“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everday life.” – Picasso
I was luckily able to take part in the Worldwide Instagram Meetup here in London yesterday, March 21. Joining for the first time, I had no idea what was in store for the rest of the day. To celebrate great photography and creativity, the attendees were given a choice to join expert-led teams to see London in different perspectives. Some joined a fashion walk, another set on to see London’s most iconic landmarks. I, on the other hand, joined the Shoreditch Street Art Walk, and it was AMAZING.
Armed with a camera and a couple of spare batteries for my phone, I set out to see Shoreditch for the first time with some very lovely people from the group. Being from different countries and backgrounds, the only thing that truly bonded us was our love for art, colors, history, and new experiences. Shoreditch did not fail us one bit.
I’ve recently been to Camden, which is also known for its street art, but nothing could have prepared me for the amazing sensory overload that was Shoreditch. Shoreditch is London’s, if not the world’s, largest collection of notable street art. This part of London screams freedom of expression. Colorful and loud, every piece of street art – from the giant murals to the tiny stickers on the poles of traffic lights – come together to engulf you in an atmosphere of youthful, awe-inspiring, artistic revolution.
Because we had very limited time, we only got to see a few pieces, but walking through all the little streets and alleyways showed me more artwork than I could ever ask for. The tour took us around to see some really important ones, such as Ben Eine’s alphabets, Shepard Fairy’s shoplifting invitation, Citizen Kane’s marvelous 3D graffiti, and many other artists like Banksy, Roa, Space Invader, and Tim Vision, among others. There was so much more to see, but if you studied each wall in Shoreditch to carefully look at each and every piece of art on them you may need a few days.
Our guide was very knowledgeable and had an infectious passion for both the art and the neighborhood that he was showing our group. He told us stories about each one of our stops, and also gave us enough time to take pictures. Shoreditch is also a hip and progressive part of town, with many shops, restaurants, and cafes for you to enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea in after. It is a full-day excursion to be enjoyed with good friends.
Walking the streets of Shoreditch makes you feel like you belong to something monumental. You see the roots of some very influential urban artists of our generation. You see their supporters and their haters, and the ongoing battle between the two. You see different styles, causes, and passions. You see the work of a talented group of people who took the world as their slate. They have all put such a big importance in reaching out to others and both figuratively and literally leaving a mark, just as we all should.
If you are in London, seeing Shoreditch’s street art has to definitely be on your list. If you can’t join a tour, just walk around, follow the colors, and let this beautiful, eccentric, and buzzing city direct your steps.
Check out some of my fave snapshots from that day below, or see the rest of my album here.