The Foundry has really been doing the rounds on the street art/graffiti blogs and websites over the last month or so. Some people are loving it and others are getting sick of hearing about it.
As we are huge fans of many of the artists that have been adorning the walls, we decided to jump on the band wagon and do a write up about it, yet to be slightly different we wanted to drop a little history to give you a understanding of this locations significance to the local community and art scene.
The Building operated as a bank originally and was decommissioned in the 90’s when Tracey and Jonathan Moberly took out a lease on the space and turned it into a gallery for local and emerging artists. To cover costs, they opened the Foundry bar in the front section of the building, but wanted people to know that it was predominantly a art space. The bar however became a hang out for many current and future celebrities, Pete Doherty was known for hosting his poetry nights there.
The walls of the basement are heavily covered in early work by many big name graffiti and street artists such and Banksy and Faile. The walls have also been heavily tagged by regulars and visitors alike.
The Foundry came into the spotlight for a different reason in early 2010 when Hackney council approved the plans to build an 18-storey hotel and retail complex on the space, of course this successfully outraged the local community. Its not the first time that underground venues have had to make way for big business, but in this case the anger was directed at the blatant attempt to cash in on emerging trends.
The back of the building has a 6 meter high Banksy on the rear wall that is to be preserved and made a focal point of the commissioned ” Art’otel” and a large wooden hording has been placed over the artwork to preserved for future placement as a feature in the hotel (the murals by Zezao & Mr.Sperm currently cover the front of the hording).
Of course this profiteering by the corporate world on a mainstream encroaching subculture angered the art community and resulted in heavy protesting. But as always this was a valiant but futile effort and the building is in the process of being shut down and ready for demolition.
So how this links into the current surge in artwork? Through the right channels and with permission of the current lease holders, local and travelling artists have been given the green light to go to town on the space.
Check out all the shots we have ever taken of the foundry here: