The city of London has a lot more to offer other than the London Eye, Big Ben, and Museums. To capture the best of the city, keep your eyes open while walking through the old streets of the city. Being more observant and attentive will allow you experience some of the lesser known tourist attractions, such as the London Street Art.
The whole area of Shoreditch is filled with all these kinds of art works, try attend one of the Camden Street Art Tours to see what the area really have to offer. Joining a tour allows you to discover some of the best art work, that you wouldn't necessarily notice on your own.
This 2 hour walking tour covers the exciting history of the street art in London and every guide of the tour knows numerous international street artists personally, with enough knowledge of the art form to share with you.
Camden Street Art Tours is part of Global Street Art, who are working to help street artists by finding the appropriate places to showcase and share their artwork. Global Street Art also connects the property owners offering their space for a new engaging artwork with the right artist, so fortunately street art work is no longer an undercover and illegal activity, but now has its own identity in a legal and desired manner. And you don't need to worry about the crowds on the Camden High Street heading towards Camden Markets as this tour goes into the side streets and easily manages to avoid most of the busy spots.
And while the street art is ephemeral, there are a number of locations right in Camden to find new pieces, some that have lasted for years.
Look Up & Look Down
The tour starts near the Camden Town tube station, those staying in East London can easily get there. Immediately, the tour guide pointed out towards an artwork that we'd been standing close to yet none of us had spotted it. Right now it is a chewing gum artwork by Ben Wilson who believes to paint on the discarded chewing gum left on the streets. We also had to look up to see the street art at the top of buildings, these artworks tend to last longer as the height and difficulty to reach make it harder for the authorities to remove.
Amy Winehouse died in Camden in the year of 2011. This soulful voice singer is a local hero so street art that feature her is popular. Here we saw the two pieces that seem to be cherished by the locals. This meant this one lasted longer than other less liked artwork; it also encourages artists to come back and do maintenance.
While most of the street artists prefer to use a street name, others are happy to use their real name and love to be identified as the artist. Our guide pointed out quite a few pieces shaped up by the female artists and explained that many of them have chosen to use women in their art, but with the aim of displaying them in a non sexualized way favored by some male artists.
You will see the work of an artist named Alice who spray painted a gorgeous piece on the side of a restaurant where her sibling works. (This was a legal piece with complete approval of building owner.) And a paste up by the C3 with a quite simplified self portrait. (Paste up here means an artwork on a simple piece of paper that is pasted or glued to the wall so tends to not last very long. Because of this reason the artist with a team put up many copies of the same artwork).
Another female artist, known as the Austrian China Girl, sticks up ceramic pieces and Saki (Japanese woman), and has added wooden blocks all around poles so that you can turn them to change sections of the body.
Reminded Me of Shoreditch
On a side street off High Street of Camden we found an array of street art styles including large piece that seemed to be created with paint rollers from the street level, a cheap and fast art form. The area has numerous local and international artists art work on display and will remind you a lot of the type of thing you can find on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour. The guide will tell you about the saturation of the street art in the Shoreditch area and redevelopment there, meaning the street art is being removed which has led to many artists looking for other areas to display their work.
The tour will take you briefly down onto the canal path, where the guide will explain that here you'll be able to see the last Banksy in the area, you'll probably miss it otherwise as there's normally so much to see on the High Street.
Legal Street Art
With the tough desire to experience the quality street art in the city of London many brands and building owners are nowadays asking street artists to leave their brand mark on the walls. Today’s Legal spaces means the artists now can work in the daytime too and can invest more time, leading to a higher quality of work on display.
You will definitely enjoy the Camden Street Art Tour if you prefer to observe things in a completely new perspective. There's no way to find all those master pieces without a guide, nor would you have known about the artists and their hidden background to each piece. Many guides also encourage guests to email them any questions that come to mind later and they'll happily answer.
Suggestion is to wear comfy shoes and don't forget to pick up your camera!