“No Hope. Turn Back.” A street art walk in Shoreditch.

Saturday 24 January 2015 – Shoreditch.

It was a glorious winter day with clear skies and a reasonable temperature,  out of the wind it was quite nice, but there was a real bite of wind chill, especially in the shade. It was not a day worth wasting and with El meeting a friend for lunch I took the opportunity to re-visit some old haunts and go look at some street art. I have not been to Shoreditch since early November and I was intrigued to see if much had been going on since, I was fairly disappointed last time I was out. I had been reading stories of walls being knocked down and buildings closed and it was time to go and see it myself, plus it was a good excuse to do a walk through of Rough Trade and see if there was any essential vinyl to purchase. There is always essential vinyl to purchase as it happens, and today was no different!

My first stop was Rockwell House, I have been to a few parties and live painting events on the roof of Rockwell House over the past couple of years and it the studio home of Jim Vision and End of the Line – whose work I really enjoyed. Rockwell House has now been closed and will soon be demolished to clear space for a series of new offices being built across this end of the east end – the part where it brushes up against the city. We obviously need more space for bankers, lawyers, consultants and all those other vital cogs to the UK economy, no room for creatives in this modern world…

The cowboy painting by American artist El Mac has graced the side of Rockwell House since 2011 and is one of my favourite works of art in the area, it will be a shame to see it go – though I guess the transitional nature of street art is one of its greatest facets. The 13 Coins piece is quite new.


On the far side of the building there were quite a few painted walls, though unfortunately there was almost also a corresponding amount of cars to cover up the art. There were a couple of pieces exposed, one by Antony Lister – who I last saw hanging in a gallery with price tags way out of my league.


I believe this is by Jim Vision – I haven’t seen too many faces by him, really good too.


My next stop was the Leonard St Carpark, hoardings have been up here for a while so I knew there was some demolition planned, but it is a shame to see things disappearing. Nice hoarding by Boxhead though.


Round the corner from the carpark is Blackall St, which was a narrow one lane road that was covered in stickers, paste ups, graff and other painting. It has always been a favourite place to visit, but I was totally shocked to find that one side of the street was completely gone!

There are hoardings around the site, which have all been painted, but it is not the same… I guess we are lucky that the hoardings are painted as so many in this area are not.



A little bit of Blackall St style.


As I walked back towards Leonard St I caught a flash of a colour out of the corner of my eye so wandered off towards Scrutton st where I found this lovely new bird from Bailon.


And this possibly older shutter from Bailon, Dr Zadok and Sokar.


I wanted to see the Amara piece on the back of the Villlage Underground so headed back the way I came and found this quite cool piece by Jimmy C.


I was then shocked again to find the carpark at the back of the VU being dug up as well,, not that pedestrians were ever allowed in there to take photos, carpark security wouldn’t allow it. I sort of understood the situation , lots of cars and allowing people to wander around obviously comes with some security risks, but there were some good walls behind the security and I never got to see them properly. Still won’t I guess.


The Amara piece was pretty cool.


Back over on the Brick Lane side I came across this from Jim Vision, I think given to what has been happening to the inner East End lately, ‘no hope’ is an apt message.


The small car park off of Brick Lane is a regular spot for artists and viewers, though I have never seen this sign before – not that I come to the area much on a Saturday, I hope it doesn’t mean that this spot will be black listed as well.


The street art tour has become big business and I saw at least four large groups in the Brick Lane area in the short time I was there, these two large groups in Hanbury St effectively stopping anyone from seeing or photographing any of the street art. Luckily there was not a lot of change since the last time I was there.


Though I kinda licked this, but have no idea who it is by.


There was not a lot else to see so I popped into Rough Trade for a coffee and a record purchase or two, Hookworms – The Hum and Disappears – Era. On my way up towards Broadway Market where I had decided to go for lunch I found this fun piece from Graffiti Life, and that was the last new bit of art I saw all day.


Seeing so much change to the Shoreditch area was really disturbing, so much of the city is disappearing to allow new offices and apartments for wealthy investors to buy and not live. Soho is now under threat and the old ‘Tin Pan Alley’ – Denmark St has been given notice for demolition. Tomorrow El and I are going to Camden and there is a whole load more heartache there as well. All the good bits of London will be gone, probably before me.

Published by


Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.