Over past five years the Red Gallery building and the space occupied by Red Market has become one of the best collections of uncommissioned street art that can be found in any one concentrated space in the world.
Walk around the building at any time of day or night and you’re guaranteed to see people taking photos, street art tours and tourists asking ‘where’s the Banksy’. They admire the ever changing canvas which, as well as featuring some of the biggest names in street art, also acts as a platform for up and coming local artists to engage with a wide captive audience.
Upon acquiring the space in 2010, current guardians of the space Yarda, Giuseppe and Ernesto put in a call to a local artist, whose single letters painted on shop shutters were fast becoming a regular feature of the East End landscape. When they asked if he wanted to paint the gallery’s shutters they had no idea several months later his work would be given as a gift from ‘Dave’ Cameron to Barrack Obama – making Ben Eine the first British artist to have his work hung in the White House.
Then slowly, steadily and more importantly organically, artists began to flock the once derelict space and its variety of large walls. ROA, Stik, Milo Tchais, RUN, Zezao, Masker, Phlegm and Dr. D painted and pasted large scale pieces alongside long-standing Illegal pieces by 10Foot, ATG, Elmo and Invader.
In 2012 we bought an old 1976 double decker school bus, moved it into the market and converted it into our workshop for spray paint workshops, bike storage, office and shop. Several artists came around to check out our new home but Jo Peel was particularly taken by the space. She decided to ditch plans for her new animation in sunny Portugal and instead use the huge Red Market wall, the bus and a shipping container.
As the large wall had become a mish-mash of works by various artists we decided to help fund Jo’s project and bring the wall together as one cohesive piece making it the largest street art wall in the U.K.
Since then Fintan Magee from Brisbane has painted a large scale piece and there are plans for more to follow. The gate is constantly changing with works from Beastman, Macay, Hin and Edwin recently and the front and side walls have been and are home to Alex Senna, Cranio, Magrella Stinkfish and even a 3D piece from Jimmy C.
99% of people taking over a building with two large Banksy’s on the side would’ve stuck Perspex on them and cashed in. As much as we all love Banksy, I also love the fact that the guys running Red can see past it and realise that there are other artists out there who are equally as important, talented and just as deserving of that platform. Street art is ephemeral, as are the walls of the Red space and every time I walk into work I feel privileged to be surrounded by such incredible talent.
Gary Means (Alternative London)