After last week’s blog post dealing with the heavy topic of mental health issues and suicide following Anthony Bourdain’s death, let’s brighten up the mood again with some colourful street art. In today’s post I want to share some of the witty artworks by Belgian stencil artist Jaune with you that I came across this week on and around Brick Lane – possibly the most famous destination in London for graffiti writers, street artists and urban art aficionados.
Unlike the many huge and highly impressive murals you can find in this area, Jaune’s works are usually very small and located in unexpected places. With so many artworks, hipsters and trendy cake shops here to distract you, it’s very easy to completely miss Jaune’s tiny characters hiding in plain sight. It therefore always feels like discovering a secret treasure when I do manage to spot his artworks. You can see from the photo at the top of this post (which I took in Brick Lane last January) it’s indeed easy to overlook artworks of this size located so low down on a wall.
Who is Jaune?
Jaune is a stencil artist and urban interventionist based in Brussels, Belgium. Inspired by Jaune’s own experience in this line of work, the main protagonists of his artworks are sanitation workers, easily recognisable as such by their fluorescent clothing. Jaune writes on his website that his works are based on the paradox between the visible and the invisible. On the one hand you have these men and women who are responsible for keeping our streets clean and safe, but despite their bright reflective outfits and the obvious equipment they carry around with them, they remain almost invisible to the public.
Creating absurd city scenes
By setting his characters free to roam the wide world and carefully placing them in the urban environment, Jaune creates surprising and funny city scenes that will definitely bring a smile to the spectator who’s lucky enough to spot them. Just like in real life, Jaune’s street cleaners can remain invisible to the average person, but if you allow yourself to open your eyes to the world, you may be rewarded with some witty artworks that will definitely brighten up your day. I’m not sure if this was Jaune’s intention, but perhaps it’s a good lesson for us all to start to acknowledge those who are are so obviously present in the city, picking up the mess we leave behind, but who we sadly tend to ignore.
I took the photo above on the corner of Buxton Street and Brick Lane, opposite the All Star Lane, an American-style dinner and bowling venue.
I found the colourful artwork below next to the LIK+NEON shop on Sclater Street. The black and white artwork on the right is by the Swedish female street artist Amara por Dios.
Have you ever spotted a Jaune stencil artwork in the street? If not, you now know to keep your eyes open for these tiny scoundrels 🙂
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and hopefully see you here next week again!