East London has (in my opinion) some of the world’s coolest street art, especially around the Brick Lane area.
I’ve become so obsessed with street art after all the amazing examples I’ve seen in Cape Town, Vienna and Manchester this year that I’ve even made a whole section on this blog for it.
As London is only an hour from me, it was my natural next destination.
I took an awesome tour with Free Tours by Foot which I’d really recommend for the useful facts and info from the guide. These tours are free (but a tip is recommended – I usually give £5) so it’s a great way to see the sights for minimal expense. Saying that, it’s not hard to find the art if you know where to look, plus I often prefer doing things without a group so I can take as long as I want.
If you’re like me and want to seek out the art solo, here’s my guide. Follow the stops in this order!
Please note that where the street art changes regulaly, if you can’t find a piece it may have been painted over. This info is accurate as of October 2017.
We departed Whitechapel Gallery as a group and walked around the corner to Wentworth Street where the first thing we saw was this lifelike fox. I usually enjoy abstract, colourful art (I’m no minimalist – the brighter and more fun something is, the more I’m usually drawn to it) but I liked how real this image looked. I marvelled at the skill that must have gone into it and how all the strokes making up the fur were different shades of red and brown.
On the other side of the road is a little inclave (okay, a bin alley – I don’t know why I’m trying to make this sound more glam) with a few designs including this one. Apparently the artist, ARTiSTA, likes to paint toast with feet (check out her other pieces here). As my fellow bloggers will know, there’s nothing like a niche!
From Wentworth Street, make a turn onto Fashion Street where you’ll probably spend AGES as there’s so much there. My all-time favourite was this sassy looking purple woman.
Right at the end of Fashion Street as you’re about to join Brick Lane, you’ll find this father and daughter image on a Pho shop. Vietnamese food and street art combined? I might as well have died and gone to heaven!
Below the murial, I’ve included a close-up of the paint splats. It’s crazy how many shades and how much detail go into just one design.
At the end of Fashion Street you’ll meet Brick Lane – home to food and shopping galore. Instead of getting sucked in right away though, cross over to Heneage Street. This gold woman by artist Benslow was freshly painted when I visited.
The best alleyway!!
This was the coolest area included in the tour I think! It’s a little cul de sac / dead end doubling up for car parking and bin storage, and as far as I can see it doesn’t have a name.
However, if you’re walking on Brick Lane it’s the left turning between Fashion Street and Fournier Street. The entrance is right by Saffron restaurant.
Just metres from the cool alley you’ll find Fournier Street. This piece by SHOK-1 is one of a few in the area showing bones, this one including a peace sign (or is it a rude sign? Art is how you interpret it, I guess).
I also really liked the colourful monkey and space-themed girl on this street.
What I love about the Brick Lane art is that almost no walking is required. Okay, that makes me sound really lazy but I love how easy it is. Hanbury Street is on the other side of Brick Lane from Fournier Street, two turns down from Heneage Street.
Here you can see a big crane and in the next image, an abstract painting that includes a giant ice cream and what I think is a man lying underneath it. This isn’t a realistic piece but I quite like trying to figure out what my eyes are seeing – a bit like a puzzle.
Don’t miss the little area beside this WHATISADAM image of two people sharing a can of maple syrup (no prizes for guessing the artist is Canadian). In there you’ll find a couple of stalls serving jerk chicken and these absolutely glorious gold and blue faces. I wonder what they’re telling a story about. I think they’re incredible!
We ended the tour at the food truck area next to Corbet Place (off Hanbury Street) where we saw a final SHOK-1 piece.
There we go, friends!
Honestly this tour put me in the best mood full of creative energy and colourful visual stimulants. Whatever light bulb doesn’t get switched on in me by traditional gallery art, I get strobe lights, disco balls and fireworks from street art.
I hope you have the best time exploring!! DO let me know any other Brick Lane finds you make as I’d love to add them to the blog. Here’s that Free Tours by Foot link again – their itineraires often change to include new pieces.
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