What an amazing adventure today!! During work I was still making scarves, but AFTER work, AFTER work my day REALLY began. So my first stop was to Sonia Rykiel, one of my favorite designers. The store was a little bit of a let down compared to the one in Paris, and I did not LOVE whats going on with her current collection which is a first for me, because I am normally head over heels in lust with it. After checking out her London Store I went on a journey from Bond Street to Fortnum and Mason, another HUGE department store. On the way I stopped in Liberty, a really beautiful high end department store, and tried on a 700 pound (roughly $1167) leather bracelet that I was sure was in my price range before I asked the man behind the jewelry counter if I could try in on, I then had a little look at the price tag once it was on my wrist and realized that it was definitely not within what I could afford! It looked so basic too, just some leather strips woven together with a metal shark tooth on it.
When I finally made my way into Fortnum and Mason I was pleased to see a luxury food section fit for a queen. I have a thing with exploring super markets as I have mentioned earlier, the fancier they are, the more excited I tend to get. I strolled around for a bit before finding the candy counter, and well, it was all over from there. I bought: turkish delight, hand made marshmallows in violet and rose flavor, candied almonds, candied rose petals and violet petals, and a mouse made completely of sugar. I only bought a small amount of each so it was not that pricy, but MAN was everything good! I must at this point make a confession to my readers, in my mind, I am like a 5 year old. I try to keep it at bay when it comes to eating healthy BUT when I travel I have this awful habit: I get so excited that, if I am traveling alone, I will not want to stop and eat because I am afraid its a wast of time and I want to see as much as possible. That being said I also feel the need to try lots of sweets I’ve never had. In conclusion: on an exploration day, 5-year-old me eats candy, and not much else because I am way too excited to deal with being healthy. Thankfully I get in a proper breakfast and lunch because before and during work I am adult me and I do adult things.
Leaving Fortnum and Mason I have a giant bag full of tea, candy and other things. “Hmmm where to go?” I think, I remember people at work saying the Ritz is near Fortnum and Mason so I walk up the street and walk by all sorts of neat shops until I pass the Ritz. Bring satisfied I saw most of what this area has to offer I decided to go to the clock: Big Ben.
When I arrive I see it, big and wonderful, standing there like the symbol of London it is. After snapping some photos I stroll across the bridge to see the ferris wheel. I debate getting in line to go on it, then I take a look at the line and, “PSSSSST” I think, “I am NOT walking into THAT mess!” I just could not justify spending the rest of my time today waiting in a line!
So from Big Ben I just walk. I walk and I walk and I walk. Eventually I see some monuments, I come upon Nelson's Column which also has two lovely fountains on each side. I snap some more photos, look around and then go walking some more. At this point, walking aimlessly, having NO clue where I am going or where I am, but there are people around and the area looks safe, so why not? I decide I will try to get back to Oxford Street by foot, I think I pass the tube stop Waterloo, great, I am walking in the wrong direction.I still don’t know where I am, soon I see a tourist street map that states “you are here,” and see that I need to go up 2 blocks and then take that second street until it turns into Oxford. I walk to blocks, unsure of where to turn for the street I had seen on the information map. I decide to turn on the street I am on, figuring I will see another map soon. I am about half way up the block, passing a big black building a man in a suit says to me, “free art gallery show” I stop, looking in the entrance , there is “FREE ENTRY” spray painted on the wall. In the foyer of the show, there is the olympics rings illustrated with paint cans on the wall. I see it and think, “this is my kind of place, lets see where this door takes me.” I go in and allow the man in the suit to check my bags for writing tools witch are not allowed in. After this, I walk into the show to find flyers explaining the artist, the show is Mr. Brainwash!
For those of you who don’t know Mr. Brainwash, he is a part of the graffiti arts. There is a documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop, that is all about who he is and how he came to be. Here is a brief history (try to keep up because I am going to drop some names of graffiti artists,) If I remember correctly, Mr. Brainwash got somehow connected to Space Invader, who ran in the same circle with Fairey Shepard, they somehow connected him to Banksy, from there Mr. Brainwash apprenticed and assisted Banksy until he decided to give art a go for himself. He then promoted himself using all their names, and became a very commercialized artist. He is also known for having a team of artist make all the art for him, he tells them his ideas, they do they work. His style of working, and getting to where he is has been a very controversial thing, especially because graffiti artists normally remain faceless because if they are to be famous, they can be prosecuted for defacing public property.
Anyway he is connected with all of these people that are giants in the graffiti community, and I am at his show. Now the show was beyond words, I really liked the general ascetic and ideas of the art and what I believe the message behind it was. Some of the art at the show appeared to be stabs at Banksy, but I will have to confirm that with research to say that for sure. I know they had a falling out and it would make sense, but again, I am not going to draw any conclusions without looking up my facts (if there are any.) Even with all i know thats negative about Mr. Brainwash I really liked the show, and I am thankful he made it happen.
So here is the crazier part, I am leaving the show and walking down the street and who do I run into, Mr. Brainwash himself is putting up artwork on the front of the building to promote the show! I watched him and took photos with other people for about 20 minutes, I really wanted to say hi and shake his hand but the opportunity never presented its self and the people around me were acting like vaulters while he was trying to do his work so I decided to respect the artist and just watch.
The rest of the day was filled with more stores and finally I headed home at 9 because things were closing. What I love about days like this is that it proves you can still have random adventures if you are just willing to let go of your control, and purposely get lost. I would have never found this art show if I was not willing to walk an unfamiliar path in a place I had never been, without a clue to where it was going, and that makes me so happy!
Below are some images from the Mr. Brainwash Show