Having Storm Eunice batter the streets of London the previous day and the calm, before the next storm is expected. I wasn't sure what the streets of Shoreditch would look like and whether the weather would hold up for the tour. I love Shoreditch and have my annual trips just to check on any new art, which has appeared. Last time, was just before lockdown. So I was excited and very much looking forward to learning something even if the weather was unpredictable.
The meeting point for the tour was by the Goat statue, on Brushfield Street. A mixed age group of 8, congregated punctually and after a warm introduction from Dave the tour guide, we swiftly started the tour. It was reassuring, to hear 2 people in the group had been on the same tour over 5 years ago and wanted their guest from abroad to experience the same tour. The first few street art pieces, we were directed to weren't the most obvious pieces, or even in obvious places for all to see. In fact, I have walked past these poles many times and not noticed the small and detailed iron sculptures in the top of them! It was a breath of fresh air to be looking at street art, which wasn't all just the normal poster art or stencil art. Dave did a marvellous job at giving us the history behind each piece we stopped at, where the artist was from, what year the art appeared and what method of street art and if they were part of any collaborations. Throughout the tour there were questions being asked by Dave to the group so he was very engaging. Most significant questions were who was the most famous Street artist...and who was the second most famous street artist. This would later, fit in nicely with the end of the tour. Dave was very personable and very informative and willing to answer any questions. It was obvious we shared the same passion for Street Art, but it was very clear he was socially connected with these artists which made what he was saying, relatable and current. So much so, we were introduced to Broccli, who was selling his art pieces at affordable prices and along the way bumping into Daddy Street Fox, who seemed to be looking for his next perfect spot. It felt nostalgic when Dave mentioned the Shoreditch scene back in the day and how this area started the street art movement and how buying these works of art was easily accessible. I appreciated his explanations between permission, commission and non commission work. The often asked question between friends is what the differences between street art and graffiti are and Dave summed it up quite well. There was one artist which I'd seen for awhile, but just didn't understand. When he mentioned the political and economical reason behind the works, it all made so much sense and I now have an appreciation for the artist. My favourites pieces were from artists I've been following for years but hadn't seen since lockdown, Ant Carver, Subdued, Wrdsmith and Stik. But I've come away with some other artists who I'll be researching and hopefully buying art from like the eyes of My Dog Sighs, the thread art of Perspicere and the vibrant colours of Stinkfish. The tour took to 2 to 3 hours, with a short coffee stop and was done at a steady pace and covered a wide area of Shoreditch. Although by the end of the tour the heavens had opened, we were kept intrigued by the hidden street art of Brickflats, whose plastic brick was neatly wedged in a wall under a bridge and in a different area along the tour another of the plastic bricks neatly wedged into in a paving slab, with passers-by not realising what they had just walked over. We all know how unpredictable the English weather is so I would definitely recommend, some comfortable shoes, a waterproof coat or an umbrella just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. The piece de resistance came at the end of the tour. I won't give anything away, or ruin the surprise as you should go and experience this tour for yourself. Even though the tour had ended, Dave promised to send an email to everyone with some useful links and more information on what we'd seen. A good end, to a good tour...even if the weather wasn't kind to us! I got some needed exercise and learnt more than I expected. This tour is definitely worth seeing!