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Redchurch St Street Art History

Redchurch Street in Shoreditch has changed dramatically over the years but seriously good street art has been present throughout the whole gentrification process.

As part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle, itself a subset of the London Design Festival, I was asked to survey the history of Redchurch St’s street art.   The novel twist was that OnRedchurch, the people who got in touch, set up several Cabinets of Curiosities in window fronts on Redchurch St where QR codes linked to online features, I wrote about those last week.   Here is a reproduction of my survey of Redchurch street art produced for the Shoreditch Design 2020 Triangle Cabinet of Curiosities.

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Malarky, Ronzo, 2011

Redchurch Street with its swish boutiques, street fashion, food and coffee was until barely a decade ago a cut-through lined by roofless derelict properties and empty wasteland plots.  As street art found its home in Shoreditch, Redchurch Street’s rough surfaces, dark corners and curious small spaces came to host a huge amount of street art and to play a role in developing the careers of many significant street artists.

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Redchuch St 2008 feat ATS, Peripheral Media Projects, Toasters, Jak-D and Faile

Derelict properties led to squat galleries and exterior canvasses for street artists.  The former Section Six Gallery, now the apartment block next door to Labour and Wait, sported a kaleidoscope of stencils and paste-ups and eventually was transformed with a mural by street artist and fashion designer INSA.

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Sickboy 2008

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INSA 2009

After dereliction, the next phase in an area’s development sees properties made secure and ahead of redevelopment, street art becomes tolerated and, occasionally, explicitly consented. Many Redchurch Street facades witnessed early street art pieces from artists such as Roa, Otto Schade and Jimmy C and others who have since gone onto international success.

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Cityzen Kane, James Bullough, 2015

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Mobstr, 2011

Redchurch Street still had proper corner shops until a few years ago, shutters provided prime real estate for a rolling exhibition of graffiti luminaries such as Cept and Discreet, Aset (RIP) from the ATG crew and Vibes representing the RT crew.  A significant factor was the presence of specialist spraypaint store Chrome and Black which had an entrance next door to Richmix on Redchurch St.

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Cept, Dscreet, 2009

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Mean, Aset (RIP) 2014

Redchurch St was a linear building site for a large part of the late noughties, extensive building site hoardings hosted furiously changing art stencils, paste-up, tags and murals by artists from the UK and abroad.  There is little doubt that street art was co-opted as a tool in the “gentrification” phase.

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Dr Zadok, Meeting Of Styles 2014

Jim Vision, a spraypaint artist and key figure at the more permissioned end of the street art spectrum resided for many years on Redchurch Street.  In his role as organiser of the Meeting Of Styles graffiti festival Jim Vision arranged impressive murals on Redchurch Street as well as painting massive spectaculars himself.  He also curated a number of pop up graffiti writers and street artist group shows in several Redchurch St locations.

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Probs 2009

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Jim Vision 2014

The cottage at the junction with Club Row hosted some stunning murals by Roa, James Bullough and Jim Vision as well as a long running relief sculpture by artist Cityzen Kane installed with permission as a poignant tribute to his deceased son.

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Roa 2009

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Cityzen Kane, James Bullough, 2015

As is often the case galleries sprung up In advance of the arrival of boutiques. The event space at the junction of Ebor St, in its guise as the London and Newcastle Gallery was the venue for pop up exhibitions by street artists such as Borondo, Insa and Shoreditch’s own Pure Evil as well as graffiti writer group shows.  Its outside wall was the location of a piece of INSA’s pioneering “Giffiti”, an augmented reality mural which with a smartphone app would reveal a squad of policemen chasing eachother in  “The Cycle Of Futility”.

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INSA 2014

Urban Angel at the junction of Redchurch St and Chance St had very distinctive shutters declaring themselves as ART, as indeed they were having been painted by EINE in 2008.   Doomed by the coincidence of its opening and the financial crash of 2008, its brief existence saw it host shows by Remi Rough, Hush, Copyright and Best Ever.

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EINE, 2008

It is hard to believe that 11 years have passed since Graffiti legend and renown musician Goldie had a two floor solo show with live painting demonstration at the Maverick Showrooms.

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Goldie, “The Kids Are All Riot”, 2009

At the time of going to press the London Mural Festival is in full swing and London Design Festival favourite Camille Walala has provided a huge makeover to the rear of Richmix at the eastern end of Redchurch St.

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Camille Walala, London Mural Festival 2020

The logical trajectory of combining property development, street art and expensive shopping reaches its unavoidable conclusion with spraypainted adverts appearing where once there was street art, though having spent years honing their spraypainting skills in the riskiest circumstances, who would begrudge artists a living.

