Folkestone 2014 onwards

The history of painting and drawing on walls is almost as old as humanity itself. For most of the modern period,

easel painting, on canvas, with oils, has superseded the mural. This has allowed artists to produce work more

in keeping with the taste and circumstances of their patrons.

However, there have been several significant periods when mural painting has been re-discovered.

The great advantages of the mural painting are public visibility and scale.

These characteristics have allowed artists to co-opt the form into their avant-garde project to reach beyond the gallery.

Generally the work is unsigned.

To recap, art has usually been displayed in spaces specifically configured as gallery environments.

But, these environments are not neutral and quickly become institutionalised. The control of these spaces passes to a

caste of officials who become gate-keepers of what may, and may not, be displayed.

From the end of the 19C onwards, avant-garde artists have engaged with public facing forms of work.

These have included posters and sculptures as much as murals. This desire for out-reach has naturally aligned itself

with the democratic tendencies of much 20C social change.

Decorative Murals were popular from the beginning of the 20C through to the start of WW2.

Artists such as Frank Brangwyn, Rex Whistler, Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden produced interior mural decorations.

During WW2, Kenneth Rowntree produced murals for the British Restaurants.

These took the form of symbolic landscape that promoted the themes of national identity.

The Festival of Britain, in 1951, promoted an integration of art, architecture and design, as an template for the rebuilding of WW2.

The Festival espoused as sort of access-all-areas cultural identity that matched the social democratic reforms of post-war reconstruction.

A number of artists produced murals for the South Bank and beyond, including John Piper, Mary Fedden, Kathleen Hale, Tristram Hillier,

Barbara Jones, John Minton and many more.

As commercial activity returned to British high streets after a period of extended austerity, the mural was reinvented, between 1955 and 1975,

as a super-sized typographic element in the townscape of urban spectacular. Edward Wright, Gordon Cullen and Archigram were at the forefront

of this extension of pop art into British retail.

During the 1970s, end-of-terrace murals marked out the sectarian loyalties of Northern Ireland.

To see how 'brutal' the everyday city landscape was back in the 60's to the 80's, take a look at this photo archive

The immersive consumerism of the global economy, during the 1980s and 1990s, offered artists in New York a chance to create large-scale artworks

that combined the rhetoric of street art and billboard advertising. These interventions are usually only ‘tolerated’ in areas that are not gentrified or privately owned. 

It is from this period, by definition, ‘anti establishment’. It’s worth noting that a consistent neatness is a powerful expression of prosperity.

In the UK, where the advertising environment was carefully controlled, urban artists have been forced off-grid.

Banksy is the most notorious figure amongst the guerrilla street, or graffiti, artists. Of course, Folkestone is delighted that Banksy

has graced us with his presence in 2014.  It has caused a sensation.

Nowadays, the urban spectacular is digital, interactive and always-on. As part of this cultural phenomenon the decorative mural has moved

from indoors to out and all around. It is art for the experience.

Here are some examples of the fine mural art which is popping up all over the east end of Folkestone.

in order of appearance? catch them while you can....


biblio: Mural Painting by Hans Feibusch 1946


December 2014 -now being re-developed.

proud to have sponsored this one (see our name up there! - alongside Sue Sheppard, Bob Mouland and others)
as an aside - this enamel badge "Coventry Godiva Club' (for Festival of Britain 1951) shows Diana Dors as Lady Godiva!(in our shop)

Toni joins the 'art lover'

temporary 'amendment' 13 October 2014

14 November 2014

noticed this police baby in February 2018

owners of building 'steal' public art, prior to trying to flog it in Miami,
with full police co-operation! Like an episode of 'Peaky Blinders'......
The two shady characters on the day were his 'dealer' and somebody who called himself 'Banks'?
Make of it what you will
Banksy's mural failed to sell in Miami. Folkestone waiting/hoping for it to be returned?

After months of secrecy, today Creative Foundation reveals that they have won the legal battle
to have Folkestone's Banksy returned from the US.
What a story...... READ ALL ABOUT IT....
We are delighted to be proved wrong about Banksy's involvement in it's removal ......oops, spoke too soon ,NOW see 2017 update!

