Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

One of the world’s largest and best collections of un-commissioned art can be found in London.  The streets of London are a testament to the city’s growing street art movement.

From ordinary store walls, under bridges, train cars, highway sidings, and even on the shutters of shops, the pieces only to be seen when they close for the night, the street art scene is immense, diverse, and spread throughout the metropolis.

Today street art is an integral part of the unique character of London as a city. Ranging from subliminal political statements to statues, memorials, graffiti tags, or murals; the street art attracts visitors from all over the world to London.  Areas such as Brick Lane and Shoreditch have turned into public galleries, where newcomers and seasoned veterans display their talent to the world.

From plain tagging to massive installations, you are guaranteed an audience. This makes London an excellent place to start your street art career.

As you begin on this journey, here are a few things you need to know

  •  Street Art is Illegal in the UK: street art in the UK is technically a criminal offence under the law.  This means, in some instances, the local authorities may cover up your work. Unless you have permission, you need to work fast and be covert.
  • Be Original; You are not Bansky: many have seen Bansky rise to fame and think they can replicate this by copying his work. The heart of street art is originality and ideas. If your style is derivative and lacks originality, it will be quickly replaced. Copying and derivative work is frowned upon and may blemish on your reputation.
  • Mind Your Health: spray paint is toxic. It will harm your Lungs, can get into your eyes, or stick onto your hands. Take precautions to protect yourself as much as possible.
  • Your work Is not Your Own:  the streets are not a gallery, so things go missing. Though It may be painful, remember that once you put up your art, it is no longer your own. It may be painted over, washed off, or taken off. It is sad to see a thing of beauty gone in an instant, but that is also part of the thrill.
  • Learn to Hide in Plain Sight: creating street art takes place in two phases
    • Conceive the idea.
    • Work out how to get it done. This can take as much or even more time than the first step.

You cannot set up during the day you will be caught. You need to learn subterfuge, so you’re long gone by the time they notice your work.

  • Bad weather means the right working conditions: cold and wet conditions are your friend. Fewer people are out on the street, giving you more time to work.
  • Embrace Technology: technology is a street artist’s best friend. To be known, you need to get your art in front of as many eyes as possible. Instagram is your bosom friend, and a website is vital. Technology drives art. From water to Oil paint, to acrylic, now neon is changing things, the future is drones. You need to be ahead of the curve to produce work that moves the genre to the next level.
  • Become a Renaissance man: most street artists have short lifecycles. They stop seeking originality. Keep learning new things; reinvent yourself and that way you keep your work fresh and original.
  • A slick tongue helps: you will need to talk yourself out of situations. Always give sensible answers. Be courteous and polite when talking to the police; they usually have bigger fish to fry. Follow their instructions; a clean record is worth more than forfeited spray cans.
  • Have fun: work hard and keep focused on your goals. Remember to enjoy the journey because being a street artist is fun, so enjoy the ride.