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 stages 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?)
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.
It 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 Though it is probably already out of date.
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.
Watch this, about exploding street art!
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…