It’s funny what you notice once your attentions been drawn to something… Last Saturday morning I embarked upon a casual walking tour of East London, discovering the varied and interesting street art within the Hackney boroughs, brought to the unsuspecting Londoner from the likes of Vader, Ben Eine and Stick - to name a few. The tour, brought to my attention the innovation, and often daring attempts of the many grafitti artists, who battle against the stigma attached to vandalism, and local councils desperate to quiet the sometimes controversial and outspoken work of those bold enough to try.
Following many attempts to commodify, and make more publicly acceptable this modern take on art, encouraged by the oh so respected President of the US himself as well as our very own political heads, much of this once perceived act of criminality is increasingly being commissioned to form educational tools, and make prettier local community areas, showcasing the individualism of areas in preparation for 2012.
Fusing together another passion, after a casual Friday drink in Soho yesterday, choosing ‘Graphic’ on Golden Square I was pleased to find the popular work of Ben Eine decorating the walls of the respectable cocktail bar. Graphic is known for collaborating with different artists every six months, aiming to keep the interior of the bar fresh and exciting. Upon entering the bar, I was instantly struck by the notorious colourful letters adorning the shutter come walls, with individual original pieces hanging also. The bar itself boasts an ambitious cocktail menu, with an impressive back bar and highly skilled bar staff, as you should expect. but I was further impressed by the hospitality, and interest of the manager, who was eager to chat to me and my colleague, providing me with insight to the bars history, and the thought process that went in to choosing which artists got to have their way with the bar.
Street art is without a doubt the ‘in thing’ right now; how long that concept will continue to be popular, only time can tell. Logically as with all great things, as it becomes ever more commercial, and readily available to the public on a post card, or a book in Urban Outfitters, the respect and and interest in it may start to fade. But for now, it can’t be a bad thing for up and coming artists to showcase not only their skills, but their opinions too. The expanding concept has definitely struck a cord, so expect more content on this to follow… And possibly some photos too.