Tag Archives: Banksy

Tour guide Dave in front of Banksy stencil of an arcade game claw at Gorleston Beach with added teddy bears by local street artist EMO

Street Art Highlights in August

August has been a month of surprises – it stayed dry – and as Banksy trumps everything in the street art world, this month’s review starts with a flashback to an exciting daytrip to East Anglia to witness Banksy’s Spraycation street art fest.  Banksy put up 10 new street art pieces, two were never found by members of the public as they were swiftly removed by council workers but the 8 we did find were thankfully on the whole in superb condition.  Sorry to spoil the photo of the Banksy piece at the top of this article.

Banksy stencil of a rat at a Lowestoft beach who is sipping a cocktail made from a pipe discharge

Banksy rat chills out at Lowestoft, August 2021

Seeing one new Banksy street art piece is a “Hold the front page” moment, EIGHT new Banksys put that spin to the coast spin right up among the most exciting art days I have ever enjoyed, that Banksy goodness is reviewed HERE.

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

We also produced a guide to the locations which earned great feedback.


“Thanks for the directions on your website, they were the first proper ones we found and with 2 kids in tow we always appreciate not having to cart round for hours trying to find somewhere!”


News of the first ever private daytrip to space prompted street artist ODDO to speculate that Jeff Besos was boldy going forth in search of new tax avoidance strategies.

Cartoon street art showing Jezz Besos as an astronaut by street artist Oddo in Shoreditch

Jezz Bezos cartoon by Oddo

Vez, leading light of the “spoonerists” movement really got the full flower power thing going, dig that groovy dress daddio.

paste up street art in Shoreditch by Vez street artist

Spoons by Vez

We believe you can’t beat a decent street art collaboration so it a great to see two of our faves Face The Strange and Smiler getting something truly surreal up.

paste up street art collaboration in Shoreditch featuring street artists Face The Strange and Smiler

Face The Strange and Smiler collaboration

Butterflyman, the artist formerly known as Sell Out, had a prolific month with paper butterflies and oil pastels. He provided a police escort for The Postman’s Debbie Harry and we also loved the paper butterflies escaping the maw of Orrible’s shark.  Sell Out provides top quality street art “augmentations”, torn between the two and unable to choose we thought ok, let’s include both pics!  There is a crazy amount of great art in the photo of Debbie Harry’s police protection squad, you should be able to pick out 4 expressionist policemen (the 5th face isn’t a policeman) and 1 police dog!

layers of paste up street art in Shoreditch with Sell Out adding to Debbie Harry by The Postman's Art

Debbie Harry by The Postman rescued by Butterflyman’s policemen

Shark paste up by street artist Orrible augmented by Sell Out's paper butterflies stuck on with blutack

Orrible, augmented by Butterflyman752, also featuring Subdude

Jace has been out putting some of his great faces in more small places, he clearly loves the spot next to Stik’s Brick Lane couple which is where you will find Lola.

Street Art sculpture of a face in relief depicting Lola from german Film Run Lola Run

Lola by Jace

Tom from Tom and Jerry featured in Fat Cap Spray‘s art output this month, this shone neon bright but ever so brief, lasting less than a week!

Tom from Tom and Jerry painted in neon purple by street artist Fat Cap Sprays on Shoreditch streets

Tom by Fat Cap Sprays

Perspicere had a show at BSMT Space which to our huge regret we failed to check out, thankfully we did find this gorgeous example of his novel string art on a doorway of an empty and heavily graffitied office block in Shoreditch.

String street art face portrait by Perspicere

String Art by Perspicere

Just sneaking in at the end of the month is this beautiful painting in a very soft palette by Enigma.

Attractive blonde walks past street art shadow bunny by street artist Enigma in Shoreditch

Shadow hands by Enigma

Among the large amount of brilliant graffiti spotted this month a real jaw dropper was the piece by legend Vibes RT, check out the glitchy cloud detail.

Brilliant graffiti in Shoreditch by Vibes RT

Vibes RT graff

Detail of brilliant graffiti in Shoreditch by Vibes RT

Vibes RT graff detail

Allen Gardens is a location frequently explored as there is always fresh art and graffiti there, just this weekend this pair of pieces by Reves One and Sidok both featuring “split screen” letter design took my breath away.

Brilliant Shoreditch Graffiti pieces by Reves One and Sidok

Reves One and Sidok

Bonzai’s liquid mercury lettering is truly an eyeopener for guests whenever we come across it on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour.

Graffiti writing that looks like liquid mercury by artist Bonzai

Quicksilver Bonzai

As travel becomes more and more a reality we are looking forward to seeing an increased number of international artists beautifying Shoreditch’s walls and more tour guests from overseas would be nice as well!  Book HERE for the best street art tour and perhaps you will get to admire the candidates for September highlights in the flesh.

Links to all artists are incorporated in the text.

All photos: Shoreditch Street Art Tour guide Dave Stuart

 

 

 

 

 


Banksy Spraycation Street Art Locations Guide

The Great Banksy Spraycation resulted in what we now know were originally 10 new street art pieces in East Anglia. Early last week I headed off in a fever of excitement to explore the locations, the resulting photos and insights can be seen HERE.

A couple of the artworks proved rather tricky to find, one we had the wrong street intersection and for another, the description “beach” didn’t quite narrow things down enough.  For your ease and convenience, here is my guide to the locations of these Banksys.  In some instances, the location would be more accurately described as “site of former Banksy”, at the time of writing 2 have already met the buff and can no longer be seen and one has been badly damaged, though possibly not beyond repair.

The order they are presented in here is intended to allow a Banksy hunter to hit a number that are within relatively easy reach of eachother quite quickly, the last thing you want is to spend too much time on the far off remote one and find you run out of time to spend enough time enjoying the remaining pieces.

We’re All In The Same Boat

Woman photographs Street Art stencil by Banksy in Lowestoft of children in a boat and message We're all in the same boat

We’re All In The Same Boat says Banksy

Nicholas Everitt Park, on a bridge. Look for the path closest to the town side of the park that intersects the stream up the middle of the park.

Map (opens in new tab)

Greedy Seagull

Banksy street art stencil in Lowestoft showing seagull snatching chips from a packet which is actually insulation in a skip

Chip snatching Seagull, Banksy 2021

Lowestoft, intersection of Denmark Road and Katwijk Road

Map (opens in new tab)

Under The Paving Stones!

A seagull and people look at Banksy street art in Lowestoft

Under The Paving Stones – Banksy!

Intersection of London Road North and Regent Road

Map (opens in new tab)

Cocktail Rat

Banksy stencil of a rat at a Lowestoft beach who is sipping a cocktail made from a pipe discharge with beach goers nearby

Banksy Rat sipping a cocktail at a Lowestoft Beach 2021

Lowestoft, Links Road.  Look for North Beach Car Park

Map (opens in new tab)

Arcade Grab Game

Banksy Arcade claw machine with added teddy bears by local artist

Banksy arcade game grabber claw, teddy bears added by local artist

Gorleston Beach, not far from the pier end of the beach, at the end of Lower Esplanade

Map (opens in new tab)

Go Big Or Go Home – The Merrivale Model Village Stable.

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

Go Big Or Go Home

Placed by Banksy at Merrivale Model Village, from time to time the Merrivale management remove the model from public view to protect it and the rest of their property.  They have now placed a padlocked plastic box over it, but it is not clear at the time of writing if it is on display throughout opening hours.   Check their Facebook page for possible viewing updates.

Merrivale Model Village, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth NR30 3JG

Map (opens in new tab)

Bus Stop Dancers

Banksy stencil of two dancers and an accordian player placed on top of a bus shelter in Great Yarmouth

Bus interrupts Banksy Bus Stop Dancers

On the corner of Admiralty Road and Barracks Road, Great Yarmouth

Don’t get caught parking on the bus stop!

Map (opens in new tab)

Luxury Rentals Only

Banksy Stencil of a Landlord crab showing placard reading "Luxury Rentals Only" to homeless crabs at Cromer Beach

Luxury Rentals Only – Banksy

Cromer Beach Huts

Level with the very last of the colourful beach huts is a sea wall running into the sea, “Luxury Rentals Only” is on the side of the wall that faces away from Cromer.

We walked from Cromer Esplanade along the beach front.  Above the cliff are sea view private properties and there does not appear to be public access to the beach from Cliff Drive above the beach, report here if you find any!  From the centre of Cromer it is about a 20 minute walk, as we approached the end of the huts we had convinced ourselves it must have gone.  Despair not, you have to go past the sea wall and look back.

