Where to look at Street Art in London?
Street Art is everywhere in London! Street Art is ephemeral (from the Greek word ephēmeros, meaning "lasting only one day") and that ever-changing visual art form is partly what makes London so lively and exciting- you never know what you will find next; maybe you will be the first to spot a new Banksy, maybe not, and that's the beauty of it! Our London Street Art route will take you to the liveliest neighbourhoods in the city, and give you at least one exciting piece to spot in each location (if it’s still there!). The goal is to explore - that’s when you’re most likely to find incredible street pearls!
BRICK LANE and SHOREDITCH
Let us start with the classics - Brick Lane and Shoreditch, the hotbeds of Street Art in the UK (and the world, really!). In these areas, all roads lead to spray paint murals, graffiti, and poster art. Princelet Street, Hanbury Street, Pedley Street, and Rivington Street are all good places to start.
We also have an indoor suggestion: StolenSpace Gallery on Brick Lane, where you can catch “22 Years Smiling with Friends” (opening August 8th), a group exhibition by Spanish street artist Pez. The show celebrates the enjoyment found in co-creation and the shared experience of art and will include exclusive canvas and prints made in collaboration with fellow English street artists. Bring your friends and let the shared experience come full circle!
Spot challenge: “Designated Graffiti Area” by Banksy (date unknown), can be found at Cargo Club in Shoreditch. The piece has stood the test of time as it was covered in plexiglass right after being found. The protection of this Banksy piece challenges Street Art’s intrinsic ephemeral quality and the idea of “belonging to the streets”, not behind a glass frame as would studio art. Do you think this adds or takes value from the piece?
LEAKE STREET GRAFFITI TUNNEL
Despite Street Art still being technically illegal and considered a criminal activity in the UK, there’s a common understanding among Londoners that it is allowed here. This tunnel, located right under Waterloo station, is like a designated temple for Street Art, and walking through it feels almost mystical. You will feel encapsulated in a misty atmosphere while your eyes adapt to the overwhelming mix of colours and styles before you can direct your attention to the works that really catch your eye. There is a lot to uncover here - so, adjust your camera focus, and hunt down your personal favourites!
Spot challenge: this underground scenery is constantly changing, but recent motifs include artwork advocating for racial justice and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Look for portraits of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and George Floyd.
While it might not come to mind as one of the first options, Dulwich is a great area to see Street Art! This is largely due to an innovative project that has left a lasting mark in the South London neighbourhood. We’re talking about the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery (DOG), a collection of murals painted by international street artists, including Stik, Remi Rough, System, Conor Harrington, Thierry Noir, and Ben Wilson, to name a few. Each mural is a reinterpretation of an Old Masters painting on display at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The old and the new collide in this unconventional revival of classical art, blurring the lines between Fine Art and Street Art.
You can find here a map with the location of all the commissioned murals, courtesy of the DOG. Put on your best walking shoes and go explore Dulwich!
Spot challenge: as many Stiks as you can - they’re everywhere!
Another South London hotspot: Brixton! It is known for its multi-cultural vibe, making it the place to go for politically engaged Street Art, with plenty of references to music and culture. We suggest starting with a stroll through Brixton Village and Market Row, where you can pair your Street Art viewing with delicious foods from around the world. Streets worth a visit include Tunstall Road (where you can find the famous David Bowie memorial), Electric Lane, and Atlantic Road.
Spot challenge: the mural above was created for international women’s day last May by the female street art collective WOM Collective. It depicts Goddesses from different cultures, highlighting female strength and leadership. Can you find it? Tip: Brixton Street Gym.
And that’s a wrap - now get out there, camera in hand, and take our challenge to explore some amazing Street Art! Share your best finds with us by making a post with the hashtag #StreetArtPearls.
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