Tag Archives: Banksy

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Old Banksys Reappear In Shoreditch

Two old specimens of Banksy street art hidden for many years in Shoreditch have been brought back into public view and Shoreditch Street Art Tours was the only “outsider” present to witness the unveiling.   Two images, a huge rat and a TV being chucked rock star style out of a window have lain out of sight under protective wooden sheeting for 12 years though they are perhaps among the more “storied” of Banksy’s street artworks.

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Banksy Rat and TV, May 2019

The stencils were created in 2004 when a festival was organised in the car park behind the Foundry bar.  They were visible until late 2007 when they were covered up under a protective wooden cover.

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Sweet Toof, Cyclops, Burning Candy on the wooden protection, 2008

In 2010 Hackney Council made the preservation of the TV and the rat a condition of the planning consent for the demolition of the existing building and its replacement by an 18 storey (now 23 storey!) hotel.

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

The TV out the window stencil, a brilliant rock and roll cliché, looked like it was made for that wall, it’s an image that has to be on the side of a windowless building that looks like it ought to have windows.  The image wouldn’t work on say a garden wall or a bridge support.  Inside the Foundry all kinds of crazy things went on and prominent in the bar was a array of flickering TVs, a TV flying out the window from the Foundry seemed entirely plausible.

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

The rat has always been a bit unsatisfactory, It has never been clear what this rat is about, it is often described as a rat with a knife and fork but if you look that is actually a jigsaw blade not a knife and the fork is more like a harpoon or a pitchfork, we don’t know what the rat is doing, why it fits at this location nor what the red ring around the eye is about and the technique is a bit sloppy.  However Banksy’s street art isn’t diminished by poor execution, they were never meant to be superb specimens of perfectly executed art and indeed evidence of haste is perhaps part of the essence of the way Banksy has to create his street art.

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

“Eat The Rich”? Banksy

More significantly, Banksy hated the rat!  When asked to comment on the closure of the Foundry in a 2010 BBC news broadcast, Banksy sent one of his classic emails saying

 “No one ever went there for the beer-it was always a bit warm and flat. I would appeal to the developers not to keep my graffiti. It’s a bit like demolishing the Tate and preserving the ice cream van out the front.” Banksy, Newsnight email 4 Feb 2010”

There you have it, the artist Banksy does not wish the art to be saved and so the council’s 2010 decision to require its preservation is morally dubious to say the least.  Note the explicit confirmation that the artwork is a genuine Banksy.

It is interesting to note that the TV image has a Banksy tag next to it and they are increasingly rare out in the wild.

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Banksy tag

The immediate future for the rat and the TV is that metal frames are going to be constructed around them and after separating the wall from the rest of the building structure and dismantling the walls above the art by hand, a massive crane is going to be used to lift the two wall segments separately over the building where they will be stored covered up at the front of the building site.  The developers have not made their ultimate intention clear, their obligation is to provide free viewing access to the public of these two Banksys either within the hotel or somewhere else within the Borough.  The developer is known to have planned to include 6 other Banksys from the Foundry building within the so-called Art’otel development but none of the other 6 survive.

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Banksy Grim Reaper, Foundry

For the meantime, make the most of the brief period visibility of those two Banksys in their original location before they lose whatever sense of context they may have had in their original location and ponder the puzzle of why the council decided to preserve this rat against the artist’s own wishes yet remain oblivious to some real masterpieces that appeared on the Foundry building before and since.

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Buffed 2011 – feat Elmo ATG, & Gold Peg and Sweet Toof collab

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Elmo, Masker, Milo Tchais, Run, Zezao, Gerard Gademann; May 2011

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Jo Peel animation, 2013

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Fintan Magee (detail) 2014, also feat Eine, Pez, ALO, Borondo

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Waleska Nomura. 2015

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

Phlegm, 2015

Note the knowing nod to Banksy’s TV in the phlegm above, very nice.

