Welcome to the Hotel California, I mean Sheffield

I honestly don’t know where to start with this one.

Once upon a time there was an artist called Phlegm, he stumbled upon a long abandoned derelict hotel. First he painted on the roof and then on many of the floors and then Kid Acne came and painted too. Then the word spread.

And Rocket01 came and painted.

And Fauna Graphic came and painted.

And Boms came and painted.

And Kers came and painted, can you see a pattern emerging?

And CoLor came and painted, many times.

And Wolf came and painted.

There was even a register where artists could sign in, and most of them did.

There was loads and it was amazing. To have so much creativity come together like this was fascinating to record and I think this is where my hobby developed into an obsession. Skint ,Clem Alice, Narke, EMA, Angel and many more came and painted. I can’t include all the pictures here. If you click on any of the pictures you can go through a slideshow of 20 images. I also made a photo book called ‘Welcome to Woemart Halls’ there is a link where you can read it online to the left of the page, the price to buy is unjustifiable so until I can find a way of getting it printed more cheaply, online is all it will be.

I so wish there had been a fairytale ending to this story but sadly there is not. After about 8 weeks the building was resecured, but not before someone went in and emulsioned over every piece of artwork in the place. To me an absolute travesty.

Year End Roundup

I have quite a ‘Graffiti Walk’, (when I can walk) it’s really good exercise. This post is representative of the places covered, and takes us to the end of 2011, starting at Devonshire Green with a piece by Imer from Leeds.

Riseones’ little character in a baseball cap has loads of variations in sticker form allover the city, I love them.

Rocket01 has started making use of Sheffields bare spaces with fantastic green themed murals such as this.

Another ballcourt another Leeds artist I think.

Skint and CoLor. Saw the guys painting this while the weather was freezing, you have to admire the dedication. We left them to it and went to Uncle Sams for a meal!

Onto the next ballcourt. Keep Amp and, I don’t know who, visitors from out of town.

Trik9 Halloween piece, absolutely fabulous!

This is a different ballcourt that took me a very long time to find. It has some nice work but is only small, so I’ll only visit occasionally. The wall above is by Teas, Meth and Trik9 I believe.

CoLor Art did a series of socks throughout the city, this was the christmas one. By the first time we saw it was a little battered, as above, the second time it was in pieces. Pity some people don’t appreciate attempts to brighten their day.

Apart from the small court, this is a fairly regular tour for me, come rain or shine, always interesting always something new to see, can’t wait till I can do it again.

Graffiti Factory

This is one of those strange places that has been derelict so long it’s impossible to even guess at what it was used for, it’s literally a shell, even the graffiti was old, well most of it.

This was possibly the most recent a Boms and Rocket01 collaboration, that was visited twice  by the local constabulary while it was in production. Apparently they were quite impressed with it…

This Angel piece is from 2008 and it is staggering how undamaged it is after 3 years (4 years now). I thought the character was amazing, but had to be told it’s from the Japanese manga film, ‘Ghost in the shell’, which I’ve still never seen.

Fresh! I don’t know anything about this writer, they seem to stay away from the main spots and only paint occasionally, good stuff though.

(MR) Wolf, just 4 letters, doesn’t often do characters, but always eyecatching, in a smacks you in the face kind of a way!

Around the back of the building, through razor wire brambles and buddleia was this colourful Nero, Boms and Monkie collaboration.

Battling through the undergrowth some more we found this Phlegm piece.

If I’m being honest we didn’t ‘find’ this piece, we knew it was here, we hadn’t known about the Nero, Monkie and Boms one so I guess we found that. We did however fear that we may never find our way back out of this jungle, we did of course, but it was a painful process.

This little tri-telescope was on the inside of the door on our first visit, sadly on subsequent visits I am sad to report that it had been removed probably with a crowbar, a trend that sadly seems to be on the increase.

Tool Box of the World! (Ex)

Although a much loved urbex site for its  industrial history, of late this building has become more famous for its artwork. We were a little bit slow off the mark with this place due to logistical reasons, mainly that the building was in use as an airsoft site at the weekends. But a chance encounter with the owner of that business in a place where we both shouldn’t have been, led to an invite to visit between battles. So we did.

Too Gritty For The City. Local artist Rocket01 had been able to make use of some of this vast space as a blank canvas with amazing results.

A collaboration between Riot68 and Rocket01, a real thing of beauty.

Rocket01, Septik, Ziru, Icole and the Mouarf. I think that other than Rocket the other artists are all french. They painted here and in another derelict building in the city.

Beautiful and terrifying all at once, not for the first time I find myself wondering what goes through artists minds, what an imagination, not sure I would want one like that.

Fauna Graphic had also painted here, this lovely peacock. I love the reflection but the photo is grainier than I would like as it was a late autumn afternoon and the light was poor.

I don’t  know who, but I like it.

Possibly Ziru, but it’s only a guess.

Promised ourselves a return visit when the light was better and it was a little less busy, with less risk of getting shot!

Driest Place in Town

A  few weeks after a group of guys we’d met at an urbex meet had done the YMCA dance on the roof of this building, we thought we’d have a wander down. At that time we weren’t aware that there was any graff here it was just an explore, but within minutes of getting in we were aware that there was.

Kid Acnes’ art fags were scattered about the place.

We had a really good look around the buildings are huge and some parts are partly demolished, it would have been amazing to see it all intact but it’s way past its best now.

Bob/ Drot character.

A cheeky little Phlegm piece, that we didn’t know was here!

Sela, Saer, Skint and Kest.