Among the niche fashion houses, beauty treatments and designer furnishing accessories Redchurch Street has not lost its edgy cool, a stroll will still yield brilliant stickers on lampposts, freehand non- permissioned portraits, art paste ups and for the especially observant, illegal bronze castings by street artist Jonesy.

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Zomby, Type, 2011

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Stormie Mills, 2009

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Duk, 2010

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Jimmy C, Alo, Cartrain, T.wat, Cityzen Kane 2013

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Pure Evil, 2012

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C215, 2013

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NEOH, 2012

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Unify 2014

All photos: Dave Stuart

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Shoreditch Design Triangle Cabinet of Curiosities

Shoreditch Design Festival doesn’t stop for any pandemic!  Some establishments welcome visitors under the now customary public place precautions; some like Lee Broom have modified their contribution in the form of window displays and, for those of you have patiently read this far and are demanding “give us the street art”, a Cabinet of Curiosities” on Redchurch St is your thing.

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Lee Broom – Maestro

A Cabinet of Curiosities is traditionally a display of the weird and wonderful objects collected by freaks and geeks.  Think implausible mummified cross-bred creatures In glass bell jars, pickled vegetables that look like politicians, ridiculously large street art photograph collections.

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Redchurch St Cabinet of Curiosities

Amongst the designer boutiques and niche fashion shops on Redchurch Street a couple of virtual Cabinets of Curiosities have been set up as window displays which deliver content through the OnRedchurch St website.  It’s a neat idea which highlights some of the amazing design and creativity going on behind those walls whose defacement and daubing is more usually the subject of my scrutiny.

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Redchurch St Cabinet of Curiosities

Drawn in by a bearded man-fish on the Cabinet of Curiosities, a QR code takes you to Donna Wilson via the OnRedchurch virtual Cabinet of Curiosities, next thing is you’re peeking inside the design madness of an actual real world Redchurch St shop you’d never normally meander into.  See what they did there!

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Donna Wilson Cabinet Image

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Donna Wilson Virtual Cabinet

So now we get to the street art bit.  It was a privilege to be contacted by OnRedchurch to provide the Shoreditch Design Festival Cabinet of Curiosities with a history of street art on Redchurch St and take my word, there has been a heck of a lot.  Or don’t take my word, all you have to do is scout out Redchurch St, find the right (and pretty obvious) part of the Cabinet of Curiosities and then check out the feature on your phone.

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Donna Wilson interior

If you have been a past guest of Shoreditch Street Art Tours it’s probably a 50-50 chance that you are familiar with Redchurch St; if not, this little videographic meander along the length of Redchurch St will pick out some of the locations engaged in the Shoreditch Design Festival, look for the pavement stands marking the participants.

Shoreditch Design Triangle runs concurrently with the London Design Festival, 12 – 20 September, there is more than a small chance that the Cabinet of Curiosities will remain in place until someone next needs to clean those windows!

Links for Cabinet of Curiosities:

Shoreditch Design Triangle website

London Design Festival website

OnRedchurch St website.

Lee Broom website

Donna Wilson website

Links for artists in Video:

Camille Walala website

Tizer instagram

Shucks instagram

Jonesy instagram

Ekta Kaul website

All photos and video: Dave Stuart, Shoreditch Street Art Tours

 

 

 

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Shoreditch Street Art Tour Honoured

They say it, you said it – Shoreditch Street Art Tours is within the top 10% of attractions worldwide.  Shoreditch Street Art Tour is currently ranked 13th out of 1490 Tours in London which actually places it in the top 1% of this category, wow!

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This image and featured image at top of post courtesy Tripadvisor

We turned professional street art tour guide in 2013, which is to say the transformation was made from the occasional intermittent activity the tours had been since 2008 to turning a hobby and geeky knowledge in a full time activity.  Since then the feedback from guests has been both charming and also very helpful, we are always tweaking and developing the Shoreditch Street Art Tour and the feedback from guests is an important contribution to that process.

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Triadvisor has been a key aggregator of guest opinion and this morning 1980 of the total 2038 customer reviews are 5 star, that’s 97.2%!!!    In a world where cynicism and complaint typically has a much louder voice that satisfaction, it is wonderful that so many of our guests have taken the time and trouble to share their opinions publically, and it is not possible for Shoreditch Street Art Tours to give enough thanks for that.

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Latest review – Thanks to Lina and Cat, screengrab courtesy Tripadvisor

We will not rest on our laurels; our exploration of new street art, new artists, their new ideas, techniques, politics and motives will never cease.  Our mission to provide expert led, top value walking tours will go on and on, even in these difficult times.  For now though we just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years by taking their time to provide such wonderful reviews, we would be nothing without YOU!

All images courtesy tripadvisor