Painting the town red (and blue and green) – a paean to London Street Art


Shoreditch street art 022


The Textiliste, as her title suggests, is a touch arty (crafty too, but that’s another matter).

She received a gift at Christmas from the Lawyer (thoughtful chap) of an Street Art tour around Shoreditch (which for those not familiar with London is just north of the Office bit of the City, in the London Borough of Hackney – a deprived borough with areas, like Shoreditch, that are being ‘gentrified’ – they pass through Shoreditch street art 067stages of awful poverty and urban depredation to become edgy art zones, then niche hip areas for affluent youth and finally yet another bankers paradise). Currently this one is in the art to affluent transition having been home to an increasingly artistic and IT literate groups. It’s cool, trendy, chic, sick or whatever adjective, a la mode, describes its up-and-coming-ness. It, necessarily, has bars and clubs and boutiques and cafes and artisan everythings and is, currently, the place to go to see London’s most comprehensive selection of Street Art. But don’t delay – the art community will be ousted by money soon enough and another backwater found to start again (what’s the betting on Peckham and Bermondsey?)Shoreditch street art 014

We took the tour – fantastic value (try it yourself – we spent over four hours for our fifteen quid being shown everything). And because it was curated by the most knowledgeable guide it passed in a flash.

I can’t give you the exact route, and, indeed, that might be unfair on our curator but we started at Old Street roundabout (‘Silicon Roundabout’ to some), took in Great Eastern Street, off into the like of Phipp Street and the blocks there, across to the roads around the London College of Fashion, New Inn Yard and Bateman’s Row, winding our way towards Shoreditch High Street station. If you wander on your own you’ll find lots but you may miss some gems.

Shoreditch street art 015It would be both rather pointless, and not a little arrogant, if I tried to explain what we saw. Indeed I hesitate to ascribe the art to an artist because I’ll surely get some wrong (if I’m pretty sure, I will include the names).  However this will give you a flavour of the talent around in the hope that, if you find yourself in London you’ll find a half day and take the tour. If you want a little more information on what’s happening, click here. Though it is probably already out of date.

Shoreditch street art 016

Chewing gum man’s work

I learnt so much but mostly I learnt to LOOK.  I learnt that in a city of such bustle and rush as London you miss EVERYTHING if you don’t slow down once in a while and look down (and not at your phone). Or up. If you fail to look down you’ll miss Chewing Gum Man‘s work. Or up and you’ll miss the image on the right. I will leave you to enjoy the pictures and make up your own mind. Shoreditch street art 025






Shoreditch street art 044

famous French dude who painted on the Berlin wall Thierry Noir

Shoreditch street art 053

this doesn’t do it justice as this is a 3D picture made from exploding plaster – Vhils

Watch this, about exploding street art!

Shoreditch street art 065


Shoreditch street art 073

Pretty sure this is Phlegm

Shoreditch street art 059

Miss van

Shoreditch street art 071

Shoreditch street art 051

Clet, I think

Shoreditch street art 046

Phlegm? or Roa?

The only jarring note came courtesy of the Infant Terrible – in that he’s become his own icon – Banksy. People sell the walls, the buildings are massively more valuable with a Bansky on them. So much so that Bansky’s stencils are now being covered in screens to protect them and to stop them being painted over. Street art was intended to be ephemeral. Banksy said, in one work, ‘If graffiti changed anything it would be illegal’. Surely it becomes a corruption if it can’t disappear to the work of the next genius? Just saying…

Shoreditch street art 064

Loved this one; just round the side of the wall is a figure holding the string, waiting to give it a tug..

Shoreditch street art 072

there are some challenges between artists

Shoreditch street art 017 Shoreditch street art 023 Shoreditch street art 024 Shoreditch street art 026 Shoreditch street art 021 Shoreditch street art 028 Shoreditch street art 029 Shoreditch street art 031 Shoreditch street art 032 Shoreditch street art 035 Shoreditch street art 036 Shoreditch street art 038 Shoreditch street art 041 Shoreditch street art 042 Shoreditch street art 040


Shoreditch street art 048 Shoreditch street art 052 Shoreditch street art 058 Shoreditch street art 063 Shoreditch street art 069 Shoreditch street art 070 Shoreditch street art 039 Shoreditch street art 037

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in art, London, miscellany, street art, walking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Painting the town red (and blue and green) – a paean to London Street Art

  1. Norah says:

    Interesting what street art tells about a changing community. The tour sounds fascinating. Once an artist’s work needs to be saved for posterity then it needs to be other than street art?


    • TanGental says:

      I do love Banksy’s humour but it does distort the idea if you protect it. In Barcelona we came across a wall which was whitewashed every so often but in the meantime painted or whatever by street artists. Just fantastic and the ultimate in a self regulating community


      • Norah says:

        That’s an interesting idea. I like the sound of that. Self-regulating and ever-changing to reflect the mood and attitudes of the fluid community.


  2. willowdot21 says:

    Amazing art, as you say we all need to stop and look. xxx


  3. Charli Mills says:

    This is an awesome post! Love all the photos of the street art. The trains that pass by are often full of graffiti which can be artistic.


  4. Lisa Reiter says:

    Wow, I’d heard something of Banksy and the dilemma of protecting something that has become a phenomenon is a tricky one. Why have his stuff lost when there’s much drivel in the Tate Modern (Oh you heathen girl!) Love the clip of the exploding art! How long must that have taken in planning and preparation! Amazing


    • TanGental says:

      Ah but that’s what the Tate Modern is all about. It’ lie the chart show for artists. Or Glasto on the try out stages. If you looked at the charts of say 20 years ago, how much survives? It’s modern so it’s necessarily unfiltered by taste and cultural snobbery. But when you find a gem in amongst the pretentious, up your **** dross it’s so worth it. Like the RA summer exhibition, or the Turner. Loads to grimace at but then *big smile*


  5. Fantastic. I love the vibrancy of it.


  6. Rayray says:

    Amazing pictures!!!!! I’ll keep my eyes open from now on!


  7. Pingback: Dulwich Street Art – part one | TanGental

  8. JT Twissel says:

    It sounds like the Brooklyn area of London!

    Liked by 1 person

If you would like to reply please do so here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.