18 July 2012

London Olympics: Me And My Oyster On A Journey

Leake Street - London Eye/Waterloo Station


Up until recently "Street Art" was called graffiti and was associated with vandalism. A lot of places have now cleaned up the colourful art that used to be in so many places that I spent time in around London. I hadn't been to the newly acquired Old Vic Tunnels until a few weeks ago. Only a stone's throw from where I used to live. The  Old Vic Tunnels is tucked away behind Waterloo station and as the name says, its entrance is via the tunnel that is Leake Street.


As soon as you approach the tunnel you are immediately bathed in this rainbow effect and a burst of colour that you just don't see around London anymore and rather unusual of it being so central. Leake Street and is fantastic splash of colourful Street Art or Graffiti for the old skool, and is right across from the London Eye.


Every now and then I opt to get out of the underground either just use the bus or walk, because you miss so much when you are stuck on the underground. A lot of visitors who come to London get so carried away with trying to figure out how to navigate around London that they miss what London really has to offer, this amazing art, and free! 


Hoxton Street Market - Shoreditch

I embarked on a mini Street Art tour around Shoreditch with a friend of mine who showed me around and pointed out the various pieces. I worked in Shoreditch and Hackney before I went to university but since then I hardly ever visit this part of London now. It was great to just walk around and soak up the local atmosphere on this funky part of town.

Banksy is one of most prominent street artist around and there are several of his pieces around Shoreditch but they have been bordered up, mainly to preserve them but this beats the whole purpose. How can you enjoy them if they are not on view? 



Stik - Street Artist's Studio in Pitfield Street - London

Walking around Shoreditch and surroundings you would have to be blind to miss the works of Stik. His style is simple yet striking and stands out from the crowd. I actually have one of his printed reproductions framed on my kitchen wall together with Jackson Pollock. Below is an interview of him as he talks about how his work is influenced by life experiences and his fascination with body language and this is interpreted in his works. Another interview with beautiful pictures of his work around London can be found here.





Where to Spot Stik(via Londonist)


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Shoreditch

Shoreditch

Shoreditch

There were a few other pieces that I was hoping to see but after walking around Shoreditch and busking in the colourful art on offer and refreshing music at the Shoreditch festival, I failed to spot the pieces by Ben Wilson. Ben's current projects has seen him doodle colourful paintings on bubblegum that litters our streets.  I parted ways with my friend to head back home not before she mentioned that I may be able to spot a few pieces on the Millennium Bridge. 


City of London Festival


Setting off from Liverpool Street with Oyster in hand, I got on the 100 and got off at St Paul's. Arriving right on time to find myself in the middle of the City of London Festival. A series of dance performances at the Millennium Bridge, Festival Gardens(Behind St Paul's Cathedral) and Peternoster Square. Dance interpretion included "Selling your Soul to the Urban Devil", "Chameleon", "Aravind - The Lotus" and "Kurima". Videos can be found here.



London Festival Performers at St Pauls Cathedral - London



Ben Wilson bubble gum art - Millennium Bridge - More Here

Wrapping up with the finale on the steps of St Paul's it was time to set off and continue my hunt for the illusive bubblegum art.  As I approached the Millennium Bridge, I immediately lost focus of peoples faces and turned to their shoes instead. That is where the Art is! Luckly I happened to walk on the right hand-side of the bridge, because that is where Ben's pieces are. Ben Wilson, a British artist whose embarked on miniaturised paintings on chewing gum that people on the streets of London drop on the ground. Millennium Bridge(approach from Tate - keep to the left and from St Pauls keep right) is littered with his work, you have to look to spot them. So the next time you are on the bridge don't look forward, look down!


View of the Shard from Millennium Bridge

For something more traditional when you want to avoid the London rain, marvel in all that is hidden on many levels of the Tate, which currently has a Damien Hurst collection. Walk to the end of the bridge and enjoy!!!

Tate Moden Energy and Process Art Installations

The rest of the pictures and videos.

Stik and Banksy are among my faves. So whats your take on on Street Art. Do you have any favourites?

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Bee. 

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