Tag Archives: Banksy

Banksy, Cheltenham, CGHQ, stencil, phone box

Banksy GCHQ Reduced to Rubble – Or Is It?

A mist of news, rumour and myth swirls around Banksy and at times he doesn’t actually need to do anything to cause it.

 

Back in 2014 Banksy executed one of his best pieces, a trio of spies eavesdropping on the conversations of people using a phone box in Cheltenham (written about here).  Cheltenham is home of GCHQ or to give it its full official title and description, the UK Government Communications Headquarters which is “the centre for Her Majesty’s Government’s Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) activities”.

Banksy Spies - photo Martin Bull

Banksy Spies – photo Martin Bull

The subject, the placement and the execution were absolutely top notch as can be seen in the photograph above by Martin Bull (author of the highly recommended Banksy Locations and Tours Vols 1 and 2, among other books).

 

News broke yesterday that someone had removed the wall on which the Banksy spies had been painted, photographs show a rectangular cut out from the wall where one of the spooks had been and a pile of rubble on the ground.  There is a lot of uncertainty about what actually has happened to the Banksy and you perhaps should just read the BBC article here.

Banksy, Cheltenham, CGHQ, stencil, phone box

photo: from BBC report (link above)

A perhaps less noticed twist was that the Banksy incorporated the BT phone box into the piece, so anyone seeking to remove the piece and there are such people, see Mr Robin “Bankrobber” Barton mentioned in the BBC link, would need to strike a deal with both the owner of the property and BT.  Of course a phone box could be simply purchased though it would be unlikely to be the original phone box, so the piece would be not completely original.

 

Another little morsel of intrigue and curiosity is that it turns out the seemingly undistinguished end of terrace Victorian property on which the Spies piece was painted was a Grade II listed building.  Technically the owners would have been obliged and could have been compelled to remove the Banksy to restore the property to its previous condition.  However as can be seen in this BBC report a retrospective planning permission was given to incorporate the Banksy into the building’s listed status so that it could remain where it was.  That actually means that the owner of the building would have to preserve the Banksy, making the whole episode just a bit more murky.

 

This is the second time (to my knowledge) that a Banksy work has been protected in a planning application, I really don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Banksy, street art, stencil, Les Miserables, Knightsbridge, London, French Embassy, Calais, Refugees, Calais Jungle

Banksy vs French Embassy In London

After a long long wait (since mid 2012 actually) Banksy has sent us scrambling with a new piece of street art in London.

Banksy, street art, stencil, Les Miserables, Knightsbridge, London, French Embassy, Calais, Refugees, Calais Jungle

It is a stunning piece, combining political content, perfect placement and the big “wow – how did he pull that off?” factor.

Banksy, street art, stencil, Les Miserables, Knightsbridge, London, French Embassy, Calais, Refugees, Calais Jungle

The piece references the gassing of refugees in the Calais Jungle by French Police earlier this month.  It is placed right opposite the French Embassy, under the watchful gaze of their armed security guards and CCTV cameras.

Banksy, street art, stencil, Les Miserables, Knightsbridge, London, French Embassy, Calais, Refugees, Calais Jungle

Sadly this morning developers refurbishing the premises the art is place on were implementing a plan to preserve the work and solve health and safety issues arising from its placement, i.e., they were going to have it.  The removal attempt was temporarily aborted and they have resorted to covering it up with plywood.  so relieved to have got there in time.

Banksy, street art, stencil, Les Miserables, Knightsbridge, London, French Embassy, Calais, Refugees, Calais Jungle

There is a more detailed assessment I have written on Graffoto

all photos: Dave Stuart aka NoLionsinEngland

Banksy, Dismaland , street art, street artist, Weston Super Mare, exhibition

Dismaland – Banksy is back!

British street artist Banksy has sprung a surprise on the unsuspecting public by opening an epic new show in the West Country coastal resort Weston Super Mare.  While setting out to parody disappointing fairground parks it succeeds in creating a hugely entertaining adventure with art and what Banksy describes as “entry-level anarchy” included.

