One of the things I love about the street art in East London is that it’s diverse and continually changes. It keeps the area fresh and means fans of street art the world over will continue to return. That said it’s always a relief to see the most well known or largest pieces stand the test of time. Work by artists such as Banksy, ROA and Stik for example have remained intact for years.
The best places to head to if you’re wanting to capture the London street art scene is around Brick Lane and Shoreditch. The area is a mecca for artists from all over the world and there are some superb pieces to be found if you know where to look. Of course you can do organised street art tours but I’ve never done this. Instead I’ve researched where to find specific pieces and discovered the rest by exploring the area.
While there is lots to see by the main roads, the best street art is often found slightly off the beaten track. If you’re looking for finds in Brick Lane, you’re best off heading to Aldgate East tube station. From there you can reach Brick Lane via Osbourn Street which is off Whitechapel Road. Some of the streets you really shouldn’t miss as you head towards Shoreditch include Chicksand Street, Fashion Street, Heneage Street, Fournier Street and Princelet Street. Hanbury Street is one of the most well recognised to visit, largely because of the ROA and and Martin Ron pieces which span three stories. Other roads off Brick Lane to investigate include Woodseer Street and Buxton Street.
You can access the street art on Pendley Street near the railway bridge. Initially it looks like an alleyway but there is plenty to see down there and if you’re lucky you might see something pretty special. I was there to see Jim Vision creating the Star Wars mural in advance of the film which was something to see an artist at work. Many of these murals take several days to create, there are some seriously talented people out there. Once you’ve had a look around this area, you’re best heading back on yourself so you can continue up Brick Lane towards Shoreditch. You should also check out roads like Grimsby Street, Cheshire Street, Sclater Street and Bacon Street. Always make sure you head down to the end of each road you visit as often the best spots are at the bottom. This is just a taste of what I’ve seen in the Brick Lane area over the past year. A whistle-stop tour of the street art in the Shoreditch area follows.
Artists featured include the likes of UnKolorDistinto (Sammy Espinosa and Cynthia Aguilera), Pez and the amazing line mural by Elian Chali and Alexis Diaz. The latter no longer exists but the replacement I saw is superb too. There is of course the three story high murals by Martin Ron and Roa and I adore the the lady with green hair mural by Bicicleta Sem Freio. There are of course many others.
I’ll be honest I have a bit of thing for the Brick Lane area as there is so much to see. You can easily lose a couple of hours there. This often impacts on the time I have to explore Shoreditch but that’s not to say there isn’t a wealth of street art to be found there too. It remains one of the most popular areas in London to find street art and if you’re a Banksy fan, this is where you’ll find some of his most famous works. Not forgetting the likes of ROA, Stik and Ben Eine.
Much as Brick Lane does, the street artist and graffiti writing community is supported in Shoreditch. Check out streets like Chance Street (off Bethnal Green Road), Redchurch Street (at the top of Chance Street) as well as those to the West off the A10 like Holywell Lane (the largest dedicated street art wall in London), New Inn Road, Bateman’s Row and Rivington Street (a couple of Banksy’s are in the yard of the Cargo Club). There’s also Great Eastern Street including the Great Eastern Street Wall Gallery and Curtain Road too. Here are a few photographs from the Shoreditch area, I’ll be back there again for a proper nose so watch this space!
Of course this is just a taste of what you can expect to find around Brick Lane and Shoreditch. Other parts of London ripe for street art include Hoxton, Camden Town and Regents Canal, Brixton and the Southbank (which is not far from the Leake Street tunnel at Waterloo). Funnily enough all old haunts having lived and worked in London for so long. If this post leaves you craving more street art, head over to our travel blog, POD Travels, for a taste of what you can see in Berlin.