Monthly Archives: April 2014

London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

Stealing Banksy

 This post is a much shorter version of a post I made on the Graffoto blog, check that out for rather stronger opinions and an analysis of several of the pieces being sold.

 It’s not often a piece of street art produces a profound shift in my thinking but now I’ve seen the “Stealing Banksy?” exhibition, I get why Athenians insist that inside the British Museum is not the right place for the Elgin Marbles.


London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

Sperm Alarm, Victoria, 2011

London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

Sperm Alarm, hotel showroom, 2014

Stealing Banksy? is part of a process whereby street art works by Banksy are being laundered through a “preservation for the public” display exercise before being dispatched down the path always intended by the removers – making a buck for someone (other than Banksy).   To be a bit clearer, the works of vandalism created on public property by Banksy, well ok, eight plus the Silent Majority on the side of a trailer done with permission and the “Brace Yourself” done in a deal with a band who were formerly known as “Exit Through The Gift Shop”, were taken from their original location, restored, put on display to the public for 3 days in this exhibition (£20.00 on the door, no cameras) then auctioned to the highest bidder over the next few days.

London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

Silent Majority (side of truck)

What will visitors see and is it really street art?

On Thursday Sincura Grouop held a press conference which included seven Banksy street art pieces and the slightly comical live assembly and unveiling before our eyes of the “No Ball Games” piece, featuring a lot of challenges reconstructing the top section. On Friday, two more pieces had been revealed, the “Girl With Balloon” and the “Boy with Heart” (Banksy and Faile) making a grand total of nine pieces on display. The tenth piece, the Liverpool Rat is described as needing refurbishment but any it would have taken something rather larger than a single story indoor room to display.

London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

No Ball Games, Stealing Banksy, 2014

The organisers only identify one of the pieces, the Silent Majority, as having Pest Control provenance, Pest Control being Banksy’s company that certifies works as genuine Banksy. This difficulty with lack of proof of the artist has always made reputable auction houses loathe to handle Banksy street art.


London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

Girl With Balloon, Stealing Banksy? 2014

Would Banksy wants his street work to go through a natural life cycle ending in obliteration on the street or would he prefer it ends up being restored and preserved?   This is what the great man uploaded to his website on the day of the press conference:


London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

Banksy statement, copyright

We speculated previously that Banksy had an ulterior motive to derail this exhibition when he created new street pieces that appeared in Bristol and Cheltenham two weeks ago.


As for it being street art, shifting it indoors has a traumatic effect on the look and feel of these street pieces. Gone is any sense of the relationship they had to their environment. Admiration for the vandal taking risks to create this piece – the “Wow, how did he get away with that?” factor is completely absent. In short, they don’t feel at all like street art. They actually look completely out of place in this situation and one would hazard in any indoor location.

London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

No Ball Games, Tottenham, 2009

The Berlin door raises the question “doesn’t this rat actually look a little bit silly”, I’m afraid the rats actually come across as rather infantile, which may be what Banksy intended though the impression is magnified hugely by the change of context from urban strasse to moodily lit showroom. No art historian is ever going to laud the artistic genius of our favourite vandal based on this evidence.

London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

Banksy rats, Faile Bunny girl, London Police Lad

These “restored” pieces bear as much relationship to the original Banksys as a Madame Tussauds waxwork of Lennon and McCartney does to actually being the most brilliant music composers and lyrists of the 20th century.

This art is meant to be ephemeral.

London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

Formerly ephemeral!

The exhibition lasts until Sunday 27th April 2014 and door admission is £20! Half of that is earmarked for charity but that steep ticket price is not exactly consistent with the general drift that the restoration, display and sale is tantamount to some kind of public service.


Don’t forget in London you can still see the brilliant “Shop Till You Drop” in Bruton Lane behind Old Bond St too.


London, Street art, Banksy,auction,stealing,stealing Banksy

Shop Till You Drop, 2011

Thanks to good friend Joe LDN Graffiti who sorted out access to the press conference and comps to go back and see the pieces after the rest had been revealed.

Busy Easter Bunnies

There was no break over the Easter weekend for street artists in Shoreditch, productivity was high and a number of super new pieces of street art appeared.

This year’s star Borondo lived up to his soaring reputation in the London street art scene by painting the iconic Sclater St car park wall.   Previous pieces on this wall by Jimmy C and Dal East lasted roughly 10 months and 11 months respectively so hopefully Barondo’s new piece will prove equally enduring. At first glance the intertwined bodies suggest the aftermath of a roman orgy but as someone on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour pointed out over the weekend, it might also be a body pit, a mass burial grave. You decide!


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The Shoreditch Street Art Tour also chanced upon the Portuguese talent Furia ACK completing a wonderful portrait in charcoal and chalk.


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Furia ACK

Otto Schade was also spied out on Brick Lane with the slightly curious task of painting a yellow ribbon based acid smiley map of London over….. a yellow ribbon based acid smiley map of London! This is at least the 4th painting Otto Schade has created on this particular wall, the new version is a tad larger than the old and a misty fire now smoulders at the bottom of the wall.


