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Opera North - The Little Greats

Rest in Style, the Rock City Nottingham Graffiti Wall

28 June 17 words: Onga

Writers have been throwing up pieces on the wall next to Rock City for over a decade. Recently, the bogger was demolished, so local artist Onga gives us a bit of background to the Notts graffiti scene, and what the art form means for hip hop in the city...

Nottingham hip hop history is solid in underground folklore. The recent NG83 film is a critically acclaimed testament to that and as I’m writing, Scorz is being mentioned on BBC Radio 6 Music. But how many residents know that Nottingham graffiti was a forerunner in the world scene?

How many know we’re home to legends like Popx100, who was painted alongside some of New York’s pioneers in Clifton’s spiders in the eighties? Or Pulse; an early UK style master who visited and took NYC by storm in the nineties? Not forgetting Alert, who’s in one of the world’s most respected graffiti crew’s heavy artillery.

Then, of course, there’s Dilk; owner of Montana Shop Nottingham. It’s the only UK stockist of Montana Colours; the largest independent graffiti products company around, with stores on every continent. Its official UK base is in Hockley, not down in the big smoke, because of his reputation on a world scale. Then there’s the ILC crew and the OxygenThieves.

There are a lot of graffiti writers here. Too many to mention. Most of the time we walk past their commissioned graffiti while going about our business in Nottingham, but it wasn’t always like that.

In 2006, a Talbot Street car park squeezed between Rock City, Rescue Rooms and Spanky Van Dyke’s became the first official, public city centre location where established artists from our town and beyond could paint their names and create huge ideas on walls. This was first organised by Notts eighties stalwart Irek. He built a relationship with, not the bars or clubs adjoined, but the owners of the space; Mogul E Azzam, the Indian restaurant whose owners kindly trusted countless artists – through Irek – to maintain and brighten this dark corner of town.

It’s now ten years later and its walls have been partly removed for development. And so has its graffiti.

This space was a building block, an incisal assault on the eyes of the public and the Council, to show what can be done with blank walls. It has helped pave the way to a more understanding acceptance of graffiti culture in our city.

Enjoy the sample of the creations in paint that lie beneath layer upon layer of colour, as ten years has seen the wall change many times, with stand-out details of artists from all over Nottingham and the UK who have adorned it.

Rest in peace, rest in style.

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