Street art has come a long way from its ‘graffiti’ roots and is becoming part of mainstream culture in the 21st Century. It is no longer marginalised as criminal; it adds character to our streets whilst breaking down barriers that art is elitist. The streets are public and so is our art.
10. Save the Bees project – Jim Vision and Louis Masaj Michel, Braithwaite Street
To kick off our Top 10 best works of Street Art in London we have Jim Vision and Louis Masaj Michel’s ‘Save the Bees Project’. Taking over the Rockwell Rooftop the boys created a buzz (pardon the pun) when a swarm of painted bees presented themselves across the streets of East London.
9. Phlegm – Southbank Mural
Phlegm is back with his familiar long-limbed characters that have migrated from Village Underground’s mural on Holywell Lane and over to the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank.
8. Alexus Diaz and Juan Fernandez – Hanbury Street
These two Puerto Rican artists form the La Pandilla collective, a duo that have definitely caught the travelling bug. Their work can be seen popping up across the globe but there most famous piece resides on Hanbury Street in the form of an elephant-octopus hybrid. The combination of the two animals omit vibes from India infused with a touch of geometric in the form of faint triangles. This multi-cultural masterpiece certainly makes a splash.
7. Hunto – Walthamstow
This Picasso-esque mural by Italian-born Street Artist Renato Hunto is a colourful and deceivingly sexual piece created as part of the ‘Colour the Capital’ project from the Forest Recycling Project to add a new lease of life to some of the run down spaces around East London.
6. Cranio – Pedley Street
Next stop is just off Brick Lane for a piece from Brazilian artist Cranio (Fabio Oliveiera). This is not the first time he has painted in this spot so it may only have been there for a fleeting visit but he will no doubt be returning with an updated version in no time.
5. Banksy – Bruton Lane, Mayfair
A Street Art top 10 wouldn’t be complete without a Banksy. His creation on Bruton Lane is certainly not getting left out of this one. The infamous Bristol born artist may ironically be the most recognised (even though his identity is unknown) street artist in the industry. His signature ‘up yours’ to the establishment and taboo subjects completely embody the meaning of street art itself: an act of expression and anti-conformity.
4. Alex Senna – East India Station
One of Alex Senna’s signature black and white cartoons, this time featuring a very fatigued man. This made its way onto the side of a quiet back street under the Docklands Light Rail tracks near East India Station. The man is sporting a moustache and what looks to be a rather comfortable checked blanket, juxtaposing the idea of ‘sleeping rough’ that is usually associated with sleeping on the streets.
3. Bastardilla – Buxton Street
Bringing home for the girls is Columbia’s female street artist Bastardilla. Her vibrant mural on Buxton Street compliments Shoreditch’s status a hub for all things urban, whilst highlighting the impact of Capitalism on poorer countries. As with many works by street artists, Bastardilla’s pieces normally carry with them subliminal meanings surrounding western consumerist society.
2. Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel
Bringing it back to the graffiti roots, Leake Street is the only location in London where graffiti is actually legal. The transient nature of street art is what adds to its lure, but this is especially the case of this tunnel on Leake Street. The walls are forever changing as more artists come down to tag their own art on the walls in the old school graffiti classics, this spot will never look the same two days in a row!
1. Stik’s Big Mother – Charles Hocking House
Save the biggest til last! Stik’s 38 ft masterpiece which can be seen from not only the Piccadilly line but also some London flight paths, is the UK’s tallest mural. Being thoughtfully placed on Charles Hocking House, a condemned council tower block, ‘Big Mother’ represents the looming issue of poverty in England’s capital city.