After a couple of eerily quiet visits during peak lockdown, we’re pretty excited that King’s Cross – along with most of the capital – is back in socially distanced, masked action.
To celebrate the reawakening of the area for the (currently rather grey) summer, local bigwigs have commissioned street artist Andy Leek to create some positive-thinking public art installations during a three-month residency.
If you’ve kept your eyes open in the more creative parts of the capital, you’ll have caught Leek’s famous ‘Notes to Strangers’ over the last few years.
He began the project in 2015 after “experiencing a mental health issue”, he says, “so I decided to try to help strangers who might be having a hard time.”
Leaving scrawled notes with the Instagram account @notestostrangers, he waited for someone to post the image – and then would repost it himself. Clever strategy: he’s now got 124k followers.
Now the notes can be spotted everywhere across the capital from Tate Modern to the West End – and it’s become Leek’s super-successful full-time job (he sells prints on his website, as well as works on collabs with brands).
The cunning idea with this latest uplifting project is for his public art to convey “a feeling of safety and positivity following lockdown”, whilst injecting a sense of fun – as well as encouraging any nervous visitors to return to one of central London’s busiest quarters with confidence.
Andy’s first installation, entitled This Much, is inspired by the social distancing guidelines we have all followed for the last few months. And as you can see it’s a little bit bigger budget than the post-it notes of yore.
Taking the form of outstretched arms with messages of hope and love between them, the works are crafted in eye catching laser-cut mirrored stainless steel. And if you wait until nightfall, you’ll see that they even glow in the dark.
Our favourite? ‘Dogs enjoyed lockdown this much.’ 100% fact.
Andy Leek’s This Much runs until September across Granary Square, St Pancras Square and the immediate area. Follow @notestostrangers