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A pavement artist for a day!

“A more holistic and basic idea of wanting to incorporate [art] into every part of life, less as an egotistical exercise and more natural somehow. I don’t know how to exactly explain it. Taking it off the pedestal. I’m giving it back to the people, I guess.” Keith Haring

American "Pop Artist" KEITH HARING. 1985

American “Pop Artist” KEITH HARING. 1985

Keith Allen Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an American artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s by expressing concepts of birth, death, sexuality, and war. Haring’s work was often heavily political and his imagery has become a widely recognized visual language of the 20th century.

Pop Artist KEITH HARING surrounded by on-lookers Japan 1985

Pop Artist KEITH HARING surrounded by on-lookers Japan 1985

In 1985, he created this live art happening in chalk, on the streets of Japan. It was recorded by photographer Juan Rivera of Roulette Fine Arts.

KEITH HARING: Watched by a trio of young fans. Japan 1985

KEITH HARING: Watched by a trio of young fans. Japan 1985

“The context of where you do something is going to have an effect. The subway drawings were, as much as they were drawings, performances. It was where I learned how to draw in public. You draw in front of people. For me it was a whole sort of philosophical and sociological experiment. When I drew, I drew in the daytime, which meant there were always people watching. There were always confrontations, whether it was with people that were interested in looking at it, or people that wanted to tell you you shouldn’t be drawing there…”

Elevated view of KEITH HARING at work in Japan 1985

Elevated view of KEITH HARING at work in Japan 1985

“I was learning, watching people’s reactions and interactions with the drawings and with me and looking at it as a phenomenon. Having this incredible feedback from people, which is one of the main things that kept me going so long, was the participation of the people that were watching me and the kinds of comments and questions and observations that were coming from every range of person you could imagine, from little kids to old ladies, or art historians.”

KEITH HARING drawing in chalk on the streets of Japan 1985

KEITH HARING drawing in chalk on the streets of Japan 1985

Between 1980 and 1985, Haring produced hundreds of these public drawings, sometimes creating as many as forty drawings in one day.

Overhead view of Keith Haring's chalk drawing. Photo by Juan Rivera of Roulette Fine Arts. 1985

Overhead view of Keith Haring’s chalk drawing. Photo by Juan Rivera of Roulette Fine Arts. 1985

Haring died on Friday February 16, 1990 of AIDS-related complications.


Written & researched by Philip Battle.

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Lapped it up! (1902)


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A tasty description of a Pavement Artist

From an issue of The Tatler Magazine, 1902.

Half their description is right enough, for they certainly draw on the pavement. Probably one who was an artist as well would make his fortune at the business, for the public is always fond of a novelty.

There is even a species that does not draw on the pavement; pieces of cardboard are used which are propped against a wall. This is scarcely a change for the better as the drawings on the pavement itself will be washed out by a shower of rain.

Both sorts have the same stock in trade. The pavement artist’s empire is one on which the sun always sets; there will invariably be a sunset. Also there will be a herring on a plate to prove that there are more wonderful fish out of the sea than ever went into it. And there will be a young lady with yellow curls and oh, such lovely black eyes; and there will be portraits of our Great Generals which will make their wives wonder how they could have married them, and explains, perhaps, why we have not more Great Generals.

TATLER: Illustration by SH Sime 1902.

TATLER: Pavement artist illustration by SH Sime 1902.

Yet one must not blame the pastelliste du pave, for realism has its drawbacks. “But, my man, that is not a bit like milk in that saucer,” said a passer-by one day pointing to one of the drawings on the pavement. “No, it ain’t, and it ain’t intended to be,” answered the artist with some heat. “I did one like the real thing once, it took me close on two hours, and then a beastly dog came and lapped it up!”

Written by Walter Emanuel

Published in THE TATLER magazine, England. (8th October 1902)


Researched by Philip Battle

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Encounter with a London Pavement Artist.

In 1951, writer and illustrator Francis Marshall (1901-1980) wrote this eloquent account of his encounter with a London Pavement artist. It was published in his charming LONDON BOOK; a guide and insight to London’s life and culture of the 1940’s and 50’s.

THE LONDON BOOK: cover illustration by Francis Marshall 1951.