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There are fairground rides, stalls, a fairy castle which is grim rather than Grimm, galleries, cafes and bars and of course you exit through the gift shop.

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Banksy himself has created 10 new works for the event and in the galleries and various other locations are sculptures, installations and paintings by another 60 or so artists.  The program also features performances, film, bands and DJs.

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Banksy’s last significant activity was the “Better Out Than In” 30 day residency on the streets of New York in 2013 and before that he had epic art events in the UK with Cans Festival in 2008 and Banksy v. Bristol Museum in 2009. This production manages to trump all those for a variety of reasons.

The creation of Dismaland was shrouded in mystery, there had been rumours for over a month that Bansky was up to something at the abandoned lido site but a pretend Grey Fox film production was used to mask the true intention behind the work taking place on the site.  The announcement came 3 days before the official opening, typical Banksy secrecy and short notice.

Banksy, Dismaland , street art, street artist, Weston Super Mare, exhibition

Bill Barminski – X-Ray search (cardboard plus performance guards)

To get deeper into the Dismaland experience and for insights into Banksy’s achievement, check Graffoto’s review (written by Dave, Shoreditch Street Art Tour’s guide).

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Admission costs £3 per person and is either by timed entry tickets booked online here or some are available on the day at the site but are likely to be then subject to queuing with a one-out-one-in system in operation.  At the moment the ticket website is down and expected to go live at noon on Tuesday 26th August.  Monday 25th is “walk up, cash only” admission.

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All photos: Dave Stuart  except featured image courtesy Banksy website www.dismaland.co.uk

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Street Art: Shoreditch, London, The World!

Caitlin Kiernan and those nice people at Yahoo have done a guide to the World’s top street art locations.  It’s not actually a “ranking” as such but naturally, Shoreditch comes first 😉

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London!

As the article points out, among the guys who have a lot to do with the emergence of modern street art in London are Banksy and D*Face

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Banksy – Shop Till You Drop, 2011

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D*Face

So for a great summary of the vibe in London, Paris, Buenos Aires, New York, Berlin, Miami, Navajo Nation Arizona (new to me too), Sao Paulo, Melbourne,Bethlehem, check out Caitlin’s Yahoo feature here.

Remember these aren’t the only places you find super street art but its a great start.

 

London, street art, Bristol, Banksy, Exhibition, tour, walk, graffiti

Flashback – Banksy v. Bristol Museum and Art Gallery 2009

It was 5 years ago that Banksy took over Bristol Museum and Art Gallery for what was his biggest ever proper exhibition. With pre publicity consisting of an undignified scamble by TV stations to a hastily convened press conference the night before, this show took us first by surprise then by storm with attendance records smashed.

London, street art, Bristol, Banksy, Exhibition, tour, walk, graffiti

Banksy v. Bristol commoners

Banksy’s team worked over a three day period behind closed doors to install 100 pieces of Banksy paintings and sculpture, including a mock up of his studio.

London, street art, Bristol, Banksy, Exhibition, tour, walk, graffiti

Banksy Studio mock up (detail)

Not only was it the largest Banksy inside exhibition ever, it was also his most recent in the UK as we can safely exclude the Marks and Stencils Christmas 2010 group show in Soho, London. We are overdue another Banksy epic on these shores (we felt that in May 2009 too)!

London, street art, Bristol, Banksy, Exhibition, tour, walk, graffiti

Where Banksy drew the line

Banksy’s real coup was showing how even stuffy institutions could be transformed into a wildly popular public exhibition with a dash of humour and populism, the show was the biggest tourist attraction in the West Country for years and indeed since.

London, street art, Bristol, Banksy, Exhibition, tour, walk, graffiti

Enter via the 4 hour queue

Graffoto provided the best coverage at the time with both a review by NoLionsInEngland (moi) and an obsessive’s guide and record of the exhibits by Shellshock, my friend, co-blogger and author of the two famous Banksy Locations and Tours books.

London, street art, Bristol, Banksy, Exhibition, tour, walk, graffiti

Banksy Fat Tourist Rickshaw

LINKS:

Banksy v. Bristol Art Museum and Gallery Review

Banksy v. Bristol Art Museum and Gallery guide to exhbition

all photos: NoLionsinEngland

Banksy v Roa – the World Cup’s got nothing on this!

