Faces in the Tunnel – A Portrait of Art in Leake Street by Lewis Phillips
One of the fun things about the world of street art is the number of people you meet. It’s a close community and it was because of a shared love of urban art that I met photographer Lewis Phillips.
Lewis’s previous and current projects range from Vulture Conservation to the homeless living on the streets of London. He uses his photography to raise awareness of issues and to capture the stories behind the topic. The Femme Fierce Leake Street event was special because in addition to raising money and trying to break a World Record, it provided a real breakthrough moment in the continued acceptance of Street Art, enhanced the recognition of women as an integral part of the scene and created a forum for friendships and relationships to form.
We chose to start the day in Borough Market, an apt choice given Lewis’s previous career as a market trader in Hackney Wick. A real Londoner he convinced me to start the day on a diet of bacon and bubble, which if you didn’t know stands for ‘Bacon and Bubble & Squeak’ roll essentially bap filled with bacon and potato. Despite how it sounds it was very chicken and rice.
Once at the Leake Street Tunnel both Lewis and I got to taking photographs and it was great to see his style and see a real photographer at work. Straight away it was apparent that Lewis was interested in the people and he started to mingle, speak to the artists and learn what makes them tick and this is what we have now.
So these are the faces in the tunnel. The portraits of the artists themselves. The words are partly from conversations with Lewis, partly with me and partly from comments taken from the Femme Fierce facebook group. Not all the artists have been featured just the ones who had their picture taken by Lewis and who he met at random on the day. A little bit of a different post this one but nice to see some of the people behind the art for a change 🙂
Faye aka Bubs, Newcastle – www.fayeo.co.uk
A Geordie lass who teaches art, Bubs taught herself street art and has now been a practising artist for over 11 years. She now teaches people the art of graffiti, she also feels that she can express herself through her work. For the event Bubs chose to display her signature and is also part of the Girls on Top Crew.
Dame is an artist from Southampton who prior to the event had not done any street art for seven years. For the event Dame displayed her signature as her masterpiece.
Roo – www.flavourchasing.co.uk
A 31 year old from Guildford, Roo has been practising street art for 2 years. As a teacher of art and design she has always drawn, she said that it has just been a natural progression to end up doing large pieces of work.
Suzko – www.susielowe.carbonmade.com
A practising local artist Suzko has been plying her trade now for 4 years and was invited to visit the Femme Fierce event in London. Suzko said that it was a real pleasure to attend and see so many women congregate together for a great cause.
Elno – www.elnoart.tumblr.com
A Spanish artist of 2 years writing graffiti and street art in Barcelona. Elno said she was overwhelmed to be part of a world record event and feels very powerful to see so many women artists. It has also been amazing to have so much community involvement at the event.
Stephanie aka Thieu – www.thievite.wordpress.com
A french born artist now practicing her skills in London, she is also a graphic designer and illustrater. Her masterpiece was well admired at the event, the work was meant to portray a single woman shown in 2 different lights. In a way it’s meant to show frustration of a woman street artist trying to express herself.
Sylvia aka Szylkwane (Silk) – Silks Facebook Page
Originally form Hungary she now lives in the Hertfordshire town of Stevenage. Silk went to art college in the town of Szeged where she practiced her artwork. Once in the UK she took up streetart more and really got into her graffiti.
Lana Alana – www.lanaalana.com
One third of the street art and graphic design crew Animaux Circus, Femme Fierce was an opportunity for Lana to go solo and develop her own individual style. She also featured in an Inspiring City interview which is doubly cool
Boxhead – Boxhead Website
Boxhead‘s style is certainly recognisable, she painted a large boxhead character complete with a lot of little mini ones. The only thing she knows for certain about the characters she paints is that they are not hiding from anything. The event was also good to identify as a female artist as she says people often assume she’s a guy when they haven’t met her simply because she does street art.
Neonita – www.neonita.co.uk
Another member of the Girls on Top Crew, Neonita qanted to take part in the leake street take over because not only did it look like it was going to be really fun, she hopes it will also inspire other women to paint. She was looking forward to seeing all the different styles from the artists on show.
Zina – www.zinartist.blogspot.co.uk
Zina wanted to paint a tribute to her friend Laura Cherry who contracted Morgellons Disease which affects the skin. She’s getting better now but Zina wanted to highlight what is a quite rare condition.
Saki – www.sakiandb.blogspot.co.uk
Saki took a while to decide she wanted to be part of the event but was really glad she did as it was a good opportunity to identify herself as a female artist. She painted some Kimono Girls which she created as part of her previous show in her own unique style.
Syrup from Girls on Top – www.kudosandsyrup.tumblr.com
Syrup wanted to catch up with the rest of the Girls On Top Crew and to paint with her homegirl Motel 7. She said it’ll be cool especially as it was raising money for a great cause.
Mish Chang – www.mishxmish.com
Mish said after the event “There was a fantastic energy coursing through the tunnel that day, the place was filled with an empowering creative buzz. It was simply amazing to have met so many different artists from all over the world with such diverse styles, all convening to achieve one goal. I’m very new to the spray paint world and was very encouraged not only by the massive turnout but also by the affability and openness of many veteran painters.”
Aylo – Aylodoodles Facebook
For Aylo, Femme fierce was a great event. It was a chance meet and paint with some of the best female talent around. There were people at all levels painting together. We broke a world record and raised a heap of cash for charity!! Hoping there will be more of these events in the future.
Pang wanted to be part of an all female event to showcase some female talent, and mainly to support the important cause, and the sadly ever present issue of Breast Cancer.
Hoshiko – Hoshiko Website
Hoshiku said “I came up all the way from north devon starting at 2am this morning and don’t get home again until about 12.30am tomorrow morning but it’s worth it because you never see this many female graffiti artists in one area at one time. It’s a really big one off experience I don’t know any other time when I would have got to see so many female artists work together.”