Crouch End artist labels decision to repaint bollards a ‘shame’ 

Painted bollards on Crouch Hill in Crouch End

Vasco said he painted the bollards to challenge how “bland and characterless” he believes the city feels sometimes - Credit: Polly Hancock

A Crouch End artist who claims to have painted the colourful bollards lining Crouch Hill says he is “upset” at the news the council is going to repaint them black.

Haringey Council made the decision following a series of complaints about the striking designs, including one from someone who is sight-impaired and struggles to see them. 

Cllr Seema Chandwani, cabinet member for customer service, welfare and the public realm, said that while the bollards are ultimately “road safety measures”, she urged artists “to work with their ward councillors” to get ideas through in a way that “reduces risk of complaints and breaches of the law”. 

Vasco, who asked for only his first name to be published, said people “loved” the designs, and described the decision as “such a shame” for the local community. 

Vasco Co-op totems in Crouch End

Vasco has also claimed other works around Crouch End, including these multi-coloured totems next to the Co-op - Credit: Vasco

His desire to paint them in the first place came from a wish to challenge how “bland and characterless” he believes the city feels sometimes. 

Coupled with a need to improve his own mental health, he said working on the bollards left him “smiling with a weight off my shoulders”. 

He said: “My first bollards seemed to be loved by children and families in Crouch End. I had great feedback saying they brought character to Crouch End. Therefore, I did more.  

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“I always had the local children in mind, hence the pink. I know it sparked off a number of families in their own creative endeavours. Therefore, aiding healthy and mindfulness lives. 

“The colours I chose are the ones used in Latin America and India. The bright colours in these countries are integrated into the fabric of all people. Think Indian mandalas, flowers and ceremonial costume. Spices, masks and smells.” 

Painted bollards, Crouch End Broadway 26.01.22.

The bollards run up Crouch Hill in Crouch End, Broadway - Credit: Polly Hancock

He said he worked at night to avoid any potential confrontations, meaning the result was “not the best paint finish at times due to rushing the work in darkness".  

“If I was commissioned, I could do a proper job," he said. "Sometimes I would wire brush the bollards because of the flaky paint.” 

Vasco claims credit for a number of other works in the area, including green totems next to the Co-op and multi-coloured CDs hanging from trees in Queen's Wood.

The bollards are yet to be repainted black, though work is due to begin on them soon.