The quickly gentrifying Shoreditch and Dalston are London’s most famous street art hotspots.
Every week hundreds of tourists flock to the neighbourhoods to find the next Banksy, ROA or Stik, or even undertake one of the famous East London Graffiti tours. Recently however, I’ve begun to notice a new style of street art popping up in the streets behind Brick Lane – one with a slighty deeper and even darker undertone. Upon further investigation, it seems that these pieces have the capacity to impact the aesthetic environment, but can have a positive influence on London’s homeless community as well.
Depaul UK, a national service to help young people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged, has teamed up with a group of graffiti artists that tells young people’s stories. The initiative called, ‘Don’t let their stories end on the streets’ aims to support Depaul UK’s ongoing work with homelessness.
The pieces were created for free by artists Ben Slow, David Shillinglaw, Best Ever, Josh Jeavons and Jim McElvaney with each one telling a tragic tale of how each homeless person fell into their current situation.In addition to the street art, the campaign involves a ‘digital wall’, which features artworks online. As these artworks are purchased from the site, digital wall will be ‘cleaned’ - beautifully symbolising the fact that by donating, homeless people’s stories will be removed from the street.
This is an incredible example of street art activism, enabling artists to sell creative pieces and Depaul UK to raise its voice and fundraising campaign. Next time you hear somebody say that East London’s graff scene is just for hipsters, tell them to check out this site for a more colourful perspective.