March 8th was International Women’s Day and also the Femme Fierce: reloaded street art festival, in support of Plan UK’s “because I am a girl” campaign. The whole of Leake Street’s underground tunnel became a riot of spray can colour and international artists, who also happen to be women. I’d been to the original Cans Festival back in 2008, but must admit I’ve not been to Leake Street, sometimes known as the Banksy tunnel, since then. I got there pretty early in the day, but the air was already thick with the smell of paint and the walls were gradually being re-imagined with vivid and compelling designs.
As I’d arrived early, I got a chance to see some of the processes that are used to create these rich, vibrant images. Paste ups and stencils play a part, but there is also a lot of freehand technique, painting directly onto the wall or using the spray can to achieve different effects. I watched this piece by the appropriately dressed Zabou grow gradually whilst I was there.
Now Leake Street is pretty long and the space was rammed with artists working on every available surface, but I’d spotted my favourite the minute I got there – no contest really! It wasn’t the largest or most political piece but if you’ve ever owned one of these iconic vehicles you’ll understand why.
I didn’t get to see many of the pieces in their finished state, but watching the creative process was just as interesting. However, should you want to see more you can either go visit, or have a look at Inspiring City for some great shots of the finished pieces.
©Chez l’abeille 2015