THE LONDON BOOK: cover– illustration by Francis Marshall 1951.

Here it is, transcribed in full:

THOUSANDS of people stream past him every day. “I know ‘em,” he told me, “I can spot ‘em.” And from his curious vantage point he is certainly in a position to learn something about human nature, for his living depends on it. He is a pavement artist.

“You think it’s all humbug,” he said accusingly. I had perhaps harboured some such idea, but on second thoughts I felt quite incapable of such a categorical opinion. He was too sure of himself. Goodness knows he had little reason for pride in any merely artistic sense, for his chalked scrolls and messages of good luck were indifferent specimens of the type of art that adorns ice-cream carts and coco-nut shires, and an industrious infant could have bettered the cats and cottages and rising suns he had inflicted on the paving stones. But he sat there so much at his ease on the little cushion he had made for himself, and so obviously regarded it as part of the fitness of things that he should sit there, that I recognized his confidence as being akin to that with which the engine-driver leans out of his cab or that with which the stage-doorkeeper regards enthusiasts with too personal an interest in the drama, and I began to think that it probably wasn’t humbug after all.

“If you don’t keep an eye on ‘em they nip past,” he said, watching the approach of an elderly gentleman with suspicion. The gentleman cast a surreptitious glance over the display, looked up, and was fixed by the basilisk regard of the artist.

“Thank you sir,” he said commandingly, “good luck to you!” A sixpence tinkled into the greasy cap, strategically placed a little farther along the pavement. The artist relaxed.

“Don’t they like to have a look though,” he said, “and once they’ve looked, they feel a bit guilty, I reckon, and that’s when I do the trick with giving ‘em a look back.”

He told me that he had had a street pitch for half a century. Rheumatism in his youth had prevented him going to work. I could not imagine a way of life less suited to a rheumaticky subject than sitting on the pavement in the London climate, but he seemed to have thriven on it. I did not ask if the treatment had cured his rheumatism, for illness is a subject which, once embarked upon, makes time pass more slowly than any other topic of conversation there is, but if it had, no later desire to go to work appeared to have worked very strongly upon him. He had a better colour than the office folk who hurried past him in fear of the clock while he sat there, greeting them cheerfully, and smoking a short pipe, with a professional growth of stubble and a cosy woollen choker knotted negligently round his neck.

A couple of smart girls with neat paper parcels came tapping past on high heels. He eyed them tolerantly as they went by without making any contribution to the cap.

“Gals is smarter nowadays,” he said contemplatively, “but they wos more fetchin’ before the Ole War.” I ventured to remark that they had not become patrons of art.

“Young gals never does,” he said, “not often. It’s the old ‘ums every time. I’ve one old gal—lives in one of them hotels round the corner there—comes every blessed Friday there is an’ drops a tanner. Regular customer she is. An’ not the only one—there’s a lot o’folk in London glad to have a word—pass the time o’ day, ‘ow are you, and thank you very much.” I pondered this.

Pavement Artist illustration by Francis Marshall 1951.

Pavement Artist illustration by Francis Marshall 1951.

“Wot’s the caper?” he demanded truculently and I saw two schoolboys in spectacles had halted to criticize the architectural qualities of the cottage he had drawn. Intimidated, they passed on. He reminisced.

“Morning after Mafficking—which you’ll not remember—two tarts an’ a feller in tails come and washed the ‘ole blooming pitch with a bottle o’ bubbly. And a copper come up and makes ‘em give me a sovereign….”

I raised the matter of finance delicately. No figures were forth-coming; I gathered that the Inland Revenue authorities had not been given any extra work on his account. He said: “I shan’t go to no workhouse.” He puffed his pipe luxuriously. “I’ve got me bacca, and tin for a wet, and I sleep dry.” I thought of the man in Conan Doyle who kept up bourgeois state on the proceeds of street begging. He looked at me shrewdly. I felt that a man who spent his life watching people’s faces was more of a thought-reader than most of us who spend our time staring at writing or factory benches. “I don’t come to me work in no Rolls Royce,” he said, disclosing dentures that were badly in need of nationalization. But it was a friendly smile.

A man in a bowler hat who might have been a barrister called “Good morning”, as he hurried past.

