To most pubs, cafes and the like, handwritten graffiti defacing walls and furniture is considered unsightly and met with a frown. One cafe on Shoreditch’s Hanbury Street is turning the negative association of this type of graffiti on its head - actively encouraging visitors to adorn the walls with their thoughts, in response to a range of questions and statements. Unsurprisingly, when the writing on the wall is welcome and given direction, the responses are a great deal more interesting than the usual ‘Fred woz ‘ere’ that can be otherwise found written or scraped into the paintwork of toilet doors and walls nationwide.
The Canvas Cafe opened its doors in October 2014 as a blank canvas, allowing its visitors to bring it to life with their words. Brainchild of actress Ruth Rogers, the founder of award-winning body image charity Body Gossip, the cafe is London’s first ‘Happy Cafe’, a space designed to improve the wellbeing, self-expression and positive thinking of its visitors.