Croydon Murals Defaced Beyond Recognition

Just a few short weeks ago, I recently photographed the beautifully exquisite Amy Winehouse: “Tears Dry On Their Ownmural, which was produced by the artist, Bareface, in conjunction with and as commissioned by the RISE Gallery.

Fast forward to Saturday just gone, while I was with my close friends, who I just recently photographed a few weeks ago, with some more photographs on the way soon, all three of us paid a visit to Katharine Street because we wanted to find out if the mural of Amy Winehouse was still in the same finished state it was when I photographed it just a few short weeks ago.

On closer inspection, however, I was devastated to discover that not only was the mural defaced, but a grey block drawn just below Amy Winehouse’s eye, with a teardrop also drawn just below her eye, with some graffiti included on the back of Bareface’s clothing has ultimately destroyed a true work of art.

I just, in the last few days, spoke to the man behind the Amy Winehouse mural, Bareface, over Instagram, and even he is just as furious as I am about the mural being defaced.

Bareface made this statement during a conversation I had with him on Instagram. Permission was granted by Bareface for me to release his statement on his mural being defaced alongside the other murals that were also defaced.

“I did notice in a few pics I was tagged in this week that it had been worked over. It’s a shame but sadly it’s the law of the jungle. These “thugs” seem to think it’s fair game if it’s out in the street to tag over something that’s already there. The bigger issue is that if it continues the council will think it invites more vandalism and it will put a stop to public art so it’s a tough one to tackle. I will be in town today so I will be able to see it up close but it would have been nice for it to remain “clean” for a lot longer as it is a legal wall, but that’s something the organisers need to consider for next time.”

Bareface went on to say:

“I had a look today and it’s a shame most of the work has been tagged over apart from the lettering “graffiti”. There is always a rift between people that do lettering graffiti and people that do stencil art and other styles but that’s another story for another time.” – Statement released by Bareface on Monday 7th July 2017.

You can see just by the statement he released to me in our conversation just how disgusted he is by the fact his mural was destroyed because I too would be the same in his shoes. To think that those who defaced this mural would go to such lengths to destroy such a beautiful and exquisite masterpiece, as well as two other murals proves the lack of respect those have. Those who did it should be ashamed.

Below are the photos I took, which were featured in two articles that were published in the Croydon Advertiser, the first article of which was published on Monday 7th July 2017 and also Tuesday 8th July 2017. You can also read the articles in which I expressed my fury on the murals being destroyed by clicking here and here.

It’s a distasteful and remorseless act and it shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Alex Smithson

Remembering Amy Winehouse 5 Years On (1983 – 2011)

It’s hard to think it was exactly five years ago today that we lost the iconic music legend, Amy Winehouse. The time has flown but it doesn’t really feel like it has when you consider the news of Amy’s death was announced on this day five years ago, it just feels unreal. I was actually heartbroken when I found out she died because it’s like the musician we all came to know and love over the years had gone within a flash.

I wanted to pay tribute to Amy Winehouse by reflecting on her music career, as well as iconic songs that I felt really got to the bottom of what life can be like from anyone’s perspective as well as her own.

Amy Winehouse’s record, Stronger than Me, which came from her first studio album, Frank, had that sensual, yet realistic feeling that I could relate to, as it was based on someone who she may have felt was a lot stronger than her, but really she was the strong one, but I could relate to that song almost instantly, because it’s like the feeling I would feel, such as whether I know someone who is stronger than I am, was creating the bigger picture. It was, to me, like a concept, but except it was like a jigsaw puzzle where even though she sung it, it’s like she wasn’t stronger than she thought, given she may have thought someone else was stronger than her, but really she was stronger than she first thought.

The song, Tears Dry On Their Own, taken from Amy Winehouse’s album, Back to Black, had that instant connection, because although she did that song based around the relationship she was in, I felt that song connected to me completely because it’s like you may feel that sense of hurt, that sense of pain from an experience you want to forget, but as you forget, you get stronger, and you find that those tears will dry themselves and you won’t cry anymore for anything that is now past history, and to me, that’s how I feel every time I listen to Tears Dry On Their Own, because you don’t necessarily have to be in a relationship to know what it feels like, even in friendships or even at certain stages where you may feel like you have been taken for granted, you know what it will feel like if you have experienced a certain period of time in your life where something’s gone horribly wrong, but although you may feel weak inside, really you’re not, you’re actually stronger than you think and you know that you can move on and forget what you shouldn’t care about anymore.

Back to Black brought with it a relatable feeling, because when Amy Winehouse said this line: “We only say goodbye with words, I died a hundred times“, it’s like every time you say goodbye to someone, or even to anyone, it’s like you lose a part of yourself, the same for the other person as well, and it’s like you have died more than once, but really, you’re in the state of mind where everything just appears to be out of control, but also out of your hands, and also at the same time, like as if your whole world has fallen apart just the same as the other person in mind. I sometimes feel like that, which is why this song in general, does make me feel like I have been there, and I have, I have experienced moments of upset recently after going through a seriously bad patch whilst at college, but it was having everyone there, friends and family, and even close friends that kept me going through a seriously bad experience and I feel a lot stronger now than before, because I have got through the pain with everyone by my side. That’s why this song connects me to the overall feeling of what Amy said in this particular song altogether.

Our Day Will Come, which is taken from Amy Winehouse’s posthumous third studio album, is the song I love because it has that positive feeling that goes with it, as it not only has that positive connection to it, but it’s a song I would always listen to everyday and never get tired of. I would never get tired listening to Amy Winehouse and her music, because her music is the kind of music I will listen to.

Although Amy Winehouse is gone, she will never be forgotten. She will always be remembered in mine and everyone’s hearts forever. We miss you Amy Winehouse xxxxxxxxxx.

Alex Smithson

Artistic Interpretation #4: Amy Winehouse (27)

Five years on since her untimely death on the 23rd July 2011, Amy Winehouse, the iconic music legend that made her mark with her unique musical sound, released two of her most iconic albums, which were Frank, and also Back to Black. Her posthumous third studio album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, consisted of some new songs which were previously unreleased, including different versions of certain tracks that we listened to and grew to love, given that the iconic look for Back to Black and Lioness: Hidden Treasures saw Amy Winehouse with the iconic beehive hairstyle, which has since become the biggest trendsetter for all independent women in fashion.

I took the opportunity to draw Amy Winehouse, as I wanted to pay my full respects and pay homage to the iconic music legend as it has been five years since her passing. She was a talented young musician who was gone too soon. I’ve put her age, 27, in brackets, in the article title, as that number is the age she was when she passed away on the 23rd July 2011.

Amy
Amy Winehouse Tribute Drawing

I also wanted to make Amy Winehouse’s memory and music as colourful as possible by using the same drawing to create a tribute montage, showing her life in music from my perspective, but also yours and everyone else’s perspective.

Amy Tribute Montage
Amy Winehouse Drawing Tribute Montage

Amy Winehouse was and always will be the iconic music legend of our time. She will never be forgotten for the everlasting impact she left on the world and will always remain forever in our hearts, our minds, our bodies and our souls. We will always love and miss you Amy Winehouse xxxxxxxxxx.

Alex Smithson