In the last year the London street art scene has expanded over the entire city, even into areas previously hardly known to the average Londonder or tourist. While Shoreditch in east London is still the most significant go-to area to see the best works on display, areas as Camden in north London are up and coming when it comes to fine street art as well (as you could read in a previous post about my street art adventures in Camden).
When I saw photos of this work below by Conor Harrington appear on Instagram, I obviously had to find out where exactly I could find it. I discovered it was part of the Wood Street Walls project in Walthamstow, an area faaaaaaaaar away in north-east London I had never heard of before. I felt adventurous on one sunny and hot June afternoon, so I slipped into my comfy (yet stylish of course) Birkenstocks, slopped on 30+ sunscreen and went on a street art trail adventure.
This piece by Conor Harrington is just as epic and impressive in real life as it is in the photos. Just to see this piece in person was well worth the trip to Walthamstow. Make sure you exit Walthamstow Central at the Station Approach exit rather than Selborne Road. From there it’s only a short walk to Edison Close.
Although I had a map on my phone with all 14 street artworks (go to the bottom of this post to see the map), I had some difficulties locating some of them. I blame this mostly on my awful sense of direction, but also partially on the map which is a bit unclear on the correct street names. It is rather ironic that I chose to be a tour guide as I excel in getting lost, but don’t worry, I’ve never got lost on one of my own Shoreditch art & history tours so far and got my routes pretty much nailed by now 😉
Anyway, finding the artwork by Fanakapan was quite a challenge. After walking up and down the same street for about four times and getting puzzled looks from the road workers, I finally found the entrance to The Mall shopping centre on Selborne Road where I found Fanakapan’s outstanding artwork in his famous 3D balloon style. Tip: try to enter the carpark directly from Selborne Road instead of walking through the shopping centre down to the carpark, this will save you quite a walk as the artwork is right at the exit of the carpark. I can imagine it gets quite busy here in the weekend, so try to come down early morning or during the week to take good photos of the work.
The following mural on Jewel Road is by Carne Griffiths who primarily works with calligraphy inks, graphite and liquids, such as tea, brandy and vodka. I had never seen any of his artworks before, but found these portraits truly beautiful.
I had almost missed this massive mural by Irony + Boe on Hoe Street, were it not that I stopped to take a photo of the handsome red pub Ye Olde Rose & Crown right next to it. I’m a huge fan of these guys so was relieved to find this ‘hidden’ piece after all.
Here’s a detail of the stunning foxes.
Many photographs later, I continued my way north on Hoe Street till I reached another beautiful pub: the Bell Pub.
Right opposite the pub you can see this breathtaking mural by Dale Grimshaw.
Also opposite the pub is this mural by Mr Cenz in one of his typical styles: a futuristic portrait of a woman.
Wynwood Art Cafe on 24 Chingford Road is just a few doors down from Bell Pub. The ladies behind the counter didn’t mind I didn’t order any of their delicious cakes or coffees, but encouraged me to go to their terrace to take a photo of this work by artist collective Static.
Static are the only artists (so far) to have multiple artworks in the area. After a 10-min walk from the cafe, you can find this colourful and playful piece on Victoria Road.
On my way to Victoria Road I came across this stunning view of the Walthamstow Town Hall on Forest Road. I admit it doesn’t look that impressive in the photo as it did in real life. I followed the example of other people around and sat down in the shade for a while, giving my poor blistered feet a rest.
Below is a photo of the Walthamstow Assembly Hall, an art deco building that’s often used for weddings, concerts, dinner receptions etc. I was rather struck by the slogan on the façade: ‘Fellowship is Life and the Lack of Fellowship is Death’. Right after reading this, I quickly lifted my heels and continued my street art walk 😉
From the second Static piece, it’s just a few minutes’ walk to this fluorescent work by art collective Toasters. The colours of this mural popped right off the wall and it was one the best works by them I’ve seen. The collective have been around for 15 years now and spread their toasters all over the world.
On the next street I found this lovely mural by ATM in the Brandon Road carpark. Typically there were hardly any cars there, but just this red one decided to park right in front of this piece!
ATM paints murals of birds that are (nearly) extinct and his aim is to create awareness of our environment. I’ve once had the pleasure to meet him and we had a surreal conversation about art, animals, my dad’s bird collection, literature, theatre and much more I cannot recall anymore. I do remember laughing a lot during a highly intelligent discourse (at least it felt like it at the moment).
This following mural was a real challenge to find. This time not (only) because of my flawed sense of direction, but also the illogical roads in England. After an interesting detour, I finally managed to find my way to Ravenswood Industrial Estate, quite a dodgy area which I was happy to visit during the day. Here I found the following mural by Bonsai, which blended in perfectly with the surroundings.
The final artwork on the map was this elaborate work by Phlegm, which is tucked away in a residential area. This was definitely one of the highlights of the tour as I love all the work by this Sheffield-based artist. After venturing all the way to E17, I’m considering a ‘pilgrimage’ to Sheffield in pursuit of more work by Phlegm.
On my way back to Walthamstow Central I came across this graveyard and interesting sign…
If you want to see all the artworks in person, hop on down the Victoria Line or Overground to Walthamstow Central and follow this map (and my additional tips in this post). This is the latest version of the map and lists a few new artworks that weren’t up there yet when I visited the area. Click on it for a bigger version and download it onto your phone.
If you liked this post, you might be also interested in these previous ones.