Alternative London

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On the way there

I took my sister on an Alternative London for her birthday today. The meeting point was at Spitalfields Market, which I can report is (in my opinion) nicer than Greenwich Market. Amongst many things to see they had a stall selling the most gorgeous giant cookies and the stall next to it was handing out samples of the most gorgeous granola. There was a stall selling vintage maps and prints, which was soooo tempting and a shop that sold some gorgeous vintage style posters of the human body or the solar system, also sooooo tempting.

Once on the tour though all thoughts of shopping were abandoned, as our knowledgeable guide took us down old streets.

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And talked about how graffiti and street artists evolve from something like this

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to something like this

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How the street art could be big like the stalk above or small details that reward the vigilant.

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I love this particular artist’s Jonesy’s work, apparently he’s this 60+ retired Welsh metalworker, who installs his street art by pretending to be a workman

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We looked at the difference between commissioned art, art done with the permission of the buildings owners who appreciate that it brings people to the area and illegal art. The arrows in the picture below are part of a commissioned installation.

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And the car in the perspex box in the picture below show’s the council’s one exception in their painting over war with the graffiti artists, Banksy. Apparently the car window (which is now boarded in because someone nicked the window) had a picture of the grim reaper  done by Banksy, that was the only thing Banksy did with the car and I agree with the guide, with the window gone, that’s not a Banksy anymore but it’s still put in a perspex box.

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One of my favourite pieces, because it was so bold, is the piece below, done possibly as a taunt to the car park owner opposite. The car park owner lets graffiti artists paint the walls but he will not let people in to take photos.

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Also interesting in the photo above is the tube carriage perched on some shipping crates on the roof, it’s used apparently as cheap studios in an area which is increasingly pricing out artists.

We then went onto see a couple of pieces where the artists had used some really interesting techniques, in the second one below the picture is literally chipped into the wall.

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It was a fascinating trip round a bit of London, despite living here many years, I did not know at all and it’s an area endangered, as the city and gentrification spreads. The following two photos were taken on the same spot, one to my left and one to my right, the first photo with alarming poverty and with increasing property prices driving out people who’d lived their for generations, the second photo one of the richest places in the country.

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