Street Art on shutters: Now you see it, now you don’t (part 1)
I came up with the idea to focus on shop front shutters when I first came across Toynbee street back in April. It was a dead zone. All the shops bar one were closed down. The only interesting element was the street art on many of the shutters. And none of it looked recent.
Toynbee St runs off the busy Commercial St. Like much of East London, it is an area that is being considered for redevelopment and plans were lodged with local council Tower Hamlets in 2011. You can see the Toynbee street consultation plans here. There is also a campaign to save the pub seen below from closure. Save The Duke E1
When I moved to Hackney eight years ago, it was the shutter art along the Hackney Road that I first noticed. In particular the distinctive single letters by Ben Eine. Of course I didn’t know who he was then but walking along Toynbee street I wondered if shutter art was an early form of London street art.
In preparation for this post I discovered that the street art on Toynbee street is actually fairly recent. Back in 2011 a blog called Uban75blog shows the shutters are either naked or covered in posters. And the first street art was documented by blog Inspiring City Street Art on Toynbee Street in 2012. The shutter featured on that post by artist Malarky was still there in early August three years later.
Shutter street art, Toynbee St, London E1
So lets take a dander along Toynbee Street and have a look at the work that was there around April to August 2015. Mama Thai is still in business and has been recommended as a cheap, tasty place to eat in the area as recently as July this year.
The next few shutter designs run along the left hand side of the street if you’re walking towards Aldgate. I don’t recognise who painted many of them though.
The only shop open that Friday afternoon in April was this fast food shop on the right where the two men are chatting.
I’d seen Flame’s face on twitter last year but only 3 months later when I returned in August this year, those two faces above were gone. The face you can glimpse behind the bin is also by Flame.
The streets around this area are also adorned with great shutter art. As these streets get fewer passersby except for those on their way to the legendary Petticoat Lane Market, the art has been there for some time.
Shutter street art, Bell Lane, London E1
Shutter street art: Leyden St, London E1
And on the corner with Wentworth Street is this one.
In researching for this post I discovered that 5 years ago, in 2010, Ben Eine had been commissioned to paint all the shutters along Middlesex St and Wentworth St. I found this fascinating post about the project on the blog Spitalfields Life The Return of Ben Eine street artist.
So I got up early on a Sunday morning in August to try and photograph them myself. I was there around 6.45am but the stall holders of Petticoat Lane market were already setting up their stalls along both those streets. I really like the colour they add to my record of the remaining shutter art I found that morning.
Shutter street art: Wentworth Street, London E1
And finally I was very excited to spot this one because I’m huge fan of Cranio and his blue Indians. I’d seen it online but couldn’t find it because during the afternoon the café had been open and the shutter was hidden. And this is why I’ve headed this post with the phrase “now you see it, now you don’t.”
I have many more photographs of shutter art which I will share on subsequent posts grouped around the streets where they may be found. Part 2 will be of the work on Commerical Street.