Deviating from my usual route to work this week, I decided to venture out of the Square Mile to the hipster enclave of Shoreditch. Better known for its beards and skinny jeans, it’s also home to an explosive graffiti art scene where skulls, starfish and eagles scream out from derelict buildings.
Life before Shoreditch Street Art
The unassuming Sclater Street is the vortex of street art in Shoreditch. Formerly, a bird fancier’s paradise, the Street was once home to London’s biggest aviary market. Every Sunday, the feathers would fly as the street filled with the indignant squawks of larks, thrushes, canaries, pigeons and parrots stuffed into bird carriages or popping out of handkerchiefs. Today, this white eagle provides an uncanny nod to the street’s past.
The stars behind Shoreditch Street Art
Masterpieces pop up almost daily as new artists flock to the area inspired by street art stars such as Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Eine who have all tagged this area with their mark. (Shoreditch street art tours are now available if you want to learn more about the artists.) Fresh from his recent exhibition in Aldgate, I noted that Spanish Street artist, Okuda, had managed to sneak in one of his psychedelic wonders on the wall.
Amidst the bold tableaux, sculptures also pop up from the paintwork with these eclectic starfish providing startling form and texture.
The Shoreditch Love Fence
Not to be outdone by the Pont des Arts love bridge in Paris, the Shoreditch love fence, just opposite the station, offers rusting tokens of love to add further creative quirkiness to the area.
With large corporates such as Amazon moving into the Shoreditch area, it remains to be seen whether Sclater Street’s quirky street art will survive or migrate elsewhere like the bird markets of the previous century.