Heart of the Streets

VH | ET Student

While traveling through the streets of London, I noticed many things. From giant aesthetic brick buildings to beautiful bridges that run over the River Thames, the culture of London is full of raw expression. In the smallest corners of London, you will see street performers doing tricks and playing music for cash (or simply for fun). This street art becomes a part of London —  it’s what creates the culture for many people in the city.

So, why is street art so important in London? It began in the 1980s with break dancers writing their names on their linos (a mat to dance on). By writing their names, it showed ownership, and this evolved into people writing their names on the walls. This works well with London architecture because of all of the flat surfaces and brick buildings. These signatures eventually transformed into graffiti. People formed crews, and started writing their crews’ names on walls, thereby displaying their turf. As graffiti continued to develop further, people began writing their political views, thus allowing for people like Banksy, Vhils, and Ben Eine to flourish in London.

Heart of the streets

Example of Banksy in the top left; street musician in the top middle; sand art in the top right; graffiti-covered skate park in the bottom. | Photos by VH and JH

Street art has become a way of life for many people in London, as well as being a means to express one’s views. A famous anonymous street artist in London, who goes by the name Banksy, has created many different works of art. His artwork ranges from funny, to religious, to politically hard-hitting. Many have called Banksy’s work the personification of British dry humor. He has been said to draw out the weight of many political points of view that circulate around Europe, thus creating a voice for underprivileged people through his street art.

There are many different types of street art in the city of London. While walking on the Thames River Road, I came across a small beach in which people were doing sand art. While walking, there was one piece that took me by surprise. There was a man sculpting the crucifixion of Jesus. I was lucky enough to watch the artist as he finished his intricate sculpture. London has a way of paying attention to the simple details of their art, and it is this aspect of their culture that entices me to the passions of their street art.

Categories: Arts & Culture

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