“I Love You Will U Marry Me”

Unfortunately uni work has been getting on top of me recently – the perils of being a Law student! This means I haven’t been able to dedicate a day (or even part of a day) to graffiti hunting of late.

I take it as a good opportunity for reminiscing about a piece I photographed on the first ever trip I went out on. This was one I (very wrongly) didn’t take a great deal of notice of at the time, but something I have since learnt a lot more about.

When I first started researching the street art of Sheffield I was mesmerised by the Kid Acnes, the Faunagraphics and of course the Phlegms of the city.

In comparison, “Clare Middleton I love you will u marry me”, with its two spellings of ‘you’ and missing question mark, scrawled across a bridge, high up on Park Hill, didn’t particularly impress me.

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How very naïve of me!

…Because this unassuming piece is one of the most well known works in Sheffield. A landmark that can be seen from right across the city. One that has christened the bridge on which it was scrawled ‘the I Love You Bridge’.

The significance of it was brought to my attention thanks to a fairly old, yet fantastic piece of radio on BBC radio 4 – a documentation of the hunt for Clare Middleton and the person responsible for the proposal. Who were they? Did she say ‘yes’? Did they get married? Are some of the questions answered in this moving programme. If you haven’t already heard it, I highly recommend a listen…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01302s4

Since learning the backstory and subsequent events of the proposal I keep coming across more and more references to ‘the I Love You Bridge’. Like the following poem which, in my opinion, is an incredibly accurate yet beautiful description of Park Hill…

The I Love You Bridge by Rowan Blair Colver

Within a landscape of concrete and other created forms,
A sub suburban sanctuary with rolling cubic lawns,
In coves of homes that peer from oblong fabricated walls,
Are folk with minds and souls breathing in buildings so tall.

Perhaps forgotten or misjudged significance led to time,
People carry on running around their personal pantomime,
And the dreams and lives of people existing up so high,
Can be subconsciously swept so casually aside.

When circumstance dictates and you walk through the lanes,
And you catch yourself straining at the highest window panes,
Perhaps you quietly ask yourself “How do they live like this”,
Then out of nowhere the answer
“I love you”
scrawled on the highest bridge

Additionally, and to my surprise, I discovered that The Crookes (a band all Sheffielders should be aware of!) wrote a song about the (ironically) high number of people who have taken their lives jumping from ‘the I Love You Bridge’.

“There were 26 all just craving one more kiss,
As they jumped from the I Love You bridge.
It’s a magic trick, an escape from this.”

I knew the song, appropriately titled ‘The I Love You Bridge’, long before I knew the bridge. Having seen the band live, the significance of the song was not explained. Perhaps too depressing for the, otherwise cheerful, gig atmosphere. However I can’t help think knowing the meaning completely changes the way you hear the song, which is so beautifully sad.

The question has since been illuminated so  that it shines across the city at night. It has also been used as the catchphrase for the Park Hill regeneration project.

Over the years it has been displayed on various memorabilia, including Sheffield’s very own Alex Turner.

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I’ve really enjoyed learning more about ‘the I Love You Bridge’. It will now be forever impossible for me to walk to the station without a glance in the direction of Park Hill!

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Phlegm… ‘Robot’

Making the most of the beautiful weather, I decided to go out and search for a Phlegm piece. I’d managed to work out the location of said piece from other people’s photos. I’ve quickly realised that street view is a very useful tool for graffiti hunting!

The piece was amazing, easily the largest Phlegm I’ve seen so far!

The wall on the far left has fallen down. It was originally a hand, the part you can see is the wrist with the man driving the hand.

I’m not entirely sure what it represents. A robot clearly, but with a brain. Perhaps representing how scarily advanced robotic technology is becoming. Just a theory, you’ll have to ask Phlegm…

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And just to prove I was actually there…

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There was also a rather nice little cat on the opposite side of the building…

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And this which is not so much the style I’m into…

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The walk itself was really interesting. I felt I got to see bits of Sheffield that make Sheffield what it is, an industrial city. Parts you wouldn’t ordinarily get to see.

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En route to the Phlegm I passed some shops. I’ve realised that Sunday is the best day for graffiti hunting because the shop shutters are down and some good pieces can be found. This one I’m not feeling so much but it’s okay…

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Overall a successful trip. Here’s hoping this great weather continues so I can get out more regularly!

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Derby

Not Sheffield but thought I’d share it anyway.

On a recent trip to Derby I came across this rather impressive painting on the side of a pub depicting some sort of historical protest. The illuminated sign adds to the piece I think…

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London Road and Beyond…

The sun finally decided to make an appearance so I went out on the second of my big pre-planned walks. I went south of the city centre, down London Road and through Heeley.

