Meet the man behind Penge’s growing street art phenomenon

By Lauren Russell

Penge in Bromley has become London’s most decorated borough due to its extensive collection of street art.

One man to thank for this is Stephen, the founder of blog London Calling Blog.

Set up in January 2015, the non-profit, non-funded blog finds empty spaces around the boroughs of Penge, Forest Hill, Crystal Palace and Anerley and invites thousands of artists from across the globe to create an original piece of artwork.

When asked what inspires Stephen to keep filling these empty spaces he said: “It’s about reclaiming the public realm from advertisers for us.

“It’s refreshing to go somewhere and not have signs telling you what to do, what to buy and where to go. The street art is just there.

“It is beauty for beauty’s sake.”

The street art created here lasts much longer than those created in central London areas such as Brick Lane or Shoreditch as this is repainted over almost daily.

Artists have complete creative legal freedom in these spaces and use a range of materials and methods from spray paint to stencils.

The artworks appear in every space imaginable. Down alleyways, round corners, on buildings, and even on private homes where homeowners have wanted to liven up their space.

Credit: London Calling Blog

Elena Gonzalez Nieto, who goes by the artist name Elno, painted the side of one of the buildings in the area.

When asking her about the work she had created she said: “I included the seed of life in the art work because I have a strong connection with nature.

“I think we all are connected with it so it is showing respect to nature, it is there for us all the time.

Taking two days to complete using mainly spray paint on a black emulsion background Elno said “It’s been fun, it has been a challenge as well but I really enjoy doing it and the people really enjoy it.

“I live in this borough as well so it is nice to see my artwork.”

Stephen, who runs the project at a loss, has been joined by members of the local community and tradesmen who now work together to donate ladders, paints and equipment that the artists need to create their masterpieces.

The project also runs free walking street tours around the area multiple times a year in aid of charity.

Any artist interested in getting involved in the project can contact Stephen on [email protected].

Pictured top: Street art in Penge (credit: London Calling Blog)

 


 

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