Banksy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Invader, José Parlá and KAWS ||
Curated
Street Art
STREET LIFE: Remembering London’s urban art boom

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, gallery opening nights were harder to get into than clubs. London was experiencing a street art explosion and anybody who was anybody wanted to be part of it.

We reminisce – and talk about UK street art’s latest resurgence – below.

1
Banksy, Girl With Balloon, Waterloo Bridge, London, 2002
Capital Gains

Much like New York in the early 1980s, London had its own street art boom a couple of decades ago. But unlike the faster-than-light price appreciation across the Pond, the city’s print scene made collecting accessible to all.

Seeing in Phosphene
Editions
José Parlá
Seeing in Phosphene
£1,200
The Founders
Editions
José Parlá
The Founders
£1,000

That scene is now part of street art history. Some of its key players featured in Beyond The Streets – an exhibition looking back at urban art that toured New York, LA and London’s Saatchi Gallery and opened in Shanghai at the end of July.

A Panel of Experts
Editions
Jean-Michel Basquiat
A Panel of Experts
£56,000
Piano Lessons
Editions
Jean-Michel Basquiat
Piano Lessons
£56,000

Artists
The Lowdown on Investment: Jean-Michel Basquiat
7 min read
Read More

The Banksy Effect

Banksy was, of course, central to the street art explosion. By the time Hang-Up began selling the artist in 2008, he was a celebrity favourite and a trickle down effect gave the scene laser focus. When the gallery set up a Banksy Bunker at its first premises in Dalston, it drew visitors from all over the world.

Banksy

Girl With Balloon (Purple AP)
Signed and numbered
Artist's proof

This is a very rare variant of Girl With Balloon, one from an edition of just 88 artist's proofs printed in various colour combinations.


Girl With Balloon
was first created in London in 2002 and was originally stencilled on the walls under Waterloo Bridge at London’s Southbank.

Learn More
“Banksy is an old friend, and the energy he has created around public art in London has affected the entire scene"
Shepard Fairey | Evening Standard 2012
Jack and Jill - Unsigned
Editions
Banksy
Jack and Jill - Unsigned
£21,000
View Work

These days, Banksy has the hearts of high profile collectors but 2023 marked a noticeable return to the streets. Then there’s his current stencil retrospective, Cut & Run, at the Glasgow Gallery of Art – a fond (and authorised) look back at where it all began.

Companion (Grey)
Objects
KAWS
Companion (Grey)
£750
Blame Game No. 2
Editions
KAWS
Blame Game No. 2
£13,500
KAWS: HOLIDAY

KAWS' gigantic pink figure has arrived in Indonesia. This is the tenth stop in a six-year-long tour and the first time for the artist to feature the work 'ACCOMPLICE', which has set the record for the KAWS' largest sculpture to date.

The work nestles into the backdrop of Indonesia’s largest Hindu temple: Prambanan. This creates the powerful juxtaposition of contemporary art with ancient architecture

See more by the artist
 
Rubik Camouflage
Editions
Invader
Rubik Camouflage
£4,950
Invaded Cube
Editions
Invader
Invaded Cube
£4,950

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Further Reading
Artists
STREET LIFE: Remembering London’s noughties urban art explosion
5 min read
Read More
Banksy
Banksy Cut & Run: the artist's first solo exhibition in 14 years has come to Scotland
3 min read
Read More