If you’re familiar with East London, you may well have become desensitised to the splatterings of colour and bold lettering that bring its streets to life. There are very few inches of bare concrete that haven’t been embellished with colourful graffiti. But, as Good Things’ Web Editor Alice Wilkinson discovers when she embarks on one of Andaz Creative Travel Tours in partnership with SideStory travel, there’s a fascinating method behind the madness that is East London’s street art scene and, it’ll leave you with a new found appreciation for even the smallest piece of graffiti.

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Walking through Liverpool at 10am on a Saturday morning, the shops are closed and the shutters are down and as Karim – the graffiti artist leading my tour – points and nods to certain paintings, I’m already seeing a side to London I’ve never seen before. Each shop front frames a Ben Aine original that’s been painted on the shutter and, on every doorway, there’s a ‘tag’ or a ‘paste up’ (that’s where artists glue large, printed images to the wall).

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Karim explains that graffiti, like most other forms of art, is an expression. But there’s definitely something about the impulsive nature of graffiti art that brings it to life and, as we stop to study a ‘tag’ which has several layers to it, I learn about how graffiti artists use their art to communicate with eachother – and not always in a nice way. Karim explains there’s an unspoken law: You can’t tag over someone else’s tag, if you tag on top of someone else’s painting, it’s offensive but it’s okay to paint over someone’s painting. And the harder the space you paint is to reach, the more respect you gain from other graffiti artists.  With every inch of painted surface, there’s a story.

Luxury five star boutique hotel Andaz London Liverpool Street has launched two new imaginatively curated guest experiences: Photography and Street Art in an exclusive partnership with SideStory travel.  The new weekend packages offer a two night stay with an unparalleled insight into the creative ‘story’ of the dynamic East London neighbourhood that the hotel inhabits. Guests are invited to uncover the city through the eyes of carefully selected SideStory Insiders with highly personalised half day tours of just two to three guests.

Date: Throughout autumn
Time: Full day or half day tours are available.
Price: From £245 for the art tour and a two night stay at the hotel.

For more information click here.

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