The alternative london tour
I often find myself sitting on the fence when the discussion of street art and graffiti pops up. A part of me feels that vandalism is not the way forward, we shouldn’t need to spray-paint someone’s property to make a point about life. But then again, some of the messages a lot of these ‘vandals’ convey through art are remarkable.
A friend invited me to join her on a tour that explores street art around East London (Shoreditch), the alternative London tour.
I decided to tag along because we’re always out around Shoreditch and never know the history behind all the street art we see in the area. Plus, this is the first tour in London to run on a pay-what-you-like basis [yep, you pay as much as you like when the tour ends].
Before I type away, let me just say this has to be one of the best tours that exist in London at the moment [something I would really recommend if art, graphic design or history interests you]. The tour lasted around two hours [don’t let this put you off] and not once did I get bored or felt like it was a waste of my time.
I am not going to ruin the tour for anyone and reveal everything I was told [the truth is I didn’t make a mental note of everything]. But just to give you a taste of what to expect I’ll quickly type some of the stuff I made a note of on my phone.
First of all, you’ll learn the history of that part of East London [which dates back hundreds of years ago], why art has become so popular in Shoreditch, and how immigration changed the area for good.
You’ll discover that a lot of these street artist went through some rough times. But once they established themselves, life changed for them at a blink of the eye. From being homeless and arrested for vandalism, to being invited to the White House in Washington, D.C. and producing art works that are worth thousand of pounds.
You’ll learn about the conflicts, disagreements and risks a street artists takes, and how they manage to get away with some astonishing stuff without anyone realising what they’re up to.