Don’t know your Dreph from your Jonesy or Donk from Manyoly? Take a specialist guided walk around the creative streets of Shoreditch
Dave Stuart, a former banker, is possibly the perfect person to lead a street art tour of east London. Efficiency, accuracy, an eye for both detail and value, and a healthy dislike of the corporate world runs through his three-hour narrative, which takes me along the streets I have known and loved since I was a child here in the British capital in the 1980s.
There’s a lot more going on in these streets now. Brick Lane and Shoreditch are the creative heart of one of the world’s most creative cities, and I’m amazed, as we progress, at how much even I would miss if it wasn’t being pointed out. Today’s street-art scene is so dynamic that scenes change daily, with layer on layer of mostly striking painting, stencilling, sketching and stickering, on almost every bit of spare wall. The gritty history of the buildings provides the base layer.
For his part, Stuart led his first street-art tour 10 years ago after he and a friend, a fellow city-worker-turned-photographer now known as HowAboutNo, wanted to support an auction of the work of local artists. “He and I endured the nine-to-five tyranny in office treadmills a few hundred yards apart on the border of Shoreditch, and our therapy for many years was to hook up almost every day for extended lunch-break meanders photographing street art and playing pool.”