“Morning’ to you, sir,” shouted the artist, “enjoyed your ‘oliday?” He turned to me. “Very nice gentleman, that,” he said, “I missed ‘im during the war. Never passes without a word.”

It was borne in upon me that though the man on the pavement had been making his living as an artist for half a century without acquiring the rudiments of how to draw, he was an artist just the same. An artist in human sympathy? Perhaps that is it. People were certainly none the worse for him being there, and his unfailing cheerfulness was a pleasant feature of the streetscape. He was a landmark, with the power of answering back.

I made a small contribution to the cap. “Not obliged to,” he said.

I insisted politely. He took the coin out, looked at it carefully, and slipped it in his pocket.

“I’ll drink it then,” he said, thus elevating me from being a mere client, “but you ain’t obliged. Write books, doncher?” I admitted it. How the devil did he know?

“Ah well,” he said, “it’s the same as me, ain’t it? Servants o’ the public.”

I felt better for meeting him.

Written by Francis Marshall

Francis Marshall Cir.1950.

Francis Marshall Cir.1950.

Francis Marshall was a prolific magazine and fashion illustrator, who’s easy and accomplished drawings between 1929 and the 1960s did much to set the image of fashionable London.

Born in 1901, he had been educated for the Navy, but in the middle 1920’s he resigned his commission, having decided upon an artists’ career. He set out to study at the Slade School.

In 1928, he was taken on by Vogue where he remained until the war in 1939 took him back into the navy and off to Bath, where he served as a Camouflage Officer for the duration of the war. He was British Vogue’s star illustrator. He was distinctively English in the quality of his social observation, picking up pointers of class and social standing that show elegance and chic.

He continued to be active as a freelance illustrator after the Second World war, illustrating for the Paris couturiers but not for Vogue. He accumulated an impressive body of work to his credit.

Francis Marshall died in 1980 at the age of 79.


Transcribed and researched by Philip Battle

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The Singing Street (1951-1964)


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The games children play!

In the 1950’s and 60’s, a group of Edinburgh school teachers embarked on a unique study of children’s street games and play activities. They called themselves THE NORTON PARK GROUP (Norton Park School, Edinburgh). In 1951 they produced a film called The Singing Street; games filmed in the streets of Edinburgh and accompanied by traditional children’s songs.

Opening Title from THE SINGING STREET 1951

Opening Title from THE SINGING STREET 1951

The publicity leaflet to the film stated: In songs where ancient ritual, myth, the mountain and the rose, mingle with taxis, telephones and powder-puffs. Old rhymes rarely dying – something new always appears. No-one asks “What does this mean?” The world’s accepted, poetry’s kept alive. Not meant for education or entertainment.

MARBLES: Chalk based street-game from THE SINGING STREET

MARBLES: Chalk based street-game from THE SINGING STREET

In children’s street-games, song, dance and chalking art intermingle seamlessly into the purest form of creative expression known as “the art of play.”

"Six Little Angels by my Side" from THE SINGING STREET

“Six Little Angels by my Side” from THE SINGING STREET

In 1964, one of the films directors James T. Ritchie, produced a book of the same name, the book cover included a chalk drawing and a chapter called ART IN THE STREET, which focused on children’s chalking art. In the book he states; that for almost three seasons of the year you will see the “peevers-artist”

Whenever the crocuses start to thrust through in the parks, and the thrill of longer light heartens everybody, the girls are down on their knees, chalking up the beds and giving each figure they make their own plain or flourishing style.”  

The Singing Street Book Cover 1964

The Singing Street Book Cover 1964

White chalk was the favourite medium, and on pavements and walls drawings would appear; the criss-cross games of OXO, along with a multitude of other decorations, shapes and symbols, hearts drawn with kisses, a cupid’s arrow, and then some initials; JS loves MM. The back streets have smooth stretches, greatly appreciated by certain artists. A place where children aged seven to nine do some marvellous drawings. One week they have bouts of drawing brides, and the next week houses—provided the rain showers have scoured the streets clean.

From the book: Playing Out at ALBION TERRACE, Edinburgh 1964.

From the book: Playing Out at ALBION TERRACE, Edinburgh 1964.

