In the dark of night, colossal animals creep across the walls and fly across building facades with the help of two bold street artists. Whoam Irony and Placee Boe, more commonly known as the paint-wielding duo Irony & Boe, work under the cover of night to bring their work to life.
Graffiti and street art are dime-a-dozen on London’s streets – amateurs haphazardly spray-paint their ‘tags’ or graffiti nom de plume while more established guerrilla artists ply their trade. Graffiti is no longer simply just illegal scribbles on public property. They are pregnant with meaning and social commentary. So what makes Irony & Boe’s work stand out far from the madding crowd? Well, the size for one. Irony & Boe’s animals are larger-than-life to say the least, and with their lifelike appearances, seem to have leapt off the wall and into the hearts of many.
We spoke to Boe to find out more about their partnership and the inspiration behind their work.
How did the both of you meet?
We both left the same, very good party, to run around and paint on things in the cold. It was clear then we have similar priorities.
Where’s your favourite spot in London?
Anything high up is always fun.
What does street art mean to the both of you?
It’s an excuse to go out and paint on other people's property while calling yourselves artists.
How do you choose which animals to paint? Are they inspired by the surroundings, or do the both of you brainstorm over what to paint next?
So much of what makes street art work, or not, is its location. We wanted to push that idea as far as we could. Not just art in London, but art of London. The animals are one part of that.
In a lot of folk stories and fables, they use local animals in place of people. We wanted to do the same thing with these pieces. They are depictions of people you see every day here told through portraits of the animals we live side by side with, like when you see a dog that looks just like its owner, but bigger, and on other peoples’ walls.
We’ve noticed that most of your animals use a lot of orange, tan or blue colours; for example, your Hackney crow is a lovely deep cobalt, which is similar to your Broadway Market pigeon. Is this just a coincidence?
We just have a load of those colours left over so we’re working our way through it, new paint is expensive.
Do you have a favourite piece of work? Why does it stand out for you?
The bigger ones are always the best ones. Even when they’re not.
Would the both of you ever consider doing a piece abroad?
We’ve painted all over but never Hong Kong… HK would be awesome to hit…
All Images © Irony & Boe
Text by Alicia Tan
This is an article featured by PMQ.