London Street Art Scene
London streets are little canvases brimming with artistic sculptures, paintings, installations, historic statues, and murals. London is an artistic heaven, blessed with some of the most creative people on earth always surprising the eye for art with something innovative. To indulge in London’s art scene, you don’t have to visit the national art galleries. Step out of your hotel room and you’ll discover a lot to venerate. And the best part is that it’s free! If you’re an art buff or simply love photography, London’s streets have a lot in store. However, there’s no guarantee as to whether you’ll find that masterpiece you read about on internet a day before. London street art scene keeps evolving and changing, so you’ll have to be patient. Venture a journey through places where you’re sure to find something amazing.
Shoreditch, East London
Shoreditch in East End of London is packed full of traditional public art and stencil graffiti as well, which is illegal. But the enthusiastic street artists spray London streets and adorn them under the garb of the dark. If you plan to visit Shoreditch, start with Blackall Street. Graphic artists with paste-ups although dispersed with cans and dog shit at times, regularly pepper this backstreet. The legal commissioning art outside the empty warehouses, galleries, and buildings attract art lovers and artists from across the globe. Shoreditch kind of has become an art hub where artists get an expression.
Stockwell Park Estate, Stockwell
This great hall of fame popularly known as “The Pen” is located on Aytoun Road. But it’s not that huge, rather it’s quite small with space for up to 20 art pieces. In summer, the art scene changes here almost every week. International graffiti artists want to paint there since this area has gained much popularity with photos of art posted on internet. You’ll love to watch art pieces by Lover pusher, Cemo and Bonzai. Keeping in view the cultural value of this place, cleanliness of the ball courts is ensured.
Old Street to Brick Lane
Limitless posters, graffiti pieces, and stencils adorn the streets of East London. Get down at Old Street station and take a stroll down Great Eastern Street towards Brick Lane. The brick walls of Village Underground (Great Eastern Street) have a lot of art along the way. The giant Phlegm mural on Heneage Street off Brick Lane is quite apiece to admire.
At Elkstone Road in Kensington, the bottom of Trellick Tower is probably the best place to enjoy. The quality of the art scene has gone up lately with artists painting large-scale pieces. It’s a large space with high walls, allowing writers enough space to spray the can. Works of talented writers like Vibes and Roids adorn the street, so you can expect a lot.
Leake Street Tunnel
Leake Street is just off Waterloo Station and is home to some amazing art pieces. Being in proximity to the station means, it’s the most easily accessible graffiti space in London. The disused railway tunnel also hosted Banksy’s 2008 Can Festival. The new works keep coming up leaving little chance to see what you saw in photos on internet. The place is like an ever-changing canvas. If you’re lucky, you may get to admire the works of Cept, Tizer, Parlee, and others.
Parklands Walk, near Highgate Station
Along with top street art locations, there are quite a few lesser-known smaller graffiti places around the city from skate parks to ball courts. Parkland walk, which was a railway track earlier, is now quite popular among joggers and dog walkers. De-board at Highgate Station, the track runs from Highgate to Finsbury Park. As you’ll walk, expect to come across few bridges and playgrounds where graffiti is either tolerated or legal. You can expect to see pieces by Toasters or Whome. Don’t forget to visit Alexander Palace where there is a skate park with ample space for a few graffiti pieces. A good photo opportunity awaits you!
Popular Street Artists in London
London’s street art scene goes beyond Banksy. Quite a few new faces are popping up on art scene and most of them are not from London. Internationally acclaimed, here are a few artists whose works can be spotted all around the capital.
Theme: Independent women and relationship are key themes that abound in her works
Type of Art: Her works can be spotted all over East London featuring strokes of brushes, blending vibrant colours.
Most Popular Work: “Evening Flows” Mural in Camden, London
From: Bristol, UK
Theme: His works combine dark humour often making a hard-hitting political point.
Type of Art: Graffiti art done in unique stencilling technique
Most Popular Work: Girl seized by an ATM at Rosebery Avenue, London
And Fallen Angel on Bermondsay Street
Theme: His miniature paintings found sticking on the sidewalks include anything from landscapes, animals to messages of love and thanks.
Type of Art: He flattens down gobs of chewing gum and creates intricate scene with it on the pavements. His works can be found mostly in North London, especially in Barnet and Muswell Hill.
Most Popular Work: Ben Wilson’s mini masterpiece at Millennium Bridge
Theme: He mainly paints faces of people, of those forgotten by society, or homeless kids and refugees.
Type of Art: Started with spray-painting 20 years ago and does stencil art from 2006.
Most Popular Work: A few pieces depicting women in Brick Lane
Theme: Sometimes alien like organic forms and at others, trivial things like toy guns and fish.
Type of Art: More of sculpture than paint. The artist creates 3D art pieces from polymer clay.
Most Popular Work: A large Lord Jagannath replica
Theme: strangers, photography, and magazine photos inspire his paintings.
Type of Art: David only uses spray paints, no stencil, and no brushes! His paintings are a multi-layered explosion of colour.
Most Popular Work: Beautiful lady mural on Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch.
Theme: His paintings are themed around people who have been marginalised by society.
