Ah Fish Island, a place we know well. That old industrial area, now being slowly discovered by people looking for the next big thing when it comes to the search for soon to be prime real estate on the outskirts of the city.
The island of course isn’t really an island. It’s a triangular piece of land covered on two of it’s sides by the River Lee and the Hertford Union Canal and on the other by the busy A12. It’s called Fish Island because these barriers give it an isolated feel and also because the names of it’s streets are named after fish.
Those fish names are a legacy of it’s past as a loading point for fish given it’s location on the Lee. In fact the Formans Smokehouse still smokes and cures salmon to this day, the only London smokerie left and still run as a family business. The smokehouse is also notable on account of it’s sprawling gallery.
It’s also a good place to spot graffiti and street art. The old warehouses are now full of artist studios so i suppose it shouldn’t be a suprise, the canal waterfront in particular is a great canvas for many to make their mark.
Of note the likes of Sweet Toof has been particularly active around there. His distinctive tag of teeth and pink gums can be seen everywhere. Others such as Edwin, Pang and Neoh have often been attracted to the islands fish named walls.
We’ve visited the island a few times and indeed have created a free street art tour of the area. It’s proximity to the canals, Hackney Wick, the Olympic Stadium and Old Ford Lock means that it can be easily accessed especially given the investment pumped in to beautify the area which nestled in the shadow of the 2012 Olympics.
So for this post I just thought I’d share some of the work which can currently be seen around the area. Some pieces have been there for a while, but others particulalry around Bream Street, have seen a lot of change as the result of what appears to have been a recent paint jam in order to decorate the hoardings of a new construction site. It’s the sort of thing which is a double edged sword for artists, a short term opportunity to paint but in the long term the development of the area will change it’s character and art which was once part of the area will find itself no longer appreciated.
Fish Island was visited on Sunday 12 February 2017. It was accessed from walking along the towparth from Bow Roundabout and exited via the Olympic park pathway up to the Westfield shopping centre.
Fish Island Gallery
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