Want to go street art hunting in London? Start with Shoreditch, incredibly rich in creativity when it comes to murals, stencils, wheat pastes, colours and styles. Grab your camera and come with us! We have listed the best places in the neighbourhood to find gems. Enjoy some street food at The Kitchens in Old Spitalfields Market and make your way to Old Street tube station. Make sure you’ve planned a whole afternoon, though. There is so, so much to see: Eine, Dscreet, C3, Stik, C215, James Cochran are only a few of the iconic names around… With each street listed below, we’ve listed a few pieces that have been there quite a long time, sometimes years. Street art being ephemeral, there is a chance they might have been replaced by another awesome piece by the time you get there. The locations marked by stars on the map are sure to always have amazing work on show.
Just a minute walk from Old Spitalfields Market, in the pretty neighbourhood filled with Huguenot houses still. Stop by #4, which door always is rainbow cheerful. There is a stunning piece by Paul Don Smith, known for his multi-layered stencil portraits.
There are a few pieces along the street but the best place is at number #33, the front of the former shop framing bigger art works beautifully, like this amazing woman’s face by French artist Manyoly. Among the smaller pieces are Disney like birds by Neon Savage, a David Bowie paste-up by VOXX Romana (a Portland based street artist giving “his images the power to speak for themselves, wordlessly impacting lives”), a skull by Uberfubs. Known as the Street Jeweller, he adorns his illustrations with sequins or pearls. He also worked with Smiler on an alternative portrait of the Queen, complete with googly eyes and funky decorations. Don’t miss Shok-1’s X-ray mural on the other side of the street, named Master Peace. Admirable given that he creates that effect with spray paint!
Courtyard on Brick Lane (between Magna and the 7 stars bar)
It’s easy to walk right by this one, a passage opening onto a tiny parking, fit only for a few cars. It’s a real Aladdin’s cave! Among the outstanding artists featured there, look out for ELNO, a Spanish street artist, illustrator and painter finding her inspiration in theatre and circus. Her pieces blend human characters with animal details. Note the “Dump Trump, another piece by Uberfub. The yard always has a few murals which usually survive a few months each. We particularly love the two portraits featured below… The left one is by Carleen De Sözer, famous for her Afrocentric airbrushed pieces, the right one by Dreph, who celebrates “amazing women who are not given the visibility they deserve”.
All street art tours stop in this street to see Stik’s mural. The artist, once homeless, started painting simple but touching (stick like) figures which led him to be invited by galleries and make a name from his creations. Princelet Street features a couple holding hands. It’s been tagged upon a few times but the artist and locals, very fond of the piece, always bring it back to its glory. It’s been there since 2010! Nearby also are miniature masks by j.ace, a lovely parallel to these interracial sweethearts.
Azeem Hairdresser (Brick Lane)
Stop to admire C215’s portrait, left on the door. Some say the artists is France’s answer to Banksy… No sarcasm here but stencil graffiti of elders, beggars or, like here, children using a mesmerising range of colours.
Hanbury Street (from Brick Lane down)
There always is so much here… The first piece you will probably notice is Roa’s giant crane. His black and white murals focus on animals and often combine the concepts of life and death but showing the skeleton under their skin. On its left is Argentinian Painter Martin Ron’s hand standing man, wearing a bearskin cap. Both have been there for years. The gate of the courtyard features a colourful series of ethnic masks by Senzart 911, an African designer. On the other side of the street is a recent addition (July 2018), painted by Spanish artist Sr. X (pronounce Señor X): a man with his hair on fire, holding a lighter in his hand. A look at his Instagram account reveals it is named “The Itching”.
Look out for mosaics, wheat pastes, tiny sculptures in that area then walk all the way down the street. The local Cash and Carry’s wall is used for impressive, full size murals. The latest piece, marking the 20th anniversary of Refugee Week, was painted by Iranian refugee and artist Majid Adin. Persecuted for his writings and cartoons criticising his country’s religious conservatism, forced to flee his home, he arrived in the UK in 2016, hidden in a refrigerator, at the back of a cargo truck. His story is a happy one: his talent has been widely recognised and he now creates music videos for the likes of Sir Elton John.
Iconic pieces: a pink car decorated by Banksy, another vehicle crushed by a D*Face sculpture, a giant Obey and Space Invader mural… At the back is Ronzo’s Credit Crunch monster, coin in hand… Our favourite is Elvis, on the entrance gate of the yard: another of Shok-1’s X-rays.
Keep your eyes peeled as street art comes in all sizes and places here, amidst the vintage and accessories shops (how can there not be graffiti supplies shops around, by the way?). The Space Invader weathering rain and sun since before 2010 (corner of the courtyard by #91-95 Brick Lane) and the giant Ear (opposite the Exit bar #174 Brick Lane) always make us smile. The latter was installed by Italian Street Art duo Urban Solid as a reference to citizens being watched, monitored and observed. Think Big Brother! Make a stop opposite Pretty Cuppa too (178 Brick Lane) to see Dscreet’s signature owl, Zabou’s (self?) portrait and Georgie’s variant of Bansky’s famous Tesco can.
Just around the corner from Brick Lane is a full collage of wheat pastes and sculptures from various eras. Worth noting are a couple of Orrible’s rat and panda, stencilled on a newspaper background: a symbol of nature and decaying urban environment.