You also get houses in hearts, hearts in houses; as well as faces, fishes, cats, bears, trains, cars, ships and rockets. “I like to draw match-stick men.” “I draw nice women.”

Drawings are done very quickly and confidently, changes made aren’t covered up, the old idea and the new enhance each other, and there’s no rubbing out!

From the book: WALL DRAWING at Stockaree, Edinburgh 1964.

From the book: WALL DRAWING at Stockaree, Edinburgh 1964.

“Many of the drawings suggest the styles of established masters from severe Holbein or exact Durer, right on to the voluptuous sweep of Matisse, or the magic of Braque’s wandering line. Paul Klee must have been greatly influenced by these street graffiti for you see such a lot of his candelabra trees, his type of stars, and his kind of thinking”

In the early sixties the space age was a popular theme, and children would draw a very big moon, and opposite, a much smaller orb representing THE EARTH. Most children back then imagined the earth to be much smaller than the moon!

As well as drawings, writings on the theme of LOVE would appear “Jean goes with John” and imaginary place-names such as “Stinky Corner” or “Funny Avenue” would appear alongside slogans like “Ban the Bomb” or “I was here in 1963” who the “I” was remains a mystery to this day!

Written & researched by Philip Battle, with special thanks to Julia Bishop (Researcher-Sheffield University)

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The pavement art of Mary Poppins

I’m sure everybody remembers the “Jolly Holiday” sequence, in which Mary, Bert and the children jump into the chalk pavement drawing.

AT THE CIRCUS - Peter Ellenshaw "pavement painting"

AT THE CIRCUS – Peter Ellenshaw “pavement painting”

People have often asked me who did the chalk pavement drawings for MARY POPPINS. Some have assumed that the director just ordered a bunch of low level animators to come along on set and start chalking away; the truth is far more interesting.

MARY POPPINS original pavement art studio photo

MARY POPPINS original pavement art studio photo

Bert’s pavement art scene was shot entirely on a man-made set at Warner Brothers Studio, Burbank, California; and contrary to popular belief, the pavement drawings where not done in chalk at all, but painted directly onto the set floor by Disney matte-artist Peter Ellenshaw. Under the direction of set decorator, Hal Gausman.

DICK VAN DYKE as Bert the pavement artist

DICK VAN DYKE as Bert the pavement artist

Walt Disney used to tell a story of how he met the British artist; “You know how I met Peter? I was walking around Trafalgar Square and there was this guy doing some drawings on the pavement. He was painting a loaf of bread on the sidewalk. He’d written ‘Easy to draw, hard to earn.’ And I thought the drawing was pretty good so I said, ‘They’re pretty good. How would you like to come to America and work for me?’ and he said, ‘Yes, I would, guv’nor!’ and that was Peter!”

Of course it was a complete myth; Walt loved to tell stories and have fun with the media, and the press would print it as if it were the absolutely truth.

Bert the Screever - MARY POPPINS Storyboard 1963.

Bert the Screever – MARY POPPINS Storyboard 1963.

The pavement art as it appeared in the film was well researched, featuring subjects and styles that would quite possibly have appeared on London streets around 1912; even the use of a single flagstone for each drawing, with a written description and decorative border.

Peter Ellenshaw was born in Essex, England on the 24th of May, 1913

After serving with the RAF during WWII, late in 1947, Peter’s art caught the attention of the Walt Disney Studios.

Thus began a professional collaboration and friendship with Walt Disney that would span over 30 years and 34 films.

Peter Ellenshaw - Disney Matt Painter artist.

Peter Ellenshaw – Disney Matte-Painter artist.

Ellenshaw was one of the last great practioners of the now-lost art of matte painting – a special effects technique which involved making highly realistic paintings on plates of glass that, when placed in front of the camera while filming a scene in a movie, extended the physical settings in which the actors were filming to create elaborate interiors or dramatic and fantastic landscapes.

Ellenshaw’s matte paintings saved Walt the cost of expensive location trips and elaborate settings. When Mary Poppins flew over the rooftops of London — that was the magic of Peter Ellenshaw.

Peter Ellenshaw's hand as it appeared in Mary Poppins.

