Sweet Toof and Paul Insect Graffiti Art on the Rooftops of Hackney Wick

Any visitor to Hackney Wick in London cannot fail to notice the high rise graffiti towering over the area. Looking out over the buildings from the station platform of the local overground, it invites adventure.

Although much was sanitised in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, some survived and it tended to be the higher up harder to reach works. Since then the Wick has begun to change with new people coming in and some of the old guard moving out although in places it still has the feel of the bohemian paradise of a few years back.

The Wick in all it's glory can be seen from the vantage point of the Hackney Wick overground station

The Wick in all it’s glory can be seen from the vantage point of the Hackney Wick overground station

Buildings with some high level graffiti now full of artist studios and our destination

Buildings with some high level graffiti now full of artist studios and our destination

All the better then to try and get onto those rooftops to take in the views of the area and also to see some old school graffiti by some of the local areas greatest street artists. Sweet Toof in particular has been very active of late and his work suffered more than most during the whitewash period leading up to the Olympic sanitisation.

With me was another talented street artist, Kef, who only lives down the road in Homerton and wanted to have a look around the area. Given it’s reputation as a creative hub the plan was to explore a little, wander into a few galleries and get a feel for the place. Back in the day Kef spent a good part of his youth tagging in the streets of Germany, evolving now into his signature style of colourful swirling patterns so the graffiti tradition of the Wick was an appealing one.

Kef on the rooftop, taking in the scenery

Kef on the rooftop, taking in the scenery

So, at the top of a building at the end of a little graffiti covered alleyway just off White Post Lane we wandered up to the roof of the Wick. A plan which admittedly had a high degree of potential failure as our entrance to the building depended entirely on someone letting us in. Luckily someone did and at the top of the building an open doorway led onto the roof with a superb view of the city and the nearby Olympic Stadium. It’s not often that the art here is seen outside of the people who live and work in this building and London itself is rarely seen from this particular angle. So with that in mind have a look at the gallery below, hope you enjoy the pics.

The rooftop entrance at the top of the building

The rooftop entrance at the top of the building

Colourful art on the roof

Colourful art on the roof

One of Paul Insect's recognisable eyes covering the wall and floor

One of Paul Insect’s recognisable eyes covering the wall and floor

Paul Insect art with the city in the background

Paul Insect art with the city in the background

Another one of Paul Insects trademark characters

Another one of Paul Insects trademark characters

View from the roof looking over the buildings of Hackney Wick

View from the roof looking over the buildings of Hackney Wick

Looking out across towards the station complete with stickers

Looking out across towards the station complete with stickers

The rooftop is covered in art

The rooftop is covered in art

The colourful rooftop doorway with the city in the background

The colourful rooftop doorway with the city in the background

Tagging from FANG

Tagging from FANG

Looking back from one of the other roofs

Looking back from one of the other roofs

Across the rooftop towards the stadium

Across the rooftop towards the stadium

Steps from one roof to the other

Steps from one roof to the other complete with works from Sweet Toof and Paul Insect

RUN has also got some work on display, here alongside Sweet Toof

RUN has also got some work on display, here alongside Sweet Toof

A random little shed with a view overlooking the Olympic Park

A random little shed with a view overlooking the Olympic Park

White teeth on other rooftops

White teeth on other rooftops

Sweet Toof has certinaly got around

Sweet Toof has certinaly got around

Finally for those wanting to see how it all happened and what it looked like a few years ago, watch this amazing timelapse video from NoLionsInEngland

Sweet Toof and Paul Insect, London Rooftop, 2011 from NoLionsInEngland on Vimeo.

And here is the original Graffoto article which covered the original paint job in 2011.

For more Inspiring City posts featuring topics covered in this article try:

Graffiti Artists Sweet Toof and Paul Insect get up to no good in the East End
Sweet Toof and Paul Insect collaboration in Bromley By Bow
Interview with Up and Coming German street artist Kef
Hackney Wicked 2013 opens up art to everyone
A Street Art Tour of Fish Island and Hackney Wick