoreditch – March 2013

LLO: Which other London-based artists do you most admire and why?
D7606: There are so many I admire. I love most of the work by the well know paste-up artists like St8ment, Donk and Mr Fahrenheit. Their work rate is phenomenal and the work is ever changing. Every time I visit London, there is something new of theirs to see. I also admire the likes of 616 and Obit. They just know how to bomb a city with street art! 616 especially; each piece he does is so creative and individual. Finally, some of those who paint and bring that much needed colour to our walls, Stik being the absolute genius with such simple but stunning pieces. I also love the recent work by Kayleigh Doughty (Artista), Irony and Sky High.

Aspire and D7606 Stokes Croft, Bristol - March 2013Photo: Aspire and D7606, Stokes Croft, Bristol – March 2013

LLO: Best London discovery?
D7606: All those back street cafes and of course Blackall Street in Shoreditch – a paste up artists heaven. If I die tomorrow, feel free to paste my ashes to one of the walls down there!

A plague of paste ups by D7606, Shoreditch - FebruaryPhoto: A plague of paste-ups by D7606, Shoreditch – February 2013

Thanks D7606!

New iCON Street Art and Exhibition

I keep going on about how there’s not much of a street art scene in West London, but for some reason the classic spot under the Westway by Portobello Road / Ladbroke Grove station seems to slip my mind.

Garry from sent me these two pieces recently put up in the area by iCON, so I thought I’d share them with you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto: iCON’s Notting Hill Banksy by

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto: iCON’s Statue of Obesity Issues by

They are pretty timely, considering he happens to also have a show in the area at Graffik Gallery on Portobello Road. It’s called The New School and includes a series of other artists with an opening night on April 18, running through May 2. I’m hoping to pop in to the opening night, so see you there if you can make it!

By the way, what’s everyone up to for the long Easter weekend?