Islington, like Shoreditch, can be an intimidating place with its recent influx of hipsters and people who are generally too cool for school. Look beyond this and you can immerse yourself in a pop art festival of street art. Across the borough, creative minds have left street art gems that are waiting for you to discover them.
At the moment, Islington has pieces of street art seemingly popping up everyday. Graffiti and street art here is reactionary. Even as you are reading this, a new mural commenting on the latest relationship between a Royal and a celebrity might be developing, using a can of neon spray paint and a brick wall.
For example, North London street artist Pegasus created a touching tribute to Carrie Fisher on the side of a pub in Islington two days after her death. Depicting Fisher as a pop-arted Princess Leia, her iconic image remains and attracts residents and tourists alike who arrive with their smartphones ready to pose for the perfect selfie.
Celebrity and popular culture mixed with comic book pop art styling gives Islington street art a specific identity not seen in other boroughs of London. Islington is less eclectic and more confident in its street art direction.
Meander down Caledonian Road and you will see many a mural by Pegasus (who also has a gallery here). The tongue in cheek image of a pregnant Kate Middleton with a crown laid delicately on her bump is entitled Game of Thrones. Located a little further down the same road and you’ll stumble across Sonmi451, a character out of the book and movie Cloud Atlas. Bright and bold, the portrait retains a pop art style quality.
Other popular culture and celebrity references can be found across Islington. You’ll see Pegasus’s angelic Amy Winehouse, a classic image of Robin Williams as Mork by the street artist Thumper, a suggestive Marilyn Monroe stencil and Prince Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle to name but a few. A sprinkling of hyper-realist parrot murals admirably compete for attention on Tilloch Street but pop art is, without a doubt, the style that wins out here.
The street art in Islington is slick, nuanced and highly stylised. It certainly doesn’t have the rawness or edginess of other street art hubs in the UK. The street art here, like elsewhere, mirrors the personality of the people who live amongst it and is well worth a visit.