London is one of the best cities in the world for artists (and art in general), and nowhere is this truer than in Shoreditch. As one of the neighbourhoods with the most outstanding artistic tradition, Shoreditch is a perpetually-cool-bordering-on-hipster hub and home to much of London’s urban art. The district has a large number of famous and unique works sure to pique your interest as an art connoisseur or merely an avid traveller. Here’s our pick of the best to look out for.
Camille Walala’s colourful display on the Splice Building
Camille Walala`s ‘Dream Come True’ gives the district a much-needed burst of colour and joy, giving contrast to the grey concrete of Old Street. Taking up all of the building’s facade, Dream Come True is a colourful combination of dots, lines, and blocks to make an outstanding visual statement. The work of Walala is one of our favourites; the bold and bright use of colours and the eighties influence in the design is definitely a different way to fill the street with life!
Red Gallery, Rivington Street
If you ever wonder what the city would be like empty, then we recommend walking from Old Street to Shoreditch High Street before 10 am on a Sunday morning. While the world sleeps off its a collective hangover, it’s the perfect landscape to take some photos in the middle of the road, with barely a soul in sight! It’s also the perfect sort of time to enjoy all the street art without the busy crowds and hoards of tourists getting in the way.
The exterior of the once well known Red Gallery on Rivington Street is the perfect example of some of the world’s hottest urban artists. Sadly, The Red Gallery itself is no longer there anymore (it closed in June 2018), but that hasn’t stopped its walls from continuing to display some of the best street art in Shoreditch.
The current work on the gallery’s facade, ‘Saoirse 68’ by Anne McCloy is one of the important figures within the street art scene in London. You also can spot pieces by Georgian artistTamoonz, Spanish artists El Rughi and Jose Mendez, as well as British Sam King, lower down on the walls. Honestly, there are so many pieces of awesome graffiti in Shoreditch on and around this one building that it’s a great one to visit if you only have limited time in the area.
Banksy’s ‘Graffiti Area’ Artwork
Perhaps the most famous street artist in the world, Banksy was one of those incredible artists that helped to bring Shoreditch street art to the global stage.
His most notorious work in the area is located on the back of Cargo nightclub’s beer garden on Rivington Street. While lots of the art by Banksy has either been eroded by time or removed by the authorities, this particular piece survived due to the artist’s own dramatic rise to fame, making it less of a nuisance and more of a valued part of cultural art which fans and followers have gone to great lengths to protect from the ravages of time and council intrusion.
New Inn Yard
Next up on our unmissable street art tour, head down Great Eastern Street and turn left onto New Inn Yard.
We know it’s wrong to have favourites, but we really love Mr Cenz’s work. He’s one of Shoreditch’s most prolific and visible artists and has been a seminal figure in the London street art scene since the 80s. No street art tour of London or piece on street art in Shoreditch would be complete without seeing some of his work. His surrealist takes on large-scale murals, complete with bold lettering and technicoloured strokes, has established him as one of London’s most exciting urban artists.
Mural at 5th Base Gallery
Located on the outside of the 5th Base Gallery, this mural is one of Mr Cenz’s most recent additions to the Shoreditch area. Whether you’re a devoted art enthusiast or just like to look and take some good photos for your Instagram, you’ll be astonished by the work of this incredible artist. Mr Cenz is one of London’s leading street-art lights – and this is one of his most stunning works, with surrealistic touches and a technicolour vibe.
King John Court
The small trinity formed by New Inn Yard, King John Court, and Holywell Lane is absolutely packed with some of Shoreditch’s most creative and fantastic street art murals.
The building on the corner of King John’s Court is entirely covered in pieces by Busk, Dr Zadok, Ninth Sea, and Captain Kris (to name but a few). Those with keen eyes will notice that the mural on New Inn Street actually forms part of the same set of paintings – all of which revolve around the idea of connectivity.
This idea of connectivity, taking from the past, present, and future is an expression from a theoretical concept and brought to life in these jaw-dropping murals. It truly is not to be missed!
Railway Hoardings Underneath Shoreditch Overground Line
Running underneath the overground line that leads to nearby Shoreditch High Street station, is another neat little spot filled with Shoreditch graffiti.If you are lucky enough, you even can bump into some artists expanding the gallery – if you know what I mean!
Just on the other side of Hanbury Street, you can also pop into the car park where murals crop up quite frequently.
Moving on into the very heart of Shoreditch, Brick Lane currently has some large-scale work to show you.
One of our current favourite installations is by an artist known as Zabou. Zabou is another of the important names that you can see in various street art around the city; you can always find his pieces dotted around London. The French artist has been living in London since 2012 and has been bringing the capital’s walls to life ever since.
One of his most famous pieces, ‘Spray’ sits proudly on Brick Lane (just across from Grimsby Street). The piece is rich with bright hues, capturing the viewer’s eye with its unmasked political and religious connotations. Even though it’s been partially covered, it’s still hanging in there… for now.
Take a guided street art tour
There are plenty of guided tours of the graffiti in Shoreditch. The good thing is that you get a lot more background information on a guided tour – particularly if you book onto a private one.
Have you seen a spectacular piece of street art lately? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll add them to my Shoreditch street art guide. Of course, the street art mentioned in this piece will continue to change over the coming months and years, but the places featured are long-standing canvasses for artists, so there should always be something to see in those spots.