Pac-Man, Snoopy and a muted emoji: street art starts to thrive in Croydon

Otto Schade Street Art Pic: Luke Vance Barr

With Brexit still dominating headlines, a London street artist has opted to convey the matter rather differently in Croydon – drawing his inspiration from the iconic Pac-Man arcade game.

The image on Park Street in East Croydon, which depicts a version of the European flag is the work of Chilean-born Otto Schade, 46,

Otto Schade Street Art Pic: Luke Vance Barr

Schade told ELL: “My Pac-Man Brexit piece depicts figures initially heading in the same direction harmoniously. Their path is then ruined by a blue ghoul which is meant to represent Brexit.

“There is nothing particularly special about it artistically, but the meaning behind it is the most interesting and important point for me. It is helped by the fact that anyone who’s played the game in the past will understand it.”

Having previously produced many anti-war themed pieces, Schade said that he waded in on the issue of Brexit artistically because he feels the country has wrongly decided to isolate itself from the rest of Europe. Like most of London, Croydon voted Remain in June 2016, bucking the overall trend across the country.

Schade added: “My motivation for the piece is related to the fact this is a country that previously conquered almost the entire world. They imposed their culture and language, although they are now simply running away from the EU rather than opting to support it.”

Schade’s other recent Croydon pieces include a muted emoji face and a ribbon-covered Snoopy, with the latter piece directly linked to the artist’s typical style.

Schade received help from RISE Gallery owner Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison in finding locations and his displays coincide with a boom in Croydon’s street art scene.

Otto Schade Street Art Pic: Luke Vance Barr

Many innovative pieces can be found in the newly-created Arts Quarter, close to St. George’s Walk just off the High Street.

The recent emergence of Croydon as a flourishing artistic hub is largely thanks to the input of the RISE Gallery. Open since 2015, it has put on exhibitions from Banksy, Damien Hirst and many other prominent figures from across the the art world.

Schade’s other recent pieces in Croydon include a muted emoji face and a ribbon-covered Snoopy, which is typical of the artist’s style.

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