Map (opens in new tab)

Since we put this guide together, we have received improved directions from an intrepid explorer who used our guide:

“We visited the Cromer Banksy using the grid reference you provided on the website. The sat nav took us to a road called The Warren where we parked. If you go to the end (it’s a dead end) there is an alleyway to the left. Follow that and you come to a small green. There is a signpost for “National Trail” which leads to steps down to the beach. Turn right and the Banksy is just after the last beach hut. It’s probably a five minute walk.”  26 Aug 2021

The two new Banksy artworks that have already completely gone at the time of writing are:

Kids in Rubber Dinghy Peril

Banksy stencil of children in peril in a dinghy

Banksy Dinghy – photo Banksy.co.uk

Paddling pool, Gorleston Beach.  This was right opposite the Arcade Grab game artwork, its absence was noted in a photo included in our collection of insights published a few days ago.

Map (opens in new tab)

Ice cream Cone Statue

Kings Lynn Statue with Banksy cone – photo Banksy.co.uk

Junction of London Road and Guanock Place, Kings Lynn

The interesting news is that the council have the ice cream cone in their possession and have spoken to the press about the possibility that it might be reinstated.

Map (opens in new tab)

This was one of the most exciting days I have ever had pursuing my love of and obsession with street art.   I hope you find this guide useful, all in a day’s work for a specialist street art tour guide!

Links:

Banksy Street Art Staycation In East Anglia – our insights and lots of different photos

Banksy instagram “The Great British Spraycation”

Banksy Website

Merrivale Model Village Website

All photos: Dave Stuart except where stated


Banksy street art stencil in Lowestoft showing seagull snatching chips from a packet which is actually insulation in a skip

Banksy Street Art Staycation In East Anglia

East Anglia has in the past week or so became home to a spectacular trove of Banksy street art.  Banksy created a grand total of 10 new pieces of street art and to put this in context, there were only 5 outdoor Banksy artworks at his own Dismaland group show in 2015!

Street Art stencil by Banksy in Lowestoft of children in a boat and message We're all in the same boat

We’re All In The Same Boat by Banksy

With my son for company as navigator (who needs sat nav when you have a boy armed with a smartphone and supersized data allowance) I headed off last Tuesday to explore the Fens and surrounds hunting down the biggest collection of Banksy seen since New York, October 2013.


UPDATE – I have written a guide to the location of each of these Banksys, that has different photos to this appreciation of the art and you can view the guide by clicking HERE (after you have read this post!)


The Norfolk Broads is an idyllic network of creeks and lakes which on the day we visited was looking stunning with boats gently sailing here, there and everywhere in glorious sunshine and perfect breezes.  Nicholas Everitt Park sits at the inlet to Oulton Broad, a classic British daytrip destination full of playgrounds, bowling, tennis and ice cream vendors.  It does its best to turn away from the sour, grubby creek that runs down its spine but Banksy hasn’t.  “We’re all in the same boat”  has three children in a distressed Swallows and Amazons tableau, a skipper and second in command upfront scan the horizon while, at the back a third child bails their leaking tub.  The two children upfront have paper admiral’s hats suiting their privilege, the child dealing with the emergency in the bilges wears a worker’s beaney. Originally there was a decaying boat hull but that corrugated sheet of iron was hauled away as it was constricting the water course.

Street Art stencil by Banksy in Lowestoft of children in a boat and message We're all in the same boat

“We’re all in it together” our leaders promised, that was until Boris decided to throw out all the pandemic restrictions and impose on us a doctrine of “personal responsibility” despite a 3rd wave delta variant surge.  Banksy’s smartly dressed captain navigates blind to signs of imminent disaster while someone else, representing the NHS perhaps, heroically struggles to stop the ship sinking.  Coming the week after Boris decided that he didn’t have to isolate despite an office staffer who flew on a plane with him testing positive, Banksy mocks our political leaders’ inclination to shamelessly pick and choose which of the rules they can ignore.

Street Art stencil by Banksy in Lowestoft of children in a boat and message We're all in the same boat

In one of Lowestoft’s shopping drags, one of those that can’t decide if it is pedestrianised or not, a chubby child in a sunhat plays in the sand with a crowbar rather than a spade, the beach is the sand under paving slabs which the scowling but resourceful child has prized up.  The scene embodies the famous slogan from the French student riots of ’68 “Sous les paves, la plage!”, “Under the paving stones, the beach!”

