All About London’s Street Art
London has one of the best collections of uncommissioned street art in the world. Local and international artists have decorated the streets of London with a wide variety of different artworks. These are located all around the city, ranging from large painted murals, graffiti art, sculptures and quirky installations.
One of the most famous and iconic street artists is Banksy, whose real identify is unknown. Banksy is famous for his distinctive stencil artwork on publicly visible surfaces such as walls, telephone boxes, and tunnels.
His work has regularly appeared around London for the past decade, appearing all over the city. A lot of Banksy’s works display a hard hitting political message through humour and satire, often poking fun at serious problems in an amusing way that makes it look as though the art is interacting with its surroundings. His work is popular with collectors, with many being sold for millions.
Shoreditch High Street can be accessed by London Overground via Shoreditch High Street Station.
It is also a short walk from Liverpool Street Station (Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan lines) as well as numerous bus routes.
Shoreditch in East London is one of the best known areas for street art, with many works of art displayed around the streets of Shoreditch. This part of East London is an ever changing canvas for street art, with vibrant murals, graffiti art and painted shutters among the art on display.
There are many notable examples in this area, with the best streets to see art including Shoreditch High Street, Rivington Street, Great Eastern Street and Brick Lane. On Shoreditch High Street you will see many striking examples of street art most notably that of Gregos Art, a series of sculptured faces dotted around Shoreditch High Street.
Rivington Street can be accessed by tube via Old St Station (Northern Line) or bus route 135 or 205 from Pitfield Street Bus Stop.
On Rivington Street you will come across many works by famous street artists including Banksy as well as others such as Stinkfish, Thierry Noir, Ben Eine, Rolla and Cranio and is one of the best streets for street art.
Coming from the Old Street end of Rivington Street, the first piece of art you will come across is by French artist Thierry Noir, famous for painting the Berlin Wall nearly everyday between 1984 and 1989.
The painting is of several colourful faces painted on a shop wall. A short walk down from this you will come across a playful and amusing piece by Brazilian artist Cranio, of two colourful pigs in love.
Walking further down, we come across one of the largest pieces of art, which is three storeys high, by artist Stik. This is another amusing and eye catching piece of a large stick person peering down on the street.
A very short walk on the other side of the street, you will pass the nightclub Cargo, which has some interesting artwork in the courtyard and is open during the day for tea and coffee. Here you will come across another piece by Thierry Noir, located just outside the gate.
This courtyard also boasts two of Banksy’s pieces, that are only several wall spaces apart. This includes the piece called ‘Guard Dog’ and is another humorous and tongue-in-cheek piece. Although it is a fairly short street there are many pieces of art on display in 2-3 minute radius. This street is a gem and it is not to be missed for those interested in street art.
Great Eastern Street
Another street, a short walk away with a lot of street art is Great Eastern Street. Here you will find many interesting works, most notably two graffiti covered tube trains perched on containers on top of a building, with the caption: ‘Lets Adore And Endure Each Other.’
A short walk away is Brick Lane, with so much to see to see it is almost a treasure hunt. Bustling with culture, interesting buildings and more, art holds an important presence on the streets, in the form of graffiti, posters, murals and more. This area has so much art and walking in any direction you are bound to come across many visually appealing pieces.
One of the most striking and recognisable pieces is by Belgian artist ROA, known for his large black and white portraits of animals. The pieces are usually extremely intricate and cover the whole wall, with many interacting with the environment they are in.
You can find many of these works all over Shoreditch and Brick Lane including Hanbury Street, where you will find a huge 9 metre tall mural of a crane, and can be seen by many as an icon of Brick Lane.
Other examples include hedgehogs, rats, rabbits and other urban creatures. Hanbury Street has many eye catching works. Make sure to check out the colourful and amazing piece by Brazilian illustrator duo Bicicleta Sem Freio, which translates as Bicycles Without Brakes.
Camden can be accessed by tube from Camden Town Station (Northern Line) or Camden Road Station on the London Overground.
Camden is another lively area in North London, famous for culture, markets, bars and vintage shops. Dispersed around Camden there are many examples of urban street art portraying various themes including political issues, celebrities and British culture.
One of the most famous and well known pieces is on the Camden Lock railway bridge, appearing to depict two men painting ‘Camden Lock’ onto the bridge.
The image provides an iconic indication of the riverside location. Another interesting piece, a short walk down on Hawley Street displays a vibrant cartoon mural of a piece of toast with dangling legs and created by artist Artista. Similar images have popped around various locations in London.
On Hartland Road there is an eye catching mural, brilliantly capturing the hustle and bustle of London. The piece depicts people holding umbrellas in the rain and cars that cleverly give the illusion they are moving. It is a vivid and spectacular piece that captures the urban culture of the city.
Situated on Greenland Road, there is another piece worth seeing. With the wording ‘Get Rich or Try Sharing’ depicts two foxes, one painting with the other playing the guitar and is the satirical work of renowned street artist Mau Mau. The graffiti is ironically situated above a roof adjacent to a bank.
Leake Street Tunnel
Leake Street Tunnel can be accessed from Waterloo Station on the Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee and Waterloo & City Lines.
The Leake Street Tunnel is another intriguing place filled with street art and graffiti. Located in a tunnel underneath Waterloo station, Leake Street is often referred to as ‘London’s Graffiti Tunnel’ and is London’s largest legal street art area that has been showcasing street art for a number of years, including original work by Banksy.
The tunnel became one of the world’s most famous street art spots after Banksy hosted the Can Festival here in 2008, getting 30 artists to turn the tunnel into an ever changing art gallery.
As you can see there are many places all around London to enjoy street art. I am sure you will enjoy spending hours discovering these places and seeing all the vibrant art on display.