Shoreditch: Discovering Street Art and Beyond

Apr 11, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

Kelly Allen_London

Kelly is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Journalism major at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

In this week's post, Kelly ventures out to Shoreditch to see how art plays a big part in the area's appeal and vibrant culture.

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All throughout London, art graces the walls of buildings, fences, and even exists beneath people’s feet as they make their way through the city each day. In East London’s trendsetting Shoreditch neighborhood, there’s no shortage of it. From Banksy’s work to the work of a man who creates tiny masterpieces on people’s hardened gum, art truly remains all over.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring2018_From Kelly Allen - Street Art in Shoreditch_4Street art in Shoreditch.

For my Post War British Pop Culture class, we ventured out to Shoreditch to take in all of the art it has to offer. In class, we learned about the area’s street art. We also learned about how the area is transforming with gentrification. As more hipsters move into the area and bring instagrammable coffee shops with them, the area has become more desirable. Rent hikes have forced immigrants who have lived there for years to leave.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring2018_From Kelly Allen - Banksy ArtA glimpse of Banksy's work of art.

Traveling to Shoreditch helped bring what we learned to life. We saw cupcake, doughnut and coffee shops that have replaced other independent businesses. The area comes off as very trendy and up-and-coming. It’s an area that I’m definitely attracted to as a coffee addict and photography/art enthusiast.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring2018_From Kelly Allen - AIDA Shoreditch Coffee ShopChecking out AIDA Shoreditch, a cafe in the area.

After exploring the area for class, I’ve been back a few times. I went back to check out a coffee shop (that I found on Instagram) called AIDA Shoreditch. It’s a cute coffee shop located in a small retail store. I went there for their famous rose latte. It was so pink, and the latte art was truly impeccable. The taste, however, wasn’t totally my favorite. But I’m glad I tried it!

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring2018_From Kelly Allen - Converse Pop-UpAt a Converse pop-up event!

I also went back a different time to attend a pop-up event for Converse, which brought together sneaker, skate, fashion and music communities in the area. It was a pretty cool opportunity to take advantage of. Plus, it was free to attend. I plan on going back again to check out a doughnut shop I’ve been eyeing up.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring2018_From Kelly Allen - Gum ArtArt made of gum!

Learning about Shoreditch’s art and culture will take me other places around London, too. One artist we learned about who paints art on people’s hardened gum doesn’t limit his art to Shoreditch. Millennium Bridge, otherwise known as the bridge from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince that gets destroyed by death eaters, remains a favorite spot of the artist. My professor said the artist paints on it often, and people can even request he paint something for them if they run into him on the bridge. I went to the bridge before learning this. I went at night when I wasn’t looking at the ground, so I absolutely plan on heading back to discover these mini works of art.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring2018_From Kelly Allen - Street Art in Shoreditch_1Art unifies people.

There’s still a lot I need to explore in Shoreditch, and I can’t wait to see what else I try as time goes on.

Thanks Kelly!

Kelly's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, Art Abroad, Street Art