A child points at Banksy street art in Lowestoft

Child delighted to find Banksy girl playing in sand

This piece places the council in a quandary we will watch with amusement… Banksy is a great tourist draw for an economy “building back” but holes in pavements are a nailed on dead cert public liability nightmare!  In appearance though not meaning, this piece recalls Banksy’s 2010 Tesco sandcastle at British seaside town Hastings.

Banksy stencil street art in Hastings girl playing with Tescos sandcastles

Tesco sandcastles, Banksy, 2010

Lowestoft has more, the largest of the bunch brilliantly reproduces that seaside promenade classic – the chip stealing seagull.  This is the best realised of the current collection.  The simulation of a bag of chips using cut up loft insulation and a rusty skip placed in situ without permission is next level, a real classic Banksy.

Banksy street art stencil in Lowestoft showing seagull snatching chips from a packet which is actually insulation in a skip

Chip snatching Seagull, Banksy 2021

We had the pleasure of chatting with a local who saw the work in progress.  He recalls shrouded scaffolding, a van and a bored looking young man keeping watch.  With nearly 2 decades experience of looking bored around street art, my boy could empathise with Banksy’s lookout.  Our local observer explained the building was owned by an absent owner in London who let it to council-guaranteed temporary residents and that it had been subject of complaints in the past few years about the accumulation of crap in the front hard-standing.  So locals were not in the least bit surprised at what looked like contractors carrying out maintenance though they were puzzled that the work required insulation.

Banksy street art stencil in Lowestoft showing seagull snatching chips from a packet which is actually insulation in a skip

Chip snatching Seagull, Banksy 2021

The size of the painting and the installation of the rusty skip give this enterprise a degree of planning that few apart from Banksy have the skill to pull off without permission.  It will be interesting to see what happens to that skip when the chips have been stolen, as they inevitably will be.

Outside Lowestoft we found a chilled rat reclining on a beach chair, sheltered under a parasol while enjoying a cocktail whose mix includes the drip from an adjacent outfall pipe.  The rat is staring directly at the pipe in anticipation of the next top up.

It’s nice to see a Banksy rat again, in this case the black colour is predominantly freehand painted over a stencilled white layer which is unusual but Banksy has used the technique in the past, despite what a particular high profile Banksy street art acquirer/remover said.  See for example the Basquiat tribute piece at the Barbican centre in 2017, though that is one that the art chiseller failed to acquire.

Banksy stencil or a rat at a Lowestoft beach who is sipping a cocktail made from a pipe discharge

All The Fun Of The Seaside in Lowestoft

“Au revoir Lowestoft, it was lovely visiting you” and “Hello” to Gorleston Beach with its newly decorated beach shelter now sporting an arcade grab machine claw.  By the time of our visit, this piece had been opportunistically added to by local artist Raphiel Astoria, who signs their art Emo.  Among the additions are a number of stencilled bears, a statement proclaiming this to be a collaboration between Banksy and Emo and most provocatively, a stencilled Banksy tag.

Banksy stencil of an arcade game claw at Gorleston Beach with added teddy bers by local street artist EMO

Banksy arcade machine claw with teddy bears added by local artist

The photo released on Banksy’s website shows the arcade claw before any additional artwork so the suggestion of collaborative intent on Banksy’s part can be dismissed.  Robbo and Danny Minnick have made far superior interactions with Banksy street art in the past.

The additional bears look like the kind of bait prizes that never drop into the hopper of the arcade game.   According to local news sources, experts apparently think the enhancements mean the Banksy piece “Makes more sense now”.  What Emo has done dramatically changes our point of view, our relationship with the artwork.   Stencilling the bears on the wall means we are now looking from the outside at a selection of prizes, which of course includes any poseur sitting on the bench, inside an arcade game.  What Banksy painted actually gamified the whole world.  We were all, the whole world, inside the game and the claw was selecting “winners”, the allegorical touch was a nod to life as a game that confers privilege on a select few while the rest of us flounder unwanted.  From that perspective this was until the additions probably the most conceptually accomplished Banksy of the whole East Anglia collection.  It still makes a great Instagram photo opportunity though.