Peter Ellenshaw’s hand as it appeared in Mary Poppins.

Continuity mistake: Bert, when adding the road to the fair on his pavement art does so with his right hand (this is Peter Ellenshaw’s left-hand, and not Dick Van Dyke’s right-hand). In the next shot when withdrawing his hand, the chalk is in his left hand.

Continuity mistake: When the kids meet Bert as a pavement artist, he draws a road with a single-arched bridge on his drawing. When they jump into the drawing, the bridge is double arched.

Continuity mistake: When Bert is showing Jane and Michael his chalk sketches and doing his tightrope demonstration, you can see the pigeons in the corner on the far side of the bench. In the next shot when Jane points out the English countryside, the pigeons are right behind Bert again and walking away.

Peter Ellenshaw was one of the artists responsible for the special effects, including the jumping into the chalk drawing scene. Along with  Eustace Lycett and Hamilton Luske, he won an Oscar in 1965, for BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS on Mary Poppins.

Researched by Philip Battle

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Presented at Court (1935)


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I’ve written about REM (Thomas Reynolds) before, but this is the court case that actually sealed his fate as a pavement artist; although he did carry on working outside St-Martins-in-the-Field until at least 1940, his life was never the same again.

“Rem’s” Masterpieces May No Longer Be Hung on Famous Church Railings

What was probably the beginning of the end of a romantic story of an artist’s fight for recognition in the streets of London was heard in Bow-street Police Court yesterday.

PEOPLE who frequent the West End will recall a Bohemian figure sitting before his easel outside St. Martin-in-the-Fields, with a row of his canvases—including portraits of his own grave, spade bearded face—hanging from the churchyard railings, and turning that little corner of the city into an unofficial art gallery.

REM: Thomas Reynolds, outside St-Martins-in-the-Field 1935

REM: Thomas Reynolds, outside St-Martins-in-the-Field 1940

“Studied in the Finest Schools”

He is no ordinary pavement artist—though he will not refuse the smallest copper tribute. His skillful brush, which has earned hundreds in more prosperous times produces serious portraits, not still-life studies of salmon.

“I am well known to the general public as Rem,” he told Mr. Fry, the magistrate. “I have studied in the finest schools in Europe.” But his open-air exhibition may be seen no more. After ten years as one of the minor curiosities of London. Rem has been “moved on” by the police. .

An officer with no sympathy for art explained that the crowds who collected round him caused an obstruction. He also hinted that there had been complaints from the ecclesiastical authorities about the pictures on the railings.

Rem, a dignified figure in the dock, denied both charges.

“The Rev. Dick Sheppard has no objection to my working there,” he declared. “The pavement is 47ft. wide—if a regiment of soldiers passed there would still be plenty of room for people to look at my work. But they were not interested in art on that night, and I fail to see where the obstruction comes in.”

“You haven’t any right to use the pavement as your studio,” pointed out Mr. Fry.

REM: Thomas Reynolds, outside St-Martins-in-the-Field 1940 (Original Press Photo)

REM: Thomas Reynolds, outside St-Martins-in-the-Field 1940 (Original Press Photo)

Then Gaoler Stillwell, who had ushered Rem into the dock, spoke up unexpectedly as a champion of art. “He has been there ever since I have been in the West End,” he told the magistrate. “He ‘ is a wonderful artist, sir!”

Mr. Fry was not to be drawn into a critical discussion. “You mustn’t do this,” he repeated. “If every artist painted on the foot-way something would have to be done about it!”

Rem nervously fingered his spotted bow tie. “If I stayed in a back room in Chelsea I should never get any commissions,” he pleaded. “I should die of starvation, ”

“Besides,” he added—and a note of regret crept into his voice—”the crowds were not looking at me. Only a few people understand my work—I am a classic portrait painter.”

Once more Mr. Fry declined to be lured into the perilous realm of artistic controversy. His attention remained resolutely fixed on the more mundane theme of obstruction. “Ten shillings.” he murmured regretfully.

The “master” whose enthusiasm and enterprise had landed him in the clutches of the law silently departed.

It remains to be seen whether or not his work will continue to decorate St. Martin-in-the-Fields in gallant rivalry of the National Gallery opposite. . .

