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Splash of colour for shopkeepers as street artist Ben goes to town sprucing up Poplar

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 July 2019

Artist Ben Eine at work. Picture: OurTypes

Artist Ben Eine at work. Picture: OurTypes

OurTypes

Campaigning street artist Ben Eine has been painting the town red and all the colours of the rainbow to brighten up the drab streets around Poplar.

Shutters painted by artist Ben Eine. Picture: OurTypes Shutters painted by artist Ben Eine. Picture: OurTypes

The 49-year-old who uses his art to help fight knife crime took time off for a Global Street Art project sprucing up the shopping area around Chrisp Street Market.

The traders let him add his artistic touch to 30 shop-front shutters with his spray paint, creating a single giant letter on each one in a different printing font that he created.

"One of my passions is exploring typography," he explained. "I designed new fonts using the entire alphabet for a different letter on each shutter, with four extras at the end.

"I am doing something that people can appreciate to put a smile on their face."

Letters were painted on shutters in Poplar. Picture: OurTypesLetters were painted on shutters in Poplar. Picture: OurTypes

He set out early Saturday morning, July 13, with his son Connor, 27, who is also into spray painting, and another artist Christ Steads, 44.

But it has taken them four days, as they have to stop when the shops reopen to carry on business.

Ben had just completed repainting a wall near the Old Street roundabout last week as a memorial to 23-year-old knife crime victim Tom-Louis Easton at the spot in Ebor Street where he was stabbed to death in September 2006.

He sprayed the words "love, love, love" for the Flavasum Trust charity set up by Tom's parents which helps bereaved relatives. "I've been painting that same wall for 10 years as a tribute to Tom," Ben adds. "I feel everyone can do more to help stop knife crime."

Ben makes a distinction from graffiti, which he says looks unsightly and makes neighbourhoods appear run down and neglected.

His street art is aimed at brightening dull high streets and market places to make people smile as they pass by.

Much of his artwork is unpaid and often used to boost good causes. He works with Global Street Art which created the "touchy feely" sensory mural for the deaf and blind that was unveiled in May in Great Eastern Street, with scenes that those with sensory impairments say they miss most, like the sound of waves on a beach or the sunrise.

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