The newly established “Arts Quarter” in Croydon (St. Georges Walk) is still very much in its infancy – compared to the more established campaigns like this one in Melbourne Australia – and as the vandalism of the Femme Fierce take-over in February 2015 proved rules can be an important part for a public space shared by the discerning citizen and over-looked by the new Bernard Weatherill Croydon Council building.
Its paradoxical for a subculture and art community like the street/graffiti artist to live by rules set by an establishment but for a campaign like this one to succeed and be accepted by the Council, shop owners and public they must.
The majority of the murals have been a showcase for what can be achieved with support from a business, community and Council to re-purpose a space and encourage growth and attention. Footfall along St. Georges Walk has increased by around 400% since the “Arts Quarter” was founded and I hope it continues to inspire others to visit and take part.
It can’t be that bad if the only rules are to be paint during daylight hours, be conscientious and tidy up after yourself.
I wrote the words above at the start of my adventure (in August 2015) to learn about the “Arts Quarter” and also about street art. Evidently the battle to contain the illegal taggers has ended, the honeymoon period is over and the march of grey paint that was once the mainstay of the length of St Georges Walk is back. In conclusion the blurred line between street art and the graffiti tagger isn’t so blurry any more.
One thing has become clear the street artist is happy to chat, show you their sketchbook and encourages you to share with their experience. The graffiti tagger is not. Shy of the your attention and camera lens, often shouting “no picture please” even before you’ve approached them to explain your message & intentions.
During the weekend of 24th October 2015 Rise Gallery; with paint supplied by FRP (Forest Recycling Project), painted over the legal wall, as clear a message to the taggers as can be made, ‘your time is up you had your chance!’
Two questions have arisen:
- Where will the taggers go now?
- How will the taggers react in the new year when Femme Fierce are in town for another take-over?
Time will tell if this transition – lets call it phase two of Croydon’s Mural Project – will be as successful as the last 8 months have been.
And for your information ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’;
A gift horse is a horse that was a gift, quite simply. When given a horse, it would be bad manners to inspect the horse’s mouth to see if it has bad teeth. This can be applied as an analogy to any gift: Don’t inspect it to make sure it matches some standard you have, just be grateful!