We say it all the time but it’s true – there’s always some new artwork to spot when you go on one of our London street art and graffiti walking tours. How can you keep track of it all? Perhaps more importantly, how do you make sense of it?
An attempt to do that is Lee Bofki’s new book Concrete Canvas: How street art is changing the way our cities look. Bofki is the co-founder and CEO of Global Street Art, and this book is illustrated with a selection of the 50,000 plus global examples of street art they’ve collected on their site.
Written “to honour the thousands of artists who paint our cities around the world”, Concrete Canvas is more than a photographic book, attempting to place the current street art into context, going right back to the early graffiti artists of the 60s in New York.
While the book draws in examples from Rome to Hamburg, from L.A. to Sao Paulo, London is given a special focus as the place having the longest history as a major graffiti centre outside of USA. Moreover, Brick Lane is the place to be seen (as we saw on this corner of the street last week) because of the high number of photographers and tourists in the area. But, he argues, “an increase in the number of high-rise buildings and modern developments is leaving fewer available surfaces for street art”, and the changing ownership of the area might mean the area is no longer the free canvas for expression it once was.
The book also explores the different techniques and examples of experimentation in street art, as well as different trends and themes, featuring the work of many of our favourite artists, such as Mobstr, the Broken Fingaz collective, Cranio, Malarky, Eine and Vhils.
It’s a fascinating attempt at making sense of the varied global climate of street art and where it could go to next. And you can pick up a copy for a very reasonable £13.60 from Amazon.
Want to see what’s happening on London’s streets right now? Come join one of our street art and graffiti walking tours.