Saturday, October 23, 2010

Brick Lane graffiti walk

I stroll along Brick Lane, the famous street in the East End of London, pretty much every day as the funky street happens to be on my way to work. The place is truly a scene: it's constantly evolving, changing, living and breathing. The only thing you can expect from Brick Lane is the unexpected. At first the street might strike you as being nothing short of unattractive, but if you give it a go and approach it with an open mind you might just grow to like it.

The Brick Lane Mosque used to be a Synagogue and a Church before that some nice interfaith rhetoric in itself (I haven't heard of stories of hostile take-overs). And I wouldn't be surprised if the building currently giving a home to Brick Lane's white bearded Bangladeshi worshipers would be a Buddhist temple in the next 40 years or so. It's just one of the many examples showing how different people from around the world come and go while leaving their marks contributing to the alternative Brick Lane scene. 

But there are things that are evolving at a faster pace than that. I got a book on Banksy as a present from some of my colleagues a while ago. Browsing through his amazing work made me look at the world of graffiti all of a sudden in a new light. And my walks to and from the office suddenly got more entertaining as I realized Brick Lane was really just one big art gallery where there's a new free exhibition put up every night. The gallery visitor's job is just to keep eyes open and be alert as you never know where that next master piece might be located.

But pictures speak more than thousand words, so you can get a flavor of what it's like visiting the living art gallery of Brick Lane by having a look at my selection of some of the coolest graffiti I've spotted. And if you fancy getting even more into it, I truly recommend Salaam Brick Lane, a book by Tarquin Hall.

Oh, and I have made a disclaimer to my friends long time ago: in case I come up with ever weirder ideas or looks they have Brick Lane to blame (or thank) for. Now, where can I get my hands on a graffiti artist's toolkit for beginners...

Well, not quite a graffiti. But I liked it.

Spot the squirrel? More similar stuff to follow from the same graffiti artist later on. And is Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld spending his retirement by running an Internet cafe on Brick Lane? Sounds about right!

Same spot a month later

This artist has a distinctive style. The above picture is not quite on Brick Lane - it's from the Shoreditch canal. Beautiful place for a walk by the way.

This is a Banksy, but it's not an original one unfortunately.

This groovy van can usually be spotted a bit off Brick lane in Whitechapel

Do I have a secret fan? I'll forgive misspelling my name. That's pretty good anyway, have seen far worse renderings of my Finnish name.