I first blogged about these wonderful tours back in 2014 – see here – and I’m delighted to see they – and in particular Dave Stuart – are still going strong.
The world of street art and graffiti is a sub culture I was unaware of until quite recently. The art is plain to see of course – for the most part – but it’s the stories behind them, explained by the fount-of-all-knowledge Dave, that bring them alive.
This one for instance, drawn by Stik and located near Old Street roundabout, tells the story – from left to right – of Shoreditch past (poor and rundown), present (trendy and confident) and future (looking south, towards the City).Not all street art is that obvious however. A gentleman named Ben Wilson paints miniature masterpieces on chewing gum. Here’s an example of one in City Road.We came upon Mr Wilson recently, lying flat on his stomach on a cold night on the Millennium Bridge. I took a photo of him in action but without his permission I won’t post it here. He first softens the gum with a blowtorch and uses enamel paint and then varnish. Next time you’re crossing that bridge look out for them.
This amazing piece of work – the balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet – adorns a building next to the site of The Theatre (the first purpose-built playhouse in London, built by James Burbage in 1576 and opening shortly as an exhibition centre apparently – see here for a previous blog showing excavations).The world of street art is strictly anti-commercial, of course, to the extent that so many of these artists are so hard to get hold of. Ben Wilson doesn’t have a website. Banksy has an Instagram account (with 5.4m followers) but doesn’t follow anyone, and who knows who he is anyway? In a world where the rest of us are desperately trying to sell ourselves through social media it is refreshing, to say the least.
And finally, unknown portrait of unknown person, complete with manufactured drips in the paint – to give the impression it’s done unofficially and therefore in a hurry!Click for details of Shoreditch Street Art Tours.
London, January 2019