Although I can neither draw nor paint to save my life I’ve become really interested in street art over the last couple of years. It all began after I came across, quite by accident, a huge tiger mural on a double gable end wall during a visit to Manchester’s Cat Cafe in 2019. I was so impressed that back at home I did some Googling, made a ‘street art’ list and returned to the city the following day to track down as many street art examples as I could and since then I’ve photographed artwork in Blackburn, Dublin, Limerick, Morecambe and my home town.
Knowing that after a while many murals get painted over and replaced with something else, last summer, once circumstances allowed, I made two more visits to Manchester. Some of the murals I’d already previously seen but thanks to some ‘inside knowledge’ from my blogging friend Paul, who lives in the city centre, I was able to photograph many I hadn’t seen so my Monday walk this week takes in some of the main roads and side streets of the Northern Quarter although I can’t remember all the street names, nor have I been able to find out who all the artists are.
The first two shots are of plaques on the front wall of the City Pub on Oldham Street; not exactly street art and definitely worse for wear but I liked them enough to include them, especially the one with the lion and unicorn. The following four images, taken on the corner of Spear Street and Hilton Street, were all by Kelzo and the next four on the corner of Spear Street and Stevenson Square were by Tankpetrol, a Polish stencil artist based in Manchester.
The next mural, on the wall of a redundant substation, is quite significant. Painted by Akse it’s a portrait of Manchester-born Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Facebook for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Diagnosed with the rare blood cancer Follicular Lymphoma in November 2016 she underwent chemotherapy and immunotherapy then in November 2019 she established the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation to raise funds to find an effective treatment and give support to other people diagnosed with the condition. The mural was painted to help raise awareness of the Foundation and a video of Akse completing the artwork went viral, being viewed millions of times. Also on the walls of the same building are two artworks by Ketones6000.
The next mural, at the corner of Thomas Street and High Street, replaced the tiger one I saw in 2019. Painted by the same artist, Jim Vision, it’s my favourite one so far.
Across the main road from the Northern Quarter into Ancoats I came across the Waterside Coffee Bar facing a section of the Rochdale Canal on Redhill Street, and though the window decoration wasn’t exactly street art it was pretty and I liked it enough to take a photo of it.
That was to be my last photo of the day though I knew I had many more streets and back alleys to explore so it wouldn’t be long before I was back in Manchester to see what other artworks I could find.