Tag Archives: London Street Art

Graffiti street art flyposters and people in the Braithwaite tunnel at Wheler St in Shoreditch London featuring artists Helch and Knapple

Some People Are On The Pitch…

Why does a street art tour guide snap adverts?  The answer is simply for love of the graphic response adverts provoke.  The way people subvert, augment and modify adverts is pretty much an artform in itself.  The printed advert becomes a host for forced artistic collaboration and capturing the “before and after” timeline yields fascinating mini histories of public intervention.

illegal flyposter advert in Shoreditch

don’t buy it, don’t buy it….

A week ago I photographed an illegal flyposter advertising a new album release, in itself it was a quite compelling photograph. When I returned from a week in Wales the advert was still there, to my surprise, though now it hosted several graffiti enhancements. The black tag with the jagged arrow underlining reads ARTIK LTB who is an hugely impressive creator of large scale rollerbrush graffiti all over London.  There is also a vertical tag which could be “Sey”; the large “throw” over the three characters in the advert appears to read PY and there is an arcing “Shmokey” tag in a white marker with quote marks and triple dotted underlining.

illegal flyposter advert subverted by a graffiti writer in Shoreditch

Artik, Shmokey and others vs advertising

The next morning the Shoreditch Street Art Tour passed through this tunnel and that advert had been replaced with a fresh crop of flyposters which I dutifully snapped at high speed as we passed by.    Although I am I swear completely and utterly immune to adverts, there is an advert for Ed Sheeran in that collection which is a curious coincidence as last Summer on a Shoreditch Street Art Tour we spotted Ed Sheeran serving burgers out of a silver airstream style street food truck just yards from that very spot.

illegal flyposter advert in Shoreditch June 2021

June 2021 Flyposters

Ed Sheeran serving fast food from a silver airstream truck in Shoreditch London spotted on Shoreditch Street Art Tour

Ed Sheeran padding his CV, 2020

To my delight, just 24 hours later on Sunday that collection of adverts had augmented with a gorgeous fat chrome and black dub by Noyse.

illegal flyposter advert subverted by a graffiti writer in Shoreditch

Noyze 1 Flyposters 0

So, why do people make marks on adverts?  In the case of street artists, being anti advertising has been a core sentiment since the movement’s origins, for many artists it justified illegal street art created in response to desecration of the visual public landscape by overwhelming advertising.

illegal flyposter advert subverted by street artist Decapcitator in Shoreditch

Decapacitator vs Uniqlo, 2008

Graffiti writers will point to the fact that the adverts are in locations designed to attract eyeballs, they also provide a nice clean surface for easy marking. In the case of the locations photographed here they also happen to be right next to key graffiti spots and many graffiti writers just happen to be in the area with the right equipment

graffiti by sony over spraypainted advert for Breitling in Shoreditch

spraypainted watch advert subverted by Sony (ironic? lol)

Just a brief note on the title of this essay which may seem a little obscure particularly if you are not British or a football fan.  There is an iconic fragment of BBC commentary from 1966 which registers as one of the nation’s most patriotic collective memories, see the short clip below; an advert is a “pitch”; people intervening on an advert are “on the pitch” and the football theme is relevant as the Euros are currently underway 1 year late.

Here is a small selection of some favourite earlier examples of advert subversion:

illegal flyposter advert subverted by street artist Anna Laurini in Shoreditch

Anna Laurini “Let’s Advertise”, 2016

illegal flyposter advert in Shoreditch in 2020

very arty advert

illegal flyposter advert subverted by street artist Nathan Bowen in Shoreditch


illegal flyposter advert for Lady Gaga subverted by street artist DFace in Shoreditch

D*Face vs Lady Gaga 2016

Does the advertising work?  There is still no way I could be persuaded to purchase an Ed Sheeran album 🙂


Artik instagram

Sony instagram

Nathan Bowen instagram

Anna Laurini instagram

D*Face instagram

all photos: Dave Stuart

Streer tArt, Graffiti, Virtual TOur, Shoreditch Street Art, from past to present

Beat The Lockdown Blues: A Virtual Street Art Tour

So, now the Christmas frolics with the extended family and their bubbles is 1 day, not the 5 you expected, how can you beat the single household blues on the other 11 days of Christmas?

