Meet the Tiny Street Cleaners by Stencil Artist Jaune

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!
Zarina xx

7 thoughts on “Meet the Tiny Street Cleaners by Stencil Artist Jaune

  1. I love these! I like it very much to find things like these small ones, they indeed are like small surprises, little presents, making your day a good day!

    When I was a youngster I had cleaning jobs myself to make some extra money and I know first-hand how hard this can be. And how you can be ignored by people in general. Ever since then I made it a habit to acknowledge cleaning crews. Just by saying hello, thank you, a nod or a thumbs-up you make clear you actually SEE them and appreciate their work. They deserve no less. In hospital I used to chat with the cleaners and kitchen staff, which can be really eye-opening or surprising. And there are so much more jobs like these that deserve much more appreciation….

    1. Ja leuk hè deze kleine verrassingen in het straatbeeld. Daar word je vanzelf vrolijk van.
      Wel grappig dat je noemt dat je zelf altijd tegen de ‘onzichtbare’ mensen praat, want Robin en ik hadden het er gisteravond over dat wij dat allebei ook altijd doen. Gisteren waren we naar een bruiloft en hebben we allebei gezellig staan keuvelen met de ijscoman die het bruidspaar had ingehuurd voor een paar uur en ook de fotografen die ik na afloop nog een grote knuffel gaf 🙂 Voor mij is het denk ik dat ik best wel verlegen ben en me meer op mijn gemak voel rondom de andere ‘onzichtbare’ mensen. En mijn moeder heeft altijd schoonmaakwerk gedaan en ik ging als jong meisje met haar mee dus misschien dat dit ook natuurlijker voelt voor mij. Als we naar een officiële functie gaan m.b.t. Robins werk of ook toen ik als (vrijwilliger) met vip-gasten werkte op filmfestivals, voel ik me nooit helemaal op m’n gemak en praat ik het liefst met ‘normale’ mensen zoals ik 🙂

  2. four workers near Stolen Space have recently been painted over, but there are two more workers on the same railway bridge as your top piece (other side just before Jack the Clipper…

Leave a Reply to Dutch Girl in LondonCancel reply