BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘art’

#365daysofbiking Rather cross

Saturday February 6th 2021 – On an errand in Walsall, I found the deserted town annoying mid-day: It saddens me to see it so lifeless. I headed to Caldmore to get some more… Comforting shopping: Asian snacks and sundries.

It says something when what is effectively an inner town suburb is far more vibrant than the town centre by several factors.

Heading up over Church Hill, a decorative cross above fire exit on the monstrous aberration of architecture that is Asda. It’s a horrid, warehouse like building and the market never stretches this far up hill now, and hasn’t for many a year.

I have never spotted this in the 8 years it’s been up there.

You can almost hear the admin folk at the store saying ‘Oh, go on then, if that’s what they want: But nowhere prominent’ – so a piece of somewhat pointless vanity art gets stuck, barely to be noticed on the side of an ugly shed, above an anonymous unused doorway.

Two what actual purpose is anybody’s guess.

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#365daysofbiking Overdrawn at the Banksy

Friday January 29th 2021 – Brownhills has had a bit of a fad in recent years for stencil graffiti art by – it must be said – out of town artists, the most prolific of which seems to be North Birmingham street artist Itchers.

In total we have They See Me Rollin, in Brickiln Street, Flower Man on the side of Archers Florist, Winnie the Pooh on the wall of the Church Road Car Park, and now, this. This isn’t an Itchers, I don’t think.

This lad chasing the like balloon appeared on the wall of the former Forward Garage some weeks ago, and is a competent enough artwork.

It’s just a straight lift of Banksy, though, and whilst nicely and confidently executed, it would be a pleasant change to see some non-stencil street art.

Just for a change.

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#365daysofbiking Mad about the mouse

Thursday November 19th 2020 – I’d been to Telford early, but had to get back to Bilston for the afternoon, so I headed south from the station on Ring Road St. Davids and made my way into the subway system to emerge onto the Bilston Road.

In the paved sub-roadway level – always a bit shady and intimidating here – I noticed a neat but unsettling stencil by local artist Skore.

Mickey Mouse with a dagger, dripping with blood.

It’s a brilliant subversion of a sugary sweet Disney character, if a bit grim, but in the position it is it’s a rather dark comment on the location.

Skore has even succeeded in giving murderous Mickey a quite unpleasant facial expression.

It really made me stop and look. A brilliant bit of urban art in a very unexpected place.

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#365daysofbiking Stonnall rocks

May 12th – While visiting the shops in Stonnall, I spotted this smilestone in one of the planters outside.

Smilestones are a real phenomena – like the previously mentioned chalked games on local paths, they provide a safe, fun activity for kids and families, who decorate randomly selected stones and leave them for others to find.

This brightly coloured one made me smile, and did it’s job. They’re wonderful to find as one wanders about daily life.

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#365daysofbiking Monumental

May 5th – Looping back into town, I caught sight of Morris, the Brownhills Miner, a statue and work of art I hold dear.

Morris is not particularly accurate, or even a true representation of our history, as such, with Brownhills actually maturing as a town long after the immediately local mining had all but ceased. But he captures the spirit of our town, and our collective history, reflecting that many Brownhillian lads were miners, but working in pits in adjacent towns and villages.

Morris is also uncomfortably Soviet, to anyone who’s any experience of Eastern Bloc public art; he’s exactly the sort of thing many soviet states would have willingly erected.

But this lad, pick and lamp aloft, is ours. And it’s always good to see him silhouetted in the dusk.

It’s how I know I’m home.

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#365daysofbiking The geometrid

February 26th – Another rainy, grim day. As I returned home from work mercifully early (and of course, sunset is getting later at a pace now) I turned to look back across the Pier street Canal Bridge.

Peter Saville’s designs keep cropping up in my everyday life.

I loved the curves and vanishing points of this.Never really noticed it before.

There’s always something new, even in the most familiar places.

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#365daysofbiking Stone me

February 1st – Heading out to for a gentle spin and resolving to take it a little easier – after all, I’d now got a cold developing which seemed to feature a particularly unpleasant mouth infection as a side dish – I bumbled past the monitoring well sensor post by Pier Street Bridge in Brownhills. Something on top caught my eye.

A beautifully painted smile stone.

There’s a local culture (particularly in Clayhanger in recent years) of painting random found stones with patters, cartoons or any art you fancy, then hiding them for smile stone enthusiasts to find.

Frequently this is a fun activity enjoyed by families with young kids.

I left this one where it was, but it was lovely to see.

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#365daysofbiking Sunset mellow


August 31st – Nipping up to Walsall Wood that evening to see a friend, I passed the pithead sculpture, which always looks dramatic with a good dusk sky behind it.

A structure I’ve never been fond of, it can look fantastic in the right kind of light.

I’m concerned to see the metal flag has sheared off, presumably from repeated wind-flexing. Good job nobody was under it when it dropped. That would have been sharp.

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#365daysofbiking Monumental controversy

July 22nd – I’ve been riding through Bloxwich more often since the Chase Line upgrade, and I keep passing the remarkable sculpture of Lady Diana Spencer outside the monumental Masons that commissioned it. It’s certainly an unusual landmark.

The sculpture was made around the year 2000 in tribute to the deceased Princess, but when unveiled, it was black, shiny granite and was ridiculed for looking more like Diana Ross (according to a local politician of the day) or Dennis Nordern in the view of a local news commentator.

It was donated to Walsalls Council, who refused it, declined to place it in the local art gallery, and ended up back with the donor after plans to put it on display were apparently vetoed by the palace.

Since then, it was sandblasted to remove the sheen, and it stands outside the Masons being, well… Somewhat incongruous.

I think it’s absolutely bloody awful.

You can criticise almost every aspect of it – but the one thing nobody ever comments on that has always baffled me – the shoes.

Has she just come from welding on a ship and forgot to change her boots?

A curious bit of local legend.

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