New Banksy stencil of a man spraying tree on a street in North London

Banksy Imitates Nature

Spring is sprung and Banksy welcomes the freshest season with some fresh street art.  Last Spring it  was Valentines Day Mascara in Southend, this year a hibernating tree bursts into life with a vigorous new canopy of green foliage thanks to a gardener armed with a garden sprayer.

New Banksy stencil of a man spraying tree on a street in North London

Banksy Tree March 2024

It can be interpreted new life, new growth and rebirth is possible even in this most urban and densely populated of North London Locations, or maybe it suggests a resident is fed up that the tree has been so brutally pollarded by the council, pollarding being a routine annual exercise for public trees in these parts.  News of this new piece emerged on Sunday 17th of March so perhaps there is even a nod towards the St Paddy’s day celebrations.

New Banksy stencil of a man spraying tree on a street in North London

scene of the crime

The character holding the garden sprayer is stencilled in a very recognisable Banksy light-dark two tone style.  Evidently in his desire to get as much greenery up as possible the gardener has covered himself in paint.   The green of the foliage is a slightly different hue to that used in the character and also different to the green used to give solidity to the sprayer rod, so three different shades of green altogether.

New Banksy stencil of a man spraying tree on a street in North London

“I did that”

New Banksy stencil of a man spraying tree on a street in North London

3 greens in detail

Much of the reportage suggests that Banksy has used a fire extinguisher to paint the foliage.  He has critiqued the cultural institution Festival Hall by spraying BORING with a fire extinguisher, flown an extinguisher paint powered Love Plane in Liverpool and in his intrusion into Cromer’s model village in 2022 he cutely simulated fire extinguisher graff at miniature scale so Banksy is not lacking experience with that tool.  However, a fire extinguisher generally produces a lot more splatter and a haze of colour around the impact areas.  The dripping and the controlled arcs of green, particularly where the paint reaches over the wall to the left, suggest Banksy may have used the type of hand pressurised sprayer he is seen deploying in his “You don’t mask you don’t get” 2020 post lockdown tube cleaning video, the paint effect is then consistent with the garden sprayer the character is depicted holding.  The density of the paint in some areas and the really heavy drips could also suggest paint throwing.  The stencil character also has signed of hand touch ups.  Probably a combination of different techniques was used.

Banksy stencil biplance loops the loop love heart shape on wall in Liverpool 2011

Banksy Love Plane, Liverpool, 2011

Banksy street art on a model home installed without permission at Merrivale Model Village

Banksy mini fire extinguisher graff on model village stable, Aug 2021

Artistmedea who we often meet at urban art shows where she live sketches the private view crowds was thrilled as she lives very close by. She told me that when she has been out sketching she often walks home late at night past the spot chosen by Banksy because it is actually well lit at night.

Artist sketches scene of New Banksy in North LOndon

Artist Medea live sketches

When Banksy did the Valentine Day Mascara in Southend last year I spoke to and photographed a traditional painter with his easel set up painting the “It’s a new Banksy” circus in oils.   Under then name Peter The Painter his art then appeared in the Cut and Run Banksy exhibition in Glasgow last Summer.  Artistmedea ruefully laughed at the comparison with her sketching, promising that Banksy hadn’t hired her.

New Banksy stencil of a man spraying tree on a street in North London

You should have seen the queue of photographers behind me

Time will be a fascinating component of this new Banksy artwork.  Not just the normal temporal aging that affects all street art and graffiti as much as it affects us, nor hopefully the awful sequestration and commodification of those pious “for posterity” art salvors but the pendulum of the seasons will bring forth shoots and leaves to shade and blend with Banksy’s green hues over the warm months before the winter shedding reveals the ageing piece on the wall again.

Banksy imitates nature, nature will imitate art.


Banksy website

Medea’s Instagram

All Photos: Dave Stuart