Christmas Day 10 years ago the notorious Robbo vs Banksy spat went to another level. Robbo, RIP, headed out very early Christmas morning, crossed the Regents Canal at Camden directly under British Transport Police HQ and painted the perfect riposte to Banksy’s Wallpaperer.
Early that Christmas morning I noticed a photograph on Flickr of Robbo’s new iteration of this piece posted by Robbo’s WRH crew mate Doze. The genius was immediately apparent from that photo. I whizzed straight down to the canal, took some photos and “Banksy vs Robbo WRH, WD – Checkmate” was posted online before Christmas lunch was served. It remains to this day the most read post on Graffoto.
Before Robbo’s Christmas morning adventure, the art on the wall consisted of a workman by Banksy wallpapering over some graffiti, which was actually over an ancient Robbo piece.
For context, Banksy vs Robbo was an intense feud with ancient origins but for roughly a 6 month period it raged spectacularly at several locations along Regents Canal in Camden as each artist attacked the other’s art with a succession of insults.
“It’s tongue in cheek, it’s all a laugh, it’s a giggle” Robbo told Graffoto about 10 months later when we met for a beery one on one unpublished interview in his local near Kings Cross. Robbo also said in reference to the art Banksy was producing at the time “A couple of things I like, the graffiti wallpaper, that was a good piece, so was the global warming, that was a good piece. I appreciate art, I’m an artist. I’m a graffiti artist that’s my main flag but I am an artist”
Robbo mentioned how he didn’t have much to do with social media so his mate put up the photo on Flickr, then early afternoon Robbo received a call to tell him the piece had already been picked up by a blog. Robbo said some kind and appreciative things about the Graffoto coverage so on the 10th anniversary of that event it is a pleasure to remember that exciting piece of art.
Graffoto Christmas Day 2009: “Banksy v. Robbo – Checkmate”
All photos: Dave Stuart