London’s East End has to be one of the most cool neighborhoods not just in London, but probably Europe. Shoreditch has historically been a popular hipster hangout and though much of that has moved into new areas, Shoreditch is still pretty damn cool. This is the same area where the legendary Brick Lane is located. Long an area for immigrants, artists, bohemians and anyone who didn’t fit into the compressed confines of central London, the East End has a reputation for “unusual” and “quirky.”
And where there’s creativity and class systems, there’s very often expressions of that on the city walls. Shoreditch and much of East London has long been a place to find amazing works of graffiti and street art. Those pieces both commissioned and thrown up under cover.
This piece, however, is relatively new. In June, the Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz put up this mural of an elephant-octopus. His works are characteristic of highly detailed animal hybrids. It’s so easy to get lost in the mesmerizing details of his work, but then taken as a whole, it’s equally fascinating. I can’t decide if they’re best viewed from up close or from down the street.
Either way, you can view more of Alexis Diaz’s work on his website.
Shoreditch is one of London’s most dynamic neighborhoods with a lot of vibrant street art. You’ll find many street art tours running daily, many of them on and around Brick Lane. But for those that want a real taste of the neighborhood’s alternative culture, consider staying in a hostel or hotel. Use Hostelz.com to do a meta-search of hostel prices from a variety of booking sites, and check their London directory for neighborhood filters. Look for places near to the Shoreditch overground station to be right in the epicenter of “cool.”