Published in The Daily Mirror newspaper: Tuesday 14th May 1935 (page 23)

Written by Beau Street

A champion of pavement-art

REM: Thomas Reynolds, outside The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square 1929 (Original Press Photo)

REM: Thomas Reynolds, outside The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square 1925 (Original Press Photo)

REM started as a chalking pavement artist outside the National Gallery, London. In later life he became a “board-man” and presented portraits on the railings of St-Martins-in-the-Field Church. He was even the subject of a British Pathé Newsreel Film & BBC Radio Broadcast.

He was the only pavement artist to be included in a Touristic Guide of London’s MUST-SEE attractions. When he was “brought to book” by the Bow Street Police Courts, his case made the national newspapers. You can read more about REM on the following link! Ruined by War (1935)

Researched by Philip Battle

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Boy Street Artist who caricatures MP’s to gain pence for sweets!

This article appeared on page 8 of The Daily Mirror newspaper 1914.

Chelsea’s youthful pavement artist Master Harold Tripp, aged 10, has utilised his talent for drawing as a means of adding to his pocket money, and has become a pavement artist in his spare time. A portion of his “takings” is spent in sweets, which he always shares with his six little brothers and sisters.

One of Harold’s pavement “works” in the making

One of Harold’s pavement “works” in the making

Chelsea has just produced the business artist.

In order to obtain money for sweets and other youthful necessities, Harold Tripp, a bright little boy of ten, who lives at Ulverdale Road/King’s Road, Chelsea, has begun work as a pavement artist; and is earning many pennies a day at his profession.

Schoolboy HAROLD TRIPP after purchasing sweets

Schoolboy HAROLD TRIPP after purchasing sweets

The Daily Mirror yesterday found the boy at one of his “pitches” in Chelsea surrounded by a large, crowd of admirers. He was on his hands and knees on the pavement carefully drawing in white chalks the figure of a lancer on a charger galloping along full speed.

When he had finished the soldier he drew some “portraits.”

Schoolboy Screever HAROLD TRIPP surrounded by admiring school friends

Schoolboy Screever HAROLD TRIPP surrounded by admiring school friends

“People like to see something up-to-date,” he said, as he executed two extraordinary caricatures of Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Bonar Law.

Then, when Harold had finished his drawings he sat by the railings, took off his cap and waited with a serene smile for a flow of coins. “I love drawing soldiers and pictures of people,” he confessed, “and I thought I would try and make some money by being a pavement artist. Already people have been very kind to me, and I have earned enough to buy sweets for myself and all my friends.

“I see pictures of well-known people in the newspapers, and then I draw my caricatures. Mr. Bonar Law is very easy to draw. I also like drawing Mr. Lloyd George.”

Schoolboy Screever Harold, copying one of Mr Haselden’s cartoons

Schoolboy Screever Harold, copying one of Mr Haselden’s cartoons

William Kerridge Haselden (1872-1953) was a self-taught cartoonist who worked for the Daily Mirror & Punch Magazine.

I don’t know whatever happened to little Harold, but I did find out that his father was Philip Tripp, whose profession was listed in the 1911 census as “Hairdresser” The family where living in Lambeth, London in 1911, but they had originally come from Portsmouth.

You can read more about child pavement artists in my related blogs!

Published in THE DAILY MIRROR newspaper, on Saturday 25th April 1914

Researched by Philip Battle

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All My Own Work: The Book! (2014)


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Crowd-funding NOW!

Since I started this blog, people have often suggested that I should turn it into a book, and that the stories here should be available to a wider audience, not everybody has the internet, and not everybody is interested in reading on-line blogs.

So now I’ve taken that first step towards publishing on the printed page. These stories, many rewritten, un-published and re-edited have become a book.

