Although Banksy — the popular, yet mysterious street artist — creates controversial and thought-provoking artwork all over the globe, he first began making a statement in Bristol and London. Ever since, London has established itself as a hub for up-and-coming street artists. Besides visiting the iconic attractions and historic sites like Big Ben, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace, carve some time in your itinerary to explore the lesser seen side of London -- the underground art scene.
London's First "Pay as you Wish" Tour
Alternative London offers several extraordinary options to get you acquainted with the East End by walking, biking or pub hopping tours led by actual artists in the community. Structured by individuals who are pursuing their own creativity, they possess a deep respect and knowledge for the work throughout the area. Along the route, you'll be introduced to pieces by Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader, and many emerging artists. Over the years, Alternative London has adopted a pay-as-you-wish philosophy to ensure a memorable experience without worrying about cost. There is really no better way to experience art than through the perspective of an artist! They also offer various workshops and projects if you're looking to get more hands on.
West London's First Street Art Gallery
Located at 284 Portobello Road in London, Graffik Gallery is home to some of the finest works of contemporary street art in the world. Once a temporary space for Banksy, D*Face, Stik, and Mr. Brainwash to showcase their works, the now permanent gallery has become a staple in the urban art community. Beyond acting as a go-to source for all the latest pieces, Graffik Gallery also offers workshops for aspiring street artists.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
While new works of street art appear almost everyday, it is still considered illegal and the London authorities do their best to quickly cover up any form of artistic expression. As a result, your discoveries are likely to be spontaneous and unexpected! That being said, there are bloggers and artists who spend their time documenting new pieces to share with the world. Check the internet and social media for hints about where to look.