2016 Folkestone's Banksy is returned and awaiting re-installation in the town....

2017 May Banksy and Bankrobber at it again in Dover.
Read Paul's blogpost
He is not 'right on'....
granted, some pretty good ideas/comments on modern society, worthy of a creative graphic designer,
but it is his cynical way of making money ( a lot of money!)
by reselling his work that is 'stolen' by his accomplice 'bankrobber' that grates.
October 2019 - the Dover EU mural (on a wall due for demolition) has been whitewashed...
watch that space.
October 2020
Folkestone is thrilled by BANKSY's Art Buff returning to the Old High Street...
You can now pose by the Plinth....


another mural in progress (old Co-op building due for demolition?)...December 26th 2014....

new January 2015

DECEMBER 2015 - A WORK IN PROGRESS...forthcoming mega skatepark

June 2016

august 2017


Now there is an interactive map showing the various locations and contact details of some of the artists too....

see The Folkestone Status.

Discover them for yourselves as you explore the Folkestone.

Some look like enlarged artwork, others engage with the building they are adorning, different styles, different approach.

an aside...

Dr Who episode 'Flatline' which shows mural/grafitti art in a new light!

for professional mural painting on international scale see the work of Gilles Cecilie studio


'Petro's' work newly appeared in the Old High Street Folkestone... (June 2016)

and his customised rubber gloves.

these panels have been decorated in Tontine Street (August 2016). It is incredible how resistant locals are to anything different,

even if it improves their environment. The chap who runs the angling shop opposite started mouthing off about what 'crap' it is. Would

he prefer bare rubble?


hot from 'Dismaland' comes the Riot container on the Leas Folkestone until August 14 2016
KLF alive and well


well done to Folkestone Harbour Ward residents for commissioning this mural on the Durlocks (completed September 2016)

this graffiti conveys a sad message of remembrance - public grief.

and a detailed souvenir of Folkestone's sometimes funfairs.

and now mural art goes mainstream at Dulwich Picture Gallery

meanwhile, spotted in the back streets of Folkestone...


These African beauties have popped up amongst the scaffolding of the Old High Street.... june 2017


WANDERLUST SOCIALCLUB have given us beautiful gallic charm on our wall!

AND see 2nd photo NEW FOR SUMMER 2022!!!
AND see what has appeared NEW FOR AUTUMN 2022!!!

Folkestone Triennial 2017
Graffiti writ large as the pros decorate the hoardings of the skatepark site... keep looking, it changes all the time.
tools of the trade ( including special brew!)

early stage angler fish by Twintracks Productions
and here it is completed...

and two more designs round the corner.


and modern camouflage of the Cube adult education building, Tontine St. by international artist Sintra Tantra

April 2018 - ooh Petro is up to his wonderful stuff.... Southern trains... catch it!


and over in disconcertingly 'tidy' Belgium, amidst the frenzy of building works,
in Ghent we spotted this 'approved' wall activity...
admittedly, this appeared in the more student populated district.

October 2019
across the Channel in Calais, we caught the Musée des Beaux Arts
exhibition 'Conquête Urbaine'.
Here is a taster...

Perhaps making 'graffiti' even less permanent but also less invasive is the current tendancy to

erect grafitti hoardings - see new hoardings by Russian graffiti artist Pokras Lampass outside Dover St Market, December 2019



- Our friend Petro at his stuff!

august 2020 - more on the skatepark, Folkestone hoardings...

and not strictly graffiti but we featured this great 'Yellow Dot' poster during lockdown...

by Stephen Kenny

MEANWHILE... back in Tontine Street...

and of course here is the fabulous Petro at work on readiness for the launch of the mega Folkestone skatebowl April 2022

tontine street graffiti (imagine the colours ; )
- photos taken with my new tiny Rollei35s that I can carry around in my handbag!

meanwhile, this amazing wall art appeared in Folkestone - tucked away from the main drag.
The quotation is from Lemn Sissay "Said the sun to the moon. Said the head to the heart. We have more in common than sets us apart"


Catch PETRO aka Duncan Weston at the Saatchi Gallery exhibition of street art 'inside the gallery'.....
until May

© Paul and Karen Rennie

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