The Story behind Street Art

London is a big city - a VERY big city.  Deciding what to do can be a little overwhelming at times.  With all that there is to do, it’s worth it to look around for the hidden parts to the city that only reveals themselves to you if you look very closely.  The best part about it… it’s free!

Street art has been a part of this city for many years now and contains some of the best pieces in the world.  The art form came to prominence in the 70s and 80s in New York, which would be fortunate enough to see great works, courtesy of artists like Basquiat and Haring. In the 90s, artists in Bristol started using stencils in a new technique that became distinctly English.

This was led by Banksy, the world’s most famous graffiti artist.  He has plenty of pieces in London, but you can also find beautiful images from artists from all over the world including; Vhils, Invader, Burning Candy Crew, ROA, Stik, Ben Eine amongst many, many others.

A lot of these pieces are centred around Shoreditch, the trendy part of London which stretches from Liverpool St to Bethnal Green.  Much like the area, the art expresses rebellion and expression.  A street artist may not get to exhibit in a gallery where hundreds of people could see their work, but can put a painting on the street were thousands walk past it every day.

In fact, street art has reached such levels of acceptance in society that now communities get together to ban councils from REMOVING the art.  Recently in Hackney, concerned residents petitioned their local council to keep an ROA piece that they felt was such a beautiful part of their neighbourhood.  The council eventually agreed and you can still see the piece there now!

Another area where street art has brushed against politics is with the Prime Minister and his wife.  On their first trip to America to visit Obama, the PM and his wife brought a gift (which is customary for a first state visit) but what they brought was a piece of art by Ben Eine, a famous East London street artist!  So if you drop by the White House at any time, you can see Eine’s work or if you just walk around London!

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