“I want to make people happy with this high-end West Ham-inspired street art”

Vik Taak on how the latest West Ham mural can have an impact around Newham

Street artist David “Gnasher” Nash has completed his second West Ham mural close to the famous ‘Long Live the Boleyn’ wall yards from where the Boleyn Ground once proudly stood. The ‘high end street art’ was commissioned by West Ham supporter Vik Taak who works for Newham Council as a tenant liaison officer and is part of a Newham street art project.

The Long Live the Boleyn mural features the old West Ham crest, and was finished in time for our game against Spurs and for another event by Bike from Boleyn, which aims to make sure that fans still feel connected to the club by hosting community events on match days and organising mass bike rides to the London Stadium.

The mural was inspired by graffiti protesting the clubs move from Upton Park to the London Stadium and is in an unnamed alleyway linking Castle Street to Barking Road. It sits alongside David Nash’s Bonds and Brooking mural painted over a year ago. Speaking to Blowing Bubbles, Vik said: ‘The start of this second mural dates back to last year when I arranged the Billy Bonds and Sir Trevor Brooking mural in Priory Road. This particular project took me a year and a half to arrange and that included the funding and required permission.

‘I never told anybody what I planned to do because I felt it might have opened up a can of worms with fans saying “I want this player” or “I want that player” and so on. The reason I selected Billy and Sir Trev is because when I worked at West Ham in the boxes these two men were humble gentlemen and what real legends are for me so it was a simple choice.

‘Once the art was agreed, I had to select an artist and I wanted to bring the very best street artist to Newham and I believe I did that with David Nash. Following the success of this mural, I was approached earlier this year by a Newham councillor wanting me to oversee more art in the local area for a local group called Bikes for Boleyn that arranges for fans to cycle to Stratford for home games.

‘After getting as much information as possible, I decided to select Dave again for the project. We both seem to work well and any changes I want done to the art he can apply easily. So once we both agreed on a design we sent it to the councilor and her group to approve and then it all went from there.

‘On the day of completion we had several compliments from the local community, fans and even Millwall and Spurs fans which is nice. My aim with projects like these is to make the people of Newham happy with high end street art. Whether this be West Ham-related or not, I plan to make Newham special.’

David added: ‘Both Vik and I are passionate about West Ham. The tag that popped up “Long Live the Boleyn” has become iconic so we thought we would add to it. The Boleyn was always the 12th man and it needed to be acknowledged as much as some of the legendary players we’ve had over the years.

‘It also had to be in the borough as there aren’t many connections to West Ham anymore. Personally I felt we never should have moved. I went to the new stadium a few weeks back and it’s soulless. I will always treasure some of those magical moments at Upton Park – Long live the Boleyn.’

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