An Alternative Photographic Journey through the Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel for Femme Fierce

Last week’s Femme Fierce Leake Street Takeover provided more than enough photographic opportunities to keep me busy for a while. The tunnel always attracts artists but never quite as many at one time as the 106 female artists who descended on it on International Women’s Day.

In terms of the event itself there’s not really a lot more that can be said. The success or otherwise of the World record attempt to create the largest mural by multiple artists won’t be confirmed for a while yet as the evidence is presented. I personally don’t even think it matters all that much though, it’s certainly a nice to have but the biggest success about the weekend was its ability, not only to recognise the talent of female artists but to put ‘street art’ as such on the map.

The Leake Street graffiti tunnel packed out with artists and photographers
The Leake Street graffiti tunnel packed out with artists and photographers

I’m not sure that I can remember a street art event that has quite caught the imagination of so many media types and which has managed to capture the interest of people from all around the country and the World. One thing’s for sure, it certainly provides a launchpad for similar events in the future and as Ayaan Bulale, the Street Art Agency’s mastermind behind the event told me, “there’s lots more exciting events planned”.

So I thought that for this post it would be nice to see an alternative view of Leake Street. I took a load of photographs on the day capturing the event from start to finish. I also purposely brought along my trusty Nokia Lumia 1020, a camera phone that has an uncanny ability to take good shots in low light situations, crucial for getting good quality pictures in the dark tunnels of Waterloo. The other great thing about this particular camera phone is it’s in-built ‘Creative Studio‘ feature which gives you the ability to make cool looking edits, in phone and with minimal effort.

I’ve therefore, edited, doctored and basically re-rendered a lot of the shots I took to present an alternative look at Leake Street during the takeover. I hope you like the gallery 🙂

