The massive Village Underground wall in Shoreditch is one of the most iconic spots to find street art in the city of London. Well situated just a short walk away from Shoreditch High Street station and on the side of one of London’s hippest music venues, the wall has attracted the cream of the World’s street art talent over the years.
Now Swedish artist Amara Por Dios has added her name to a growing list of artists including the likes of Stik, Thierry Noir, RUN, Martin Ron and Phlegm to have painted the side of this iconic venue, an absolute must see on any street art tour of the area.
Amara is self taught. An artist who first travelled to England in the summer of 2012 to paint a few walls, her style immediately caught the eye and grabbed the attention of art fans in the city. She returned at the beginning of 2013 when a Kickstarter campaign gave her the funds she needed to make a return journey hiring out the Bear Gallery on Great Eastern Street to put on her first international show and properly announce herself onto the London art scene.
Since then, she’s mainly lived in the city and her style has evolved and become ever more known. Her art can be some of the most striking street art to be found and there’s no doubt about it’s crowd pleasing nature. Normally using bright vibrant colours she tends to portray stylised faces made out of elaborate patterns. The eyes though are always the most striking feature, it tends to be the eyes that draw you in.
But the village underground wall is most certainly the biggest wall she’s ever tackled and this time she’s decided to paint in black and white. Using bold thick lines it portrays a number of gurning disembodied heads eating one another. It sounds gruesome… it’s not! Rather, given the walls proximity to the financial district of the city it is a reflection on the dog eat dog nature of life out there and the fact that you need to have money in order to make it and those that have it it will quite happily gobble up those that don’t.
Amara’s style finds its influence in American art from both North and South. The patterns of the Incas and the Totem poles of the Native Americans being key sources of inspiration. It’s a style she has really honed since moving to England and starting to experiment with street art. The scene in Sweden is one of zero tolerance so it wasn’t a country where practice with spray cans could be gained easily. Wall space for example is few and far between in the country and the demand in the places where you can paint is so high that sometimes a queue will form with one artist waiting for the other to finish before immediately painting over the work.
I managed to catch up with Amara on day three of her epic painting session. High up on a scaffold, it is the middle of December and one of the coldest days of the winter so far. She has come prepared! Bitter experience no doubt from the two previous days worth of painting, that multiple layers, headscarves and gloves are the order of the day and certainly the only way to get through this particular job. I’m also joined by Daniel from Lazy Eye Productions who is making a short video of the proceedings, we’ve decided to do something a little bit different and expand truly into the World of multi-media so eventually there will be a blog, photo gallery and video which is exciting.
With Amara is Zina, the Norwegian artist whose normal calling card is that she paints in blue. Not today though, her job is to fill in the white bits of this epic black and white piece which in itself is a slight variance to Amaras normal highly colourful style. Why the change I ask? “Because if it was colour it would take me about two weeks” Amara replies. Already she is on the third day and the whole top section still needs to be completed. Problems with the scaffolding are delaying things a little as well even though the schedule doesn’t allow much time for delay.
Back to Amara Por Dios though and just what exactly does ‘Por Dios’ mean? “Oh my God!” Amara tells me! The name it would seem has it’s roots in Amara’s clumsy past as a kid growing up in Sweden. “Everytime I would do something bad my mum screamed ‘Oh! Amara Por Dios’ and that’s like ‘Oh My God, what are you doing’…she still says it now but in a positive way” laughs Amara. The name has stuck of course and now Amara is known in London and around the World but it’s not for being clumsy it’s for making great art.
Amara Por Dios painted the epic Village Underground wall between Thursday 11 December 2014 and Monday 15 December 2014. Inspiring City and Lazy Eye Productions visited the wall on Saturday 13 December and her website can be found here.
Amara Por Dios Village Underground Gallery
Amara Por Dios Picture Gallery