Eight Big Street Art Names to Look out for in East London

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London has an incredible street art scene, with new pieces appearing daily all over the city, but there are certain hubs around the capital where the art is richer, more prolific, and far more accepted, and one of the best is East London. Around the neighbourhoods of Tower Hamlets and Hackney, particularly around the E1 postcode area, there’s so much art and graffiti that it can be a challenge to spot a blank bit of wall – especially up and down Brick Lane, around Spitalfields, and Shoreditch.

Notable roads for street art spotting include Sclater Street, Fournier Street, Fashion Street and Hanbury Street around Brick Lane, while in Shoreditch there’s Blackall Street, Old Street, Kingsland Road, Rivington Street, Charlotte Road, Shoreditch High Street, Curtain Road, Bateman’s Row, New Inn Yard, Leonard Street and Great Eastern Street. Check out my walking route guides for some great suggestions on where to find the best street art – East London Street Art for Brick Lane and it’s surrounds, and Slums and Stencils for Shoreditch and Bethnal Green   – they’re a little out of date, but still pretty accurate.

The area is always changing and evolving, it really is an incredible open air gallery, and wherever you head you’re sure to spot a famous piece. Here are eight of the biggest names to watch out for in East London…

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Roa

Best East London Street Artists

Belgian street artist ROA is the incredible talent behind the three-storey tall crane to be found on Hanbury Street, one of the most famous and iconic pieces in the area. One of those super-secretive muralists about whom basically nothing is known, ROA’s sketch-like, black-and-white style and penchant for animals (especially rodents) is unmistakable – and his works pop up across East London.

Malarky

Purple Cat on Cheshire Street

Malarky’s signature style – cartoonish, bold and funky coloured murals which look like giant doodles – can be spotted all over E1, particularly on shutters and, on occasion, trucks. He might have grown up in South London and still prefer the street art scene around my old neck of the woods, Brixton, but Malarky is probably one of the biggest names in East London, with an absolute ton of murals all over the area.

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Stik

Stik street art in East London

One of my personal favourites, Stik is another artist from London, creating – apparently exclusively – distinctive black and white ‘stikmen’ which can be spotted all over Shoreditch and Brick Lane. “My work has a broad appeal because it’s very friendly” he says; a Stik stickman – usually made from just six lines and two dots – is simple, fun, and very cute. Who knew blank round faces with no mouths or noses could be so expressive?

Mr Cenz

Mr Cenz mural in E1

Mr Cenz has been active since the late eighties, but recently his incredible murals have begun to take over East London, with his super colourful, sci-fi-esque portraits of women springing up all around the area. His work is prolific, appearing in just about every neighbourhood with a strong street art scene in the city, and with such a distinctive signature style Mr Cenz is an easy – and awesome – spot. Don’t miss him!

Jimmy C

The artist behind that incredible Usain Bolt portrait on Sclater Street – sadly no longer there – Australian born Jimmy C is another big name in E1 street art. Creating murals entirely from blobs of spray paint, Jimmy’s dreamlike style borders on impressionism. Some of his more famous pieces may have been painted over recently, but you’ll still find those distinctive, blobby paintings all over Shoreditch. Spot his latest commissioned piece at Joe’s Kid on Fashion Street.

C215

East London Street Art

“French Banksy” C215 is a Parisian street artist who seems to consider East London his second home. Known for close-up portraits made using stencils, often of subjects like beggars, homeless people, refugees, street kids and the elderly, C215’s pieces are small and often hard to spot. They’re also well worth hunting out – you’ll find one particularly lovely portrait tucked into a doorway on Hanbury Street, not far from ROA’s crane.

Dscreet

Dscreet Mural on Grimsby Street

A cartoonish, retro style and some kind of obsession with owls, Dscreet’s garish murals are unmistakable. Calling Ren and Stimpy one of his biggest influences, Dscreet uses a bubble-eyed cartoon owl in place of a tag, and this spiky haired and surprisingly cute little fella can be spotted all over East London. One easy spot is on Grimsby Street, just off Brick Lane, where you can spy out one of Dscreet’s owl and skull murals.

Eine

 

Bright colours, blocky typography, and the occasional throwback to retro signage – it can only be Ben Eine, a London-based artist who focuses primarily on letters and words. Super simple, eye-catching, and often thought-provoking, Eine’s massive words are some of the most iconic pieces in East London, including ‘SCARY’ under the bridge on Rivington Street and the recently updated ‘PROTAGONISTS’ and ‘EXTORTIONISTS’ (previously ‘Anti’ and ‘Pro’) walls on Ebor Street.

Have you checked out the street art in East London? What’s your favourite piece? Comment here and let me know if anyone is missing from the list. 

emilyluxton

About Emily Luxton

Award-winning writer and solo female travel blogger on a mission to explore the world through deeper travel. Lover of fun, adventure, food, Harry Potter, hiking, beaches, and chatting about the weather. Can be bought with cake.

39 Comments

  1. I like the first from Jimmy C the best.
    Last summer I enjoyed the Graffiti street in Ghent. It was sooooooo colorful.

    • That sounds fantastic! Belgium has a very cool street art scene – I really enjoyed the murals in Brussels when I was there. But East London is always my favourite (I’m biased because I used to live there!)