Do a Virtual Street Art Tour!  Cast your device onto the big screen so that the whole family can watch and enjoy a wonderful slide show highlighting Shoreditch’s street art down the years.

Make it private tour for your family or link up virtually with friends in other households Zoom party style.

“it was a really absorbing seminar enjoyed by all!”

Add fun with sporadic quiz questions (optional) from Dave** and your own pre-agreed forfeits and punishments.

All accompanying a virtual tour of some of the best street art down the years using lots of different techniques.

from a “Lockdown 2” Virtual Street Art Tour

 “Thank you for your fantastic talk [Virtual Street Art Tour] this morning – it was so informative “

Timing, duration, number or participants all totally flexible – email now to book your virtual street art tour party.  Even the content can be customised… ask how.

**due to non arrival of red fat suit and false beard, Dave will now NOT present the virtual tour dressed as Santa

Street art Shoreditch, Shoreditch Street Art Tours, London Street Art, London street Art Tours, London mural festival, LMF20, INSA, Gifiti, Gif-iti, animation

INSA Animated Mural For London Mural Festival

Spraying walls was the name of the game throughout September for the London Mural Festival. Shoreditch Street Art Tours is going to bring you coverage of the highlights soon but first off, here is one of the absolute standouts, an animated wall by INSA.

Old school graff writer INSA has been creating “Gif-iti” walls on the Shoreditch streets since 2011.  The one which probably brought greatest recognition was cops perpetually chasing eachother in the Cycle of Endless Futility, a tour favourite from its creatiom in 2014 to its sad loss to mural adverts in 2018.

Street art Shoreditch, Shoreditch Street Art Tours, London Street Art, London street Art Tours, London mural festival, LMF20, INSA, Gifiti, Gif-iti, animation

The Cycle Of Futility, Redchurch St 2014

INSA’s contribution to London Mural Festival #LMF20 consists of 8 strips each with an animation frame, the images segue along the wall.  As a static painting this could almost be a contemporary stained glass window.

It comes alive with INSA’s Gif-iti viewer, you can download that HERE, or go to the App store on your Phone, search “INSA’s Gif-iti Viewer”.  Don’t worry this app is legit, not spam!   Point the viewer at the image above on another device and Bob’s your uncle, the image comes to life!

Street art Shoreditch, Shoreditch Street Art Tours, London Street Art, London street Art Tours, London mural festival, LMF20, INSA, Gifiti, Gif-iti, animation

INSA, London Mural Festival 2020

If you can’t recreate the effect, check out this recording made using the Gifiti Viewer in front of the wall.

The critical question with any piece of street art is what are we looking at, what does it mean?  What I am seeing is someone throwing something, the action looks reminiscent of a protester hurling a Molotov.  Could that tousled blonde mop be anyone other current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson?   What is being thrown is something of a mash up between the stripes in a piece of toothpaste and…the old Tory party logo.  At time of writing the Tory party is having its annual conference – online.  There’s a Boris Riot going on.

You may see something different and INSA’s concept may be different from all our theories, that’s art.

Street art Shoreditch, Shoreditch Street Art Tours, London Street Art, London street Art Tours, London mural festival, LMF20, INSA, Gifiti, Gif-iti, animation virtual street art tour,

Tory Party Logo

You can also recreate The Cycle Of Futility experience pointing your viewer at the image above.

London Mural Festival turned out to be quite epic, stay tuned for further coverage in the near future on the Shoreditch Street Art Tours blog.


INSA website

INSA Gif-iti website

photos and video: Dave Stuart

Covid 19 Shoreditch Street Art

You didn’t think a killer virus was going to stop street artists did you?  Shoreditch witnessed an outpouring of street art addressing the Covid 19 pandemic and its surrounding issues from a number of angles.   It’s amazing what a street artist could achieve with that one hour outdoor exercise license non-shielding people had during lockdown.

One of the most prolific artists was Nathan Bowen whose suitably masked characters appeared all over from West to East.