London, Shoreditch,Street art, graffiti,walk,tour,guided,tours,Otto Schade

Otto Schade

We don’t see much street art composed as a dyptich but that seems to be exactly what Lex Dura has done with this “Life is beautiful”/ ”So is my Mum” two parter.


London, Shoreditch,Street art, graffiti,walk,tour,guided,tours,Lex Dura

Lex Dura

Jim Vision made huge strides on a mural of a white horse thundering through the shore break on a beach but the continuous rain in the latter part of the weekend means this is yet to complete. Many other artists were out making clandestine marks on Shoreditch’s walls over the weekend ensuring continual change to the bright, colourful and interesting street art.

all photos: NoLionsInEngland

Jef Aerosol New London Street Art 2014

French stencil legend Jef Aerosol surprised the Shoreditch Street Art Tour when he strolled past in a hurry after creating some fresh street art. By chance we happened to meet right at a spot where in 2008 Jef Aerosol put up a long lasting stencil of John Lennon and Mick Jagger.

Jef Aerosol,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,John Lennon, Mick Jagger

Brimful of excitement, the group was amazed later to find a new piece of Jef Aerosol work on the streets. This pasted image shows two Moroccan Gnawa musicians, Jef visited Morocco last month and it made a deep impression on him and the composition is an interesting addition to the many popular musical legends who have been a mainstay of his work.


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Jef Aerosol – Moroccan Gnawa musicians

Further East Jef has done an even better piece of art on the dilapidated and boarded up exterior of an old fishmongers. The images are stencilled onto the wall, not pasted and in addition to a couple of his urchin children there are two fishes rising up and escaping their normal aquatic boundaries, and interesting response to the former use of the site.

Jef Aerosol,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,stencil, flying fish

Jef Aerosol,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,stencil, flying fish Jef Aerosol,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,stencil, flying fish Jef Aerosol,London, Shoreditch, street art,graffiti,tour,guide,guided,walk,stencil, flying fish

You can view a photographic survey of Jef’s London street art over the years  here.

Jef has had several significant shows in the UK over the past decade, our favourite was probably Spray It Loud in Islington back in 2008.

all photos: NoLionsInEngland

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,


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.


Meanwhile, in a seemingly unrelated development, a video has appeared by 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,

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, 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?

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

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.

Does the Street Art Change Much?

Back in harness after a week away, it was great to find so much fresh new street art appearing on Shoreditch’s walls, here are just a few of the many highlights.

After encouraging the guests on my first tour back to look high and low into the nooks and crannies, one of the guests with a keenly tuned eye spotted this delightful tiger piggy by German artist Love Piepenbrinck.

Shoreditch,London,street,street art,graffiti,walk,tour,walking,Love Piepenbrinck

Love Piepenbrinck

Sketch is a street artist name I don’t recall having come across before but this new painting that appeared while I was away is quite special.

Shoreditch,London,street,street art,graffiti,walk,tour,walking,Sketch


From someone new to someone incredibly long established, Mysterious Al who was right there at the very start of Shoreditch Street Art in the early 2000s alongside DFace and others has just this weekend done a stunning  high impact mural as part of the Global Walls Project.  The last time we saw Mysterious Al painting on London’s walls was back in October 2012 and after a long period of time abroad it is great to see him back up on the walls of Shoreditch, this guy is part of street art’s fabric.

Shoreditch,London,street,street art,graffiti,walk,tour,walking,Mysterious Al, Rone,Pure Evil

Mysterious Al plus others

 Rone hails from Melboune and has done some seriously beautiful street art on London’s walls in the past, we also found a Rone sticker in Reykjavik of all places a few years ago (though obviously we can’t be certain whether he placed it there himself or perhaps a fan did it).  He is back in town working on another stunning female face portrait, in fact in the Mysterious Al photo above you can see another Rone painting from late last year.  This new one is on the wall where the intricate and stunning Octophant by Alexis Diaz had sat in pristine condition for nearly 10 months , the wall was ripe for change!

Shoreditch,London,street,street art,graffiti,walk,tour,walking, Rone,artist

Rone in action

Italian artist Nemo spent a couple of days preparing this large mural in Sclater St Car park, there is a very interesting surprise hidden in this piece which with luck will reveal itself over the next few days, weeks or months! More information on that as the surprise is revealed (and I don’t mean just when the cars aren’t in the way!). .

Shoreditch,London,street,street art,graffiti,walk,tour,walking,Nemo


Finally an all star mural, described as a “tutti fruiti” by one of the participants features graffiti legend DRAX WD with contributions from DScreet, BRK, Malarky, Lucas and more.

Shoreditch,London,street,street art,graffiti,walk,tour,walking,Drax, DScreet, BRK, Malarky, Lucas

Drax, DScreet, BRK, Malarky, Lucas

Yes, there is new exciting street art appearing in Shoreditch every day!

photos: NoLionsInEngland