Artists of the East End is a series which focuses on creatives who either live in or create artwork around London’s East End. The area is well known as the hub of street art in London. Areas such as Shoreditch and Brick Lane attracting artists from across the city and the UK. Places such as Walthamstow and Hackney Wick also boasting thriving art scenes. The area often finds itself to be an agreeable artistic backdrop.
This series of interviews focuses on who these artists are and what makes them tick. We take a look at their work and learn about their inspirations and motivations. All are known for their work on the street. Though the extent of this work depends upon their own practice. We range from muralists, poets and paste up artists to graffiti writers and urban expressionists.
Artists of the East End
Known for her paste ups, Mini Gabi is an alter ego. A character who explores the city along with a magic pen, spreading positivity and imagination. Gabi Almeida is the artist behind the work. Originally from Brazil she came to the UK to study in Cambridge and stayed. Although always artistic she initially pursued a career in music. Both singing and playing as well as producing her own range of electronic pop. It was only following an accident that she switched to art and the figure of Mini Gabi was born.
Artist Paul Robinson aka LUAP is known principally for his paintings which feature his Pink Bear. Mainly known for his studio work, he also works on the street creating paste ups and murals. Based in Bow, his work combines hyper realism with abstraction to create the world in which he wants to place his main character. The Pink Bear himself takes its inspiration from a childhood memory. A result of cognitive behavioural therapy, the bear has been an ever present in his work since then.
- LUAP the artist behind the Pink Bear
- Giant Pink Bear Painted in Shoreditch by LUAP
- The Unconscious Therapy Exhibition from LUAP
Known for his abstract characters, ALO has been a regular on the streets of East London since 2013. Originally from Italy, he came with the express intention of creating art on the streets. As such his artworks become synonymous with the area and led to his work gaining interest from galleries such as the Saatchi. Describing himself as an urban expressionist. ALO takes his influence more from expressionist painters of the past than urban artists of the present. However the social culture and environment of the street is also a key driver. The whole concept of taking fine art, outside the gallery is a key part of his practice.
- ALO the Italian artist taking over the Streets of London
- The Artist with his own brand of Urban Expressionism
- Liminal Exhibition by ALO at the Saatchi Gallery
Based out of Dalston in Hackney, Shem is an urban artist from South London primarily known for his studio works but who has also worked on the streets. His art can be seen through the lens of his motto ‘Art, Hop, Life’. These are the things that matter to him and his artworks take their inspirations from aspects to the things he loves. That is music, hip hop and lifestyle. Shem’s work is abstract and instinctive, ever changing and evolving as he takes energy from what happens around him.
Originally from Colombia, Vane MG has lived in London since 2016, recently moving to Bow in the East End of London. She is known for her colourful, nature inspired paintings which also feature the colours of her home country. Often using wind vanes in her work, they are a nod to both her name but also her Aquarian sign. The wind, as a metaphor for much of her work, has the potential to blow in change and new opportunities. As an artist she mixes between her studio practice and her work on the street.
- Vane MG the Artist Bringing Colombian Colour to East London
- London street artists paint murals for Colombia
A Japanese artist now living in Whitechapel. Enigma has burst onto the street art scene in London over the past year, creating a prolific amount of artwork. Moving from Japan, he found opportunities to develop his street style difficult in his home country. Inspired by the paintings of Magritte many of his artworks are abstract. Merging different elements together to form a new reality. Stories evolve from the connections he ends up making with ordinary everyday objects.
Well known on the graffiti scene across London. Tizer has been writing since the late 80’s. Initially known for his characters he moved into letters and now his combinations are some of the most recognisable in the city. Based in South London he is nevertheless a regular sight in the East End, painting often around Shoreditch and Brick Lane. An inspirational figure for many, he is a self taught artist who himself has needed to overcome adversity. Now he often uses his skills to give back to younger artists.
A Yorkshire artist living in London, This One is known for his black and white illustrative style. Inspired initially by tattoo designs he started to paint them on the street and never looked back. Featuring the natural world he paints birds, animals and flora and fauna. Often the work that he creates are representative of the natural life around his home town of Ilkley. Others will be representative of the area that he is painting in. Either way for This One it’s about bringing nature back into the city.
A Spanish street artist living in Stoke Newington, Apparan is known for her work inspired by female identity. A regular on the local street art scene she is the founder of the Art House Project and a regular contributor to the WOM collective. Attracted to street art through an initial love of the scene, she has been a regular support to other artists. Organising shows and events that have supported local artists across the city
A visual artist and poet, DD Regalo is known for his work which focuses on the power of words. Describing his style as being led by feeling, he also talks about energy and his passion for extreme sports which can lead to risk-taking within art. Originally from Canada he lives in South London with a studio in East Ham.
Artists of the East End is video interview series by Inspiring City. It features artists who either live in or often work within the East End of London