Type of Art: Jimmy’s paintings are usually made of lots of dots. His artistic excellence is a type of street art pointillism.
Most Popular Work: Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in London
Theme: His paintings depict overall influence of elimination of nature and consumerism.
Type of Art: Isaac makes little people out of cement and places these tiny sculptures deliberately all around London.
Most Popular Work: ‘Cement Eclipses’ littered all over London
Theme: As the name suggests, he really admires African tribes and is a lover of nature. His paintings often include incredible animals and patterns.
Type of Art: Masai paints and pastes on the streets
Most Popular Work: Ethiopian Wolf
Theme: His works often depict people and life scenes.
Type of Art: Pablo’s works are tiny and are painted on the bottom edge of walls with long shadows stretching onto the pavement.
Most Popular Work: Miniature man with giraffe and their shadow, Shoreditch London
Theme: Milo creates abstract murals that look other worldly and are full of colours.
Type of Art: He paints layers upon layers of movements.
Most Popular Work: His most notable work is the elephant he painted during 2010’s Elephant Parade.
Theme: Phleghm has created a series of hybrid characters with body parts of different animals. Sometimes he exposes the inner workings of the body and at times, paints just the outside of the rodents and animals.
Type of Art: Most of his works are painted in black Indian ink wit dip pens.
Most Popular Work: The Wall of long-legged creatures at Heneage Street in East London
Sculpture Art in London
London artists are not just good with brush but equally creative with sculptures too. London has plenty of sculptures that people love to stop by and admire. From the traditional statues to modern installations, there’s a lot to explore. Some were temporary, however, some are permanently installed to enthral. Here are the top ten sculptures in London that offer a perfect photo opportunity.
Still Water Sculpture in Westminster
NicFiddian Green, a renowned international artist who is known for his incredible horse sculptures created one in London in Marble Arch near Hyde Park in City of Westminster. The bronze horse head named Still Water gained as much attention from pigeons as it did from the sightseers. It’s a permanent feature in Marble Arch and is 34ft high.
Rooster Statue in Trafalgar Square
A giant French rooster was recently installed atop the vacant Fourth Plinth at Trafalgar Square in London. Düsseldorf-based artist Katharina Fritsch known for her reworking of ordinary things into something strange using change in scale and colour really created something fit for Trafalgar Square. The contemporary installation sits there as if it was always there.
Giant Swimmer at Serpentine
During the Triathlon in Hyde Park in September, Ennis Hill launched the whopping 8-metre wide and 4-metre high wide floating swimmer in the Serpentine. The Sculpture has been nicknamed as Victor and over 8500 triathletes swam past him. After Olympics, it was the first legacy event held in London. The sculpture remained the focus of attraction during the event. And the sculpture created quite a buzz required for such an event.
Like every year, Design Festival was held in London and a temporary unique sculpture called Endless Stairs in front of Tate Modern art gallery was installed in January. The sculpture was open until September to October. Comprising 180 steps in 15 interlocking stairs, the structure was created by London based artist and architect dRMM. Climb over and you can enjoy views of St Paul’s Cathedral. You may not get a chance to step upstairs but you can definitely expect something equally extraordinary next year during Design Festival.
Statues of Naked Ladies
Located inside York House Gardens, statues of naked ladies are a spurt of art in the middle of quaint green space. The statues adorn the water cascade in the garden with eight nymphs and two aquatic horses. The whimsicality and dramatic poses of the statues make them an unavoidable sight.
Vroom Vroom Sculpture
This 13ft. high sculpture just can’t go unnoticed if you’re roaming around London near Park Lane. Right next to Dorchester hotel, this amazing sculpture shows a life- aluminium hand clasping a vintage 500 Fiat. Artist Lorenzo Quinn really added vavavoom to London’s most fashionable street.
Green and serene, Hyde Park is not just heaven for nature lovers but for art lovers too. Right next to Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, a large sculpture of Egyptian goddess of motherhood, nature, and magic was installed in the form of a bird. Artist Simon Gudgeon was highly acclaimed for his artistic excellence. 633-kilo sculpture raises money for kid’s education and has already made 2 million pounds so far.
Hardly people come across this wonderful sculpture when visiting Kensington Gardens in London. J.M. Barrie created this amazing attraction in 1902 and erected it in the royal garden in 1912. The Peter Pan statue is complete with squirrels, mice, rabbit, and fairies climbing up to reach Peter who is standing atop a bronze base. The artist published his first Peter Pan story in 1902 and used Kensington Garden for inspiration. In the story, Peter walks out of the nursery and lands beside the Long Water, right on the spot where the statue is installed.
There is a statue of the River God, Father Thames in London, which is alluring in its own way. Made of Coade stone, the statue is located at Terrace Gardens in Richmond.
The Aeolus Acoustic Wind Pavilion is an enormous metal sculpture but it does more than just pleasing the eye. Designed by Bristol based artist, Luke Jerram, the sculpture makes a charming sound every time the wind blows. It’s both easy on the eyes and soothing to the ears. The sculpture is named after the ruler of the four winds as per Greek Mythology. The mesmerizing sound is engendered from the huge metal pipes.
London streets are heaven for those with an eye for art. There’s every reason why London fascinates photographers too much.
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