Shoreditch is weird. It borders the City of London, one of the most significant financial hubs in the world, but they have little to nothing in common except being part of the same city. Walking east from Old Street Station, you see the border clearly. Modern glass monoliths turn into scrappier buildings where real people live and work, suits become jeans and t-shirts, and sterile walls become something vivid and exciting.
It’s hardly poor. Debates about hipster-led gentrification and spiralling housing costs rage harder than ever in the run-up to 2016’s London mayoral elections, and while Shoreditch is hardly the only embodiment of these issues (it’s somewhat passé in light of the rise of Stoke Newington and Peckham), the attack on its much-derided Cereal Killers café made national news and sparked mainstream debate.
(If you don’t read much about London in the news, you probably have no idea what the hell I’m talking about. Gentrification = richer people moving into poor areas, gussying them up with niche stores and making prices rise, pricing out families who have lived there for a long time.)
I don’t know about that. But what I do know is that it’s a fertile area for creative types. On a 45-minute walk from Old Street Station, via the Columbia Road Flower Market, up to my friend’s house in Hoxton, I found a LOT of street art. Best of all, on Ravenscroft Road, I happened across a street artist hard at work on a shop’s shutters. It turned out to be Zabou, a French street artist whose impressive creations I’d already taken a number of pictures of. Here’s all the art I found: