London is a street art paradise. On a random walk you’re likely to come across some phenomenal pieces by local and international artists.
Street art is such a big thing in London right now, that most days of the week you choose between several walking tours all about street art.
You can also buy works by street artists at a gallery dedicated to urban art, StolenSpace.
Everybody’s heard of Banksy, who’s been making street art in London for more than 10 years now, with his witty political statements. But there are many other street artists active all over London.
Walking around the city I’ve found some magnificent murals. While you know they may disappear within a week, some really leave their mark.
The scene is thriving and overflowing with creativity, despite the risk of seriously high penalties for illegal street art .
Some works are commissioned of course, and some are made with permission. That’s a good sign that the city and the locals are learning to appreciate street art.
The Brick Lane area in East London is particularly well known for attracting creative artists.
Take a walk around, explore all the side streets, and you’ll find yourself in a huge, ever-changing street exhibition. The colourful murals are especially eye-catching.
The Crane is a piece by ROA, a street artist from Belgium who is known for his black and white animals.
The work next to it is an upside down, shirtless member of the Queen’s Guard.
This is a beautiful piece in Brick Lane by Chilean street art duo Un Kolor Distinto Crew.
Another eye popping one off Brick Lane, by Stink:
More cool art I found around Brick Lane and its side streets:
Drip Art by Jimmy C
Another gorgeous piece off Brick Lane depicts a father holding his daughter.
It’s painted in the drip art technique – the entire painting is made out of spots of spray paint. Like the street version of pointillism.
One of the most famous pieces by Jimmy C, again in the drip painting technique, is the portrait of David Bowie in Brixton.
It’s become a shrine for his fans after his death and is now covered by a piece of clear perspex to protect it.
See more great work from Jimmy C on his Instagram.
Portraits of Black Women by Dreph
I’ve saved the best for last. This is hands down my favoutire series of works around London right now.
Dreph is a London-based, British-Ghanaian artist who makes portraits of black women. These are big, vivid and colourful murals.
The idea behind this project is to give visibility to these women, all of them women Dreph knows in real life who are doing extraordinary things in their community. Nobody else is telling their story, so he decided to do that.
As it’s street art, some of these gorgeous portraits have been painted over by other street artists, but luckily they’re all documented online – check out the art on Dreph’s Instagram.
London street art guided tours
There’s a pretty good selection of guided tours in London that you can take to explore the street art scene.
The guide will not only show you some hidden gems, but will also tell you the stories behind the pieces, anecdotes about the artists and how the street art scene is evolving.
I took a guided tour and learned a lot.
I listed some of the tours here, after filtering for the ones with good reviews online:
- Street Art Walking Tour and Workshop in London
- Street Art London Tours
- London East End and Shoreditch Street Art Walking Tour
- Street Art & Graffiti Tour
- Shoreditch Street Art Tours