Decided to kick off 2017 with a quick trip to London to see friends and check out some art. One thing I love about visiting London is that so much of the art I'm interested in is just on the streets. No tickets, no gallery, you just have to be willing to put the miles in on foot and to be honest its one of the best ways to really get to know a place. I'm lucky in that my friend lives a 5 minute walk from the bottom of Brick Lane, the perfect jumping off point for checking out what's new.
As always a quick trawl through Hookedblog will give you a fair idea of what to look out for like the little alley that leads to the most recent Fanakpan wall, Hookeblog is also great for connecting work to artists. I've lost count of the number of artists they've turned me onto. A few highlights from this trip have been finding a 45RPM sticker hidden away on a sign post. I've been collecting his various zines and t shirts for the past year and his work is some of the best out there, even in sticker form. A lot of famous spots have pieces by HNRX who is new to me but has been getting up all over Shoreditch. We checked out a few classics like the WRDSMTH phone box in Covent Garden and the Star Wars Invader piece across from Jealous London as well. Jealous currently have their 0% Off show featuring a huge range of work from Ben Eine, D*Face, Masagon and David McCracken which was great to see!
You don't have to go far before you'll stumble on new paste ups by DONK and A.CE who get up! I love the fact you could take their paste ups and stick em in a frame and they look just as good as they do on the streets. We spotted a few vans by Sweet Toof x Paul Insect and CEPT, the van being my favourite canvas for street interventions as they roll around the city bringing their colourful exteriors to a wider audience. Some of my favourite pieces from this trip were created by tattoo master Deno. I'd previously seen some of his street work on instagram but only in Madrid so it was great to catch his super styled graff in the flesh. He's one artist I'd love to get some work by, hopefully get booked into Seven Doors Tattoo soon!
I was lucky enough to spend the night in the newly built Citizen M hotel in Shoreditch which is full of KAWS figures. We had a great view over Shoreditch from the 8th floor and spotted a load of murals that are usually hidden behind high fences and gates. A late night wander on a Thursday evening brought many visual delights as well as we just got lost down the back streets and kept our eyes open. It was nice to walk out the front door the next day and see the huge Fanakpan piece 'Distraction, Destruction and Power Tools' which I'd also spotted on Hookedblog a few weeks earlier. Mr Cenz has been super busy with a load of new murals around the area too, I recognised his distinctive style from the 'Release The Pressure' piece in Aberdeen. It's great that new work is going up all the time but I also like that some things are kinda sacred like the Conor Harrington murals, be a shame to see them go. On the same token it was cool to visit some ROA murals which are crumbling to dust as the ruined exteriors upon which they were painted get battered by the elements.
There's without doubt a lot to see and do in London. Its a special city and holds a great charm for any street art or graffiti enthusiast but you definitely have to filter out a lot of cak too. I often find the things that make a good street art piece can have the opposite effect when crudely replicated which is happening more and more. Thankfully the quality wins out every time. It's been great to bust out of the instagram box and see some stuff in real life. I'm also excited to see what NUART bring to the table when they hit the streets of Aberdeen this spring, least I wont have to sit on a train for 7 hours to see it!