Why We Love... Leake Street aka "The Banksy Tunnel"

London is a big sprawling city filled with the joys of life and in seemingly every corner lies something exciting. You don’t have to be from London to know that there are plenty of reasons to believe the old saying that if you’re sick of London then you’re sick of life. Such is the buzz that the street art scene of the city is one of the most vibrant with many a spot to find a cool throw up and if you’re looking for New York-style wild showcase of the power of street art then look no further than Leake street.

Famous as “the Banksy Tunnel” and making appearances in many a street art movie, most notably Exit Through the Gift shop, it is a mecca for street artists and on a sunny weekend you could easily find at least one artist chilling out with some beer and paint. And why not? Spaces such as these are valuable for the well being of the nation and artists need a place to express their creativity in public.

We’ve been on many occasions and every time we’re in London we make a point to check out the site and take as many shots as our copious memory card will allow. We’ve seen graf in many places but Leake street is just that bit special. It’s a place that serves as a cut through to the station area and an art gallery. If you walked through an art gallery every day on the way to the office your life would benefit immensely and as such it’s a magic place.

We’ve always said that there’s nothing better than the smell of paint and the tunnel setting is perfect for that. Sure, the odd car speeds through on occasion, the car wash does good business – and what a place to work it must be when it’s time for lunch. Coffee over a walk along the tunnels extensive collection of work from global artists is surely the ultimate lunch experience in art terms.

Our last visit was on an overcast yet typically hot day in London – in the early morning of a very sleepy weekend. En route to another gallery we decided to check out a real street art gallery, with walls to spare and a variety of styles that is more usually seen at festivals than on the streets.

Needless to say, Leake Street did not disappoint and with a coffee in hand and a camera in full flow we began the pure pleasure of shooting this utterly unique venue. There was even a writer on the scene creating some cool pieces and it was nice to see an active spot keeping it’s rep for change. No visit to the oft-called Banksy Tunnel is ever the same and if you’ve never been down then check it out asap!

Words by Sebastian Gahan. Images by Creative Watch Area Photography. 

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