Graffiti as an art form has a colourful history in London. Originally vilified as vandalism and disliked for its often left-leaning political messages, it has garnered a lot of respect over the years. In spite of MPs declaring it a crime and vowing to rid their cities of it, in many of those cities it has become part and parcel of the local community.
Who, after all, would want to rid themselves of Banksy’s famous French Maid? And ROA’s black-and-white crane on London’s Brick Lane is so beloved that residents wouldn’t even let it be temporarily covered for the Olympics. Guides now offer tours to the city’s most famous graffiti locations – and fans secretly hope to be able to see an artwork being created.
The face of the city is gleaming in many beautiful colours, enriched by artists both local and international. Many Londoners celebrate the graffiti culture in the metropolis – or at least view it as integral to their surroundings.