Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Street Art of Southwark

The Street Art of Southwark

Well, 2012 is nearly behind us. And what a year it has been, Queen's Jubilee, Olympics, Boris Johnson hanging around and Paul McCartney having every opportunity to sing 'Hey Jude'.

This year has also been successful for London Detours. We have been achieving what we set out to do, providing walking tours of London showcasing everything that the Capital has to offer. Not only that, but appearing in TimeOut Magazine & the Londonist for our epic fundraising event, The 24 Hour London Tour.

But enough bragging, lets move onto what really took your interest to click onto this page. The Street Art of Southwark. I've wanted to write about this subject for a while, and in someways I'm glad I've left it until now. For the past 6 months Borough Market and the surrounding area has been the new hunting ground for some of the countries leading Street Artists. And I bet you didnt even know they were there........

Have a ganders below to see my favourite Street Artists hitting the area, you never know, we might even start doing a 'Street Art Detour - Southside'! I'm already thinking out a route!

XYLO - The South American Street Artist has decorated the walls of Borough Market with his trademark 'Gold Frog' tile. The frog represents the species of animals becoming extinct in the rainforests of South America due to the cutting down of trees & pollution. (Notice in the background his other well known symbol of a circle with an egg timer in the middle).

MARLARKY - The carnival colours of this British born artist needs to be seen. Not that you would miss it. This is just half of the art work covering the shop shutters of Borough. Marlarky always uses the images of cats, bats and foxes in his artwork, animals that come out at night, just the same as this skillful artist. (Notice the cat tucking into a banana, makes sense as the shop is a greengrocers. Marlarky using his environment to bring the artwork to life).

GOLD PEG - This female artist is a big part of Bristol Based Burning Candy Crew. Known mainly for hitting the railway lines around the London Bridge area Gold Peg tags the rooftops with paint sprayed clothes pegs (Some can be seen near Borough Market). This message in itself represents her rebellious side but also making a statement to others that she can reach places that others cant.

BANKSY? - This stencil is sprayed on the building which was used in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. But is it a Banksy? This is a well known Banksy Stencil but is it a copy cat? The stencil popped up over a year ago and I'm surprised its still there but with no offical word from Banksy and his team the chances are it's the work of a 12 year old kid following in his hero's footsteps. Oh well, it made it in my blog so some coverage I suppose. To make up for the fake, take a 5min walk down the same street towards The Globe and you will find Lorettos feelings on this years Olympics.

SHOK1 - Take a trip up to Borough Tube Station and you cant miss the work of SHOK1, this street artist has been changing the walls of this area for over a year and gets locals and visitors turning heads with his huge art pieces that take over the shop shutters and walls. Even the newspaper booth right outside the entrance of the tube station is covered in his detailed imagination.

NATHAN BOWEN - Nathan came into the mainstream after his work was showcased on this year's 'The Apprentice', but this artist has been around for some time scribbling the construction sites of the Capital. Famous for his marker pen builders, a few still remain opposite The Hop Exchange in Southwark. Nathan is a proud Londoner and a ex builder who now makes his living from selling his crazy marker pen canvases and was recently comissioned by Borough Market to paint Mural Market Scenes while building work was carried out in the area.

STIK - I've always been a fan of STIK's work. This artist is a rags to riches story, as a homeless man living on the streets of London, STIK was inspired by drawing stick people. Making something that is non-creative and mundane into a story with emotion and feeling. STIK can usually be spotted in East London covering the walls with his giant STIK people but this one can be found just off Tooley Street near London Bridge. It's a difficult one to seek out but if you do find it then you will drawn in by the image of a stick man lost in an area of vast storage space and dark corners. Interesting and clever.

So, there we have it, a selection of just some of the Street Art taking to the walls of Southwark. All that walking around can be thirsty work so a visit to The Miller Pub maybe needed. And of course it wont disappoint. The pub is covered in Street Art and the inside is just as fun. Even the condom machine in the Men's toilet has it's own graffiti of interest:

Merry Christmas Everyone and look forward to seeing you all on future Detours.