“Stay Positive/The NHS Warrior” – Nathan Bowen

“Thanks NHS” – Nathan Bowen, Harry Blackmore; Oxford St

Nathan Bowen, Harry Blackmore, Ernest Obi – Shaftesbury Avenue

Almost as active as Nathan were Deanio X and Seen K26, often in the company of Tasnim Mahdy

Stay Strong – Deanio X, Seen K26, Tasnim Mahdy

“Stay Strong” – Deanio X, Seen K26, Tasnim Mahdy; Picadilly Circus

“Stay Strong Key Workers” Deanio X, Soho

Our weekly clap for carers, which was a beautiful collective thank you, has stopped but it is clear that many street artists remain grateful on our behalf to the NHS, to the carers and other key workers.

“A quiet prayer holds over London…” We Love Our NHS – Robert Montgomery

Thank You NHS – Jimmy C

Is it just me sees concentric stained glass hearts in shades of NHS blue in this homage by DRT?

DRT (with Nathan Bowen & Co. in background)

Graffiti Life

On the flipside from the love for the NHS comes blame flinging and conspiracy theory. The UK’s elected political masters and their un-elected advisers repeatedly preached one thing but practiced another to the point that anyone else would have felt embarrassed by. Street artists can be quite merciless when political hypocrisy becomes apparent and they proved yet again how swiftly street art can respond to current affairs.

In some countries the political response was based on denial or even deceit, Subdude latches on to those moments quite brilliantly.

Corona Credit Score = 0, Subdude

On the revelation that the NHS workers Boris thanked for his care in St Thomas’ Hospital were immigrants who now under the conservative government’s mooted minimum wage threshold would not qualify to come and lend their skills to the UK’s underfunded understaffed health service:

So How DO You Like Us Now Boris, Subdude

If you need to know what “Dominic Does Durham” is pastiching, ask your Dad

Dominic Does Durham, Subdude

The early days of the UK response to the Covid crisis were characterised by simple clear messages and this apparent clarity was reflected in the referencing of the messages in the art. K-Guy found the graphic design and linguistic shorthand of those official three stanza instructions we saw on the podiums at the daily Coronavirus press conference in England lent itself to highlighting political neglect as an amplifier of the spread and impact of the disease through hospitals and care homes.

It’s A Testing Time, K-Guy

“Infected frontline policies”, K-Guy

“Intensive Don’t Care”, K-Guy

The surprising move to abandon testing and tracing and the awful situation regarding inadequate PPE provision featured in several pieces. Frankie Riot references the famous press conference where World Health Organisation head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus offered the simple “Test, test, test” which many developed countries decided to ignore with pretty devastating consequences.

Protect NHS Workers – Frank Riot

China again:

Covid Eau de Virus – ‘Orrible

Stay Safe, Remain Free – Artist Not Known

As Shoreditch Street Art Tours has emerged from lockdown doing very small private street art tours for the same price as the public tours, just so you know, the single piece of pandemic art everyone appears to be aware of is, not surprisingly, Banksy‘s nurse superhero painting on canvas “Game Changer”, donated to Southampton General Hospital.

“Game Changer” – Banksy, Photo: Banksy website

Banksy has done three pandemic related artworks: the aforementioned “Game Changer”; his earlier skit on the idea of the elusive rat stencilist working from home and most recently his brilliant makeover of a London tube with rascal rats parachuting with PPE face masks, rats tagging with sanitiser gel and rats sneezing all over the carriage in a lurid echo of the animation played frequently on the UK TV of the dispersal of vapourised snot from a sneeze in a train carriage.

Snot rat, Banksy

You don’t mask you don’t get – Banksy

You don’t mask you don’t get – Banksy

Among all the inspired pandemic related art and the positivity towards those who placed themselves in way of potential harm for our care, one artist was creating pro NHS art years before it became fashionable. Ben Wakeling recovered from his own mental health issues to channel his efforts into art as a therapy for people with mental health issues and his therapeutic work and his Outsider Gallery have proved so effective that his art therapy can now be prescribed by GPs.

To end this lockdown lookback on a positive note, could any message be more appropriate than Mark Titchner’s “Please believe these days will pass” plea.  Let’s hope the optimism is well founded.

“Please believe these days will pass” – Mark Titchner

Artist Links (additional):

Harry Blackmore

Ernst Obi

Robert Montgomery

Jimmy C

Graffiti Life

Frank Riot


All photos: Dave Stuart except courtesy Banksy where noted