As you know, John and I checked out of our hotel early on Sunday morning and headed to the heart of Shoreditch. With a quick pit stop at Costa Coffee, we snaffled breakfast en route and went in search of street art. John had researched some exciting new pieces, who was I to deny him his first love? Within minutes, we’d come across this group of early risers perched two-stories high on top of a train.
A friendly wave and a few cheers later, we were seeking out the Star Wars themed work of the French street artist, Invader. Once found, it seemed that we’d struck street art gold. I’m no stranger to Berlin and its vast array of street art, but walking around the streets of Shoreditch was an eye-opening experience. It was visual delight, an open air exhibition of some of street art’s iconic artists. Every corner held another piece of art. Another surprise, another game of who can name the artist the quickest.
We spent a couple of hours strolling Shoreditch’s streets, snapping artists that we recognised and art that just plain took our fancy. We found ourselves on Leonard Street across from the Pure Evil gallery. Popping in quickly, we spied more pieces of art that we would have dearly loved to have taken home. Sadly, art it expensive. It just wasn’t to be, not this time.
After being accosted on the street by an amorous gentleman (boyfriend found this hilarious) we decided to check out the Howard Griffin Gallery to see The Bestiary, an exhibition by Sheffield street artist, Phlegm.
After a morning spent earning girlfriend points, we headed towards Brick Lane, stopping only at the Mr Penfold adorned ice cream parlous, Benets, for a blood orange cone. The sun was shining, it would have been rude not to. Brick Lane had transformed in the few hours since we’d been there, people milled and marketers yelled.
I’ve always wanted to visit Brick Lane. Personally, I blame Kirsty Allsopp. She made me believe it was the mecca of vintage finds, just waiting to be upcycled and taken home. Not that I could have carried furniture home, but you get my point. Whilst I wasn’t destined to strike gold, I loved the atmosphere. It seemed the sun had brought everyone out and had certainly put me in a good mood.
The boy and I had been on Brick Lane the night before, we had planned to meet Erica and her other half, Dean, for a curry. With chaotic weather disrupting transport, I didn’t get to meet my lovely, be-fringed friend but I did get to experience Brick Lane. We passed Rough Trade records and I made John promise that we would visit the very next day. True to his promise, we did. He didn’t understand my excitement, but my 18 year-old self was giving me big thumbs up whilst I fought the urge to buy a tote bag.
We spent the afternoon popping in and out of shops, mainly vintage. Sure, we have vintage shops up here in the north, but these vintage shops were different. Our favourite find? A shop which sold vintage clothing and vintage cameras. John was happy to browse the rare cameras whilst I cursed the spending ban and daydreamed about owning all the pretty dresses. All of them.
With hours left before our train home up north, we decided to check out C215’s ‘Back to Black’ exhibition at the Stolen Space Gallery. Previously, I’d seen C215’s pieces in Kreuzberg, Berlin, so it was exciting to see them back on home turf and presented in a different medium. From cans to suitcases, post boxes to wall space, it was unique. Our timing in London couldn’t have been more perfect.