Since we’re unable to stroll the streets of London at our leisure, we wanted to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the city’s sights by bringing the attractions to you! We’re focusing on our capital’s vibrant street art & sculptures as seen on the streets today, so here’s a top 5 of what you’re (no longer) missing!
The world famous mystery artist has become known for his creative input on social issues and thinking outside the box which, in London, is the best way to capture the attention of the locals in a rush to continue their daily lives. Due to his rise in fame, much of his work is now protected from the elements to stand as a symbol of passing trends. From the ‘Falling Shopper” in Mayfair, to “Love is in the Bin”, you never quite know what he’ll come up with next!
(Where to find Banksy’s work: Shoreditch, Bruton Street in Mayfair, Inside Cargo nightclub terrace on Rivington Street and Truman brewery yard)
Leake Street Tunnel
If you were enjoying your tour of London as normal today, you’d come across a 300m tunnel under Waterloo Station that is brimming with colour and personality. It’s known as the only place in London where you can get away with graffiti, even though it has never been legal to do so anywhere else. The tunnel was no different than any other in London until 2008, where our good friend Banksy held a street art festival and create a new hub for London’s art scene with the help of some of the most talented artists worldwide! The tunnel provides a unique spot for artists to hone their skills undisturbed, while for the casual onlooker, no two visits will ever be the same!
Timeless Movie Heroes
The latest additions to our city’s landscape are in the heart of our city’s film scene – Leicester Square in Soho. While these additions are sculptures and not the art we’ve come to love in our city, each of the statues represent an iconic Hollywood character dating as far back as the 1920’s. You’ll see Gene Kelly ‘Singin’ in the rain’, Mary Poppins prepped for takeoff with her umbrella and our famous Paddington Bear eating his beloved jam sandwiches on a nearby bench. Other notable features include Batman, WonderWoman & Mr Bean, which all bring a story of their own to an area that celebrates legends of film & theatre.
Unexpected art in unexpected places is the best way to describe the characters dotted across the arty East of the city – so this section is dedicated to the artists who have used the plain surfaces as a canvas for their latest ideas. From wall murals, to bridge makeovers and even interior takeovers, there’s an explosion of creativity on every corner, and particularly on Bream Street, Dace Road, Smeed Road & Stour Road. Once the lockdown is over, this area will once again become a beacon for the artists all over the UK who are looking to make their mark (literally) on the world around them.
Zabou’s Famous Shutters
When the office hours wind down and the home commute begins (or, for many of us, the first of an after-work drink or two), this is just when Zabou’s work comes to life. The closing of stores & windows on Brick Lane provides the street with a whole new personality, as characters come creeping out of nowhere to catch your eye (and provide the perfect photo opportunity!). While many stores remain closed during this period the empty streets are showing these pieces more often than usual, but during normal London life these hidden gems are best seen outside of office hours.
Where to find: Brick Lane & Bastadrilla on Pedley Street
London is alive and ever changing, which is thanks to the abundance of creative minds who live amongst the towers & ever busy streets. What makes our city beautiful is the people who put their ideas onto paper (or in this case, concrete) for the rest of us to see.
What will be the next famous installation to our city?
Did you know? Art usually lasts around 4 weeks before removal, providing a constantly changing landscape for visitors to enjoy time after time!
Looking for a new place to visit? Best Arty Areas: Shoreditch, Brick Lane, Hackney Wick, Spitalfields, Camden Town
It might be illegal, but some of these are the humble beginnings of a famous career in street art
Written by Jon Orrells