Graffiti Artists Paul Insect, Sweet Toof and Rowdy get up to no good in East London

Anyone travelling on the A12 past Bromley By Bow tube station cannot fail to notice the eyesore of a building directly opposite. It’s been a while since this sorry looking place saw any sort of care and attention and will no doubt soon be demolished. That whole area in fact has seen better days, situated as it is in a patch of waste ground just next to a Tesco Service Station. An old office block and a beaten up old former warehouse are all that remains of what must have been a busy workplace back in the day.

No suprise then that some of East Londons most notorious Graffiti Artists have honed in on this place like a spray can to a wall and done what only they can do best. Paul Insect in particular has created some funky little pieces across both buildings whilst the likes of Sweet Toof and Rowdy have added their unique styles onto the roof of the office block. This blog has covered some of the work here before, a fun piece in the courtyard by Sweet Toof and Insect.

Rowdy, Sweet Toof and Paul Insect high up on the derelict office building

Rowdy, Sweet Toof and Paul Insect high up on the derelict office building

Spotted from a broken window, a rather easier to spot collaboration between Sweet Toof and Paul Insect

Spotted from a broken window, a rather easier to spot collaboration between Sweet Toof and Paul Insect

These guys are not your traditional street artists. In fact, I doubt very much that they’d call themselves street artists at all! As for traditional, they’d probably say that they were around well before hipsters became a descriptive term and the words ‘dope’ and ‘sick’ were used only to describe a mild narcotic and an upset stomach.

They yearn for difficult spots to paint and they don’t really care whether anyone sees the work or not. They paint in awkward places, the harder to reach the better and do what others dare not. They wouldn’t be seen dead at a paint jam and just forget live painting for the tourists on Brick Lane! They stay out of sight and they certinaly wouldn’t allow themselves to be caught on camera by the likes of this blog or any of the other instagrammers, tweeters and various other obsessives of social media out there.

Better days?  It's a grotty old place and not the sort of place you go alone

Better days? It’s a grotty old place and not the sort of place you go alone

High up on the rooftop, the all seeing eyes by Paul Insect

High up on the rooftop, the all seeing eyes by Paul Insect

Of course it’s great fun speculating. My plan was to go and spot some of this new work for myself, particularly the new Paul Insect characters. With me was the street art and architectural photographer @eastldngeezer who gets everywhere and whose excellent instagram account is always full of the latest art around town. So starting with the Paul Insect pieces we’ll take a little photographic journey around the area so you don’t have to and try and spot some of the graffiti art on display.

The first of Paul Insect's characters 'Red'

The first of Paul Insect’s characters ‘Red’ can be found in the warehouse

Red flexes

Red flexes

'Blue'

‘Blue’ can be found in the warehouse as well but this character has wings and a beaky nose

Blue is Cool

Blue is Cool

Yellow seems to have some form of laser ray going on

Yellow seems to have some form of laser ray going on

Aiming at some form of target

Aiming at some form of target

@eastldngeezer managed to get this shot of Red in a precarious position on the roof

@eastldngeezer managed to get this shot of Red in a precarious position on the roof

Various tributes on the walls

Various tributes on the walls

Tag from Cobra

Tag from Cobra

A bit more elaborate from Cobra

A bit more elaborate from Cobra

Outside Sweet Toof has left some of his trademark teeth

Outside Sweet Toof has left some of his trademark teeth

Some more on the side of the warehouse

Some more on the side of the warehouse

More work from Sweet Toof

More work from Sweet Toof

The office block

The office block

Take a seat

Take a seat

There's some unusual stuff to be seen round these parts

There’s some unusual stuff to be seen round these parts

Some of the rooms are in a poor state

Some of the rooms are in a poor state

Clearly painting is a lot better

Clearly painting is a lot better

A random boot

A random boot

To be honest it's not the nicest of places

To be honest it’s not the nicest of places

From the stairs onto the roof

From the stairs onto the roof

Blood Thirsty

Blood Thirsty

More Teeth

More Teeth

Canary Wharf with a Paul insect eye in the foreground

Canary Wharf with a Paul insect eye in the foreground

Rowdy and Sweet Toof, the place is clearly a grafters paradise

Rowdy and Sweet Toof, the place is clearly a grafters paradise

More Rowdy with the Olympic Park in the background

More Rowdy with the Olympic Park in the background

The eye on the roof

The eye on the roof

Just around the corner from the buildings is the River Lea Navigation and in the section between the the Three Mills and the Bow Roundabout underpass a lot of the same artists have got together once more. Sweet Toof, Rowdy, Paul Insect and Cobra have taken to decorating the canalside, again getting where most artists don’t. Sweet Toof in particular has often used this canal as a canvas and a wander up along the towpath towards Hackney Wick will result in many pieces becoming visible.

Just on the towpath of the River Lea Navigation, more art can be seen

Just on the towpath of the River Lea Navigation, more art can be seen

Rowdy's Crocodile and Sweet Toof's teeth can be seen

Rowdy’s Crocodile and Sweet Toof’s teeth can be seen

Rowdy's Croc snakes along the canal

Rowdy’s Croc snakes along the canal

Paul Insect's eye makes for a good reflection

Paul Insect’s eye makes for a good reflection

Cobra got into the act by adding this tag

Cobra got into the act by adding this tag

Sweet Toof's pink gums cannot be missed easily

Sweet Toof’s pink gums cannot be missed easily

Look carefully on posts along the towpath and you might also come across some of these stickers by Paul Insect

Look carefully on posts along the towpath and you might also come across some of these stickers by Paul Insect


For more Inspiring City posts featuring some of the artists in this post try:

Sweet Toof and Paul Insect collaboration in Bromley By Bow
Sweet Toof in Hackney Wick
Crazy Wall Warehouse on Sclater Street
Warehouse art on Fish Island