Who would win in a fight between a Roa hedgehog and a Banksy rat?  We might find out as there’s a fascinating week in prospect in the world of London galleries who show artists who are more at home on outdoor walls.

 BANKSY: The Unauthorised Retrospective, Curated by Steve Lazarides

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Banksy canvas: Avon and Somerset Constabulary; image courtesy Sothebys website

Steve Lazarides in conjunction with, or thanks to, or despite Sotheby’s is staging a “selling show” of Banksy print and canvas artwork. Steve Lazarides is famously known as the svengali who co-piloted spaceship Banksy to enormous heights until the relationship ended a few years ago. “He’d hate it. It’s about as far removed from something he would contemplate as you could get” says Lazardis though it’s probably not as far off the Banksy Christmas card list as a show exhibiting Banksy’s street works in a boutique hotel basement.

What you will get are about 70 prints and canvasses by Banksy, supposedly the largest exhibition of his work ever but it will be asurprise if it matches the scale of the epic 2009 Bristol Museum and Art Gallery show (which of course was “authorised” Banksy).

Chances of getting to see the private view are virtually zilch, especially if you are reading this the day after tomorrow. “Go and see it when it’s quiet” said my friend on the inside. The last time anything “quiet” happened with Banksy was back in ‘05 when our whole family trotted along to the Crude Oils show with the live rats and just walked in off the street over the weekend. It may be a little different this time.

11 June 2014 – 25 July 2014

Monday – Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 June 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Sotheby’s S|2 space

31 St. George Street, London W1S 2FJ

ROA: ‘PROJECTUM 06’

Roa has to be one of the few street art talents who can rank up alongside Banksy and he has an original show opening head to head in London in the same week as the Banksy retrospective!

ROA first exhibited in London at Pure Evil’s gallery in 2008, a show that propelled him to stardom as we fell in love with these dishevelled, skinned and disembowelled creatures painted on anything but conventional canvas. Stolen Space’s first show in what has now become their home was the cracking 2012 Hynagogia staged before the gallery became the cleaner, whiter two roomed permanent gallery home it is now. This return to Stolen Space sees the Belgian painter create another installation based show which is sure to have us gasping at its unconventional surfaces and grubby dirty creatures. Can’t wait.

London,Shoreditch,street art,walks,walking,tour,tours,Banksy,Roa,Trust.Icon,stencil,art

“Deer”; image courtesy Stolen Space

MAX RIPPON: “Pentimento”

Also opening at the same time in the other Stolen Space room is “Pentimento” by Max Rippon aka NY street artist/graffiti writer RIPO. Expect top quality graphic art with a graffiti twist.

London,Shoreditch,street art,walks,walking,tour,tours,Banksy,Roa,Trust.Icon,stencil,art

max Rippon aka “RIPO”; image courtesy Stolen Space

A huge heap of talent there in those two rooms. Both shows:

13 June – 6 July (private view 12th, 6pm)

STOLEN SPACE GALLERY
17 Osborn Street
London E1 6TD

 

TRUST.ICON: “Tears of a Clown”

Meanwhile, on the far side of town, Trust.Icon opens Tears Of A Clown, RSVP required. Some of Trust.Icon’s street artsuch as this recent location specific single layer stencil image is top notch. Some not so!

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Trust.Icon (photo: nolionsinengland)

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Tears Of A Clown

12 – 26 June (private view 6.30 pm, 12th)

Graffik Gallery,

284 Portobello Road,

London, W10 5TE.

Banksy old, Banksy New

Lots of excitement in Banksy World at the moment with new pieces of street art appearing and old pieces being stolen.