Banksy, rat, stencil, tv, Foundry, Shoreditch, London, art otel, art hotel, street art, street art tour

EINE “Last Days Of Shoreditch” 2016

This article is a summary of a longer version published on Graffoto blog

30 May UPDATE: The exposed Banksys have been covered up again!

All photos: Dave Stuart

Street Art vs Brexit

Yesterday evening the UK’s parliament voted to show that they had not changed their mind since December on a withdrawal agreement that hadn’t changed since December.  Street artists have not been impressed with the political process over the past three months, nor indeed the past three years or so.

Artist Not Known, March 2019

“Bye Bye” says an anonymous artist who spotted a gate in Shoreditch conveniently painted EU flag blue. This flag with one member missing piece echoes Banksy’s enormous EU flag with a tromp l’oeil worker chipping away a star brilliantly greeting UK leavers as they depart through Dover.

Banksy, Street art, mural, Dover, Brexit, EU Flag, painter, ladder, stencil

Banksy, Dover June 2017

It was noticeable and disappointing how little political street art appeared during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. The most memorable from a very small entry list were these spoofs on the adverts for Banksy’s street art documentary “Exit Through The Gift Shop” lampooning Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

Boris Johnson, Artist Not Known, June 2016

Nigel Farage, Artist Not Known, June 2016

Since then we have seen a ramping up of the Brexit street art as the unthinkable went from implausible to likely to now pretty much unavoidable.

Brexit Through The Chip Shop – CodeFC, June 2017

Scrap Brexit – Uberfubs, 2018

In the aftermath of the referendum result the immediate targets for street art scorn and derision were David Cameron, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, the architects and chief pom-pom wavers for the Leave cause.

Spineless Nigel Farage, UKIP party by MCLN, August 2016

Boris Johnson buffoon, fuckwit, bellend, racist, snob by Boo Who Up North

3 Brexiteers – Derek Davis (gone), Boris Johnson (missing inaction), Jacob Rees Mogg by Subdude, April 2018

Boris Johnson is DUMBO by K-Guy

The political paralysis and consequential insertion of heads into the sand really gained a head of steam in December.

Scrap Brexit – Uberfubs, Dec 2018

Theresa May faced a vote of no confidence by her own party after cancelling the first so-called “meaningful vote” in December

Street Art, Shoreditch, London, Street Art Tour, Political Art, Joe Bloggs, Jonesy, Theresa May, Brexit,

Maygo by Joe Bloggs, Dec 2018

I was recently obliged to take a few weeks away from the walls and pavements of Shoreditch and on resuming street meanderings last weekend I was bowled over by the amount of Brexit street art that appeared in that short absence.

The duo Quiet British Accent belatedly brought George V into the debate.

Quiet British Accent – Bugger Brexit, last weekend

Theyen Rich aka Corrosive 8 deploys the sound political debating stratgey of making your opponent look simultaneously stupid and obscene, the Prime Minster’s watersports would certainly rate triple X. He also borrows the buses to nowhere from anarcho-punk artist Jamie Reid and adds a Carrie Reichardt slogan.

>Mistress Theresa’s Golden Shower – Corrosive 8, last weekend

Corrosive 8 with nod to Jamie Reid & Carrie Reichardt, last weekend

Benjamin Irritant’s rabbit asks a very pointed rhetorical question, is it great again yet?

Benjamin Irritant, last weekend

The Misfortuneteller has developed a witty street cartoon style in the past couple of years, this largest piece to date borrows its style from a closing down sale, its simplicity belying the fact that it is emphasizing the gap between the Brexiteer’s promises of “the easiest trade deals ever negotiated” against the visibly increasing isolation the country faces with borders and barriers hardening, no deals and inward investment evaporating.