The Nomadic Community Garden and Fleet Street Hill
It all started with a deserted plot, meant to be built on. The work being continuously delayed, the local community was allowed to use it for temporary allotments. Sheds and sculptures made from recycled material appeared along the tiny garden patches, street art settled in too. No one knows how long it will stay: it has been on borrowed time for years now, all the better for it. Make sure you take in account the opening times: Tuesday-Friday (9am-3.45pm), Saturday-Sunday (9am-8.30pm). There are murals and tags in the streets around it.
Passage in parallel to Buxton Street
Turning the corner from Brick Lane, you’ll first see a large mural, which changes regularly. The latest is Future Tokyo, which Dan Kitchener completed in one day, robotic geisha and neon lights included. Notice the spikes nearby, turned into Sweet Toof’s signature teeth.
The street is a strange L shape. Start from Brick Lane to find layers and layers of collages and posters then continue down to find another piece by Stik, two people shouting at each other. It’s become a favourite selfie place: passers-by love to stand between the two characters and share the pic on Instagram… You will stumble on a mural by Sweet Toof (once a collaboration with Dscreet but that part has now disappeared) right at the corner with Cheshire Street.
Lots of vintage clothes shops around and a few really funky independent shops so always worth the detour. There are only a few pieces here but they are gorgeous: Andrea Riot’s mix of calligraphy and street art, one of Fin Dac’s ethnic characters to which he adds a splash of colour around the eyes, ALO’s vibrant abstract artwork, which portraits always are tinted with a certain nostalgia, Margaux Carpe’s vibrant illustration playing as always with cheerful hues and geometry.
Lots of murals here too, changing quite often. One is often overlooked – step in the parking on your way up to the Overground from Brick Lane. You will notice, on the right side, a wall decorated with hundreds of tiny objects: necklaces, Christmas decorations, lace… On market day, the lady who has her stall in that corner, adds whatever she has collects on her way there. Make sure you look up street signs on Sclater Street, where Jonesy likes to place funky sculpture. See the one pictured below? Having found a stunning pigeon wing, he decided to pour molten bronze on it and turn it into a mythical creature…
A few pieces here too including a couple of murals by Australian artist James Cochran Australian artist, known for his urban drip painting style.
Its amazing buildings make amazing backgrounds for photoshoots. The abstract, black and white one is Sue Webster and Tim Noble’s work studio, the colourful one was decorated by MADc who totals over 22 years of amazing graffiti around the world.
Less of a street art paradise than it used to be with designer/luxury shops settling in now… but there always are a few gems around, like this house at the corner with Turville Street: funky wallpaper at the bottom, mural and sculpture all in one! The mushroom on the top was planted by Christiaan Nagel. There are still a few left in Shoreditch.
Eine, who designs spectacular letters, painted both sides of the street: extortionist on one side, protagonist on the other.
Village Underground (Hollywell Lane)
This fantastic not-for-profit studio space was built from recycled train carriages and shipping containers. The top part is rented to creative industries, businesses, while the warehouse underneath hosts everything from concerts to exhibitions. The façade is painted by different street artists every month.
King John Court
A new addition to the neighbourhood: Italian street artist Hunto and Mister Thoms aka Diego Della Posta collaborated on a vibrant mural entitled Connectivity Matters.
New Inn Broadway
In this street was discovered the foundations of The Theatre, where William Shakespeare learnt his trade… The site is closed to the public, fenced with metallic gates: a magnet for street artists, of course!
Worth stopping by if only to see the Pure Evil art gallery there. The site on the other side of the street is being rebuilt (has been and will be for quite some time still), the many fences offering canvases to passing artists. Check around the corner on Great Eastern Street as well. You will find pieces by Cartooneros, an Argentinian artist. His name combines “cartoneros”, the word for informal urban recyclers who work unnoticed on the street and “cartoon”, hence his favoured style of stencils.
This narrow street has quite a large collection too. You will notice a piece by El rey de la ruina there. His chosen name, the king of ruins, comes from the fact he paints inspirational slogans and phrases on abandonned walls. Some of his murals incorporate a heart in the design, a reference to the heart condition he was diagnosed with as a teenager. The Saint piece, is a clever wheat paste by Donk, beautifully named Graff Halo.
Corner of Old Street and Rivington Street
That’s where you will find the largest mural in Shoreditch, a stunning geisha by Core246 & Kaes. Look around – The building, home to The Red Gallery has quite a few pieces including a portrait by Brazilian artist Ananda Nahu (who mostly paints women, combining past and modern cultures) and a full wall filled by Eine.
Murals here tend to remain undisturbed for years – like this piece by Dscreet and the following one by James Cochran. Worth the look!
Cargo, further on Rivington Street
Cargo (#81 Rivington Street) is one of the most vibrant concert places in Shoreditch, set in a disused railway yard. How cool is that? The garden, which remains open during the day, has… its very own Banksy! Thierry Noir, who was the first artist to paint the Berlin Wall, also did one of his brightly coloured profiles there. Add to this a C215 portrait, a London scene by Ozmo… Add to this another message by Eine in the tunnel right outside: what a way to conclude this tour!