The Cans Graffiti festival was held on the 3rd to 5th of May 2008 it took an empty unused tunnel close to the river and converted it into a vibrant goldmine of artwork, stencils and graffiti from famous artists such as Banksy, Faile, Sweet Tooth, Mike Marcus, Obey and Snub.
These pictures were taken over a few visits to the site, a map of its location can be found at the end of this post. The festival tunnel changes every time you visit as more and more artwork is added.
Unfortunately the last few times I have been to the tunnel the best pieces have been vandalized with scrawls of tags, which take way some of the impact of the first phases of work.
Hopefully these images will show the tunnel in its best light offering some thoughtful and skillful graffiti artwork.
The scale of the work is somewhat breathtaking when at the tunnel, as certain pieces cover the floors, walls and ceilings. One of the unique aspects of the Cans Festival is the competition for real estate, which has meant work is woven into every space possible.
Towards the end of the tunnel stencils literally carpet the walls meaning it’s difficult to see the tunnels original dull and industrial colours.
The Cans Festival is an extremely successful venture, which has liven a up dull and horrible industrial landscape by adding some original rich and varied artwork.
Another interesting aspect of the festival is that it tucked away in central London and not on some relegated scruffy outskirt in an industrial estate somewhere inaccessible. It’s quite odd to find so much fantastic graffiti right next to the London Eye
Below is a map of where all of these photographs were taken the graffiti shown in this site has probably changed a great deal since I took these photos but Im pretty sure there will still be something worth a look in the tunnel if you are in the area!
Leake Street is within walking distance from Waterloo, Westminster and Embankment tubes, the tunnel is situated behind the green space next to the London Eye. The easiest way to find the tunnel is to turn with your back towards the eye away from the river and cross the York Road take a right next to the traffic lights and head straight down onto Leake Street.