Conscious that the neighbourhood was undergoing massive change, we wanted to capture the wide range of people living in Fitzrovia, where the best portraits selected by public vote would be made into paintings on TfL and Virgin Media street utility boxes. To reflect the advance of technology that was lessening the old adage that a picture was worth a thousand words, we set out to photograph up to 140 local characters, mirroring the Twitter wordcount, forming a unique public archive of people living in the area.
Lead artist Doralba Picerno had been documenting urban subcultures since arriving in London from her native Rome twenty five years earlier, with an enthusiasm springing from her portraiture that reflects her zest for life. Stretching up Great Titchfield Street, across to Tottenham Court Road and along Goodge/Mortimer streets, we engaged four leading street artists to work on content with pupils from All Souls Primary School, adding colour to local streets. For her own artistic development on 140 Characters or Less Doralba bridged the gap between her passion for street art and her photographic practice, blending her love of portraiture, transposed into urban art. For the people of Fitzrovia this was a unique opportunity to literally become part of a piece of original street art in the area, an intriguing and popular offer with a lasting tribute to the two portraitees who have since this project ended, sadly passed away.
140 CHARACTERS OR LESS_Derwent Community Fund
All Souls School, Fitzrovia, London W1
Fitzrovia Community Centre Gallery, Foley Street
Cleveland, Goodge, Great Titchfield, Mortimer, New Cavendish and Wells streets
Lucieta Williams for Fitzrovia Noir
Garry Hunter for Fitzrovia Noir
Paul DON Smith
Photography and spray paint
October 2014 – April 2015
“Being amongst street art is like being in an open air gallery, it is stimulating and incredibly exciting and the art is getting more and more refined with each passing week”
Doralba Picerno, lead artist