Britain Closing – The Misfortuneteller, March 20219

Subdude, producer of a lot of Brexit related art over the past few years, has deviated from his usual distinctive style of political humour on flat colour blocks to deliver a hand drawn condemnation of petty sectarian spats, photos and cartoons on newspaper pages make it clear who is the target of the jibe. Apparently Subdude has put six out on the streets but so far I have only found three, one of which overlays a political cartoon illustrating Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn both facing a common dilemma, Brexit actually threatening to irreparably split both of the UK’s main political parties. Ironically, in order to placate their parties both are having to turn away from the fact that neither actually supports the position they politically obliged to adopt, we live in weird times.

Subdude, March 2019

Cigarette packet health warnings have been used as the basis for political street art for over 10 years, in fact almost since the regulations came in in 2003, think K-Guy in the mid 2000s. Wanker’s Of The World, whose mission is to identify and award that sobriquet to suitable candidates in the public eye are responsible for enormous cigarette packets mocking the main proponents of the Brexiteers. There are apparently 6, we located 5 in the past week. Ironically, the adoption of those cigarette packet warnings is actually an EU law which mandates the format, size and range of messages in all EU countries.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair “European Research Group”. Brexit Can Be Fatal, last week

Theresa May, Brexit Causes Family Arguments (who’s putting out the bins?)

Street Art, Shoreditch, London, Brick Lane, street artists, graffiti, tours, Miss KK, Sell Out, Northern Southner, Agos_Art, Catmousey9, Subdude, political art, EU art, Brexit art,

Boris Johnson, Brexit harms your children

Michael Gove, Quit Brexit Now

IN the interests of fairnessm here is a comprehensive review of all the pro Brexit street art seen since 2016:

 

Who knows what the monkeys in the chamber are going to do next, certainly they don’t!

Banksy Bristol Museum Poster 2009

This is a condensed version of a blog post that originally appeared on Graffoto blog

LINKS:

Banksy website

CodeFC Instagram

Uberfubs Instagram

MCLN Instagram

Boo Who Up North Instagram

Subdude  Instagram

K-Guy Instagram

Joe Bloggs Instagram

Quiet British Accent Instagram

Benjamin Irritant Instagram

The Misfortuneteller Instagram

Wankers Of The World website

All Photos: Dave Stuart

London, street art, urban art, banksy, girl with balloon, Sothebys, auction, shred, shredding,

Banksy Shredding – Update!!

Banksy shreds Girl With Balloon but not his credibility.

Two weeks ago the art world was “en fête” at London’s art week and the major auction houses held champagne swilling contemporary art auctions.  There can be very few people who are not aware of the amazing stunt Banksy pulled off at Sothebys auction when his “Girl With Balloon” shredded itself at the very moment the auctioneer concluded the sale.

London, street art, urban art, banksy, girl with balloon, Sothebys, auction, shred, shredding,

Going, Going, Gone! source: Banksy

The stunt is a work of genius in its production, execution (Sotheby’s involvement?)  and impact Banksy of course is mocking the art world’s obsession with wealth, value and profit.

London, street art, urban art, banksy, girl with balloon, Sothebys, auction, shred, shredding,

“I Can’t Believe You Morons Buy This Shit”, Banksy, 2006, source: Banksy website

Speculation and conspiracy surround this particular stunt by Banksy. Could this possibly have been fabricated in 2006 . Could this possibly really have been fabricated in 2006 in anticipation that it might appear in an auction years later?  How many would Banksy have to make to ensure that the stunt could be executed in public rather than stymied by a private sale?  Was it pure chance that this particular art piece would be mounted so visibly on the auction room wall rather than just wheeled in, given its 2 minutes in the sunlight on an auctioneer’s easel then trundled out again?  Back in 2006 we had not yet had the first gold plated white gloved Urban Art Auctions (here), could anyone have reasonably predicted that Banksy’s art would be so lauded (i.e. expensive) as to be the highlight of an art week contemporary art auction?

Last weekend Sothebys put the so called new artwork on public display.  Queuing was about 45 minutes on Sunday afternoon, the guards marshalled orderly lines of visitors, the artwork was beautifully hung to be visible from both sides, well lit, well sign posted and well controlled.

