Today sees the opening of a new pedestrian walkway flanked by hoardings showcasing the work of four local graffiti artists. The new access route connects people from Westminster Bridge Road and Addington Street through the Leake Street Arches development and into Leake Street tunnel (or vice versa!).
Last November, we launched a competition for graffiti artists who work on Leake Street to submit their ideas and designs for the hoardings alongside the new walkway.
Whilst the Graffiti Tunnel is one of the UK’s largest legal spaces for graffiti artists to show their work, the new Leake Street Arches development will only showcase commissioned artworks, so this was a great opportunity for local graffiti artists to leave their mark.
Located on the Addington street side of the development, the eight-foot plywood hoardings cover the entrances of four of the newly redeveloped archways.
We were delighted to receive so many submissions, showing the incredible diversity and talent within the local graff community.
Whilst the design brief was deliberately kept quite loose to encourage the broadest range of submissions, entrants were asked to include a statement as to why they liked working on Leake Street.
Over a coffee on Lower Marsh, the Judging panel reviewed the designs, the profile of the artists and their thoughts and feelings about Leake Street and collectively selected 4 winners; D13ego, SODA, Maria Linares Freire and Aranzazu.
All four designs have now been completed and are available for the general public to see for the next few months (while the businesses behind them prepare for a Spring opening).
Thank you again to all the artists for taking part and for leaving your mark on Leake Street Arches.
About the artists and artwork
Having grown up in Milan Italy, studying economics, airbrushing guitars and drawing comic books, D13ego moved to London in 1997 where he worked for 15 years as an Investment Banker. In 2013, he left Bloomberg and Excel behind to go back to his first passion… Art. His Urban Pop style is created by painstakingly hand cutting layers upon layers of stencils (sometimes up to 30) which he then spray paints on canvas or wood panels. The final effect spans from super-realistic to pure street, from portrait to collage-like optical illusions. D13ego often include financial symbols (from financial newspapers to banknotes and lottery tickets), comics and classic references. All his pieces are one-off originals and come with a thumb printed Certificate of Authenticity. His works can be found in London, Milan, Geneva, Bruxelles, Dubai, Sydney…and of course on Leake Street!
His Leake Street Arches piece is called #Badass Girls. It was inspired by his love for retro comic books and 50’s pop art and mixes up street art techniques, such as spray paint, with a good dose of irony. The artist’s fascination for modern today’s strong women and the obsession with social media is clearly evident. For more information on D13ego, see: www.d13ego.com
SODA is a graffiti artist, who also works in other artistic mediums like painting, graphics, motion and sound. The artist is known for his exceptional abstract graffiti pieces that stimulate people’s point of view by focusing their attention at the distance. His minimalist artworks are reminiscent of pieces made by the best Kinetic and Op art masters since SODA uses black and white shapes and an exceptional shadowing technique to create an illusion of a third dimension on the surface. Music, architecture and abstraction represent the main inspiration for the artist who likes to play with the complexity of the geometric elements and the letters layout.
His Leake Street Arches piece is Untitled. The writing of the word SODA demonstrates the evolution of the artist’s 3D lettering and the result of years of research in graphics, architecture, design and music as well as in calligraphy and the architecture of individual letters. The letters and layout are designed to create motion and dynamism within the surrounding architecture. The choice of non-colour is due to the fact the artist is interested in shapes and darkness instead of colours that would distract from the reading. For more information on SODA, see www.widewalls.ch/artist/soda-alan-de-cecco/
Maria Linares Freire
Inventing a world with no limits or borders where “everything is beautiful, vibrant and symmetric”, Maria has a passion for any kind of self-expression that uses paintings and bits of nature. She creates to find a way out of reality, where she can express her feelings and dreams without boundaries. In her search for balance, she finds the perfect shapes and forms in geometry. Spheres are her safe-house and triangles are power. The immensity of the universe and nature plus the idea that there is so much unknown takes her imagination to another level. Maria’s designs make the observer stop and think about the universal energy that feeds our hearts when opening. Her Leake Street Arches piece is called Universal Love Awakes. It depicts how the day we feel the power and beauty of the universe is the day we become part of one love. For more information about Maria, see www.marialinaresfreire.net
Passionate about art from a young age, Aranzazu, an illustrator and street artist hailing from Lanzarote, has been creating art throughout her life. As a member of different art collectives in Spain and London, she has met and collaborated with some great people in the art world. She has participated in several different street art paint jams including “Do One Cancer” and “Femme Fierce” during which female street artists explored issues such as gender inequality in society and the art world in their work.
Her Leake Street Arches piece is called Butterfly Explosion. The design depicts the exhilaration and love everyone feels when they are following their passion and doing what they like. It was created to reflect the attitude of Leake Street, where artists go to set free their creativity and imagination, away from the routine, obligations and the establishment. For more information about Maria, see https://www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/aranzazu_perez
Photos of the pieces in progress: