Thierry Noir shot to fame in the 80s when he decided the old Berlin Wall was looking a bit shabby and that the whole totalitarian state thing needed a bit of zhoozh. I do not seek to make unnecessary light of such a horror – thank goodness, frankly, for people like Thierry seeking to demystify the dehumanising effect of the wall. And it was joyous poetry that the man himself was not only there to see it come down but was also one of the first to paint the East side.
There aren’t many better things to do in London than see great street art – if you’ve not been on one of our street art walking tours yet what on earth have you been doing with your life?!? – but that aside, every so often we here at Insider London do have a look at what’s been painted on walls inside buildings. And one bright Wednesday I trotted round the smoke to have a looksee.
It’s an ongoing debate – and it won’t go away. Should street artists put their work in galleries? Do (some) street artists that decide against such a pursuit get too het up about people wanting to earn a living from it? At what stage do you cease to be a street artist?
At a time when the High Street is struggling, small businesses are looking for routes to market and the opportunity to meet customers face to face. This is why I believe small businesses have a vital role to play in bringing High Streets back to life, and customers onto the streets.
If you’re interested the tangible benefits of street art and architecture, check out this TED talk from Edi Rama. Rama was mayor of Tirana in Albania from 2000 to 2011, during which time his team covered many buildings in bright, bold colours and patterns.