Ah, London. For me, it’s home. The streets may not be paved with gold but in some parts of the city, they are adorned with beautiful artworks. And for that, we really do excel.
I know some people may read this and feel that their area of London hasn’t been included so let me just make this clear: this is about my London and the areas that I visit the most. Places like Camden are in my blood, having grown up spending most weekends there from my pre-teens. And Brick Lane… come on. Who can ignore one of the most famous areas in London to celebrate street art?
So, welcome to my London. Where I live, work, and hunt street art. It’s not too shabby.
JIMMY C. SHAKESPEARE
All play and no work would make living in London pretty much impossible for most, and I’m no exception. I spend most of my week just over the river (eek!) in London Bridge. Unfortunately, while there is a sprinkle of street art, it’s not a place that’s rich in painted walls. Which is why in October of 2016, when one of my colleagues came by my desk after lunch to tell me that there was ‘some street art’ happening around the corner, it was pretty exciting. I popped out to have a nose and saw the lovely @akajimmyc (James Cochrane for those not on Instagram) painting his now-famous Shakespeare wall. I was lucky enough to be able to pop out and watch the progress intermittently over the next couple of days and was there for the finish. Jimmy is always so lovely to talk to and he even made me Guardian of the Wall so I always check for tags, etc., and let him know. Good times.
If you like curry, vegan doughnuts or street art, you’re in for a treat! While many complain that the place is being gentrified (of course it is but what can we do?), there are still plenty of beautiful pieces to find, with a regular rotation of a lot of the well-known walls. On top of that, there are some cheeky little paste-ups that appear amongst the built-up layers of ads and wall filth, making it a mecca for those of us who still enjoy the hunt!
London based artists like @mrcenzone (Cenz), @zabouartist (Zabou), @antcarver and @fanakapan regularly paint (or paste) on home turf which means that even though they travel the world to paint, we always have some home-grown pieces too. Which works for me as all these guys just keep getting better every time.
The main stretch and the roads around it make Shoreditch one of London’s most famous street art areas. Throw in a street art bar, some gardens where artists mix with local residents and summer entertainment until sundown and embrace the spirit of east London.
BEN EINES VILLAGE UNDERGROUND WALL: TRIBUTE TO THE VICTIMS OF THE GRENELL FIRE
For some, all street art is political or has a message of sorts. For @einesigns (Ben Eines), he took this huge wall and in his distinctive style, pulled out a line from Ben Okri’s poem. ‘You saw it in the tears of those who survived’. This tragedy touched all of us, not just those who lived in West London, and this wall was a lovely tribute.
As a North London girl, Camden has been – and always will be – special to me. From around the age of 12 onwards, at least one day of the weekend was spent there exploring with friends. The markets, the canals, the art. To me, it just screams London. So much to see, here is a small sample only. Go hunt. That’s the best way to discover Camden’s treasures.
So many pieces to talk about (next time?), but I couldn’t not include some words on this incredible piece that we’re so lucky to have in my town. @whoamirony is one of those artists whose works command respect. This is one of my favourite London pieces, and the number of people who count that as their top piece says so much. The artist himself knows how revered this piece is, and we are lucky that he has refreshed this over the years to keep it going through those soggy London days.
While @himbad may spend most of his days in the more exotic parts of the world, his home turf is Camden and there are still many classic pieces to find. Maybe one day he’ll paint in Camden again…
Dan Kitchener (Dank) in front of his mural.
I was fortunate enough to be around for the weekend in November 2016 that Dan was painting this beauty. As well as being a coffee girl (the things we do!), I also watched this wall transform from one Dank masterpiece to another that is still as vivid as the day it was painted.
HIMBAD X MARINA ZUMI
Sadly, we Londoners can stick to our preferred areas, but a trip out West every now and again is pretty rewarding. There are some lovely pieces to find, and as we learnt from the classic film Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Portobello Road is the street where the riches of ages are sold! Just watch out for those street art souvenirs because they are not done with the permission of the artists!
DOTMASTERS GRAFIK GALLERY