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Street art and gentrification: creative London lives on Brick Lane

Urban art, our own photo-gallery of the protagonists and their stories

“Ghost Cities” –  My new mural on Brick Lane, London and my first mural of 2019! I couldn’t resist starting the year off with a bit of paint and colour. Superb day painting on Brick Lane, so so many lovely people stopping and chatting, great day and start to the year! Expect epic things from me this year!

This is the Instagram message by London artist Dan Kitchener, a.k.a. DANK, who painted his work on New Year’s Eve on Pedley street in the Brick Lane area.

A creative piece that will join the dozens of colourful broccolis by artist Adrian Boswell, which an art gallery at 91 Brick Lane has “planted” along the streets of Shoreditch in response to the news of a “vegetable crisis”. A constantly changing landscape with new artists moving into the area who leave their personal mark, with guided tours that are becoming increasingly intense in search of details, presences and stories hidden on the walls of this outlying neighborhood of London that has become trendy over the past few years, with exclusive markets and vintage stores. The East End of London, now connected directly to the City, recalls the vitality and energy of Soho for its creativity, and is a beating heart, chosen as a research laboratory for young talents like Banksy, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin once were.

Each photo is a post.Instagram is a virtual public square that allows you to take a quick journey to discover the most interesting people and works.

But research on location is priceless to appreciate this widespread creativity, the quantity of underlying political messages (Donald Trump is featured in many portraits including the one by Tom Blackford who portrayed him as President Devil), the potential of art to foster urban regeneration.

One of the most popular works of street art on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour is the couple holding hands by artist Stik from London. The local press reports that in a survey, it was ranked 17th among the best-loved pieces of art in the United Kingdom. The street artists play with images and interact with one another across time. South African artist Falko, for example, added a small elephant to this iconic piece by Stik. Colours, letters, tags and lots of images. There are works that take years to complete, others that suddenly disappear and are replaced by others.

Other major figures include Mr Cenz who has been drawing on the walls of the British capital since 1988, or Dreph, born in 1973, who paints portraits of African women, highlighting their strength and their beauty. The laughing fish by Spanish artist PEZ are a real attraction as is the heron painted by Belgian artist ROA along Hanbury Street or the giant hedgehog running along the walls of Shoreditch.

From French artist Cargo to Borondo from Spain, renowned for a technique that mixes painting and engraving, from the 39-year old Ben Eine, famous because Cameron gave President Barack Obama one of his lithographs (Twenty First Century City), to Italian artist Ozmo, there is a long list of stories that have already been told, and others ready to discover and be written.

From urban art to gentrification. Brick Lane is a place where young people go to gather, attracted by the wide range of trendy bars and pubs, food stores and music (such as the famous Rough Trade East); there are art galleries as well as experimental cultural centres. This is also the location of the Istituto Marangoni, one Italy’s most renowned schools of fashion.

Follow us on Instagram, in coming weeks, to discover the snapshots we took at Brick Lane.


translation by Olga Barmine

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