A run down housing estate in Stockwell, South London has become a hub of artistic street art attracting international graffiti artists with the simple message of channelling creativity into art and away from vandalism.
The self-labelled ‘outside gallery’ is actually a run-down ball court, which has developed into a beautiful location where the most skilled graffiti writers paint week after week. Split into two sections and sunk into the ground, the pebble-dashed outside walls give no clues to the bright colours and sharp lines that explode from the walls within.
The Stockwell Park Estate is checked every day and tags (stylised signatures) are actively painted-over to maintain the high quality of the art. With the help of other artists and paints donated by friends, a rundown playground has been transformed into a unique jewel unknown to most of London.
Asked why tags are removed, Solo (the artist whose idea it was to begin the scheme) said it was the only way to stop the ball court from “descending into madness.”
He adds, “If a piece has taken only 20 minutes I know the artist's heart wasn't in it. If it's not good, the walls are better off plain.”
Artists can spend up to eight hours a day in the ball court. During summer you can find artists in the ball court from first light, painting away from the drone of traffic.
In the past few years the public has become vastly accepting of artistic graffiti. While the media have focused much of their attention on Banksy, other artists have also seen a change in how they are perceived. Ben Eine, well known for his distinctive typography, had a canvas chosen by David Cameron which he gave to Barack Obama during Cameron’s first official visit to the U.S since becoming PM.
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