Street art usually has a deeper message, be it socio-economic or political and no better is this shown than through a recent collaboration by five artists as part of a campaign led by the charity, Depaul.
Street artists Ben Slow, David Shillinglaw, Best Ever, Josh Jeavons and Jim McElvaney have donated their time and talent to paint murals in and around East London in a bid to highlight the issue of youth homelessness. The campaign entitled “Don’t Let Their Stories end on the Streets” compiles and tells the stories of young homeless people in the city. Each art work focuses on a specific person and gives a frank and poignant insight into how they ended up in their situation and the struggles they now face.
The artwork can be seen in Dalston and Shoreditch in East London. Young homeless people were interviewed and their real life stories were used to inspire the artists. What’s more, a ‘digital wall’ can be found at streetstories.org.uk, and visitors to the site are encouraged to buy a section of the wall; this symbolises that through donations, these stories will slowly be removed as more and more people are helped off of the streets. Those who purchase a piece of wall, aside from helping get young people off the streets, receive an impressive screen-print signed by the artist as thanks for their donation. In addition, time lapse footage of the artists producing their work as well as other videos related to the stories and the wider campaign can be viewed on the site.
Joseph Howes, Executive Director of Fundraising & Development at Depaul UK, said: “At Depaul UK we work every day with young people whose stories could otherwise so easily have ended on the streets, so it is fitting that we are working with artists who can bring a street-eye view to bear directly on our work and the lives of the young people we serve.”
Andy Bird, the Publicist Executive Creative Director, said: “If you live in a big city chances are you come into contact with homeless people on a regular basis, often asking for money. It’s easy for charity fatigue to set in and forget that they’re not there out of choice, but because they come from circumstances and backgrounds which have given them little choice than to sleep rough. By telling these young people’s stories we’re inviting people to connect with them as human beings and using the street as a medium felt like an original and powerful way of doing it.”
As you can see, street art has a positive impact on the communities where it can be found. Though usually political in nature, street art can help reach out to others with a variety of messages in a bid to make the world a better, more interesting place. To see more of the capitals street art scene, join us on one of our street art London tours. Full details can be found on our website. Join us and see a side of London rarely viewed by visitors.