In the effort to stylise East London’s grit, the East End has become synonymous with fast, ever-changing street art, a phenomenon so vibrant not even our Instagram feeds can keep up with it. Whether you’re a seasoned street art aficionado or are just trying to get up close and personal with your first Banksy, we’ve complied a short guide to the ultimate East London street art tour. But be warned, if you’re not quick enough, you might just miss them. Street Art in East London is known to not hang around for long…
Various Locations, East London
Nearest Tube: Shoreditch High Street, Old Street
First things first, any immersion into London street art should acknowledge the Village Underground trains, a staple of Shoreditch if there ever was one. The Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other is a fixture in a world of otherwise ephemeral graffiti, one that every Shoreditch visitor should know about. Fixed on top of an iconic venue already, there’s no wonder the piece has now reached icon status. With good reason, as well, as it is a perfect start to any street tour.
Image: Shoreditch Street Art
A short walk will take you to Whitby Street, where Jimmy C’s bright tiny daubs will brighten up the dreariest of days. A further stroll down Shoreditch High Street will uncover Gregos’s mysterious faces, now a worldwide sensation. The crossroads will unveil a hidden artwork of its own, with Nathan Bowen’s strangely patriotic drawing greeting everyone make their move East. The trained eye will recognise more of his signature sketches along the main road, often hidden amongst construction work.
Images: Jennifer Cauli
For the more savvy of street art tourists, we recommend making a stop on Rivington Street, dipping into Cargo Club’s courtyard for a certain sighting of a real-life Banksy. We all know how rare (and frankly, unpredictable) those pieces are. If you know a thing or two about these not to be missed stops, then you’ll also use this opportunity to venture down Brick Lane and take in all the neighbourhood has to offer: the curry houses are framed by a diverse display of ever-changing art. And, if you stop by later in the evenings, you might even get lucky enough to see the artists hard at work, spraying the night away. If you’re still looking for inspiration however, why don’t we hear from the pros? Several Instagram’s have been dedicated to the effervescent graffiti scene in London: just go here and here for more hot spots to add to your list.