Graffiti on Parkland Walk a welcome change

A prolific street artist who has painted graffiti on walls across the planet has left his mark on a popular nature trail.

A vibrant mural of a frog and a snail that recently appeared in Parkland Walk, Crouch End, is by Vibes - a London-based graffiti artist who has painted for 14 years at numerous sites across the capital as well as in Amsterdam and South Africa.

Vibes, who has painted in Parkland Walk before, told the Ham&High: “I wanted to create something that was more suited to the surrounding environment, something everyone can appreciate.

“I like to paint in public spots but don’t like the idea that people find what I am doing intimidating. It’s not about that for me.”

The mural is on a wall near to Crouch Hill Station and Vibes is not the first graffiti artist to be inspired by the setting of Parkland Walk, which runs through Highgate, Muswell Hill, and Crouch End.

A spokesman for the website - which runs an ongoing photographic documentary of London’s graffiti and street art - said Parkland Walk has a long history as a “spot” where well known graffiti artists decorate tunnels.

This has not gone unnoticed by residents, who walk in the area and often encounter people spraying the walls.

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Fiona Whitehouse, 46, a freelance PA, who lives in Liberia Road, Highbury, said: “It doesn’t feel as if it’s an attempt to deface it or make it look horrible. It’s part of what Parkland Walk is, a bit of countryside in a really urban environment.”

Nicky O’Donnell, 45, an art student, of Granville Road, Crouch End, said: “I absolutely love all the graffiti down here and it would be awful if they covered it up. The guys that do it are always friendly.”

The frog mural has even won over the custodians of the nature trail, who work to protect its woodland character.

Chris Mason, secretary of the Friends of Parkland Walk, said: “That is the dilemma with the walk, we want it to be a ribbon of calm and not over-urbanised or carry reminders of urban issues, but then the odd incident that breaks the rule can sometimes be welcome.”

He added: “The frog has rather changed our attitude as it is a brilliant piece of work.”

Islington Council has responsibility for removing graffiti from this stretch of Parkland Walk.

A spokesman confirmed murals on private land can be removed if they are obscene, racially offensive, or defamatory and the council is told of their location.

He said: “Some people find street art adds to the quality of the street scene, so they want it preserved.”