East London street art

This is a follow-up post to the review of my food tour around the Spitalfields and Shoreditch area of London. You can read about the food here.

The street art totally blew me away. It was unexpected. I’ve never seen anything like it. Every wall, every surface, everywhere I looked there were artistic creations – graffiti, models, sculptures, modern installations, hidden motifs repeated and fun to spot. Even the buildings we saw were beautiful and had stories to tell. It was overwhelming. I took a gazillion photos. If we hadn’t be walking, I’d have taken a lot more.

I don’t know about art. Our guide, Emily, did mention some famous names in the street art world. The only one I recognised was Banksy. So I’m afraid this isn’t a well-informed blog post. It’s just a collection of photos of things that caught my eye and added to the vibrant, bustling atmosphere of the day. I’ll start with the old stuff.

Historical

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Evidence of the huge population of Irish immigrants that once existed.

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“Soup kitchen for the Jewish Poor”. We were told that those in need had to bring their own bowl, enter through the right-hand door where were issued with enough soup or stew to sustain the number of children they had, then they’d leave immediately (with their rations) through the left-hand door. The kitchen closed in 1999.

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Old and new

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The facade of this old building is listed. So they built a modern monstrosity behind it. They didn’t even bother lining up the windows!

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Motif in the pavement near the old Truman brewery.

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Looking through the window of Mr Truman’s house.

Modern

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Brick Lane

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The Brick Lane mosque. Old building with a new purpose.

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A jumble of images. I love the tiny figures near the bottom.

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Could’ve stared at this one for ages. So much to take in!

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This appealed to me. No idea of the artist or why.

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The smaller car in the clear box (bottom right of the picture) is a Banksy piece. The white emblem on the left is by a famous French street artist called Space Invader. We saw lots of his work all around the streets.

The red and black painting is by Shepard Fairey, who became super famous for his image of Obama. Google him. I guarantee you’ll recognise that picture without even knowing about the artist.

But my favourite is the huge gold-coloured bow. You can’t see it very well in this photo coz it’s behind a lamppost but on the building directly opposite…

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…were all the arrows!

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I never see graffiti this good around my town.

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Saw a few huge paintings in this style. My best mate is a big fan and tells me the artist is a Belgian called ROA.

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The detail is incredible. My kids loved these pictures too. Google ROA. His work is amazing.

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Lots of tiny things to see here. The dinosaur fossil plaque at the top we spotted several times on our walk. And the little orange fool/snail appeared in different places too…

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Saw lots of these too. Different expressions and colours. The signature looks like Regos. Fascinating.

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Even the traffic signs were embellished!

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This is a familiar image to me. My mum used to doodle this all the time when I was little. She says the character was known as Chad. It’s an image from my childhood.

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And finally, I was chuffed to find a bit of crochet among all the gritty urban art! Maybe there’s a tiny bit of an artist in me too.

So if you’re stuck for something to do over the weekend or wondering how to keep the kids entertained over the Easter holidays, jump on a train to London. As long as you can afford the train fare, you can take sandwiches if you’re doing it on a budget. Wander around Shoreditch and Spitalfields. You won’t regret it.

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