New street art in the city…

And a few quirky bits thrown in for good measure.
Just recently it seems that Manchester’s street artists have been painting things faster than I can photograph them. Less than a week ago I found out about two new artworks in progress and soon to be finished so early yesterday I went out to the city to photograph them, however I actually found more than I expected.
Although it’s nothing to do with street art I’d read recently that the exterior of the Printworks is classed by some as being very Instagrammable so I took a slightly different route from Victoria Station to find the suggested spots for photo taking, then never having been in the place I crossed the road and went to take a look.
Originally the home of several newspaper and printing businesses dating from the late 19th century the building was bought in 1986 by publishing magnate Robert Maxwell who immediately closed it down. It was left unused and derelict for over ten years then as part of Manchester’s redevelopment following the 1996 IRA bombing it was bought in 1998 by Shudehill Developments and converted into an entertainment and leisure venue which includes a cinema, fitness club, nightclub and several eateries.
During the redevelopment the original frontage was retained and part of an internal railway from the newspaper business was incorporated into the new ground floor walk-through from the main road to the street behind. It was actually quite dark in there and it felt a bit odd with everywhere closed and no-one around so I didn’t linger too long.
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Coming out of the back of the Printworks I followed my previous well trodden route to find the new street art I wanted to see but before I got to it I unexpectedly came across a new work in the process of being painted. Liam Bononi is a self-taught Brazilian street artist based in Liverpool and his artwork can be seen in many cities in other countries; expressive eyes and hands are apparently distinctive features of his work so it’ll be interesting to see this one when it’s finished.
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Caught in the act – artist Liam Bononi at work in Hare Street
The next artwork, which is one of the two I especially wanted to see, is on the side of the Manchester Craft & Design Centre and has quite a sweet little story attached to it. The Design Centre was once a Victorian fish market where, over many years, the fishmongers would always welcome the local cats as a way of deterring any pests, for which they were rewarded with treats of fish. The market finally closed down in 1973 but the cats kept returning although there was nothing there for them, however one dedicated fishmonger, Jimmy Kelly, would also go back regularly to make sure they got their dinner.
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Copperas Street – Artist, Hammo
It was just a short walk from there to Tib Street and the next artwork I wanted to see, and though it had been completed I was surprised to see another artist at work on the wall next to it. The two walls form part of the boundary of the Northern Quarter Car Park and though I’ve been past there many times I didn’t realise until recently that one is a memorial wall. To brighten up what has long been a bit of a redundant corner all the artwork had been commissioned by the Northern Soul Grilled Cheese place across the street, though unfortunately Qubek’s work was partially obscured by a couple of notices and stacks of tables and chairs ready to be laid out.
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Tib Street memorial wall – artist, Qubek
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Caught in the act – artist Krek at work in Tib Street
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From Tib Street I made my up to Stevenson Square as I wanted to photograph something for a future post, and though I wasn’t expecting to find anything new since my previous visit two weeks ago I actually did. A series of shutters on a corner building had undergone a very bright makeover, and while they weren’t advertising any particular product they seemed to signify mobile phone usage.  
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Oldham Street
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Stevenson Square/Spear Street – Artist, Reasm
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Having recently found out about a place which was considered to be highly Instagrammable, and thinking of shots for a future post, I headed away from the NQ. Via various streets and pedestrianised squares I finally found what I was looking for and though I couldn’t go in it was certainly worth several shots from the outside.
On the floor in the window of a vacant shop nearby, which appropriately had been a tailoring and alteration business, I spotted an old and very decorative Jones sewing machine though light reflection on the glass meant the shot wasn’t too clear. Enlarging it later on I made out the words “As supplied to Her Majesty Queen Alexandra” on the shoulder of the machine and research tells of a reliable account that she did indeed use a Jones machine during her days at college.
Along the street was a tall narrow 4-storey building with a very flowery front facade and though the direct sunshine made photographing the whole thing difficult I did manage to get a shot of part of it. Round the corner was Crazy Pedro’s bar and pizza restaurant and as well as one of Qubek’s well known bees there was some really bright art work round the side. 
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Crazy Pedro’s – Artist, Qubek
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With the sky clouding over again I made those my last shots and headed off on my long walk back to the station – not a moment too soon either as just as I got there it started to rain. Although I hadn’t spent as much time in the city as on previous occasions I’d got most of my planned shots and more and it had been nice to chat briefly to the two artists I’d seen working, but now it was time to head back home for a good brew and a late lunch.
 