ALL MY OWN WORK: a history of pavement art

The FIRST book of its kind to relate the history of pavement art; from its origins in pre-history to the Victorians, Edwardians and the present day

ALL MY OWN WORK cover art

ALL MY OWN WORK cover art

I’ve sub-titled it “A history of Pavement Art” because that’s all it can be. It’s not a definitive account, but rather a start (THE FIRST) that touches on aspects of a forgotten world. To do justice to the entire history of pavement art would take three or four volumes! (Something for the future perhaps)

Also, the personal stories of individual artists plucked from historical obscurity and told here for the very first time; like Alice G Colman (1874-1934), Britain’s first lady pavement artist. Liverpool’s own child pavement artist James William Carling (1857-1887) with the personal stories of many others, and the social context in which they lived

Bringing the history right up to date with a description of modern day pavement art; festivals, events and the popularisation of the art-form across the globe, with examples of 3D anamorphic art, and other modern trends.


All My Own Work-The book! from Philip Battle on Vimeo.

I’m looking to raise £8000 to pay for the production of the initial limited edition book. This will consist of 1000 hardback copies.  The book will measure approx. 27cm by 19cm and contain approximately 200 pages.

I have written around 33,000 words and have well over 100 colour and B/W photographs I’d like to include (subject to editing)

How can you help?


Donate any amount, or use the rewards to pledge for advanced book sales….remember that no money is taken until / unless I meet my minimum target of £4000.

Or why not download the QR sign below, print off and display it at your workplace!



Or download the E-Flyer and distribute it on your social network!

ALL MY OWN WORK-crowd-funding eFlyer!

ALL MY OWN WORK-crowd-funding eFlyer!

Please help me reach my crowd-funding goal

Many thanks for your time

Philip Battle



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Chalking for Charity

Today, charity chalk pavement art events are very popular, especially in the United States; chalk sidewalk festivals are raising money for a myriad of good causes, from providing aid to Vietnam veterans to supporting religious institutions. But as the old saying goes “there is nothing new under the sun” as this feature from the Daily Express, 1922, perfectly illustrates.

Girl pavement artists: Hyde Park Corner, London 1922

Girl pavement artists: Hyde Park Corner, London 1922

“Sketching on paving stones is much more difficult than working on canvas.”

That was the verdict of two pretty girl art students, who staked a “claim” at Hyde Park Corner early yesterday morning, and became pavement artists for the day, for the benefit of St. George’s Dispensary (children’s hospital), Pocock Street, Blackfriars

Girl pavement artists: Hyde Park Corner, London 1922

Girl pavement artists: Hyde Park Corner, London 1922

“We find this work extremely difficult and tiring,” said one of them. “We practised for a while in the backyard before taking up our pitch here.”

Their gallery lacked nothing in the way of colour. The “exhibits” included a boat with yellow sails; two children, in gay-coloured pinafores, playing with a ball of even brighter hues, and a mystery picture. This showed an elderly and somewhat plain woman, in a long robe, and a large black sombrero, gazing from a basement window. Was she looking for her Romeo?

Girl pavement artists: Hyde Park Corner, London 1922

Girl pavement artists: Hyde Park Corner, London 1922

Considerably more than £1 (£50 in today’s value) had by the afternoon, found its way into the young artists “hat.”

Published in the Daily Express newspaper, England (Thursday 1st June 1922)

Researched by Philip Battle

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Percy Pickle the Pavement Artist (1914)


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Fun on the Kerbstone

Perhaps the most famous and beloved of all the screevers; yet today, Percy Pickle the pavement artist has largely been forgotten.

Merry and Bright banner heading 4th July 1914

Merry and Bright banner heading 4th July 1914

Percy was the very first EVER weekly comic book pavement artist character. He first saw the light of day in the Amalgamated Press comic story paper MERRY & BRIGHT. Published every Thursday and costing half-a-penny (which was considered quite expensive back then) It was a mixture of written children’s stories & comic strip spreads with jokes. The first issue was published by the Amalgamated Press on the 22nd October 1910 and continued every week until 1935.

Here’s one of Percy’s Kerbstone adventures from 1914

Percy Pickle cartoon strip 1914

Percy Pickle cartoon strip 4th July 1914

For 25 years Percy was known by every school boy and girl throughout the land for his “Kerbstone antics” a loveable rogue, he was a master at drawing himself out of mischief and getting his own back on the law. Merry & Bright was part of The Amalgamated Press Ltd of London, and as such Percy’s antics were also published in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Tis without doubt; Percy Pickle was a pavement artist of international renown!

Written and researched by Philip Battle

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