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.
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.
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.
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
Really enjoyed the pics. And now I know who does all those teeth paintings around Hackney. Cheers. Really enjoyed his website too.
Thanks Tanya, appreciate the comment 🙂
Hi Stuart, nice post! great place to explore that one.
You might be interested in showing your readers this video made when Insect and Sweet Toof created some of that rooftop art a few years ago
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Thanks Dave, that is an amazing video, must have been amazing to be there at the time, that piece was epic
Nice, might have a go at getting up there myself now I’ve seen these!
Ask someone nicely and I’m sure they’ll let you in you’ve just got to wait long enough for someone to go in 🙂
Awesome stuff IC, I have always wanted to have a look around up there, thanks for sharing – and thanks for the videos NoLions.