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Graffiti Games: UK street artists take on Olympics

Street and graffiti artists have been satirizing, celebrating and making jokes about the Olympic Games in London.

The Olympics’ arrival in East London was trailed by street and graffiti artists making their own points about the global event. Some celebrated the Games in their own way, but many attacked the influence of large corporations who sponsor the event. Others, like Teddy Baden, sought to amuse with images like this one on Brick Lane in East London, entitled “Going for Gold,” which shows an Olympic mascot receiving some unwanted attention from an overly amorous dog. Jim Seida / NBC News
"Hackney Welcomes the Olympics” is a piece by mysterious street art legend Banksy, suggesting that local people might not be too thrilled with the presence of the Games and perhaps making reference to the anti-aircraft missile sites located near the Olympic Park. banksy.co.uk
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt's image brings an almost electric glow to a Sunday market on a wet day in East London. It took artist James Cochran, Aka Jimmy C., a week and sixty cans of spray paint to create the image. Jim Seida / NBC News
This piece by street artist Mau Mau lasted six days on a wall of a friend's warehouse in Ealing, West London, before it was painted over by the authorities. Mau Mau told NBC News that people had given it the title "Olympic Takeaway." mau-mau.co.uk
The street artist CodeFC did a series of works throughout London about the Olympics. The athletes have film cameras for faces, which is CodeFC’s trademark. It refers to the prevalence of security cameras in public and private spaces in the city globalstreetart.com
A street artist speaks for the neighborhood with this piece near the entrance of what was a factory and is now loft space in Hackney Wick, a neighborhood that borders the 2012 Olympic Park. A resident of the loft told NBC News that not everybody in the loft agrees with the artist's statement and called the painting, "shallow." Jim Seida / NBC News
Just in case you think street artists don't have a sense of humor, look at the detail from the previous image in this slideshow. Jim Seida / NBC News
An image by Ronzo shows a pigeon defecating on the Olympic rings as he lights up a marijuana cigarette using the Olympic torch. Ronzo, whose work features the birds heavily, told NBC News he thought a pigeon would have made a good Olympic mascot, given how ubiquitous they are in London. Ronzo explained many people in the area had been “frustrated with all the hype” and “fed up” with the buildup to the Games. “The pigeon doesn’t care,” he said, stressing he was not against the Olympics and it was “just a bit of a joke.” The image was painted on the side of an East London building that is due to be demolished. Jim Seida / NBC News
This poster was spotted at a construction site in East London. Jim Seida / NBC News
The Olympic rings appear to drip blood in this piece of graffiti outside an unofficial art gallery in a disused building in Stokes Croft, Bristol, west England. globalstreetart.com
Another Banksy piece, called “Going for Mold,” shows a pole vaulter headed for a landing on an old mattress. This work, like “Hackney Welcomes the Olympics,” appeared on Banksy’s website, but a spokeswoman refused to say where it is in the real world. banksy.co.uk
Another image from the CodeFC’s London Olympics collection shows a weightlifter. Jim Seida / NBC News
Another poster seen at a construction site in East London. Jim Seida / NBC News
This “brandalism” piece by TrustoCorp twists the ideas of commercial brands by seeming to advertise concepts such as “peace” and “killings.” globalstreetart.com
Cartoon-like images stuck on a wall in London show a pole vaulter who fears he will find his “biggest demon” – himself – sitting on top of the bar, while a figure who may be a judge appears to celebrate the throw of a competitor in the shot put. Jim Seida / NBC News
This work by Mr. Moustache turns the Olympic rings into pyramids with one containing the “Eye of Providence” or “All-Seeing Eye of God,” as seen on the dollar bill. globalstreetart.com