Mar 042018
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Exploring the amazing street art in London’s Brick Lane neighbourhood

Brick Lane runs through Spitalfields in London’s East End. From Whitechapel High Street in the south to Quaker Street in the north, Brick Lane and the streets running off it are one of the best spots in London for street art.

Brick Lane

Brick Lane

Brick Lane may have gotten its name because local earth was used by brick and tile manufacturers in the 15th century. By the 17th century,  the lane was a popular location for breweries. Huguenots came to the area in the 1700s and established textile industries. It was a haven for immigrants and was known for its Irish and Jewish population in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the late twentieth century, immigrants from Bangladesh settled in this part of east London. Brick Lane is the place to go for some of the best curries in London.

The multi-cultural history of the area is epitomized in the Brick Lane Mosque at 59 Brick Lane. When it was built in 1743, it was used as a Huguenot chapel. Later it was a Methodist church and a Jewish synagogue. It has been a mosque since 1976. I may need to return to the area to explore its history further at some point, but this post is about street art.

London street art in Brick Lane: coloured elephant by Falko One of Cape Town

Art by Falko One from Cape Town, South Africa

As you walk down Brick Lane and its side streets, street art surrounds you. It is on the walls of buildings, fences, and shop front shutters. Styles range from silly to serious, playful to thought-provoking, abstract to almost photographic.

London street art in Brick Lane: man and child (Joe's Kid) by Jimmy C

On Fashion Street: “Joe’s Kid” by Jimmy C

London street art in Brick Lane: purple face of a lady painted by Mr Cenz

On Fashion Street: painting by artist Mr Cenz

London street art in Brick Lane: monochrome paste-up of an old man by U.S. artist Pyramid Oracle

Paste-up from Pyramid Oracle, a street artist from the U.S. Midwest

London street art in Brick Lane: work of several artists on Buxton Street building wall includes a three-dimension female body protruding from wall

Wall on Buxton Street featuring several artists and including a three-dimensional female body protruding from the wall

London street art in Brick Lane: painting of African masks by Senzart 911 (Senzo Nhlap) from Soweto,South Africa

Artwork by Senzart 911 (Senzo Nhlap) from Soweta, South Africa

The Brick Lane neighbourhood merges with Shoreditch to the north.  Shoreditch is also known for its street art. In a post I wrote about London street art in Shoreditch, I talked about the difference between graffiti and street art. The distinctions sometimes blur, but generally street art is more drawing and figures than stylized characters, is painted with permission, and is intended for a wide audience, not just other graffiti artists.

London street art in Brick Lane: graffiti-like drawing in the aley leading to Seven Stars car park

The street art on the wall of the alley leading into the Seven Stars Car Park looks more like what I consider graffiti

The Seven Stars Car Park is often featured and visited for its street art. It is reached via a short alley beside the former Seven Stars pub at 49 Brick Lane. Seven Stars was an alehouse dating to the 1700s. It was rebuilt in 1937. It closed in 2002 and now sits derelict.

London street art in Brick Lane; rats and oranges, a collaboration between artists ThisOne and Koctel in the Seven Stars Car Park

Street art in the Seven Stars Car Park, collaboration between artists ThisOne and Koctel

London street art in Brick Lane; painting of Myvanwy by Dreph,who protrrays the lives of strong, black women

Also in the car park: “Myvanwy” by Neequaye Dreph Dsane, known as Dreph, who portrays the lives of strong, black women

London street art in Brick Lane: Seven Stars

Street art on the back of Seven Stars

London street art in Brick Lane: shadow of a man and dog in a spotlight, painted by Muretz

On Hanbury Street: painting by Muretz, a Brazilian artist

London street art in Brick Lane: crane by ROA

On Hanbury Street: Crane by ROA, a muralist from Belgium

London street art in Brick Lane: grey-scale gorilla by Trafik

On Hanbury Street: art by Trafik

Several companies offer guided tours of the street art, but you can easily explore on your own. Brick Lane and Shoreditch can be covered in one day, but you may want to consider splitting them into two trips. That is not because of the distance between them. They are easily walked. There is just so much to take art to take in, you may wish to take your time in each area.

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London street art in Brick Lane

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  20 Responses to “London Street Art in Brick Lane”

  1. Always enjoy looking at street art. Would love to see the Buxton Street work. Painting by Mr. Cenz is also a favorite of mine.

    • Ken, there is so much wonderful street art in this area. I haven’t been able to pick a favourite.

  2. Loved the Shoreditch post. So with this one. Don’t like graffiti and like the almost photographic ones the best!

    • Carol, I’m not crazy about the pieces that look like almost pure graffiti either. But I really appreciated the others – both the almost photographic and the more abstract.

  3. what an amazing array of street art, Donna! I will definitely visit Brick Lane on my next trip to London.

  4. The colors are dazzling–let alone the pictures they create. I love when you’re traveling and run across this sort of art.

    • RoseMary, street art seems to be becoming more of a thing around the world, but the collection in this area is particularly impressive.

  5. What a collection of street art! I was only in London once many years ago but would love to return. I’d love to take a stroll through these neighborhoods.

    • Debbra, I love London and there are so many great areas to explore and walk through. I’m glad I finally made it to Brick Lane this last trip – it was impressive.

  6. I like street art and I love curry so this is definitely going on the bucket list for the next visit to London! Great post, Donna, felt like I was strolling the street along with you!

    • Jackie, I’m glad you felt as if you were strolling along with me. London, street art and curry – tough combination to beat!

  7. Love it! I love seeing such talent be displayed for all to enjoy. I’m glad it’s become an accepted way for self expression. Thanks for sharing this. I love hanging around Brick Lane 🙂

    • Kemkem, I can see why you love hanging around Brick Lane. I think it would be interesting to visit again on a future trip and discover new pieces of street art.

  8. Some fantastic art! That one of the 3D woman emerging from the wall is especially powerful. Eating London has a culinary walking tour of Brick Lane and it would be great to combine it with an art walk.

  9. I am always amazed at street art. In addition to the task at hand, the artists have the elements to contend with and the lack of privacy when they are creating. Very enjoyable article!

  10. Loved this documentation of Brick Lane murals. I was there only once, quite a while ago, for Indian food. Can’t wait to go back again, for more Indian food, but this time I will allow time to browse the murals.

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