First words that come to mind when you hear Brick Lane: Banglatown, curry houses, trendy people, boutiques, pubs, cafes, record shop, but most of all: STREET ART! Brick Lane is only a 10-min walk from me so I see amazing street art come and go constantly. Last week I decided to go on a graffiti tour around Brick Lane and learn more about the most prominent artists and their background.
Thanks to the graffiti tour I am now able to make connections between the different works around Brick Lane I’ve photographed over the last years and discovered it’s actually not that difficult at all to find out who the artists are. All you have to do is search for the artist’s name (tag) in the street art piece and google it. You would expect that street artists would be very secretive and underground, but surprisingly lots of them have their own websites and social media accounts. Nowadays, street artists are even commissioned to create art for shops, galleries, media companies, organisations as the BBC and many more. I am very pleased to see this happen as many works look so stunning that I do feel that the creators should be recognised as true artists. When you see the photos of some of the works in this blog entry, you will see that these are indeed real street ART and much more than graffiti.
Here is just a small selection of photos taken on my graffiti tour. I will post more photos in the future so keep an eye on my blog! And also check out my Flickr page. I have a special Street art set on there.
ROA is one of the highly respected street artists. He is from Ghent, Belgium and famous for his (usually alive) bigger than life black & white animals.
The ‘stick people’ by London-based artist Stik are usually found on shutters and doors. They look very cute at first sight, but when you look a bit longer they actually seem to have a sad expression. There is even a very dark work by Stik, tucked away on Grimsby Street, a side street of Cheshire Street.
HIN from Hong Kong satirizes political figures in a very adorable way. I’ve seen some of his works before, often on doors and quite big. But on my way back home from the graffiti tour I came across a series of tiny cute politicians on a shop window on Bethnal Green Road. Here are just a few of them:
Also these works of sexy caged catwomen on Sclater Street by Saki&Bitches I hadn’t seen before.
And of course a graffiti tour wouldn’t be complete without a work by Banksy.
Different works come and go constantly. However, even in this fast-changing scene of tagging and claiming territory in public space, there is some kind of code of respect. Many street artists are so highly regarded that their works are left untouched by others. Sadly for the owner of this door on Fashion Street, this original Banksy artwork hasn’t been treated with that much respect. The owner has tried to protect the piece by nailing a piece of plastic on the door, but some clever person came along, tore off part of the safety glass and stuck their own poster over the Banksy piece. The combination of the text on the poster and the depicted action make an interesting result. Perhaps even more so if there would’ve been another poster underneath it with the text ‘ME?’ 😉
As a coincidence, just a few days after my graffiti tour Banksy, who is famous for his ludicrous publicity stunts, was in the news a few times. During his current residency in NYC he first of all sent a truck, filled with stuffed lamb toys ready for the slaughter house, drive around the Meatpacking District in NYC. Watch a video of it here.
This is just a selection from my archive. More photos to follow on my website. And don’t forget to check out my Flickr page!