Although I could not really keep on top of what was happening in the street art world this year as much as I liked, I was able to discover a lot of new pieces, and I did attend some events and visited the areas in order to get photographs. This post will showcase some of my favourite pieces of street art that were in London in 2016.
John Dolan and George the Dog
In early Janaury, an all-female group of street artists had a paint jam on Blackall Street and left a lot of new artwork to be enjoyed. Not long after, JimmyC's existing David Bowie mural in Brixton became a popular icon as people left flowers and messages on the wall for the singer. (He also painted a new mural on Calendonian Road in the summer.)
Ant Carver is a London-based artist who creates paste-ups and finishes them with paint; his work mainly consists of portraits. He pasted a lot of his work up at the start of the year, and I saw a few new ones appear every now and again.
Ben Eine also made a return to London after a few years and re-painted over a couple of his existing walls and painted at Old Street. He painted "Like Nothing Else" on Ebor Street. He also painted "Last Days of Shoreditch".
Earlier in the year, Dale Grimshaw painted one of the most striking murals off Brick Lane to draw attention to Papau New Guinea. He would later paint the Village Underground wall in Shoreditch with a similar style.
Ador & Semor, a pair of French artists, painted a high-profile wall off Brick Lane. The piece included a child shooting an arrow into a carrot in a shopping basket.
It's also been a few years since Alice Pasquini, the Italian-based artist, visited London. This year, she was here for an exhibition and painted three small murals around east London. I do wish that she'd left something larger.
Louis Masai was popular this year with his work for Endangered13 in Bow in April; he helped to organise the event. I covered this in Part I and Part II as I came back on both days in order to see the progress. The paint jam had many artists collaborate, including Jonesy, Andy Council, Faunagrpaphic, Louis Masai, Vibes, Jim Vision, and more. I had a lot of fun visiting this.
Louis Masai also collaborated with Birdo in the summer at Bethnal Green and with Fanakapan in the spring for the Meeting of the Styles annual paint jam and created "Freedom?" showcasing sharks and dolphins in a plastic bag.
Also in the spring, London-based Mobstr created a couple of pieces, and this was the first of his works that I had seen in a couple of years. One of the pieces was a sculpture placed high on a lamp post: "He left me hanging when I was alone and high".
In the spring, American street artist Kai Aspire pasted up his three-dimensional pictures around Shoreditch and Brick Lane with social and political messages. Apparently, there are some around King's Cross as well, but I never found them. I loved tracking down the pieces by the artist.
DANK (Dan Kitchener) also painted throughout the year, but the largest piece, named "London Rush", is located at the far end of Hanbury Street.
I loved the pig by Belgian street artist Bisser on Bacon Street. The big has a somber look and has the butcher lines across its body. It's also on the same walls as ROA's famous big and the butcher girl that Saki & B added a year or two ago.
Artista's artwork was continuously being added throughout the year with one wall on Blackall Street continuously being refreshed with her toast character. I loved checking back on this from time to time in order to see the changes. I wasn't able to capture every incarnation of the work as it would change frequently at times, and it was impossible to photograph it at other times due to the building work and fences placed in front or the odd photography studio deciding to use it as a backdrop in order to get portraits done.
Another artist who painted throughout the year is Zabou, and I photographed several pieces of her work. This included Cabinet of Curiousity, and various other murals on walls and shutters.
London-based street artist Dreph painted many murals across London during the year, and his focus is primarily on portraits. I saw him painting one of these and photographed many more.
In October, one of the best pieces of the year was painted on the South Bank, near Borough Market. This is an area with no street art except for the one wall where it was painted. Australian artist JimmyC painted William Shakespeare's portrait on the wall, and it has attracted a lot of attention from tourists. This year marks 400 years since Shakespeare's death.
In November, Russian artist Lora Zombie left three murals in London, with "Tank Girl" possibly becoming my favourite of the three.
Toward the end of the year, the Urban Solid duo from Italy returned to London after a few years and pasted up some new sculptures around Brick Lane, and I had fun spotting these; some of these were very popular with tourists getting selfies.
The street art scene has been relatively quiet this year, and I think this is due to many of the walls disappearing as gentrification takes over. This year, there are fewer walls as there have been at least six areas that I can think of that have changed so that street art cannot be painted there anymore. Brick Lane still seems to be the focus area as the other areas are dwindling now.