Street Art in London

Photo Essay: London’s Street Art

In my first post about my trip to London, I talked about the pubs, parks and plaques around the city and how they play a prominent role in the everyday lives of Londoners. But there’s another side of the city that has contributed to shaping its cultural and artistic qualities and that’s the street art scene. Noted as one of the best cities around the world for street art, I couldn’t wait to explore it.

I’ve really gotten into street art since I did a tour in New York City with Levy’s Unique New York back in 2012. For the first time I wasn’t just passing by a pretty picture or mural painted on the side of a building, I was learning about the different styles and techniques, the effects it has on urbanization, and the God-like status some of the artists attain. Later, a trip to Montreal in 2013 would further propel my interest in the scene as I watched artists from around the world create brand new pieces over the course of a weekend for the 1st Annual Mural Festival.

My first instinct was to book myself onto a tour of London’s East End. I figured I’d get the most out of exploring the area on a guided tour where I could learn more about the artists and their pieces. But availability and pricing prevented this plan and instead I decided to explore the area on my own.

Before heading out, I found a free app for my phone from Geo Street Art called Street Art London. The app offers a map of the city with pins dropped on locations where pieces are located. You can tap each pin to see a picture of the piece and to learn the name of the artist. The app also allows you to filter your search by artist name and the home feed displays the locations of the latest pieces of street art around the city. I loved using this app because it was like I had my own private tour guide with me.

Street Art London
This piece by Snik is incredibly life-like.

Street art can be found all over London, but the majority of pieces are in the East End, specifically in the Hoxton and Shoreditch areas. I took the Tube to Old Street Station and meandered my way east and then south through the neighbourhoods. I took so many photos throughout the afternoon, but below are some of my favourite pieces.

London Street Art
“Dance more, laugh more” – street art with a great message.
things to do in London
Spanning the majority of Braithwaite Street is this piece by Ink and Clog.
Street Art
A piece by Spanish artist Borondo.
London Street Art East End
“All I have to give you is a love that never dies… The symptom of the Universe is written in your eyes”, by Dscreet.
London Street Art
Two examples of ALO’s portraits in which he uses a combination of paint and marker.

The following three photos are by Jimmy C, an Australian artist who paints portraits and urban landscapes entirely with blobs .

Jimmy C London Street Art

Jimmy C London Street Art

Jimmy C London Street Art
While the heart is by Jimmy C, someone else has added the paint can that reads: “Pick up a can and be creative”.
London Street Art
Painted in the spring of 2014, Rone’s “Wallflower”.
Miss Van Street Art
My favourite piece I came across, by Miss Van.
Phlegm London East End Street Art
Phlegm’s cartoon-based art is composed of odd figures and narrative structure.

One form of street art is wheatpaste, which is created by drawing the image on paper first and then gluing it to a surface using wheat flour or starch and water. The first two pieces are by Swoon.

Swoon Wheatpaste

Swoon Street Art

T Rex Wheatpaste
Wheatpaste T-Rex. Artist unknown.

Roa is an internationally known artist from Ghent, Belgium and paints large scale animals in black and white.

Roa Street Art
The Rat
Roa Street Art
The Stork
Carved street art
Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, uses a unique carving technique to create his pieces.
Senna Street Art
Alex Senna, or just Senna, paints monochromatic cartoon characters.
Street Art London
A piece by El Mac.
Mad C Geometric Street Art
Vibrant shapes by Mad C.
Lints Street Art
A piece by Lints.
Rae Street Art
Door art by Rae.
Mr Centz Street Art
Julian Phethean, aka Mr. Centz, uses many women as his subjects.
Street Art London
Above’s trademark arrow icon pointing ‘above’.

Many of these pieces I found using the Street Art London app but I came across countless others that weren’t pinned on the map. As an outdoor museum, so to speak, street art is meant to be discovered on your time and the best way to do this is to just ‘get lost’ in the neighbourhoods. Think of it as a scavenger hunt!

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