What is a delight is what you will learn about the way in which immigration, social progression and even war has shaped an area which was once outside of the walls of the City of London.

The best way to discover Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Hackney is on a guided tour, Barnebys joined the original tour group Alternative London. One of their passionate tour guides will take you off the beaten track to an Aladdin's cave of jaw-dropping street art. The guide began with being encouraged to look beyond the norm to find artworks. Peer up at a lamp post before you hit Banglatown and you will see a vulture like creature wielded to a lamp post by Welsh street-artist Jonesy. Thought to be in his 60s, Jonesy works with bronze, wood, paper and even dead pigeon wings to create his pieces. By the end of the tour you will be sure to find yourself checking out rooftops and lamp posts for Jonesy.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 13.54.58

Work by Jonesy, using pigeon wings 

By the very nature of it, street art needs to be completed quickly to ensure it is finished before dawn. The pictured bird is by Belgian street-artist Roa, who used a cherry-picker to scale the wall in order to paint the white outline on which he created the incredible bird. Unbelievably, the entire work took Roa just 8 hours.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 13.56.12

Roa in Brick Lane 

On a building adjacent to Roa's work is a piece on treated paper by French artist Lily Mixe. Mixe created the ocean-floor scene on paper which was then treated and applied to the building. It beautifully wraps itself around the building, one to see now as organic street art is forever changing.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 13.57.26


Lily Mixe's work on treated paper

Head to Bacon Street and you find a homage to King of the East end Charlie Burns. Burns spent most of his time sitting in his car on the same street, outside the family business ran by his daughter. The portrait is a tribute to one of the characters who shaped the eccentric East end.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 13.59.27


Ben Slow's portrait of Charlie Burns


The paper merchant ran the famous Repton boxing club. Burns once met the Pope on a delegation with the Mayor of Bethnal Green in the 1960s and was also given the Freedom of the City of London after decades of collecting waste paper from offices for recycling.

Next to the portrait of Charlie is a work by Alexis Diaz, in which the shading has been completed through hours of cross-hatching lines on the image.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 14.03.46


Alexis Diaz on Bacon Street

Street-art is not all spray paint, as we know from Jonesy. In Shoreditch behind an American car-wash you will see a tiled work by French artist Invader scaling the building. The work is an image of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader locked in a lightsaber battle. Invader's work is modelled on the pixellation of 1970s 8-bit games such as Space Invader, the game which he takes his name from. Invader chooses to use square ceramic tiles to create his pieces. With over a thousand works in Paris alone, the artists has developed an app entitled FlashInvaders which allows you capture his works once you have tracked them down in order to win points.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 14.06.18



Portugese artist Vhils covers walls in plaster – with the owner's permission- and uses a drill to carve out the incredibly detailed face of his subject.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 14.08.18



So if you go down to East London today be sure to take a camera and join a street art tour. For more information, check out here.