In our recent travels, we’ve been lucky enough to spend some time exploring London. One of our greatest joys has been experiencing the incredible art in the city. The Tate Modern and the V&A are fabulous experiences, even if you have only a couple of hours to spend walking through their hallowed halls. But we wanted more – so we took to the streets of Brick Lane and Shoreditch with an expert guide from British luxury travel company NoteWorthy who could show us some of the best street art in London right now.
Part of the magic of taking such a walk through London is that street art is ephemeral – what you see today could very well be gone tomorrow. Or it could become a part of history. That’s part of the fun. You’re on a treasure hunt, and there’s no telling what you’ll find. It’s a phenomenon that rewards an adventurous spirit, a sharp eye, and repeated trips to see what’s new.
There’s also the inevitable frisson that occurs when the “high” (stately old buildings and stone passageways and tunnels) meets the “low” (spray paint, clay, tags and stickers). Here’s what we saw on the walls of the city when we ventured out in late spring – it was a completely different experience than a formal museum, but equally energizing and inspiriting. Have a look.
One of the first works we spotted was by the Belgian street artist ROA on Hanbury Street. The artist paints portraits of endangered species to draw attention to their plight.
There were other animals in the street art mix as well, including wide-eyed owls.
There’s a bow-and-arrow tableau that plays out overhead in a parking lot.
Of course there are always lots of people out and about in the neighborhood, which turned our art stroll into a chance for some cool people-watching as well.
There were fascinating faces all over the place, including on the walls.
Some of the works are high above our heads.
Others were low to the ground.
We’ll finish our journey with three London classics. In the first, William Shakespeare sits watch near a passageway beside the Thames (not in the same neighborhood as all the rest, but too interesting to exclude from this roundup). The second is a work by Banksy, probably still the best-known street artist globally – this particular piece is located in the yard of the Cargo Club. And the final image is of an iconic work based on letters of the alphabet. We saw the brilliant yellow work with a bright beam of sunlight slicing across it, and it felt like a sign: look closely, and you’ll see something you’ve definitely never seen before.
Thank you, contemporary artists of London. Your work gave us a luxury experience that we’ll never forget.
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