London’s East End is well known as the hub of the graffiti and street art scene of the city. Areas like Shoreditch and Brick Lane have long hosted iconic works from mysterious artists who honed their skills in the dead of night and who rushed out to find locations in order to make their mark before moving on to find the next spot.
The idea certainly before street art became more of a mainstream thing was to be seen and be seen by your immediate peer group. A lot of the character work which even now can be seen high up on the buildings of Hackney Wick or Shoreditch has it’s roots in tagging culture of the 80’s and 90’s where lettering gave way to characters and where crews of artists would form in order to find ever more daring locations.
Street Art and Graffiti
A lot of these artists are still doing their thing, a lot even sell work and sometimes they might exhibit but they still tend to shy away from the limelight. A nod perhaps to the illicit activities of days gone by where unsanctioned wall painting could and still may carry a custodial sentence and where revealing their identity just wouldn’t be worth the risk.
It is with this group though that the street scene of London today can look back to as the heart of today’s movement. It might not be the same exact artists who blazed a trail through the streets of the East End back in the day but the work they do now is certainly more than a nod to the formative days of the East End as a creative hub, albeit at the time, a more unruly one.
And it is this theme that our friends at Dalston’s BSMT Space sought to explore in their latest show ‘East End Mob’. Not all the artists they chose to take part in the show were local but all of them had made their mark in some way and for regular followers of the street art scene, their work would be instantly recognisable because they have been painting or pasting in the area for years.
So on the back of that latest show from BSMT we thought we’d feature some of the artists of the East End Mob
Graffiti legends of the East End
The ‘East End Mob’ exhibited at the BSMT Space gallery in Dalston from 20 April 2017 to 14 May 2017.