An Alternative View of Femme Fierce

The walls of the tunnel were turned pink for the day with paint donated from the Forest Recyling  Project
The walls of the tunnel were turned pink for the day with paint donated from the Forest Recyling Project
The Old and the New,  bright pink walls with some more 'traditional' stuff on the roof
The Old and the New, bright pink walls with some more ‘traditional’ stuff on the roof
The whole tunnel became a blitz of colour
The whole tunnel became a blitz of colour
There was a lot of pink paint around
Everywhere you looked there was pink
Neonita, part of the Girls of Top Crew, making a start
Neonita, part of the Girls of Top Crew, making a start
Applying the first layers
Cilla applying the first layers
Vanesa Longchamp, also known as Vlong with a golden hue
Vanesa Longchamp, also known as Vlong with a golden hue
The ever popular Amara Por Dios being photographed and not for the first time that day
The ever popular Amara Por Dios being photographed and not for the first time that day
Saki and Bitches making a start, I was struck with her awesome orange shoes
Saki and Bitches making a start, I was struck with her awesome orange shoes
Roo's mural would eventually be judged to be the best of the day.  Here she is at the outset
Roo’s mural would eventually be judged to be the best of the day. Here she is at the outset
More interviews being conducted, this by a bright in your face 'Femme Fierce' tribute
More interviews being conducted, this by a bright in your face ‘Femme Fierce’ tribute
I really like this picture of Pang and her bright orange bobble hat.  She is mid interview and so expressive in this pic
I really like this picture of Pang and her bright orange bobble hat. She is mid interview and so expressive in this pic
One of my favourite pieces of the day was from Miss Hazard from Bristol.  Here she is posing with a spray can.  I think the mural she has drawn looks like a self portrait
One of my favourite pieces of the day was from Miss Hazard from Bristol. Here she is posing with a spray can. I think the mural she has drawn looks like a self portrait
Lana Alana featured in a special Inspiring City interview prior to the event and so it was great to see her in action.
Lana Alana featured in a special Inspiring City interview prior to the event and so it was great to see her in action.
Akit a graffiti writer for many years from above as she paints her section
Akit a graffiti writer for many years from above as she paints her section
Vanesa Longchamp once more in the midst of her work before she really starts to add some colour
Vanesa Longchamp once more in the midst of her work before she really starts to add some colour
Zabou's 'Girls Reload' Nuns were a real fan's favourite on the day
Zabou’s Girls Reload Nuns were a real fans favourite on the day
This artist had one of the most challenging spots in the tunnel to paint but what a job she did, it became one of the brightest pieces there.
This artist had one of the most challenging spots in the tunnel to paint but what a job she did, it became one of the brightest pieces there.
Ashes 57 used her trademark character to good effect in this mural.  She normally paints in black and white so I've doctored the pic a little bring some of the black and white back
Ashes 57 used her trademark character to good effect in this mural. She normally paints in black and white so I’ve doctored the pic a little bring some of the black and white back
It wasn't just the artists getting attention on the day there were various other photo shoots going on too including this fashion one
It wasn’t just the artists getting attention on the day there were various other photo shoots going on too including this fashion one next to work from Motel 7 from South Africa
The Girls on Top crew were really out in force
The Girls on Top crew were really out in force, this is Candie Bandita
Neonita also from Girls on Top Crew working blurringly quickly
Neonita also from Girls on Top Crew working blurringly quickly
Most of the artists wore masks.  It made sense because there were a lot of paint fumes
Most of the artists wore masks. It made sense because there were a lot of paint fumes
Boxhead with some of her iconic boxes, a popular stop for photographers
Boxhead with some of her iconic boxes, a popular stop for photographers
This is one of my favourite images, it's the barrel of pink paint that was used to coat the walls
This is one of my favourite images, it’s the barrel of pink paint that was used to coat the walls
Miss Hazards work was bright and colourful, here I've picked it out a bit more to try and give it some even more impact
Miss Hazard’s work was bright and colourful, here I’ve picked it out a bit more to try and give it some even more impact
Zina's tribute to her friend Laura Cherry who is recorvering from Morgellons Disease was one of the most impactful pieces on the day
Zina’s tribute to her friend Laura Cherry who is recovering from Morgellons Disease was one of the most impactful pieces on the day
Steffi Bow came all the way from Dubai to create one of her iconic Bow's it was great to see her back in the UK
Steffi Bow came all the way from Dubai to create one of her iconic Bows it was great to see her back in the UK
Ayaan Bulale interviewed just outside the tunnel.  Just one of many such media appearances throughout the day
Ayaan Bulale interviewed just outside the tunnel. Just one of many such media appearances throughout the day
Weardoe piece was bright and impactful.  I liked how the light highlighted her work
Weardoe piece was bright and impactful. I liked how the light highlighted her work
Artista has developed a penchant for drawing big flying toasts in a variety of situations.  Her work is always a lot of fun
Artista has developed a penchant for drawing big flying toasts in a variety of situations. Her work is always a lot of fun
Many of the artists had sketched what they were going to do beforehand.  This is from Lupita
Many of the artists had sketched what they were going to do beforehand. This is from Sri
Anna Rewinka's lovely puppet on a string piece.  I thought would look cool to just try and highlight the strings
Polish artist Anna Rewinka’s lovely puppet on a string piece. I thought would look cool to just try and highlight the strings
Spanish artist Elno produced a really colouful piece and here I've gone and taken it all out
Spanish artist Elno produced a really colouful piece and here I’ve gone and taken it all out
I liked how this pink drainpipe looked between these two pieces of art so thought I'd pick it out
I liked how this pink drainpipe looked between these two pieces of art so thought I’d pick it out
All black and white except for a little bit of pink, the original version is a bit brighter to say the least
All black and white except for a little bit of pink, the original version is a bit brighter to say the least
Roo finishing off her name and making sure that there is no doubting who created this great piece
Roo finishing off her name and making sure that there is no doubting who created this great piece
Cbloxx from Leeds got a lot of attention for this piece of work.  I've had a little fun with the edit
Cbloxx from Leeds got a lot of attention for this piece of work. I’ve had a little fun with the edit
Aylo from Manchester with a cool tribute to Minnie Mouse
Aylo from Manchester with a cool tribute to Minnie Mouse
It was great to see my friend Lady Lash Dee come down and give mural painting a real go.  I love this cute little Robin and it will be great to see her work down in Leake Street more often
It was great to see my friend Lady Lash Dee come down and give mural painting a real go. I love this cute little Robin and it will be great to see her work down in Leake Street more often
Suzco painted a bit eyed cat and was lucky in that she had a really nice spot in the sun
Suzco painted a bit eyed cat and was lucky in that she had a really nice spot in the sun
Joyce Treasure centred this picture very nicely I thought
Joyce Treasure trying to reach a hard to get to spot on her section of wall.
Beth Robb normally known as a graphic designer and illustrator went big with these cool characters
Beth Robb normally known as a graphic designer and illustrator went big with these cool characters
Georgie Georgie created a group of women sitting around a big fire against a swirly colourful background.  I dedcided to try and pick out the fire because I thought it looked really cool
Georgie Georgie created a group of women sitting around a big fire against a swirly colourful background. I dedcided to try and pick out the fire because I thought it looked really cool
Hannah Adamaszek's work is always noticeable and always attracts attention.  This photographer will not have been the first nor the last of the day
Hannah Adamaszek’s work is always noticeable and always attracts attention. This photographer will not have been the first nor the last of the day
In addition to painting their murals the artists also found themselves drawing in black books for fans of their work
In addition to painting their murals the artists also found themselves drawing in black books for fans of their work. This is Stephanie Thieu drawing in mine
Amara Por Dios holding court next to her typically dynamic mural
Amara Por Dios holding court next to her typically dynamic mural
I love how this barrel of pink paint looks next to the Femme Fierce mural
I love how this barrel of pink paint looks next to the Femme Fierce mural

15 Comments

  1. I quite agree with you Stuart about the amount of action that was going on and indeed it’s good to see you covering this with more arty snaps from this worthy event by the the ladies.

  2. Nice report on a great day 🙂 Really like your take on it too with your arty pics! I had seen most of the works on the day, but totally missed the one by Anna Rewinka which looks amazing! Sorry to have missed that one, but glad I have your pic to look at now 🙂

      1. I would like to ask if you mind if I used the image you took of me from above on my website please? I would of course add a credit to you and a link to your page. Please let me know if this is possible. akit@akit.co.uk Many thanks, Tx

Leave a Reply