Eight weeks after my last daytime wander round Manchester’s Northern Quarter, two days ago I made my first visit of this year to see what was new in the world of street art. Initially following my usual well-trodden route from Victoria Station my first stop was Salmon Street but the three walls often used for advertising had all been painted white or plain grey, obviously waiting for some new artwork. In Edge Street the picture of a real fox in the window of Yard & Coop chicken restaurant had been replaced by a cartoon-type fox, then round in Thomas Street the hoardings surrounding a vacant plot of land had some new funky artwork and an excellent portrait by an artist I haven’t come across in Manchester before.
The hoardings on the other side of the vacant plot had some new stuff with one mural obviously being left over from Christmas, and in a corner I found a shutter with some cleverly done artwork looking like different layers of paper which had been partially torn off. Just off Stevenson Square was a business premises with some funky window decorations (in truth they’ve been there quite a while, I just haven’t photographed them before now) and round the corner I found one of Liam Bononi’s distinctive artworks which I know is definitely new. Unfortunately the bottom of it was marred by a pile of very full bin bags but I managed to get most of it in the shot.
In spite of the dull morning Stevenson Square was looking very colourful with its recent makeover. The Christmas-themed artworks had been replaced with funky patterns and bright colours though I was glad to see that the procession of cute dogs, with a change of background, was still running along the wall of the old public toilet block in the centre of the square.
Away from the square my feet took me through the streets towards the canal and I ended up at the far side of Piccadilly Basin where I came across an artwork I wouldn’t otherwise have found. Property investor TCS, owners of several office and residential developments around the basin, commissioned the artwork last year to enhance the up-and-coming area and it was created by four well known Manchester artists including Qubek and Tank Petrol. Inspired by the flora and fauna around the Rochdale Canal the four artists were given an open brief to use their own creative flair and the mural was completed in four days.
Back in the NQ proper I continued my wander and down a narrow back alley I discovered two exotic looking young ladies, one either side of a shuttered up narrow doorway. They had obviously been there for some time but they were still good enough to take a photo of. On the side wall of a hot dog shack and bar was a hot dog with big boots and a toothy grin and across the street a rather ambiguous design on a shutter. I couldn’t make out what it was supposed to be but I liked it as it’s red, my favourite colour.
Finally, the main reason for my visit to Manchester. Before Christmas I’d found out that Qubek had put a Christmas-themed artwork on a shutter in Hilton Street; it looked so cute I just had to get a photo of it but up to now haven’t had the opportunity so I was just hoping that it hadn’t been painted over. I was in luck, it was still there, but unfortunately workmen had put some barriers in front of it so I couldn’t get the full shot, however one of the workmen was nearby so I asked very nicely and he moved a couple of the barriers to one side momentarily so I could get an uninterrupted shot of the main part of it.
According to the artist it’s a chihuahua ”spaced out on tequila and magic mushrooms taking itself for a walk through time and space”. It’s a shame I couldn’t get the whole artwork in one shot and it probably won’t be there when I go to Manchester again, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it is and there are no barriers in front of it to spoil the shot.