Kiev-based artist Olga Kamenetskaya is very popular among doll collectors for her ability to turn generic dolls of all shapes and sizes into unique works of art, some of them so-realistic looking you could swear they were real people.
Like most girls, Olga used to love playing with dolls as a child. She eventually grew out of it, only to rediscover her fascination with them a few years ago, after seeing a commercial for Monster High Dolls. She bought one, but then she wanted another one, and another one. She was so enthralled with Monster High Dolls that she spent a lot of time looking at photos of the different dolls online. One day, Olga spotted one that she had never seen before, and after doing some research, she learned that it was an OOAK (One Of A Kind). She found it incredible that someone could create that level of detail on a doll completely by hand, and she spent a whole year researching and watching tutorials online before taking up a brush and trying it herself.
Graffiti has appeared on the side of a disused office block in west london. Not entirely surprising in itself, but this graffiti carried a message. Drawing attention to the fact that just a day before it appeared up to 200 rough sleepers who were using the building as a respite from the cold were kicked back out onto the street.
Initially occupied on 1 March, the occupation was a reaction to the recent freezing weather which had hit London and the rest of Europe. The so called ‘beast from the east’ saw temperatures plummet everywhere and of course the people who would feel it most would be those living on the streets. You might remember it, snow covered streets and sub-zero temperatures. We posted about it here, the city looked and no doubt felt quite different.
You can’t hide the homeless. A message from Dotmasters on the hoardings at Sofia House
Clearly the whole thing is a desperate situation. The office block was empty for the past 15 years, just sitting there doing nothing and seemingly taken care of by a handyman who it is alleged may have given a verbal agreement for the initial occupation given the bitter cold conditions. “We occupied this building solely to keep Londoners from freezing to death on our streets” said Streets Kitchen, the organisation behind the whole thing.
The court case centered around the rights and wrongs of the permissions and determined that there was no verbal contract as the handyman had no power to make such a thing. As such the judge ruled that the people staying there, supposedly up to 200, would have to move.
The little girl writing the message is one of Dotmasters ‘Rude Kids’ series
Visiting the site the day after, workmen had moved quickly to board up the downstairs windows and entrances. It was the street artist Dotmasters who then moved in to add his own mark to those hoardings. A familiar black and white stencil image from his ‘rude kids’ series where a little girl is shown standing on tiptoes and scrawling on the boards, the message ‘you can’t hide the homeless’.
Indeed you can’t, in fact look around this area and there are many people sleeping rough. On the opposite side of the building on the corner of the street, I saw a man huddled in a green sleeping bag. It’s uncertain whether he had been, until the day previous, inside the building itself. A few more metres down Great Portland Street and there’s a tent pitched on the pavement, another temporary home in the middle of the street.
The unkept facade of Sofia House on Great Portland House
The bitter temperatures of recent weeks had really focused attention to the plight of rough sleepers, even Susan Sarandon had managed to visit to the makeshift centre during the period. The irony is huge. London has a large population of people sleeping rough yet it also has a great deal of unused office space. Space which, in some cases, has been gathering dust for years.
The answer is uncertain of course as to what to do. The courts are there to uphold the law as they see it although you would hope that compassion would be applied to any decision made. It certainly shouldn’t need to take a group of activists to feel that their only option is to take over a building though. The fault and the ownership of dealing with such things should be local councils and central government who need to take the issue seriously.
The temporary shelter had been arranged by Street Kitchen
Another piece of graffiti, a bit further down the road towards Warren Street, by the station and on an overpass bridge probably summed up the situation best. “Tents in the streets… £1,000,000 apartments left empty”. Crudely scrawled but accurate in its statement. There are indeed tents in the streets and yet all around there is shelter.
Sofia House was visited on 20 March 2018 the day after the deadline was given for vacating the premises. The court order was made on 14 March 2018. The occupation of the building was arranged by Streets Kitchen and you can read more about the work of Dotmasters here. Thanks to Tanya from Notice What you Notice for drawing our attention to this one.
‘Tents in the Streets… £1,000,000 Apartments left empty
Ultra Music Festival begins tomorrow. That means the Worldwide Stage, Miami beach air, lots and lots of flags, and of course the new main stage in action… for those who are willing to wait.
For those who just can’t contain their excitement, the Ultra main stage is currently going through its final lighting tests and of course the people from /r/UMF were there to capture it. Visible from the street, the main stage is certainly a sight to behold without any crowd in front of it.
Check out the video below if you really can’t help yourself! This is your final spoiler warning…
While taking a stroll around Shoreditch the other weekend we ran into Italian street artist Hunto and Mister Thoms aka Diego Della Posta, at work on a new collaborative mural.
The two artists were nearing completion on the work when we caught up with them working across two sides of a large building just behind Great Eastern Street, on King John Ct opposite the Village Underground wall.
Working with Global Street Art the two artists have painted a vibrant mural they have titled ‘Connectivity Matters’ and sees them connecting their invidual styles and characters together on this collaborative mural work.
Mister Thomas putting the finishing touches to his past of this collaborative mural with Hunto in Shoreditch, London. March 2018.
Hunto’s circle of abstract portraits fill the frame of the photograph above while Mister Thoms puts the last few touches to his part of the collaborative mural on the other side of the building .
The completed mural by the two artists can be seen on King John Ct opposite Village Underground in Shoreditch, London.
We’ve seen artists use all sorts of canvases in the past, from paper towels, to butterfly wings or fallen leaves, but never their own carpets. Well, thank to the genius of Japanese Twitter user @agito0219, we can now add carpets to the list of unusual things to create exceptional art on.
@agito0219’s art is as simple as it is impressive. If you’ve ever vacuumed a carpet, you probably already know they usually have two sides. Brush the fibers one way and you reveal one side, but brush them again against the grain and you can see patterns of a slightly or completely different color, depending on the rug. It’s this double-sided nature of her carpets that the mysterious @agito0219 exploits to create her intricate yet ephemeral works of art.