London, street art, urban art, banksy, girl with balloon, Sothebys, auction, shred, shredding,

“Love Is In The Bin”, Banksy, 2018

London, street art, urban art, banksy, girl with balloon, Sothebys, auction, shred, shredding,

“Love Is In The Bin”, Banksy, 2018

The catalogue listing for the original “Girl With Balloon” piece described the work as “signed and dedicated on the reverse”, presumably what looks like black tape in a recess on the back is masking the dedication but there’s the signature in all its glory.

London, street art, urban art, banksy, girl with balloon, Sothebys, auction, shred, shredding,

“Love Is In The Bin”, Banksy, 2018 rear view

London, street art, urban art, banksy, girl with balloon, Sothebys, auction, shred, shredding,

“Love Is In The Bin”, Banksy, 2018, signature!

 

Here is the news!  Sister blog Graffoto by same author posted last Sunday about the rumours and speculation and associated ironies and included one prophetic statement:

“Was Plan A that Girl With Balloon would shred itself to complete destruction?    If it had Banksy would have highlighted the precariousness and ephemerality of the trivia to which the art world attaches its highest valuations.  We won’t know ever.  “

That last bit – completely wrong!  Within the past hour Banksy has released an updated video – well, we won’t spoil the ending, just watch!

Links:

Banksy website

Banksy instagram

All photos Dave Stuart except where otherwise credited

“Love Is In The Bin”: Graffoto

Street Art, Shoreditch, London, Shoreditch Street Art Tours, Stra, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, DFace, D*Dface, parody, copy, humour, Where’s Wally

Street Art Where’s Wally?

Shoreditch Street Art Tours returned from a short break in foreign climes to find a street art “Where’s Wally?” challenge on the streets of Shoreditch, courtesy of French street artist STRA.

Street Art, Shoreditch, London, Shoreditch Street Art Tours, Stra, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, DFace, D*Dface, parody, copy, humour, Where’s Wally

 

This was a Wally hunt with a difference with three of the World’s top street artists being portrayed as the elusive Wally.  A word of warning, this blog post turned into an excuse to dig through lots of old images of some of my favourite street artists so prepare for some gratuitous street art history!

No mistaking the World’s top street artist being spoofed with this monkey Where’s Wally,

Stra, Banksy Where’s Wally

 

“Laugh Now” is a classic Banksy monkey image and from the photo of the silk screen print version below, photographed at Steve Lazarides’ “Banksy Unauthorised Retrospective” exhibition in 2014, you can see exactly which Banksy image Stra has drawn from.

Laugh Now, Banksy, “Banksy UnAuthorised” exhibition, 2014

 

The only genuine Banksy monkey I have photographed on the street is this monkey detonating a bunch of bananas photographed in 2006 but even Banksy has spoofed himself as a monkey as seen in 2010 in the film poster for his street art documentary “Exit Through The Gift Shop”.

Banksy Monkey Detonator, 2006

Banksy, Exit Though The Gift Shop Poster, 2010

 

Shephard Fairey, popular around the world, most famously for his Obama “HOPE” poster, itself subject of more parody copy versions than you might imagine, is also a street art Where’s Wally.

Stra, Shepard Fairey Where’s Wally (also feat Spraychild)

 

This Where’s Wally is based on the Obey Giant image, one of the most reproduced images in modern art history (no evidence for that statement but it sounds impressive and perhaps might even be true!)

Shepard Fairey Obey Giant, 2012

Obey Giant, Shepard Fairey, 2012

Shep Fairey, D*Face, 2006

 

Alongside the Obey Giant paste ups on the back of the road sign by Shep Fairey in the photo above is a D*Face paste up, D*Face has also been Wallified!

