Last week I went to London for a trip of a couple of days. In company of two lovely ladies from Brazil who were visiting me in Paris, we planned to have a general view of London, including all mainstream places. It was a very short time to enjoy the city, specially a so exciting and cosmopolitan city as London. I also got some tips from my British friend Demian Smith who suggested me to have a beer on Soho, to visit the Primhose Hill close to Regent’s park for a beautiful view of the city and also to visit the East End of London to enjoy the creative community and of course to see street art.
On the second day, while my travelling mates were spending some pounds at Harrods’s I booked an street art tour for myself promoted by Alternative London.
I disagree with the provocative and hilarious Australian street-artist Lush, that last May wrote with spray cans on the walls of London that “Street art tours are gays”, justifying that street art tours are unnecessary once even alone if you just walk in that area you are able to discover a lot of street art without being on a tour with a guide. For a short trip, to book a street art tour is definitely the best way to see the most important pieces of street-art, get fresh information about the artists and also to learn the history of one specific area, usually home of a creativity community.
I also like to discover street art in an intuitive way, for example last August when I spent 10 days in Amsterdam just biking around the city I was able to collect pictures from more than 150 works. In London, with the street art tour, I saw more than 50 different works just in 2 hours, isn’t it spectacular?
The Alternative London Tours is the pioneer to offer street-art tours in London, they are very passionate and have a huge knowledge about Street Art. Our meeting point was in front of the Spitalfield market, a place in East End of London where you can clearly see the fusions of the of Victorian splendor and contemporary architecture also the financial center that has been invading the community area.
The East End has always been recognized for the wealth of culture represented. Historically it has played host to a transient community, primarily for new immigrants. It’s an area known for its spirit and strong sense of community. It’s quite shocking to look in one direction and see the Christ Church, Spitalfields that was built in the 1741 and also the Spitalfield market that has been working since 1638 beside that so many contemporary buildings as 30 St Mary Axe also know for “The Gherkin” built in 2004.
During the 2 hours tour, the guide Doug Gillen showed us a lot of very sophisticated street-art including well known artists as Ben Slow, ROA, Pablo Delgado, Flip, Stick, Dscreet and many others. I was really surprised during all the tour beyond the explanation of different styles, techniques and the street-artists concepts, the guide gave us a lot of insights about the history and culture of that community that have made the area what it is today, witch enriched so much the tour.
When the tour finished I still took the chance to go back and check on a interesting unicorn painted by Lush which is on the area. Alone I walked there to appreciate the work and have my own picture. On the way back to take the subway on Liverpool Station, just a few meters from Lush work something really magical happened. I met the American artist Nether on the exact moment he was pasting up on the street. An amazing coincidence!!!!! I had interviewed him one week ago in Paris, with my colleagues from Alternative Paris (that has no connection with Alternative London by the way). We also followed and recorded Nether pasting up around Paris for a street art video that we are working on and will be available soon. Meeting him in London while acting, definitely wanted to tell me something really special.
Yes, if you are planning to go to London I rightly recommend you to book a tour with Alternative London. More than just see great and impressive street-art, you will be inspired by the creative atmosphere of the area and maybe something magical can happen with you as happened to me. For more information’s click on the link here. The tour is operated on a pay- what-you-like basis.