22 thoughts on “New street art in the city…

  1. The Printworks – that building was, and still is, one of the first sights when emerging from Victoria Station – something I’ve done regularly since I was 16.
    I remember the illuminated sign when it was called “Thomson House” and then, when taken over by the notorious Robert Maxwell, it was renamed “Maxwell House”. The new sign always amused me, that being the name of a popular brand of instant coffee!

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  2. It was nice to actually see a couple of artists at work as sometimes murals appear so quickly it’s as if they are done mysteriously overnight when there’s no-one around 🙂 The cat is my favourite out of these as I like the story which prompted it 🙂

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  3. You’re right there – I’ve been going every two weeks since mid March and there’s always something different to see. As well as street art I’m also on the look out for Instagrammable locations for another post, I found one or two yesterday and have some more in mind but I need really good weather for them. And to say I don’t ‘do’ cities I’m not doing a very good job of keeping away from this one am I? 🙂 🙂

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  4. There’s a short time-lapse video on Instagram of that first one being done, stop it in the right place and I’m there very briefly 🙂 He said it would be finished today so I hope the rain didn’t stop him from completing it.

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  5. Cool to see the artists at work. Love the story of the fishmonger’s cats. Another wonderful set of street art photos.

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    1. I thought you might like the cat story. It was nice to watch the artists at work too, and amazing how they get so much fine detail in a picture just using spray cans 🙂

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  6. Some more remarkable artwork here. I especially love the image of the cat with the fish, and the story behind it. Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait to see what else you will discover.

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  7. I think the pink cat looks cute and the story is quite sweet. I still have several street art photos ‘in hand’ yet, taken three weeks ago – I was holding them back as I want to feature something different next time but that depends on the weather being nice this weekend 🙂

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    1. I’ve been planning on going to Liverpool as I believe there’s a lot of street art there in various areas but the weather hasn’t really been good enough. Theoretically it’s not really that far from here but the train journey is almost an hour and a half so I don’t want to go all that way just get grey skies and rain. Sheffield is a possibility too, but for now I’m sticking to Manchester.

      Incidentally, did you know that the Cat Cafe had closed down early this year? A knock-on effect of being closed because of the pandemic plus their lease was coming to an end. They are hoping to relocate to other premises once things get back to something like ‘normal’, but saying that I went past last week and though all the cat beds and platforms etc have been dismantled they are all still in there so who knows?… 🙂

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  8. My dad was a printer in the newspaper business and though he worked nights in Leeds all his married life, he would do overtime on a different newspaper in Manchester during the day when my parents were first married to earn some extra money. He got very little sleep in those days working round the clock. I’m wondering now if it was The Printworks where he did this extra work. Another great set of photos, the art in Manchester seems to be constantly changing.

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  9. I can imagine it probably was where your dad worked. Originally called Withy Grove from its 1870s beginnings it was once the biggest printing centre in Europe and was home to many different newspapers over the years. It only became known as The Printworks when it was revamped as an entertainment venue – some of the old interior features are still there, including loading doors and platforms on the upper levels, and if you look top left in the third photo you can just make out the Daily Express sign.

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  10. These are brilliant! I was about to say I have yet to go to The Printworks when I recognised your interior shot… I’ve walked through there!

    I can’t wait to visit Manchester again, there always seems to be something to see and do.

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  11. I used to go shopping in Manchester once a month during the 1980s and early 90s but was never really bothered about it as a whole, it was just shops, however I’ve recently become more interested in the place since I’ve been photographing the street art as I’m gradually finding other things to get shots of. I’ve got several ideas in my head for future blog posts so the city hasn’t seen the back of me yet 🙂

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