Q&A: On the question of streets

We asked, “What’s your favourite street, and what do you love about it?”


question streets

Clare Barry

Slow walking in a city addicted to speed can seem indulgent. Dawdling is how I discovered my favourite London street: Snowsfields in Bermondsey.

I leave the chaos of London Bridge behind and begin to see things differently. Hidden behind Guy’s Hospital is the Greenwood Theatre with its shocking pink, orange and blue walls and ‘pocket park.’ I sit there and peoplewatch: two homeless men chat, a man in hi-vis and hardhat smiles, a woman pushes a pram, a couple holds hands. Already I begin to feel calmer; it’s quiet here.

Further along, the redbrick Guinness Trust Buildings stand opposite shiny new apartments. The Shard dominates the skyline, though I’m not interested in shiny glass and metal. There’s a ghost sign on a pollution-blackened wall. It’s been here for decades and most pedestrians miss it in the rush from here to there. This is my reward for opening my eyes and really looking.

Clare leads Urban Curiosity Walkshops. They’re part creativity session, part digital detox—on foot.

question streets

Rowan Durrant

Lower Marsh in London SE1 is my favourite street. It has nearly everything that you would want from a high street and feels simultaneously familiar and surprising. It’s minutes from the Southbank and sits behind Waterloo Station.

The street manages to balance and blend the usual high street chains with an eclectic mix of independent shops, café’s and bars. Hot chocolate that’s so thick that it has to be eaten with a spoon; enough stalls at lunchtime to eat a different dish for weeks; great restaurants with food from around the world; bars that will transport you to times past and shops that you’d struggle to find anywhere else. It’s all here.

Rowan is an artist we’ve written about before. His Superfix projects have given new (and bright orange) life to broken road signs, house numbers, benches and drain covers across London.

question streets

Francisco de Pajaro

I like dirtiness. And curiously, I may be the only person who likes the streets of Barcelona for all the rubbish strewn on them.

Those with piles of inorganic garbage allow me to make spontaneous installations, giving them life for a moment before they die in the garbage truck. They serve as an inexhaustible resource to express myself with total freedom, and with the intention and desire to change the way people think about our world. My messages are shots to the heart made of acrylic paint, simple and aimed at all audiences. It’s a way of taking art out of museums and galleries, giving prominence to a material ignored by city dwellers once they deposit it on the street.

That’s why I’m against extreme cleanliness in cities. When I see a city that’s clean and organized in the extreme I see a superficial, and therefore fragile and delicate, society.

Francisco, aka Art is Tra$h, creates temporary public sculptures using rubbish discarded on the street. His works have popped up everywhere from Barcelona to New York to Dubai.

Photo credit (header): Terraces, Tenements And Tower Blocks