More from Emma Bryning
Graffiti Art on Camden Lock Railway Bridge, created by Street Artist by John Bulley
The graffiti piece on Camden Lock Railway Bridge is considered to be the oldest surviving pieces of street art in Camden, having been created by John Bulley in 1989. Whilst working on a number of new shop signs in the area, Bulley was asked if he could come up with an idea for the Camden Lock Railway Bridge as it was about to be refurbished and repainted by British Rail. Knowing that he wanted the design to be visible from a distance and have some humour in it, Bulley used a bold typeface and photographed two men he was working with to include in his design. The resulting work features the two men who appear to be constantly painting the bridge. The work has been repainted in recent years to freshen up the paint but using the same iconic design. Having lasted for over thirty years, the piece is considered an icon of London’s oldest pieces of street art.
‘A Couple Hold Hands in the Street’ by Stik and ‘The Crane’ by ROA, Brick Lane Street Art, London
Brick Lane, in the heart of the East End of London, is often considered one of the most famous locations in the UK for graffiti and street art. Whilst international street artists aspire to paint on Brick Lane, it is kept fresh by local artists who change the graffiti on a weekly basis. Works can be found by famous street artists from around the world, including Phlegm, Ben Eine, Banksy, Noriaki, C215, ROA, Vhils and Shepard Fairey, to name just a few. One of the most popular works of street art in the area is that of ‘A Couple Hold Hands in the Street’ on Princelet Street by local artist Stik. The piece, created in 2010, shows a woman in a niqab holding hands with a second stick figure and was voted the nation’s 17th favourite artwork in a poll in 2017. One of the other long-standing pieces in the area is The Crane on Hanbury street which was created by Belgian street artist, ROA. The work was originally intended to be a heron but was changed to a crane after ROA learnt that they were sacred to the Bengali community, who make up a significant portion of the local population.
The History of Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel
Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel, found underneath the platforms and tracks of Waterloo Station, is London’s largest legal graffiti wall at 300-metres in length. The site gained fame after famed British street artist, Banksy, held a street art festival called Cans Festival (a play on The Cannes Film Festival) in the tunnel. Banksy had recognised the potential of the tunnel which had formerly been used as an access road for taxis to pick up passengers from the Eurostar. From the 3rd-5th May 2008, forty street artists from around the world – including Blek le Rat, Ben Eine, Sten & Lex and Vexta – transformed the grimy tunnel into a street art haven. Graffiti and street art are legally permitted in the tunnel meaning that artists can create works without fear of getting arrested by police. This ever-changing gallery now attracts street art tourists and graffiti enthusiasts from around the world and arches adjacent to the tunnel were recently transformed into bars and restaurants. The site was even home to a temporary cinema, The Lambeth Palace, to celebrate the release of Banksy’s documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop in 2010.
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Graffiti at Wellclose Square Prison
Although Wellclose Square Prison is now lost to history, the wooden walls of one of the cells survive at the Museum of London and are covered in graffiti documenting the distant voices of the incarcerated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.