STREET ART OFF BRICK LANE, EAST LONDON

Some call it street art; others graffiti.

Some see it as creative self expression for those who have nowhere else to go.

Others think it’s an eye-sore.

Whatever your view, the sprayed-canned, monochromed splashes of colour are hard to miss in the urban environment.

They certainly liven things up.

No more so than around Brick Lane, in East London.

When we visited last Sunday there was a lot of spray-painting going on.

Along the sidings of the East London Line to Shoreditch station is obviously a controlled-zone where spray-painting is allowed.

A policeman on his bicycle was even on hand, looking on.

People were spraying and painting  railway-sidings, creating  bold, startling images which competed with each other for our attention.

It certainly creates a visual extravagance, even if all the images aren’t quite to your taste.

After walking along the arches we came across the Nomadic Community Gardens, a wedge of reclaimed derelict land, that’s been transformed into a kind-of garden community space.

Art in the nomadic community garden East London

If you are expecting Monty Don, his dog, a slice of Victoria Sponge Cake and a hidden middle-England oasis, amongst the urban scrawl… forget it.

It’s a series of random raised gardens, graffiti art and other forms of alternative outdoor expression.

It’s hard to know what to make of it. You think it’s going to be edgy and gritty, but people are there sitting out, chatting away and tending to their raised beds. It’s a really friendly, if not slightly off-beat vibe … perhaps Monty himself would approve, after all.

The fact that it’s a community-led project that’s  been created on  completely derelict land really is impressive.

And there is a café for those who want to have a drink and something to eat. It’s been created out of the shell of an old van.

The community artists were also present. One was running a workshop to learn all about graffiti. Mask up and spray-paint away until your hearts’ content.

spray paint workshop being held in the gardens

It’s obviously popular, as you need to book in advance.

And at the back end of the gardens there were massive murals that seemed to leap down at you and demand your respect.

Community spirit and street art seem to go hand in hand in this small enclave of London. It’s definitely worth a visit.

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