STRA, D*Face Where’s Wally

D*Face is represented by his classic D*Dog character, seen in a couple of photos below

D*Face, 2011

D*Face, mid 2000s

There are more out there, good luck with your Where’s Wally hunt!

 

Street Art, Shoreditch, London, Shoreditch Street Art Tours, Stra, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, DFace, D*Dface, parody, copy, humour, Where’s Wally

Street Art, Shoreditch, London, Shoreditch Street Art Tours, Stra, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, DFace, D*Dface, parody, copy, humour, Where’s Wally

All photos: Dave Stuart

General Election 2017 Street Art

Today Britain goes to the election, we express political preferences through a mark on a ballot paper.   Walls are also great surfaces to express political opinions and here are a few highlights from the 2017 General Election, a period that began back in the third week of April.

One of the first out of the blocks was Banksy with his stunning comment on Brexit at the port of Dover.

Banksy, Street art, mural, Dover, Brexit, EU Flag, painter, ladder, stencil

Banksy

The election has witnessed a rare mis-calculation by Mr Banksy (or maybe he does a great job of just not screwing up in public!).  He offered a limited edition “archive quality” girl with balloon print to anyone from six tory controlled wards in Bristol that sent in a photograph of their polling paper showing a tick in the box for the labour candidate.   The initial response on Saturday from the Electoral Commission professed that the law was complex in this area but by Monday Banksy had announced a “Product Recall” on the basis of a legal opinion from the Electoral Commission that those polls would be invalidated.  Tweets purporting to be from local constabulary also declared the action illegal.

source: www.banksy.co.uk

Well known British contemporary artist Jeremy Deller provided a plain rebuttal to Theresa May’s campaign slogan, this work put up widely across London by the Fly Leaps organisation.

Jeremy Deller

The blind as a bat Theresa May poster next to Deller’s is by Kennard Phillips who produced the now legendary image of Tony Blair taking a selfie in front of a burning oilfield which was displayed in the window of Banksy’s Santa’s Ghetto on Oxford St, London in 2006.

The punchiest exponent of using other people’s walls to deliver punchy political messages for many years is one of my favourite artists Dr d.  For this general election Dr d has gone back to  spoof Standrd (note the spelling at the end) headlines, as can be seen here above Unify’s adaptation of Shepard Fairey’s famous Obama HOPE poster.

 

Dr d. above; Unify below

 

CodeFC put up a couple of strong stencilled compositions.  Sadly the one in Leake Street asking “Theresa who?” had burned bright but briefly as art and graffiti is wont at that location but with the grace of CodeFC we have used his photo as the featured imagae at the top of this post.  Brexit Through The Chip Shop simultaneously references a great British culinary institution, the title of Banksy’s 2010 street art documentary and the greatest political fraud of our lifetime.

CodeFC Brexit Through The Chip Shop

I am not sure who did this one but the idea of giving Putin a Pussy Riot style balaclava whist simultaneously referencing the conspiracy of Russian intervention in the US elections is clever. [Update 22 June: Heath Kane, hat tip to Subdude for letting us know]

Who Would Putin Vote For – Artist Unknown

Probably from the same “artist unknown” [update 22 Jun: seems unlikely], the rather wishy washy tory slogan “Strong and stable” is appropriated in condemnation of the UK arms industry.

artist unknown

A political wishlist expressed in the form of sequined skulls has been put up by Uberfubs, it would be great if they could all come true but this one in particular would be on my list.

Uberfubs

Many artists such as Subdude never stop expressing political views.   Paste up digs at Trump and Putin have given way over the past few weeks to a plethora of comments at the general political state of the country and specifically against Teresa May.

Subdude

Subdude seems to have gone a bit off message with this image (or maybe I am just missing the point) which has been modified in a Basquiat kind of style though as you scan down a polling slip looking for Jeremy’s name to put your tick against, try to get the surname spelt right.

Please vote wisely and safely

All photos Dave Stuart except “Theresa Who?” featured image by CodeFC

 

 

Street Art, Politics, Money, Fame

Shoreditch Street Art Tours’ guide Dave was interviewed on TRT World alongside illuminati such as street artist Pure Evil and gallerist Steve Lazarides, exalted company indeed.

Journalist Emma Birchley put together a well thought out assessment of street art as both a political voice and a career for urban artists.  It becomes clear that the two are not mutually exclusive.

Street artists who work features in the clip that regularly feature on our tours include Manyoly (France), K-Guy (UK), A.CE (UK), Tizer ID,  Amara por Dios (Swe), Bambi (UK) and someone called Banksy.

 

Links:

Pure Evil

Lazarides Gallery

Manyoly

K-Guy

A.CE

Tizer

Bambi

Banksy

Amara por Dios

 

 

 

Banksy, Street art, mural, Dover, Brexit, EU Flag, painter, ladder, stencil

New Banksy Appears In Dover

Another year, another Banksy, at last!  The port of Dover, a major port with the shortest distance between UK and the European mainland, found itself the proud home of the latest outdoor street art masterpiece by Banksy.    A huge version of the EU flag with a worker chipping away at one of the 12 stars greets inland arrivals coming into the port on the main road from London.

Banksy, Street art, mural, Dover, Brexit, EU Flag, painter, ladder, stencil

Banksy

When it reveals itself to you from about ¾ mile away on the hill descending into Dover, its audacious scale and  visibility is quite breath taking.  This isn’t tucked away on a back street facing somewhere anonymous, you simply can’t miss it.   By the end of this year this could be one of the most viewed single works of art in the country, perhaps even the World.

Close up the attention to detail is awesome.  Check the drop shadows on the chipped off pieces of the stars, look also at the cracks, they are stunningly painted and close up you can see each crack represented by two contrasting lines very precisely drawn alongside each other.

Banksy, Street art, mural, Dover, Brexit, EU Flag, painter, ladder, stencil

Banksy

The subject of the work is clear, it’s about Britain leaving the EU but is the piece perhaps a bit ambiguous?  Is the worker  “Leave” supporter taking great delight in symbolically destroying the EU or are his actions showing us how devastating the course the UK is seemingly irretrievably embarked upon is, in other words pro-Remain.    Context is everything with Banksy and his views are pretty clear if you think back to art he put up in Calais in 2015, Steve Jobs as an immigrant; a child gazing through a telescope across the channel to England but a vulture (death) perches on the telescope; and his “We’re not all in the same boat”, a raft borrowed from “The Raft Of The Medusa” by Théodore Géricault.   The issue was the refugee crisis but the clear message was more compassion was needed meaning open boarders, Banksy is pretty clearly a Remainer.

Banksy, Street art, mural, Dover, Brexit, EU Flag, painter, ladder, stencil

Banksy

Timing is a bit of an issue since the decisive vote which lead to our latest Prime Minister changing her mind completely from “remain” to “a red, white and blue Brexit” was 10 months ago.  The issue is central to our current general election process but only to the extent that the PM seeks a mandate to do as much damage as she can without subsequent recourse to the population.  Banksy’s mural seems to be more timely if considered in the context of the French presidential election which reaches its climax this weekend as the eminently sensible French electorate chose a centrist pro EU president rather than a far right candidate hell bent on wreaking further disunity and harm to the EU.

Banksy, Street art, mural, Dover, Brexit, EU Flag, painter, ladder, stencil

Dover – Gateway to Europe

The placement of this piece is magical.  Dover is defined in its present and its history by this country’s relationship with the continent, whether that means trade, migration, vacation or war.  Almost no one passes through Dover without registering that this is a point of departure, arrival and communication and it is all about the short cross sea link to France. It is hard to imagine a place in the UK where a Brexit piece could resonate more with its surroundings.

This post is an abridged version of a post I wrote for Graffoto blog, head over there for more views on the way Banksy may have created this masterpiece and similarities to older Banksy street art.

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.