Refractive Index

Street Art: A Natural History

London is renowned for its large green park spaces, but it is equally the oppotunistic plants and flowers cropping up in the city’s nooks and crannies that add a welcome splash of colour to the grey city walls. Look closely and you will find a vibrant ecosystem that most people miss.

In London’s East End, street art is equally pervasive. It is hard to miss the giant gothic woodland animals painted by artist Roa, but if you looker closer there is, likewise, a wealth of art that goes unnoticed. Yet street art is far more than city wallpaper: it is a culture in its own right. The street artists living in the East End are part of a much wider creative community that made the East End what it is today.

But like an over-zealous gardener, street art is today being torn down by the council. Meanwhile, the artistic community is being forced out by rising rent and the encroaching city. Is this natural evolution or destruction of ecological diversity? Street Art: A Natural History explore this question through the entwining of human culture and biology.

Tom Lewton, Rachel Jones and Charlie Harvey are studying for an MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College, London. Tom Lewton is also one of the editors of Refractive Index. 
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