London is a melting pot of creativity and iconic imagery. There is so much inspiration all over the capital, it’s not hard to see why so many aspiring artists – whether performers, painters, writers, designers or any other artistic type – use the city as a canvas for their work. There is a long history of artists originating from London, and there will be even more in the future, with the capital providing surroundings that will motivate them to create the next ‘work of art’.
In celebration of everything that is art in London, we are taking a look at the most artistic areas, past and present.
Situated a stone’s throw away from the River Thames, the south west London area of Chelsea has attracted many artists in the past – especially in the 19th century. William Turner took a liking to the area, noting how mesmerising the light and changing state of tide was on the Chelsea houses along the River Thames.
Chelsea Arts Club is still immensely popular and is enjoyed by artists, poets, writers, actors, dancers and musicians. Many blue plaques can also be found around the area from past artists such as John Singer Sargent and James McNeil Whistler.
Once upon a time, Peckham was a no-go area with a rough and dangerous reputation. Today, however, SE15 is fast becoming one of the places to be seen in south east London, thanks in no part to a thriving art scene.
Peckham Platform is an open art gallery that commissions exhibits and works from contemporary artists who are sourced from local community groups. It has helped breathe new life into an area that is now a cultural and artistic hotbed.
Hipster vibes have somewhat replaced the typical ‘awight geez’ cockney attitude of the East End – at least in Shoreditch. Art has played a central role in this E1 postcode’s emergence as one of the prime places to be in London. For anyone wanting to embrace the capital’s art scene, there are artistic street tours, various galleries and plenty of wall art murals to admire.
The independent stores in nearby Spitalfields Market typify this part of London, with artistic crafts displayed in the form of fashion boutiques, hand-crafted jewellery and food stalls. All brought to you by inspirational designers and curators destined to be ‘the next big thing’.
Camden Town’s artistic roots go back as far as the 1960’s, when an unknown music group called Pink Floyd made their debut, playing a set at the world-famous Roundhouse venue. What followed was a punk movement that has set the scene in Camden, making it one of the most in-demand areas in London.
Today Camden is visited by millions from all over the world who like to browse the artistic delights in Camden Market, try the inspired food stalls and visit live music venues, hoping to hear the next Pink Floyd.
N1 is one of the most sought-after postcodes in London, thanks to upmarket bars, popular restaurants and boutique shops. Much of this has been made possible from Angel and Islington’s artistic past, where cinema Screen on the Green played a prominent role. It was constructed in 1913, is one of the oldest cinema’s in London and has been used as a music venue.
Hackney and Hoxton are flooded with art galleries and cultural centres, including the Hundred Years Gallery which hosts international and London-based artists, with a focus on digital, performance art and installation.
Other popular galleries include Waterside Contemporary, a gallery displaying work from mid-career artists as well as up-and-comers; A-Side B-Side, which hosts exhibitions, studio spaces and events; and Union Gallery, a place for many first-time artists to display their work.
Waterloo’s Leake Street leads to a designated graffiti tunnel underneath the station where you will find a legal graffiti spot famous for the location of Banksy’s CANS festival. With each visit you are likely to see new art displayed by graffiti veterans and aspiring artists.
The Southbank is located just a five-minute walk from Waterloo station and is known as one of London’s most cultural and artistic hubs. The Southbank Centre is a one-stop shop for all things artistic and should be visited by anyone with an appreciation for art.
September 23, 2016 rentonomy Moving to the Capital