Around London, everybody seems to walk with a purpose; they never stop to fully survey or appreciate their surroundings. We have become immune to the subtle art that London has to offer aside from the concrete jungle that is the heart of the city. However, I would like to draw your attention to one area in particular where art is in abundance and that area is Shoreditch.
Shoreditch is ever evolving and a cultural hub for London’s urban art scene. On first glance, the art that sprawls across the belly of tunnels, walls, lampposts and letterboxes might look like any old graffiti. But on closer inspection, every piece is unique and tells its own story, colouring London’s streets with energy and character. However, the art is not limited to Shoreditch high street alone, but instead spreads to engulf every side street and alley that maps off of the main road. So with every turn you are confronted with something new and the discoveries are endless.
My friend and I took a spontaneous trip to Shoreditch last Saturday and did not get home until 9 in the evening! It was so refreshing to spend all day outside and away from technology, losing ourselves talking and laughing as we struck poses for Instagram worthy photos with the art as our backdrop. (Oh and of course it also helped that we did not have to spend any money!) At the end of the day we argued over our favourite art pieces and overall we were blown away by the sheer scale and diversity of the art, with some pieces dominating the whole side of buildings and some pieces as small as our hands. Also, how culturally rich the street art was, incorporating traditional British symbols and mottos as well as those from countries around the world such as China, Japan, Brazil – the list is endless. We found ourselves linking several art pieces to the same artist, noticing their distinct style. What was also clear was the fact that some of the art was relatively fresh which makes it possible to deduce that beneath each piece are layers upon layers of art that has been buried. Therefore, it is fair to say that the canvas that is Shoreditch is constantly being altered and painted over as time progresses so that something new will crop up with every visit you make.
So my proposal to you is to grab a friend, or go solo, and take yourself to Shoreditch for a treasure hunt of street art. Pick out the pieces that speak most to you and then describe them in the comments section at the end of this article. Throughout this article, I have included images of my personal favourites but I am sure I have not discovered all the art that Shoreditch has to offer and I am sure that I never will, but that is the beauty of it! A short walk from Shoreditch is Brick Lane and in the opposite direction, Old Spitalfields Market, both of which boast of more street art along the way.
If you take only one thing away from the article, let it be this: that London is beautiful, there is art everywhere, you just have to look to find it. So next time you find yourself in a rush, slow down (or even stop) and take a moment to find something that makes you smile before resuming your journey.
Nearest tube station to Shoreditch High Street: Old Street