Tour guide Dave in front of Banksy stencil of an arcade game claw at Gorleston Beach with added teddy bears by local street artist EMO

Booby Prize (Dave spoils view of Banksy Arcade claw machine)

Merrivale Model Village is a self-effacing Great Yarmouth beach front gem completely drowned out by the garish competition.  Even the slush puppy concession outside is a bigger eye magnet.  Inside is a different story – it’s big, it’s delightful and it’s brilliantly British in a classic wholesome way.

View of Merrivale Model Village

Merrivale Model Village

A clandestine Banksy addition to the model collection is a defaced stable in classic gingerbread vernacular style placed in a quaint village in front of a medieval castle.  The vandalism inflicted on this fairytale scene is a Banksy fire extinguisher tag and a Banksy rat who has written “Go big or go home”, a very witty slogan to put up on the side of a miniature property.  The rat defacing the property has been caught literally red-handed, like the “If Graffiti changed anything” rat in London in 2011.

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

Banksy Fire Extinguisher

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

Go Big Or Go Home

The Banksy tag is a model scale version of the fire extinguisher tagging hugely approved of by hard-core graffiti writers, reproducing the fire extinguisher effect at model scale is very impressive. The Banksy tag here is not an artist signing their artwork, the tag IS the art, which is a completely different thing.

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

Banksy Fire Extinguisher tag

Things get a bit complex at this point, the model is only on display between 1pm and 3pm.  We had a lovely conversation with the son of the owner who told us that since word got out people were stepping onto the model village to get close up photos, so for the time the Banksy stable could only be displayed for limited supervised hours.  On Tuesday we did not know that!  However the owner kindly showed us behind the scenes and let us view the model close up, so what you see here is the empty space where Banksy left the model and a close up of the model photographed in another location.

Marrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth showing spot where Banksy placed his model

Site of graffiti blighted Banksy development

UPDATE 1 – it appears that the owners under advice have actually completely withdrawn the model from display.

UPDATE 2 – it seems that they may now display the model under perspex (plexiglass).  Perhaps it is best to contact them before travelling!

Frank Newsome (Jr), son of the owner, told us was that it took them several days to spot the intrusion, an alert guest asked them if the Banksy defaced model was genuine and it took them a while to figure out what the guest meant.  Their minds went back to an incident a few days earlier where a female guest had been particularly fascinated in the model making process and ended up backstage on a personal tour while simultaneously a drone intruded into the airspace surrounding the model village so they scrambled their air defences and knocked the drone out of the sky with a net.  Management believes these activities were a deliberate distraction for the staff to facilitate the surreptitious placement of the new construction.  Banksy’s Instagram account includes drone footage of the model village installation so the story truly deserves to become part of the Banksy legend and the model village folklore.

Banksy’s additions are an amusing comment on the ubiquitous intrusion of the modern form of graffiti into this idyllic setting, nowhere is safe.  This is a companion to the Banksy humour seen in modified oil paintings such as “Tox Cottage”.

Banksy painting showing graffiti on a cottage in an old painting

Tox Cottage – photo Banksy.co.uk

Close by the model village a stencilled dancing duo on top of a bus shelter trip the light fantastic accompanied by an accordion player.  All the characters look like familiar Banksy cast but the most impressive aspect of this somewhat routine Banksy is its placement, it is a clever interaction with the street furniture and you have to admire Banksy for executing this on top of a council bus stop without being caught.

Banksy stencil of two dancers and an accordian player placed on top of a bus shelter in Great Yarmouth

Banksy Bus Stop Dancers, Great Yarmouth 2021

Two aspects of the Banksy artwork that has appeared in Cromer that might deter those of a less completist nature are that it is a bugger to find and the schlepp from the others to this one piece is an hour through the flattest English landscape imaginable.  Don’t be put off though as this is certainly the most detailed and colourful of the set.  A hermit crab with three empty shells is refusing access to three naked and needy hermit crabs, a social commentary piece touching on privilege, property ladder manipulation and social exclusion.

Banksy Stencil of a Landlord crab showing placard reading "Luxury Rentals Only" to homeless crabs at Cromer Beach

Luxury Rentals Only – Banksy

Banksy Stencil of a Landlord crab showing placard reading "Luxury Rentals Only" to homeless crabs at Cromer Beach

Luxury Rentals Only – Banksy

The arrangement and the placard device contain stylistic similarities with the 2014 “Migrants Not Welcome” piece in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.

