Sydenham's Street Art

Hi @Mariwish, welcome to the forum. That street art is off Sydenham Road (by the car park near the Co-op/Lidl)

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Lovely thank you Chris I’ll look out for it!

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That bat was sadly never going to last in that location :persevere:

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A recent addition to Sydenham by visiting French artist STRA which we helped organise along Kent House Road - Sydenham High Street end - a couple of weekends ago.


Absolutely brill. Would love to see more around Sydders! Anything but an empty wall :wink:

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I’m going to sound like a moaning Minnie but I think street art is only acceptable on temporary surfaces - I accept that it is often very well done but I think it’s very assuming to paint designs on s public wall and assume most people will like it . I love brick and it really pains me to see if defaced .

Someone said already better street art on shutters than graffiti - although I’m not sure there really a distinction - but it still puts me in mind of a dystopian and despairing streetscape. It wouid look repulsive in my view on the side of a building in Long Melford - I’m interested to know why it appeals in an “urban “ setting . Is there not a sense of we can’t stop children from defacing our built environment so this is less harmful ? And is that itself not a counsel of despair ? Once again a reductio ad absurdum, if it looks awful on the Musée D’Orsay why does it look good in Sydenham?

I agree with much of what NigelA says. Who gets appointed The Taste Police? One person’s idea of street art is another person’s idea of graffiti or vandalism. Look at the outcry when someone tagged a Banksy. If we say one person can tag a building why can’t anyone? On anither forum there was even talk of painting over one of Sydenham’s original ghost signs.

I think we need quieter, calmer streets, not more visual noise.

Think it is a tricky one to a degree and yes for sure art is very subjective, however I imagine (and have an admittedly small bit of proof) the majority of people within an area would not see brickwork as nice/beautiful/interesting (as some people may do) but would prefer some art of sorts rather than a dull/poorly kept or simply plain wall. There will always be people who don’t like certain things but if you look at the areas of East Dulwich and Penge as two examples of relatively different places re: Demographics, the community seems to have really rallied around/enjoyed the artwork (some of which regularly changes) and have yearly events around the art. When I tried to do a mural project I allowed feedback via Facebook, Twitter, two forums and went in person to a council meeting. The next step was to have posters of the designs and ballot boxes in shops/places to ensure those not on the above internet means could access their vote. Up to that point there were very few people that actively chose to keep the chosen wall plain (which was obviously an option) with one particularly person more for keeping the brickwork untouched rather than not liking any designs. However the vast majority (I can’t remember the exact numbers but it would’ve been around 100 for one of the designs and less than 5 to keep blank). I realise by no means are these be all and end all pieces of “evidence” but it does appear that overall there subjectively appears to be more benefit/interest/local activities/creativity from things like this than not.

For me I think it’s not specifically “street art” but that is a part of brightening up an area - in Norwood Junction there was a big funding scheme which encompassed renovations of shop fronts/shutters, painting the flats above the shops on the high street pastel colours and some street art which ranged from abstract geometric shapes and colours to a mural representing the nature of the area and another the people of the area.

I work in Croydon and the other day I saw a group of primary school children being lead on a walk/?hunt with each having a print out of 10 pieces of street art around Croydon - I can only assume maybe each one was spoken about with the youngsters as to if they like it or not and what it might mean/represent. Great for creativity, thought processes and exposure to representation of different types of people/cultures/arts.

Can’t say i love all street art but personally feel it really does make my day more interesting, colourful (literally and metaphorically) and thought-provoking. All the street art organised by the areas mentioned above (and others like Brockley) are done professionally by artists (not just people randomly tagging a name/symbol etc) and have all been given permission by the owner of the wall (or other) which also could be another tricky argument for some people - if an owner gives permission for it and it’s not offensive or in a protected area then that’s up to the owner (and artist) what goes up?

Anyways, haven’t read over this so apologies for any typos/grammatical errors and I’ll leave you with some art i fee lucky enough to pass everyday on my way to work which certainly beats a blank wall if you ask me. Ps: sorry about the pics - quick camera phone in the drizzle this morn lol


I totally agree with You JMLF, and I love the pics You took :slight_smile:

I struggle with the notion of a wall being unfinished or plain - the image with the gable end of brickwork for instance looks perfectly ok as clean brick and based on the number of buildings and homes that have not been painted , so wouid a huge majority of people .
Are we saying that all walls need to be painted on , only some , only in certain areas ( which areas )?
The south bank for instance, is a handsome brutalist concrete building - some might see it as in need of adornment and others might see the design as complete to be just as it is -unadorned and spare . On that basis I wouid oppose painting over it - my argument is that if such a building screams out to some to be painted on , what justification is there for a minor public building to retain its intended facade and appearance ?

Given that it’s a virtually unreversable process , surely we are running a huge risk of despoiling our streets based upon n some flimsy assumptions and the support of local authority people whose views we wouid normally regard as unrepresentative?

I can’t help seeing a kind of nihilism at work sometimes and a yearning for some kind of revolutionary favella style .

Murals can be fabulous in the right place, but primarily on structures that are positively unattractive. The demand for huge spaces is going to be unsustainable - after a few years, the artists will have run out of legit spaces.

I would like to see small murals, small jewels that use architectural opportunities like shop signage, bricked-up window spaces and so on. The tiny roundels that decorate the curved parade of shops on Station Approach, for instance. The bullying demand for vast spaces is more effective on social media than when viewed close up by passing pedestrians.

I would also like to see expiry dates pre-agreed for good mural spaces. Let artists have a space for a couple of years, say, and then recycle the space for a new artist. If you want your work to have permanence it can be photographed, or you could consider transferring to a retro portable format. Like a painting…

Any artist worth their salt, however, will appreciate the beauty of decent quality brickwork, and wouldn’t want to ruin it.

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I’m all for good street and and all for community involvement, but I think if you reach that net out too wide and ask permission of the whole community to be involved - you end up paralysed - the people that don’t like it will shout the loudest even if they are a minority.
Just get it done - recruit a body of enthusiasts, get permission from who’s ever wall it is and just do it.
Some people won’t like it, but on the whole it will be a big bold +ve statement!


Valentines themed work by Street Artist Irony that we organised and placed up yesterday along Kent House Road.


Please have a looksy at LondonCallingBlog and their new affiliated website: (where you can give info to “paint my wall” as well as the great Goldsmiths Uni backed:
Artmongers - and their fundraising site to create the Lewisham School of Muralism - - Every little bit helps and although it is just their word at the moment in a tweet it may be that they will be looking at Sydenham for a location for one of the murals.

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I was in Bristol last week and they have some seriously incredible street art. It’s all over but there was some especially good stuff in Bedminster including some by some of the artists affiliated with londonscalling

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