This has to be the scariest door I’ve ever seen, when we were in that part of the building I was petrified every time we got to a door just in case it was that one.

We haven’t been back in to this site, but on passing it’s easy to see that it has deteriorated considerably, another part of Sheffields heritage just rotting away.

Here and There

One for sorrow Magpie by CoLor Art, part of a project on Division street that included all ten from the nursery rhyme.

This post is a bit of a mish mash of wanderings tying a few bits together. The most frustrating thing with this blog is trying to fit everything in, it’s impossible. I’m not sure whether I saw more as time went on or whether the scene was just growing, a bit of both I  guess. So I apologise to anyone I may offend by not including their work, but I do try.

I don’t know who did this, there seemed to be a sudden spate of them in the city centre,  then, they just stopped.

I don’t know who did this either and I know to some it’s offensive,but it makes me chuckle.

Production by Phlegm, Kid Acne, EMA, Ghost Patrol and Barber Filth.

 

Saw these Gzos, Boms and the infamous Bloodaxe pieces by totally by chance, it’s amazing what you can find when wandering aimlessly, all have been emulsioned over now in some anti graffiti drive.

 

Bumped into these lot on one of our walks, it was good to put names to faces. I think they were more shocked to meet me than I was to meet them, as I don’t think I’m the sort of person many would expect to be doing this. Although the more like minded individuals I meet, the more I realise that not many of us are. I had been posting my graffiti photos online for a while and was well chuffed when they knew me from that, it was a humbling moment that I won’t forget.

Sharrow Festival 2011

After missing last years Jam, we made sure to get there for this one.  It was a really good day a real community festival with Bangra music, local rock bands all manner of wonderful food stalls and jewellery and dancing displays and just a really good day out!

And facepainting….

And then there was the graffiti.

It was the first time I’d really seen artists in action and it was fascinating.

The festival and graff jam were well attended, artists came from around the country as well as the local writers.

This is my favourite picture from the day, Graffiti is for everybody, fact! The lady is proudly watching her grandson paint.

The standard of work was amazing.

All in all a great day out and  a definite one to mark on the calendar in future.

Zombies? In June?

After a little detective work, we set off for a location where I had figured Phlegm had done a new piece.  As we were trudging towards the place we saw this lot. Now urbex and graffiti hunting attracts all sorts, but zombies, that was new.

 

Below is a preview of the horror trilogy they were making.

Anyway as zombies go, these were quite friendly and allowed us to have a nosy round as long as we stayed away from the movie cameras. The piece below was the one we’d come to see, but there was another surprise instore for us, a very bemused artist called Phlegm!

 

Phlegm was working on another piece at this site and he wasn’t having a good day. Phlegm prefers to paint in solitude but this day he’d got us, a couple of other guys that were ‘helping’ and about fifty zombies and a film crew. As we were talking they were staggering through the door.

 

It was quite bizarre watching zombies photographing graffiti. We left Phlegm to it after about 10 minutes and had a wander around the rest of the site.

 

There was another Phlegm creation too that we hadn’t known about.

 

Other artists had been at work here as well, one who had definitely been busy was Clem Alice.

 

His surreal creations were all over the place.

 

Phlegm had had the two guys mulshing a wall in preparation and was mortified when I pointed out that the spider they had painted over was one of Clem Alices. But I’m pretty sure Clem Alice forgave him.

 

There were other pieces there by local artists and writers. This was a particular favourite by Kest.

 

We had a bit of  wander around but between being in Phlegms way and being in fear of eaten alive by zombies we decided to call it a day and come back when it was a bit less lively – or undeadly depending on your view.

Probably the Largest Factory in Derbyshire (Not)

I was told about this place by a graffiti artist and am very grateful for that information, I never even knew of its existence. This building was huge and I wasn’t able to establish exactly what it had been although it was clear that it had at some point been split into several units and most recently parts had been used as an airsoft site.

The place felt totally abandoned even the graffiti was not recent, although it was fascinating.

It had obviously been a popular graff spot once, I didn’t know who most of them were then, but I do now.

Nature had been doing a paint  job of its own, I love these “Life finds a way”(Jurassic Park)  shots.

In what had been offices was more graffiti and much more evidence of the airsoft guys.

It was quite a maze, I couldn’t guarantee that we saw it all and we were in there over three hours.

Overall there was some really good stuff here and it was a fun place to explore. It will always be remembered as the first place I saw a graffiti’d  caravan. I was gutted that the whole site was flattened within a few months of our visit. This was a place I would have liked to go back to.

 

Urban Art School

Well, agile I’m not, so getting in this place was quite a feat for me. I was quite giddy once I was in and found the spongey floors hilarious until I realised I was on the first floor. I didn’t think it was so funny then!

Not for the first time do I find myself in a potentially life threatening situation in search of Phlegms’ work, but it was worth it.

In between dodging holes in the floor I was really struck with the beauty of this building, even with this level of dereliction it had such character. I know I’m biased but Phlegms paintings just went so well with the surroundings. It was all so very serene apart from the flooring problems and the potential for being struck by falling roof  tiles.

This was just a corridor, with lovely huge windows, that must have looked amazing when it was intact.

Just wonderful…

…and there’s more…

These doors were awesome, small doors, because they were on childrens toilets, which unfortunately made them portable and they had left the building within days.

It felt like this building  had been Phlegms playground, he’d certainly spent some time here and even he had nearly fallen through the floor. Personally I’ve resisted the urge to go back, I don’t think I’d trust my luck a second time.