We met the artist behind Parnell Road’s own Chapel bottle, Endless the artist, and ask, what’s worthy of our worship in today’s East End?
Turn left off the Roman and on to Parnell Road and you’ll find a poster of a recognisable bottle, filled with black and white religious iconography, and labelled as ‘eau de pardun’, by ‘Chapel’ of London.
The Chapel bottle has become somewhat of a signature piece, a stamp or tag, of the contemporary artist Endless, who keeps his identity hidden.
‘A lot of my work is commenting on branding, advertising and how we’re affected by it,’ he explains. ‘The idea is that we worship our brands rather than religion now.’
A few months ago, The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, renowned for its Renaissance collection of Botticellis and Michelangelos, accented a donation of a piece by Endless, making his the first by a street artist to go on display in this gallery of fine art. First stop on the walking tour; Leonardo da Vinci, second stop, Endless.
It was a collaboration with luxury store Liberty of London in 2016 that put Endless on the national agenda, making him the first street artist to paint Liberty of London’s main display window and front doors. To mark the 40th anniversary of punk, this store that is synonymous with luxury, invited him to cover the facade in hot pinks, yellows and blue stencilled work, accompanied by his own logo right next to Liberty’s own.
For an artist whose work is an unsubtle nod towards the pitfalls of commercialisation, he’s certainly got some big names on board.
These past four years Endless has resided in Bow East, having spent a decade producing street art all over East London.
Like many artists, after receiving formal training in art, Endless was drawn to London as the land of unending creative possibilities. It took him five years to fully break into the art scene, and it was illegal street art that got him there.
‘If you want your work to be seen, the street’s the easiest and it’s the free way to do it’ he explains.
Endless has spent a decade in East London, but settled in Bow East. While his work is scattered across London, from the glossy streets of West London to Shoreditch and Hoxton, he wanted to add his own pieces to the ever-growing collection of free art that adorns the area’s bare walls.
Endless’ concerns with over-commercialisation is what drew him to this part of London in the first place; ‘even the big Tesco, at least it’s kind of hidden away.’
‘You can feel that people are hustling to make things happen,’ he says about the area, in awe of the hard-working East Enders that keep The Roman a hub of activity.
‘If you go to West London, like the posh areas, I always find it a bit stale.’
Endless is aware of the gentrification creeping closer and closer to The Roman, though he takes a notably neutral stance on the issue; ‘it’s a strong community, they will adapt.’
So what’s Endless’ own chapel?
The one and only Sultan Sofrasi, with their gilded saffron rice, jewel-toned salads and golden-skinned chicken.
There’s much to worship in the world, in London, and on Roman Road. Good, bad, or neutral, it’s for us to decide, and Endless doesn’t view it as his job to tell us how to feel.
Rather, he is asking us to question who we put our faith in, and whether they are deserving of such adoration?
If you liked this, take a look at our piece on Saving Hackney Wick street art: One wall at a time.
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