If These Walls Could Talk: Exploring Sheffield’s Street Art
Mila K: This is Just an Interval
With constant lockdown and cold weather, it’s easy to feel like this period in our lives is never-ending. However, it’s important to remember that things will get better, and that this is just an interval! This work by Mila K, painted on the doors of the 02 Academy in 2020, reassures us that we will sing and dance again one day.
JupiterFab: The Conversation
Internationally renowned Italian street artist Jupiterfab visited Sheffield in the summer of 2019, leaving behind this beautiful image. The mural shows three people having an engaging conversation, their phones cast aside, providing an important moment of reflection on how we communicate in the modern world. It’s quite strange to see this today, with most interaction now being held from afar or via an internet connection, and I find myself completely longing for moments like this to return.
Marcus Method, Stog, i.d.s.t. and Skeg: Bethel Walk Collab Mural
This colourful collab piece between Sheffield street art icons popped up only recently, and it’s well worth checking out for its sheer vibrancy. The lettering was created by Stog and i.d.s.t, whilst the patterns and fills were painted by Marcus Method and Skeg. It was lovely to see such bold shades added to an otherwise dismal passage, bringing the colour into our lives that we all need so desperately these days.
Jo Peel: Alma Street Mural
Jo Peel’s murals are instantly recognisable. She juxtaposes bold, black, and white industrial locations with bright blocks of colour in the background. Always including Sheffield staples, she takes great pride in the city, and this iconic Alma Street mural features the old Hendo’s factory in the foreground. Although grey and industrial in places, Sheffield also has many natural colours to showcase, and she aims to translate that dichotomy in her work.
Bubba 2000: Tribute to the NHS
Bubba 2000 is a stencil artist with many iconic sketches dotted around the city. His art is always engaging and thought-provoking, and this one is no different, using his talent to show his gratitude for the NHS during the pandemic.
Phlegm: Devonshire Quarter
Born and bred in Sheffield, the enigmatic Phlegm has been painting walls in the city for many years. His surreal monochrome illustrations are beautifully done, paying homage to the collection of sculptures in ‘Mausoleum of the Giants’, his hugely popular showcase that debuted in 2019. This impressive mural is one of his earlier works, featuring a giant holding onto a dreamlike world, and you soon find yourself lost in its intricate details.
Kid Acne: That’s the Spirit
Born in Malawi but based in Sheffield, Kid Acne is an illustrator and hip-hop musician, and his inimitable street art will be familiar to many. From large-scale slogans to female warriors, his art is inspiring, connecting the community on a deeper level. Though painted a few years ago, this mural now has a more poignant meaning; the words are hopeful and motivating, reflecting the strong ‘spirit’ of the city in the face of the pandemic.
Pete McKee: The Snog
Local artist Pete McKee is deeply rooted within the city, and this gloriously larger than life elderly couple embraced in a kiss is one to make you smile. Painted on the side of Fagan’s pub, the message is resounding: “Till the end of our days I will love you forever. Through the ups and downs I will never leave your side”.
Rob Lee: Picture House Social
Brazenly 70s, retro, and geometrical, Rob Lee painted this larger-than-life optical illusion onto the Picture House Social in 2019, linking music and popular culture with street art. His illusions draw in passers-by, and they are immersed in the movement of the mural, which reflects vibrations in its lifelike curves. Something about the piece feels warm and familiar, and it has quickly become one of my favourites.
Trik 9: The Gay Quarter Wings
Infamous to Sheffield, Trik 9 has created numerous murals over the years, using a wide colour palette to brighten up many a wall around the city. This most recent one is no exception, with the stunning wings paying homage to the Pride flag on the outside of Queer Junction, celebrating the community by communicating visibility and strength.
Faunagraphic: Brooklyn Road
Faunographic brightens up the city by painting birds onto brick, fusing nature with urban landscapes. Focused on the topic of environmental awareness, she spreads the colour green around the city to remind us to be kind to our beautiful planet and the life that lives upon it.
Simon Wigglesworth-Baker: Welcome to Kelham
Simon Wigglesworth-Baker has painted an array of cabinets across the city, adding small pops of colour onto our streets. This work is a literal ray of sunshine, cleverly using the shape of the cabinet to give the mural an added sense of depth. Created as part of the Kelham Island arts and cultural heritage trail, it’s well worth visiting to see the other amazing contributions in the area.