  2. One of my favorite things to do – anywhere, is to hunt down beautiful street art. I love the Stik figures.

    • Same here! I’ve been finding so much amazing street art on my travels around Europe lately that I couldn’t resist revisiting my old neighbourhood in London for this post :)

  3. Very impressive street art! Although I have been to London many times I haven’t seen those!

  4. This looks cool, in melbourne there is a section for street art as well. I like the stilt man one, reminds me of that cartoon happiness and cyanide

    • Oh yeah I sort of see what you mean! I love Stik – there are so many of these cute little stickmen all over the city an they’re all different – which is impressive since they’re only drawn with six lines!

  5. See a lot of streetart passing by lately :D Cool to see people love that :)

    I love the French banksy girl a lot! Very beautiful

    • Yep, C215’s portraits are awesome – he does loads of beautiful little paintings which are tucked in among the bigger murals. I think they call him French Banksy because he’s quite famous in Paris, like Banksy is the most famous artist here – otherwise I don’t really see any similarities! Love his work though :)

  6. We also love street art and try to check it out in all the places we visit. Next time we visit London, we will keep this post in my mind.

  7. My favorite subject! I’ve been researching street art in every place we visit. I am so impressed that you were able to identify the authors and have some bio/information about them. I am in Montevideo now and there are tons of street art, but unfortunately I can not find any information about artists.

    • A lot of the ones in London are pretty big, and have their own sites or social media pages, so it’s easy to find out about them. I used to live in the area so just became familiar with the big names and learnt to recognise different styles. Normally I’d say the best way to find out the name of an artist you don’t recognise is tweet a pic of the image and ask if anyone recognises – that might be harder in Montevideo though!

  8. I love the street art anywhere I go…and love taking photos of it! Great shots!

  9. I recently feel in love with street art after visiting Wynwood, Miami!

    • Street art is always so interesting in different parts of the world and in places it’s a huge part of the culture! It’s one of my favourite things to spot when travelling :)

  10. The only street art name that I know of is Banksy (well, who doesnt?) But I think it’s time to start getting familiar with the works of these guys too! Thanks for sharing

    • I intentionally left Banksy out as everyone already knows him! Plus (I could be wrong, but) I think that there aren’t many Banksy pieces left in E1. There used to be the one of police snorting coke in one of the alleys but it was sold – the ‘coke’ trail of white paint is still all along the alley though!!! It’s definitely worth learning the names of big artists in an area before visiting if you like street art – helps you to know what you’re looking at. Some pieces around E1 are really famous, especially ROA’s crane, so it’s good to know what to look for!

  11. Great post, We love street art and London is one of the best places in the world to see it. Thanks for this guide, can’t wait to head back down now.

    • Agreed! There’s such a strong scene in London and it’s a lot more accepted than some other parts of the world, especially around East London. Such a good place to go art spotting :)

  12. I love street art and will definitely be bookmarking this post for my visit to London in June.

    • Excellent, I’m glad it will help! How long will you be in London for? Definitely take some time to visit Brick Lane and Shoreditch, two of my favourite areas and among the coolest places in London!

  13. Thanks for posting this! I often go on walks to explore street art in various cities, but rarely know anything about the individual artists (beyond being able to identify similar styles). I agree on Stikman as a favorite – emotion from simple stick figures is pretty cool.

    • I often find it hard to find out who’s who in different parts of the world, which is one of the reasons I love the street art scene in East London! So many famous artists work there and it’s easy to find out a lot about them online. More and more artists have social media accounts or blogs these days making it really easy to follow them and see where they’re working :)

  14. Going to London this summer…and I will definitely look out for these folks…beautiful!

  15. lesvoyagesdumonde

    What fascinates me is that many of us, myself included until now, remain ignorant about the artistry of street art and “graffiti”. These are all works of art, masterpieces in their own right!

  16. Those pictures look fantastic! I wanted to see some of them when I was in Londen around New Years, but I couldn’t manage to fit it into my shedule for some reason. I still have the London street art app ready on my phone for when I’m back. Will certainly go on the look for these.

  17. So many posts are coming my way regarding street art! These photos are great! I didn’t know any of the artists by name, in fact I really didn’t know street artists were so renowned by name :)

    • Many aren’t, but in places like London where the scene is so strong many artists start to get a name for themselves. These are some of the most famous in the area! Banksy sort of led the way in terms of famous street artists, and now in the UK there are quite a few well known ones – people like Stik even sell canvases!

  18. Great post! Street art have been recently popping up all over the world. There’s something rebelliously fun about it.

    • Thanks! I love street art and love that it’s becoming more accepted in parts of the world – in many cities in Europe there are areas that are known for street art. East London is one of my favourites!

  19. Despite the fact I’ve been to London several times, I’ve never explored the street art. There are some great examples in this post. I loved the street art scene in Melbourne, Australia and would love to have a look around East London now. Thanks for sharing

    • I keep hearing great things about the street art in Melbourne, so I’ll definitely have to check it out if I ever make it to Oz! The scene in London is fantastic though, especially around E1 – next time you visit you should definitely check it out. It’s also just a great fun, lively neighbourhood with tons of cool bars and quirky vintage shops :)

  20. I love the ROA stuff in Shoreditch, its so cool

    • Agreed! He’s so talented – I have no idea how you create something like that crane on a small scale, let alone up on side of a building! Glad no one’s painted over it yet :)

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