For over a year now me and my friend have been meaning to go on the Shoreditch Street Art tour and finally a few weeks’ ago we managed to get a day and book in. I took the Friday off work thinking London would be so much quieter than at a weekend and it really didn’t make much of a difference but it was nice to have a long weekend. Meeting at the goat statue outside Spitalfields Market by Liverpool Street Station a troop of about 20 or so of us eagerly awaited our tour guide for the afternoon, Dave.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the tour other than the obvious street art that we’d see. Advertised at 3.5 hours it seemed a little long but the time absolutely flew by once we started out. Moving around the streets and alleyways in Shoreditch we had an absolute blast with Dave pointing out different artists and styles, and explaining the history behind them. I didn’t realize quite how much street art changed until Dave pointed out how recently some of the pieces had been painted and how some of them had changed even in the past few days since he was last there.
During one of our explorations just off Brick Lane, we even saw a street artist in action painting a large addition to a wall. The tour itself was fascinating as we found out how far some people travel just to paint or paste onto the walls of Shoreditch including loads from Portland in America and some as far as Melbourne, Australia. I also had no idea the real difference between graffiti and street art, I assumed that street art was when you had permission to paint there, but this actually isn’t the case as some still don’t. Simply put graffiti tends to just be tags and wording whereas street art is pretty much everything else from pastings, posters, spray paintings and whatever else you can add to a wall.
The tour itself was fascinating and I’m finding myself looking aat paintings and stickers more as real artwork now than I ever would have, by the end of the tour we could even recognize particular artists work due to what we’d previously seen. Dave as a guide was fantastic and you could really tell how passionate he is about street art even following up with an extensive email of links to reviews and images of things we spoke about.
If you’re looking for something more on the unusual side to do in London and don’t mind walking then this is something you really need to do. You don’t even need to be massively into art to appreciate it.