Street art: Learn to read the streets of London

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I love to check out local street art whenever I visit a city – whether it’s my first time there or one of several returns. Because street art is temporary and changes all the time and it’s one of my favourite free things to do whenever I travel.

But sometimes it really pays off to pay for a guided tour by a local expert – to get inside the city’s street art scene and learn to “read the streets” like a pro. So when I recently visited London I decided on a tour of the Shoreditch area, which surrounds the legendary Brick Lane and is one of the main street art areas in Europe – with many International artists visiting every year.

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If you start researching you’ll soon find out that there is a bunch of guided street art tours available in London, and that several of them are naturally focused on the Shoreditch area. In the end I decided to go with Shoreditch Street Art Tours, and I didn’t regret.

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This tour is led by the local expert and street art photographer Dave (NoLionsInEngland), and at first sight he doesn’t look like your typical street art enthusiast, although I couldn’t tell you how such would look. But make no mistake, because Dave has extensive knowledge about the street art adorning walls and lamp posts across Shoreditch, including information about which artists are roaming these streets and what techniques they use.

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The tour starts out besides Spitalfields Market and leads you around the area for three and half hour – down Brick Lane and into “hidden” alleyways, where you learn to keep your eyes out for everything from stickers to posters, murals, mosaics and sculptures. You will also learn the difference between street art and graffiti – and what skills are distinctive to the best street artists.

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The street art scene in Shoreditch is ever changing and new pieces will turn up daily – while others will disappear, making each tour unique. I really liked this tour and learned a lot while spotting pieces I wouldn’t have found on my own.

So tie your walking shoes, charge your camera and set out on your own little street art adventure. £15 per person is definitely not bad for nearly four hours for entertainment and information, and discounts apply for groups and kids. Check the schedule on his site to see if he is running the morning tour (10.00-13.30) or the afternoon tour (13.30-17.00) on the day you wish to join – so you can choose what fits best into your London-itinerary. Some days he does both. Besides the tours, Dave is offering street art photography workshops/tours where you can learn to take some more creative shots. But take a look at his site for more info on all this:

www.shoreditchstreetarttours.co.uk

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By Brian Schæfer Dreyer
www.travelooneyblog.com
www.travelooney.dk

travelooney@gmail.com

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