Brick Lane is a favourite spot of ours. Go there at any time of the year and you’ll always find something different. The art always evolves and a large part of that evolution is due to the myriad of stickers and posters which are constantly replenished on walls around the area.
On our regular wanders up this particular street, we are always drawn to the places where we know the ‘paste ups’ will be plentiful. In the street art scene it’s normally the big murals that get the most plaudits and attention. But the artists who take the time to create these smaller, often more thoughtful and intricate works, are responsible for much of the change in the area.
The walls though can confuse and maybe even look a bit messy. Those areas which are really worth seeking out can be packed full of works from different artists and confusing to make out. Layers upon layers of different pieces, some weather beaten and some torn whilst others would have been pasted over or tagged. Spend a bit of time looking though and you’ll often find some gems.
The paste up or the wheatpaste, to give it it’s American term, is a different form to what people would normally associate street art with. The works will often be created by the artist in their own home or studio prior to transferring them to the walls. The act of creation is different but this allows many more pieces to be created often in order to cover a wider range of walls.
Much of the work is also original. Many of the artists will spend a lot of time creating unique art to paste up. Some of these works are digital, others hand painted, some are collages whilst others will be mini sculptures. There is a lot of variety to look out for so keep an eye out for it.
So for this post I thought I’d feature a few of the best places to see paste up art on Brick Lane. This is not exhaustive of course and you’ll see loads of different pieces paste ups all over the place but if you keep an eye out for some of the walls below, you’ll be seeing some of the best around.
Particularly towards the Commercial Street end the work here changes all the time, there’s also a few good murals to see. The street is also a good place to start if you wanted to start off on a little tour of the paste up spots of the lane.
One of the most popular spots to see street art on Brick Lane, the alleyway leading into the yard is the place to see paste up art. Within the yard itself there is more but here it’s mainly murals. We also featured the Seven Stars yard in a special feature which you can read here.
Near the turning with Brick Lane, Princelet Street is principally known in street art terms as being the location of Stik’s famous painting of ‘a couple holding hands in the street’ originally painted in 2010 and still going strong. The paste ups aren’t as plentiful here but there are still enough to make it a worthy stop.
Another key location in terms of the London scene. Hanbury Street is where ROA’s famous Crane can be found looking over the area. The paste up work here is dotted along the street itself with pockets to be found at either end both by the Truman Brewery and towards the junction with Spital Street.
Slightly off the normal beaten track but if you walk along here parallel to Brick Lane towards Allen Gardens you’ll come across some good stuff for sure. Again not as plentiful as some of the spots with slightly higher footfall but still worth a detour.
There’s a nice little wall toward the Brick Lane end of Buxton Street on the side of the ‘Religion’ clothing shop. More often than not this will be packed with stickers and posters so it’s well worth a look.
On the side of another clothes shop by the junction with Brick Lane is another great wall, packed with art. The whole street though is worth a wander down and a little bit further towards the turning with Cheshire Street is another long standing mural from Stik, the famous ‘Screamers’ originally painted in 2008.
Running from Brick Lane to Shoreditch High Street station, the street is a great spot at the best of times and you’ll see paste ups near to the section with Brick Lane and on the walls of the old warehouse in the middle of the street as well as by the station.
Of course you can’t make a list like this without referring to Brick Lane itself and not just the streets that run off it. The whole street is a vibrant place running from Whitechapel in the south to Bethnal Green Road in the north. Dotted along the street you’ll see loads of different paste up and sticker art and the chances are you’ll see something different each time.
The paste up walls of Brick Lane were explored on 23 December 2017 and all photos were taken then. You can read more of our features on Brick Lane by looking at this free street art tour here and this photography tour here.
Brick Lane Paste Ups Gallery