The first piece I came across was this one…
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I couldn’t help be a little disappointed because there have been Phlegm pieces here previously which, in my opinion, are a lot nicer (see the links)
http://www.streetart.lowtech.org/cemetery1.php
http://www.streetart.lowtech.org/cemetery2.php

I really like this by Coloquix on the old Harrison Cameras building. Pieces like this help make unused shop fronts look less depressing. Something I think the Council should be taking advantage of through more city centre commissions.

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I was surprised to see Kid Acne’s “stabby woman” and two more of Simon Kent’s paste ups as I was not expecting to come across any on this walk.DSCN0985

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This is a great piece on the side of the Cremorne Pub…

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I went inside the pub because I had seen pictures of a Phlegm piece in the beer garden (http://streetmanifest.com/phlegm-in-the-back-yard/) I asked the bartender and he informed me that, for reasons unbeknown to him, the manager had it painted over shortly after Phlegm released his book. He clearly had strong feelings about this issue and had a rant to me about it. So far Phlegm had evaded me on this walk!

Not sure I like these pieces…

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This is a beautiful painting of a waterfall on the side of a house. Not sure who did it but I like it!

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Sticking with the theme of house paintings I absolutely love these three ducks. Makes me want to buy an end of terrace house so I can get creative with the wall!

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Hagglers Corner is a lovely crafty place with a cute courtyard and café.
http://hagglerscorner.co.uk/

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The courtyard plays host to some nice artwork…

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And two more of Alex Ekins’ holy men…

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This one was looking a little worse for wear…

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Horace got deep again!
Quite hard to see through the reeds so it says…
“To journey on mass into illusion is to sleep-walk through destinations wake along the predetermined channels of a cyclical stream; to break fear in isolation’s truth is to believe yourself bathing not drowning forever entwined in the tranquillity of dream”

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A very peculiar bench in Heeley…

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This is a Kid Acne piece “Live and Learn”…

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A cheerful mural in Heeley…

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And finally I found a Phlegm, and a great one at that!

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Ecclesall Road area…

Took a quick trip down Ecclesall Road and got a few snaps.

A lot of vandalising of vandalism down there. Even more depressing when it’s done to a commission, like these by Mila K on the side of JOY…
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I came across quite few bits of work from stencil artist Bubba 2000…

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This one has to be my favourite…

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Some old school Phlegm on Sharrow Vale Road. He doesn’t seem to use colour much anymore (can you spot the cat?)

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I love this commission from Color Art…

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Another Phlegm that I managed to get on a second trip. First time round a van was parked in the way, unfortunately this meant light was not on my side. Maybe it adds to the urban foxes thing…

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I’ve got a few walks planned over the next couple of weeks (weather permitting) so hopefully I’ll have lots more to share!

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the first walk of many… Devonshire Green/Division Street

This was one of the first Phlegm pieces I saw photos of online that really got me interested. Will have to go back to get a better picture without the car…

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the first walk of many… Trafalgar Street

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the first walk of many… Park Hill flats

I’d been meaning to take a trip to Park Hill ever since moving to Sheffield but this was the first time I’d been. This is somewhere every privileged student should be forced to visit. Unfortunately the piece I most wanted to see, a huge commission by Kid Acne, was hidden by piles of builders rubble. The trip was still worthwhile for the views if nothing else.

Just before Park Hill this piece by Horace can be seen along the river. Deep…

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the first walk of many… Sheffield Hallam area

A lot of street art can be found around Sheffield Hallam’s campus, the Showroom and the train station…

This Phlegm piece on the doors of the Millennium Gallery is interesting because the glass means it is visible from both sides.

I stopped off at the Gallery for a while to warm up, dry off and take a look at the new ‘printing Sheffield’ exhibition which includes some of Phlegm’s work.
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This commissioned piece by Faunagraphic of the guy who discovered stainless steel, Harry Brearly, is a nice nod to what Sheffield is known for…

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There’s a new mural at Hallam Hubs…
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This is one of my favourite Phlegm pieces on the side of the Rutland Arms. Very difficult to photograph though…

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These holy men are part of photographer Alex Ekins’ ‘Seven Sadhus’ project. Sadly I only became acquainted with three…

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the first walk of many… Achipelago Works

AGP Works is a cute little gallery off Sidney street with a very cool Phlegm piece in the entrance…

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I was spotted taking pictures of said piece and was pointed in the direction of the toilet where some more Kid Acne pieces could be found…

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