Arts·Video

Canadian street artist Dd Regalo's powerful words are lifting up a London, U.K. community

Regalo's street art, mixing poetry and painting, has locals feeling moved.

'This is the perfect type of art I want to be around,' says passerby

Canadian street artist Dd Regalo's powerful words are lifting up a London, U.K. community

CBC Arts

2 months ago
6:08
Dd Regalo’s street art that mixes poetry and painting has locals feeling moved. 6:08

London, U.K.-based artist and poet Dd Regalo has seen a shift in his artwork since the pandemic started. "I'm making more positive work. It's brighter so my colours are going neon," he says. "It's like a dialogue with myself. I want to tell myself it's alright, so I'm writing, 'It's alright.'"

The Canadian artist, who was born in Calgary, is sharing his energy and positivity in one of his latest murals in the Shoreditch neighbourhood of London. The mural, titled "Love Letters To The Street," covers a large brick wall inside an otherwise dark tunnel where cars and pedestrians pass through. The painting has a bright, clean design — an ombre pastel background that fades from yellow to blue to pink with black text on top and a small border at the bottom. The text is a poem in three parts that, combined with the bright background, emits a message of love and hope. 

Regalo wrote the poem himself and explains, "It was really important because of everything we're going through right now for me to come out with a message of hope. It was important for me being in Shoreditch, which is one of the meccas of street art in London, that when people went there they felt energized by it."

Dd Regalo painting at home. (CBC Arts)

He adds, "It's about hope. It's about knowing that tomorrow's gonna be great. If you boil it down, it's about connection in a time of disconnect."

Local Londoners are appreciating Regalo's work. One woman who walked by said, "In the time of COVID where there's no museums or art galleries open, this is the perfect type of art I want to be around, especially when it's talking about love. It's almost like poetry, you know?"

"Just walking past just now and seeing that poem honestly it lifted my spirit," said another passerby who stopped to take a photo of the mural. "It made me feel so happy because I've been going through a really tough time myself. I actually took a photograph and I'm going to hold those words with me all day because it's really lifted me up."

Artwork in London by Dd Regalo. (CBC Arts)

For Regalo, lifting up the community is what it's all about. "When someone comes up from the wall and sees it for the first time," he says, "I hope they stop and read it and I hope for that like 20 or 30 seconds they feel it."

"They feel the words, they feel the message, they feel the energy, they feel the light in the background, the colours I've chosen, and they walk away feeling better." 

"Love Letters To The Street" is on Drysdale Street in Shoreditch, London. Video by filmmaker Pablo Aravena. See more of Dd Regalo's work here.

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