First the two new new pieces, one has gone up in Bristol and has in effect been confirmed as a Banksy by its appearance on his website, from which these two photos are borrowed with thanks:

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mobile lovers, Bristol

Banksy,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,theft,

photos: Banksy.co.uk

The second piece is a brilliant composition mocking government surveillance of our phone calls and social media interactions, as described fully by The Guardian in various Pulitzer Prize award winning articles.  Everything from the subject matter to the style of the stencils, the colours, the humour, the use of the specific furniture and fabric of the street screams Banksy but as yet it hasn’t appears on his website.  The location is particularly brilliant, this piece is in Cheltenham, home to the UK government spooks at GCHQ.

Banksy,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,theft,

photo: flickr user SaLLy

Everyone seems agreed it is a Banksy and I’m joining that crew!  This photo was taken by flickr user Sally, thanks Sally.

The new Bristol Banksy has already been removed though not without some controversy.  The piece was taken in “to prevent any vandalism or damage” by Broad Plains Boys Club based next door to the property with the Banksy on, they believe they can sell it to raise much needed funds that would help them avoid closure due to funding cuts.   Certainly they seem to believe that it may have been deliberately placed there by Banksy for them to use for fund raising, even though that isn’t really his usual modus operendi for contributing to deserving causes.   In their favour it seems unlike Banksy to install a nice piece like this in such a casual way that a couple of dozen easily removed cross head screws are all that stand between it and liberty.  Perhaps he did want them to take it.  There is a debate that the door actually belongs to the council and isn’t the Boys Club’s to remove or sell.  On the other hand, reports suggest that the wood sheet it is painted on was placed there by Banksy and therefore didn’t belong to the council.  Doubtless this one will run awhile until facts become fully established and lawyers chip in.

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Meanwhile, in a seemingly unrelated development, a video has appeared by StealingBanksy.com showing the recent removal of a Girl With Balloon Banksy piece from a wall in Shoreditch, sometimes our tour swings by this spot.

Banksy,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,theft,

StealingBanksy.com

The organisation behind its removal is part of the Sincura Group.  Whispers started circulating two months ago that this Girl with Balloon was to be put on display in an exhibition this April with six other pieces of Banksy street art after which the pieces were to be auctioned.  If we heard that rumour, you can be certain Banksy heard it too.  We expected a publicity blizzard to blow up around this display of street Banksys but Banksy himself has hijacked the agenda by launching his own pre-emptive newsworthy stunt, cutting right across the promotional efforts to pump up the show of the street Banksys.

If Banksy hadn’t appeared on the walls at exactly this point in time, all the press coverage surrounding Sincura’s publicity hype would have focussed on “Banksy has done hardly anything in the UK recently”, now Banksy has prevented that train of thought developing steam.  Great timing Banksy!

Banksy,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,theft,

I Hate This Font, Banksy, May 2012

Curiously, StealingBanksy.com seems to be somewhat over-reaching in a strange attempt to dress up their activity as some kind of glamorous vandalism.  Illegally stolen? Not if rumours that they bought the wall off the legal wall owners are to be believed.

Sloppy errors of fact relating to Banksy’s street art are littered across the StealingBanksy blurb. There were more than just the two Girl With Balloons they claim in London.  What is their objective, to attach some sense of scarcity value to their Girl With Balloon?

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Girl With Balloon, 600 yards from King Johns Court, Shoreditch (buffed)

 Banksy,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,theft,

Girl With Balloon, honest (buffed), 300 yards from King Johns Court

 The film also claims that the Girl With Balloon from King Johns Court was painted in 2006 but we know for certain it dates from well before that.

Banksy,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,theft,

Girl With Balloon, photo ArtOfTheState, 2004

Banksy certainly dislikes his street pieces being removed and sold like this, he’d much rather they lived a natural life on the streets, even if falling victim to the buff is their fate.  If speculation that he intended the mobile lovers in Bristol as a life saving gift to the Broad Plains Boys Club is in any way accurate that would be a radical change for the Master!

UPDATE: the always excellent Vandalog street art blog has just published a fascinating interview with a Director of the Sincura group, well worth reading here

Thanks to great friends ArtOfTheState and HowAboutNo for fact checking and opinion sharing and use of ArtOfTheState’s photo with kind permission, to Sally for kind permission to use her Cheltenham Banksy photo and to Banksy for use of his photos.