Last weekend, as a birthday treat for a friend, a group of us all met up in Spitalfields market for a trip round London. We were met by not one but two tour guides that day (Doug and Ben) to take us on a journey round the East Ends best street art.
The Alterative London Tour promised a day to open our eyes to what is really around us and help us understand the amount of work the artists put in and also teach us about the culture of street art.
All in two hours.
I thought I didn’t know much about street art but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I recognised a fair few of the names being discussed.
We wandered the streets of East London on what turned out to be a lovely sunny day, perfect for the back alleys which can be quite cold and windy, and some of the pieces looked incredible in the sunlight.
We saw art by C215, a French street artist, whose works were intricate and brilliant. We also got to see some of Invader’s art (he’s the guy who has covered Paris in tiny Space Invaders) plus installations from more well-known artists like Banksy and Pez. Most of us were impressed with the tiny street art pieces by Pablo Delgado.
We got a nice surprise as we were shown one piece of street art; The Extremists. It had been created by one of our guides that day, Ben Slow. It is an incredible work and speaks volumes about the area and its sometimes volatile residents.
At times it was not only a feast for the eyes but also the nose (some of the streets are a little toilet like at times…) but it was amazing as we started to realise the vast difference between street art and graffiti plus just how much we miss by just walking on by.
Some of the wall sculptures by Cityzenkane were so detailed and beautiful, all topped off with Swarovski gems and glitter to make them sparkle in the sun.
Some of my favourites were the pieces by Roa, the giant hedgehog near Shoreditch High St station and also our last stop, the cowboy by El Mac.
At the end of tour we finished where we started, at I Goat. There they asked if we could pay what we felt the tour was worth to us. No-one failed to pay even though we were not obliged to do so.
I would heartily recommend going on the Alternative London Tour as it changes all the time and you just don’t know what you might see next time.