Street art has gone from vandalism to high art in recent years as artists like Banksy, Stik, JR, Invader and Blek le Rat have won the public over with their innovative and provocative works. London stands at the forefront of this graffiti revolution, and has become one of the greatest destinations in the world for street art. We profile five London neighborhoods in which to find the best street art.
Known for its bars, clubs, and pop-up stores, Shoreditch is one of the most popular neighbourhoods for street artists. From Stik to ROA, Sweet Toof, and Ben Eine, Shoreditch bears some of the city’s best graffiti. Stik is one of the best-known artists in the area, popular for his ‘stik people.’ For a comprehensive tour of Shoreditch’s best street art, allow Shoreditch Street Art Tours to be your guide.
Brick Lane is where ‘street art fever’ truly began. Brick Lane is one of London’s cultural centres; from the international food market to al fresco bars, the area is covered in incredible graffiti. Perhaps the best known and most important work of street art is Banksy’s 2008 French Maid. Brick Lane’s street art was created with the help of Global Street Art – an organization that has commissioned over 850 legal murals. Every year, artists from all over the world are invited to join summer event A day when art lets its hair down for a day.
Camden Market is world famous, but local street artists are becoming what all the hype is about. Due to the popularity of Camden’s street art scene, local tours are now offered by Camden Street Tours in collaboration with Global Street Art, during which more than 100 artworks can be viewed. One of the most popular artists in the area is Bambi, also known as “the female Banksy”—she appeared on the street art’s radar with her portrait of the famous singer Amy Winehouse on a Camden door. The artist’s identity is still unknown, although she is believed to be a “successful recording artist who studied at Central St Martins’ School of Art.”
Brixton Skate Park is another popular destination for street art. The space, in comparison to other areas, is restricted, and new works pop up regularly. The area gained popularity for the Save Brixton Arches Campaign, where street artists united for the cause and demonstrated their support by leaving their artworks on the walls of Brixton. Nathan Bowen is one of the best known artists in the movement; his drawings are dynamic and experimental. The artist utilises acrylic paint and pencils to create his masterpieces; he is known to identify surfaces considered to be ruined, and transforms them into works of art.
The Southbank Centre donated the walls of its celebrated skate park to street artists, now run in collaboration with Global Street Art. The best street art is found near the skate park, which holds various festivals. The murals have been endangered in the past, but the area remains an ideal location for graffiti-viewing.