I recently discovered Shoreditch street art via an Alternative Ldn street art tour and can highly recommend them. We learned so much and were surprised to see so many art forms other than graffiti and murals, which is what we were expecting. It was rounded off by a workshop where we were taught how to use spray cans and produced our own works of art!
The tour starts near Old Street station but even as we made our way there from the Boxpark area we saw a few interesting murals en route!
This is produced by Brazilian Veracidade, whose Instagram feed is here.
Memi Martinez is the Argentinian artist who produced this surreal wall mural and you can visit her Instagram feed here.
Shoreditch street art tour
We met tour guide Emilie, an artist herself, near Old Street station. She immediately showed us some of the more unusual street art, namely some examples by Chewing Gum Man, aka Ben Wilson. Ben creates mini masterpieces all over London by decorating discarded chewing gum, and is on a mission to embellish all the gum on the Millenium Bridge. I bet 99.99% of Londoners who walk over his art never give it a second glance!
Here are some examples.
You can explore more in Ben’s Instagram feed.
We walked from Old Street through Shoreditch, winding our way through Hackney to Hoxton which is where we stopped at Alternative Ldn HQ for our workshop.
Here are some of the murals and graffiti we saw on the way.
Here is some of the iconic typography by Ben Eine (follow him on Instagram here). Ben is one of the most prolific street artists in the last 25 years and has been featured in exhibitions worldwide including San Francisco and Los Angeles. He shot to mainstream fame when one of his pieces was presented to President Barack Obama by then Prime Minister David Cameron.
Thierry Noir was one of the forerunners of street art in his native Berlin, using the wall as his canvas. This piece is in Shoreditch and you can see his other work on Instagram.
Around the corner is an image of Bob Marley by Jimmy C. Jimmy has a unique style, using small blobs of sprayed paint to create his images. It takes massive control to create the blobs with consistently sized drips, and I can’t imagine how much his fingers must ache after making so many tiny squirts of paint! Jimmy’s Instagram feed shows his incredible work from around the world. You can also see his stunning William Shakespeare piece in my post about things to do in London, and also his ‘hearts’ tribute to the London Bridge terror victims near Borough Market.
Emilie then took us down a secret alley to see this piece by Cranio, another Brazilian artist who paints really striking blue men! His Instagram feed is full of them and I really like them.
French artist Gregos produces masks and sticks them all over Paris, and to date there are over 1000 there, and around the world. He has added a few in the East End, including this one. He is puckering up for a selfie and would love people to have their photo taken with it and tag him! You can see more of his unique art on Instagram here.
We stopped at the former studio of Stik, who paints stick men in a seemingly simple but effective way. He has various pieces around London and there is a map of his murals on his website here. He has a book of his work too, and you can buy it here.
Very close to the Stik studio is a Banksy, in Cargo bar. It is safely encased with a plastic cover so that it doesn’t get damaged. This wall is worth in excess of £1million! Banksy is famously anonymous and isn’t on Facebook or Twitter, but you can follow him on Instagram to see what he has produced recently.
If you’re a Banksy fan then read all about his work in this book which you can buy here.
Here is another stunning mural in Redemption bar.
Just across from Cargo is this stencil work by Bambi, who has been christened the ‘female Banksy’. Bambi is similarly anonymous and rumours of her true identity are rife with some suggesting she is Paloma Faith, who studied art at Central St Martins college before having a successful music career. I do love a mystery!
Here are more examples of Ben Eine’s work, with the Scary piece being close to Cargo Bar.
Here is another Thierry Noir, again near to Cargo Bar which seems to be a very popular area for Shoreditch street art!
Some street artists work by adding shapes or stickers to road signs. This is a great example, turning this No Entry sign into something else. It’s interesting how it also has anti-Eine stickers added to, maybe because artists feel like he’s sold out?
Jonesy is one of the more unusual street artists as he produces bronze sculptures and places them on top of street signs and poles, so that they are hidden in plain sight. If you are just wandering around the streets then you don’t tend to look up, so would be oblivious to Jonesy’s work. Here is one example of an intricate bronze sculpture in Hackney. There are many others dotted around Shoreditch, so make sure you look up when you next visit!
This amazing portrait is on a Hoxton housing estate. It’s by Dreph and is of Hassan Hajjaj, a British-Moroccan artist best known for his colourful photographic portraits. You can follow Dreph on Instagram here, and find out more about Hajjaj on his Insta feed here.
Comfort of the modern slave is a massive mural by Alex Void just off Hackney Road.
At the end of the official Shoreditch street art tour we were treated to a graffiti workshop where we learned how to use spray cans and stencils. Alternative Ldn have an all-weather space where students can practise on the walls, and we were let loose to design our own pieces.
We practised creating our own tags, although mine wasn’t very creative!
And so ended our official Shoreditch street art tour with Alternative Ldn. If you click on this link then you can read reviews on TripAdvisor and book your own tour. I didn’t include all the Shoreditch street art pieces which they described so that if you do the tour then you will discover some new art, but I would highly recommend them simply because they know many of the artists and are able to provide a fantastic insight into the meaning behind many of the different art forms.
We then walked the length of Brick Lane, scooting into various alleys, nooks and crannies to see some of the more hidden murals. Here are some of the best examples that we saw.
This is by French artist Zabou, who is based in London and produces stunning portrait murals. If you check out her Instagram feed you’ll see what I mean, including portraits of Amy Winehouse, Robin Williams and Sid Vicious.
Tom Blackford, an illustrator and artist based in London, created this mural and you can see more on his website here. including commercial commissions, graffiti and street work.
This is an iconic mural which is reproduced in every Shoreditch street art blog you’ll read, and although I like to be different and show some of the more unusual pieces, I couldn’t leave it out because it is such an amazing painting.
Shok-1 creates unique x-ray style wall murals and has been producing street art since the early 80s. They are freehand and don’t involve stencils or tape. You can see more examples of his work and buy prints on his website here.
This mural is by Origami Riots, aka Airborne Mark, and you can see his website here and buy prints of his work.
Benjaycrossman is a South African artist and produced this striking piece of Shoreditch street art.
London-based artist Selven Munian produced this tribute to the late Peter Firmin, the creator of Bagpuss. See more on his Instagram feed here.
I haven’t included many paste-ups as I cover these in more depth in my Best Paste Ups In Shoreditch and Brighton post, but as the ones below weren’t featured there I’ve sneaked them into this post. I do like paste-ups and I think it’s great as you can work on it in the comfort of your home or studio and then nip out under cover of night to put them up really quickly.
The top paste-up below is by Alo, who is based in London and Paris but originally from Italy and produces expressionist style pieces. He is inspired by people he sees on the street, and they end up as street art themselves! You can see more on his website here. The lower paste up is the debut by Pinkswami, whose Insta feed is here and more of her work can be seen on my paste-up post.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the best Shoreditch street art! If you are planning a trip to London then click on the link below to see what deals you can get.
Or if you are planning a day trip then the most convenient way to get to Shoreditch is to travel by train, but if you have to drive then beware of extortionate car park prices. To save money I use JustPark to book a cheap space in advance and you can park there for as little as £10 for a whole day, which is great value in London. Click here to get a great deal on parking!
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