Yesterday was quite a lot of walking. I’m surprised how much stamina I have had throughout this trip. It almost feels like we have a workout everyday. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. In the morning we met up and headed out to our first tour, which was a graffiti tour of one of London’s prominent areas with street art, called Shoreditch. I visited this area in 2018 when I came to London and loved it, so I was really excited to go back. Our tour guide gave us an overview on the street and graffiti art and their meanings, and the artists that created them. There was so much to see in this part of London. He explained to us that street art is quickly replaced and gone over often, which gives different artists the ability to showcase their work on the streets. The street art is generally not commissioned, but gives the artists exposure, and makes their work more well known. Another aspect I found interesting on this tour was the discussion regarding who the streets belong to: the public, or brands for their advertisements. There is a debate that argues that taking up the streets with big brand advertising is taking away from the authenticity and free-will of Londoners. While these brands pay to have to have a spot for their ad/art, some think that it is unreasonable considering the brands do not pay taxes for that area, while the people do. In which case, why shouldn’t they should have some say in what’s placed throughout their area? I’ve included some examples of the street art in place at the moment, as well as the big brand ads.
I’m surprised something like this is even up for debate regarding the arts. In comparison, cities back in the States like Philly and New York would never consider something like this, unless it was purposeful and possibly a commission, or some sort of remembrance piece. I was truly amazed at all of this street art. It’s crazy to think this was all done with spray cans over the course of a few days. It was such a great chance to be exposed to various artists.