Graffiti and street art legends of Shoreditch and London’s East End Mob
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.
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.
Installation from Mighty Mo as part of the East End mob show at BSMT Space
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
The ‘East End Mob’ is exhibiting at the BSMT Space gallery in Dalston from 20 April 2017 to 14 May 2017. It can be found at 5d Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BH. All descriptions of the art below have been taken from the show.
Graffiti legends of the East End
One of the most prolific and artful of London’s Street Artists, Graffoholic Sweet Toof’s tags, throw-up’s and more elaborate street pieces become a whole language that inform his studio work. His work is almost synonymous with the East End landscape, there are not many places that haven’t been decked out with the gums and teeth! This one is in an abandoned car park in Bromley By Bow
Established in 1987, Rowdy became an integral part of the Bristol Graffiti scene. Rowdy’s trademark crocodiles can be found world-wide in huge scale and are indicative of the playful nature of the imagery in his work. This piece was placed onto the wall outside BSMT Space in Dalston
Mighty Mo’s motif first started to appear on London’s train tracks, streets, and rooftops more than 10 years ago. Originally working in North London he then spread East, where he collaborated with his fellow Burning Candy Crew members Sweet Toof, Gold Peg, Cyclops, Rowdy, and Tek33. This piece was placed on the Regents Canal in London and is a collaboration with Sweet Toof
Pez started painting in 1999 on the outskirts of Barcelona. At first he used to write his signature, and soon it evolved into a fish. Searching for a universal language to communicate with, he decided to paint a fish character with a great smile near his tag and El Pez was born! Since then it has been a way to pass on good vibrations to the walkers on the streets.
Dscreet is an Australian Artist from a graffiti background. He now works in a variety of media including painting, film, sculpture and installation. He’s most well known for the “electrified owl” image which has appeared in galleries, books, films and streets all over the world.
With roots planted in the surf and country vibes of the North Devon coast, Mau Mau brings an air of rural sophistication to the art he has been knocking out for over a decade. He has chalked up a reputation through the environmental and politically astute threads that have consistently run through his artwork. His pieces are bitterly topical and tongue in cheek.
Tizer started painting in 1988. This founding member of the ID crew is a venerable Graffiti King with his own distinctive style and an inimitable suite of characters. A prolific artist, there is no part of London Tizer hasn’t painted.
Painting since 1998, Cranio’s trademark blue Indian was the result of his search for a character that could represent the indigenous people of Brazil. It could not have been chosen better! With their typical blue colour and distinctive shape, the Indians find themselves in funny and curious situations, provoking the observer to think about contemporary issues around consumerism, corrupt politicians and the environment. Here he is shown in a collaboration with Alex Senna.
Atomiko is a 100 percent Miami artist, growing up in the emerging Miami graffiti scene of the 80’s. His iconic orange character -as much a symbol of Miami as are the palm trees or neon lights has been placed all over the world. He visited London last year and did a load of collaborations such as this one with Artista
Coloquix has been appearing on walls, in woods and in rivers in the north of England and beyond since 2013, where she is is often more important than how she looks. Her travels have extended to Europe and the US.
Vinnie Nylon’s work employs a host of pop characters in his mid-century inspired works which range from block print, screen printing and collage to large-scale painted canvas and wood panels as well as full scale walls. His interests and influence span from the 60’s pop movement to New York’s east village scene of the early 80’s.