London Street Art: An Open-Air Gallery

Kathy Meresz January 9, 2014 0

London is filled with so many incredible museums and galleries where you can spend hours, or even days marveling at art masterpieces. For this the city is well known. However, there is also an open-air gallery, not in the museums but out in the streets, waiting to capture your attention.

Oh Wow

Street art has become quite prevalent in many large cities like Berlin, New York, and Buenos Aires. And London is no exception – being among the top for variety and quality. It is unpredictable and can take many forms, from basic raw graffiti to vast murals stretching several stories high. Three dimensional installations, posters, stencils, and even stickers also contribute to the artistic canvas that is London’s architecture.

My favorite spot to explore and discover street art is Shoreditch in East London ¬–particularly the area around Brick Lane. Early on a Saturday or Sunday is ideal, as the stores are not yet open allowing for a view of the intricate, and colourful murals painted on the shop shutters. Once the day has begun and the shops are open for business, you lose the chance to see some of the best treasures.

Street art is an added attraction during a visit to London, but if you spend an extended amount of time in the city, you get to watch as the “canvases” evolve and change. What you see one day may be completely painted over with something new and fresh just a week later.

Street art can simply be a form of artistic expression – quirky and ever changing – or it can take on a political statement, with artists passing on messages through their work. Often illegal, sometimes destructive, there’s no denying that London’s street art scene is a creative one, worthy of appreciation.

A simple market scene silhouette covers an otherwise boring wall in East London.

A simple market scene silhouette covers an otherwise boring wall in East London.

Sculptures and stickers provide some colour on a corner wall. Photo by E. Sebastian.

Sculptures and stickers provide some colour on a corner wall. Photo by E. Sebastian.

Sculptures and stickers provide some colour on a corner wall. Photo by E. Sebastian.

Sculptures and stickers provide some colour on a corner wall. Photo by E. Sebastian.

Beautifully detailed faces near Brick Lane.

Beautifully detailed faces near Brick Lane.

The work of Belgian artist ROA can be found in London as well as many other cities in Europe and the United States.

The work of Belgian artist ROA can be found in London as well as many other cities in Europe and the United States.

Quirky and creative – the subject may not appeal to everyone, but the scale and quality cannot be ignored. Photo by E. Sebastian.

Quirky and creative – the subject may not appeal to everyone, but the scale and quality cannot be ignored. Photo by E. Sebastian.

 A detailed piece by artist Paul Don Smith - one of London’s most famous street artists. He has been painting on the streets of London for over 25 years. Photo by E. Sebastian.

A detailed piece by artist Paul Don Smith – one of London’s most famous street artists. He has been painting on the streets of London for over 25 years. Photo by E. Sebastian.

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