Banksy Stencil in Clacton on Sea of native birds waving placards telling exotic visiting birds to go home

Migrants Not Welcome – Banksy stencil

So all told this is a very impressive and above all enjoyable collection of street art.  The blending of political cynicism with humour is pure Banksy and above all, the execution bears Banksy hallmarks particularly the use of the scaffolding reported for the chip snatching seagull.  The distraction strategy reported for the Merrivale Model Village installation may be new but it feels consistent with the degree of planning that characterises Banksy’s illegal street art.

Banksy street art stencil in Lowestoft showing seagull snatching chips from a packet which is actually insulation in a skip

Seagull attacks badly parked mini cooper 2021

Interestingly two of the pieces in particular involved vandalism and dumping on public land, each of which could result in council jobsworths waving invoices for repairs to the pavement and removal of an abandoned skip in Lowestoft.

Banksy’s big reveal on instagram included two pieces which no one knew existed, they had not been spotted.  The first one is a small one colour stencil image of kids by a paddling pool in peril from an inflatable dinghy.  By chance I happened to photograph the pool where that stencil was placed, it had already been buffed by Tuesday and it seems probable it had gone the weekend before.

Banksy stencil of children in peril in a dinghy

Banksy Dinghy – photo Banksy.co.uk

Great Yarmouth Beach Scene with Banksy missing from the paddling pool

Paddling pool but no Banksy

The council has stated that its contractors removed that one quickly because of an unfortunate resonance with the tragic death nearby of a young child a few years ago, they stated they thought that the stencil may have been an unfortunate coincidence rather than tastelessly intentional.

The other new Banksy was in Kings Lynn.

Statue with ice cream cone and tongue in Kings Lynn – photo Banksy.co.uk

It is possible to fit in the 8 remaining (If you include the Merrivale Model Village) East Anglia Banksys in a day, it’s exhausting but hugely enjoyable.  It was a real pleasure that the pieces were not totally mobbed by crowds as is always the case for a new Banksy in London and also, other than the unfortunate augmentation of the arcade grab piece and the loss of the boat hull on another it was great to find them in pristine condition.

Links:

Banksy instagram “The Great British Spraycation”

Banksy Website

Merrivale Model Village Website

Our guide to the location of each of these East Anglian Banksys HERE

All photos: Dave Stuart except where stated


Street Art on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch

One Off Street Art Tour By Popular Demand – More Art, Different Streets!

We have had several requests recently from guests who have done our public street art tour to be guided around the street art over on the Old Street side of Shoreditch High Street rather than the Brick Lane side.

Street Art on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch

Permissioned Graffiti colours from Eighties Conspiracy on Old Street

We have been running our private tours around the Old Street area for years, they are different to our public tours mainly because typically private guests such as office parties and school groups want a shorter tour.

Boris Johnson Borissor Coldheart Care Bare Artistic graffiti on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch by graffiti artist Tizer

Borissor Coldheart Care Bears by Tizer, Old Street 2020

Always eager to please, we are delighted to announce a public tour on Sunday 1st August which will start from Old Street Roundabout rather than Spitalfields Market.  The only overlap with our “traditional” public tour will be the very last part where we look at Eine and Banksy.

Street Art on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch

Paste ups close to Old Street

Book quick by clicking HERE, spaces are likely to run out.

Street Art on the Old Street Area of Shoreditch

Mesa work in Progress and Urocki, Holywell Lane 2020

This may become an occasional thing so if you can’t make 1st August 2021 just drop us an email and we can let you know when we arrange future dates.

Feature image: Stik and others on site of former Foundry arts space

All photos: Dave Stuart


Street Art Of Banksy at Reading Prison landscape shot

Art Of Banksy Appears at Reading Prison

A street art stencil has appeared on the wall of the former Reading nick and after making us wait a little while, it has just this afternoon been confirmed this is art of Banksy, the tease.

Street Art Of Banksy at Reading Prison wide context shot

Create Escape by Banksy, Reading Prison

 

As usual the confirmation comes simultaneously via his website and his Instagram and for the second time in less than a year it is in the form of a video showing in gripping detail an unidentified person spraying a stencil on a wall.  A well sorted stencilling strategy is so important to a successful outcome and the video contains many hints about the order of operations for this particular artwork.

Street Art Of Banksy at Reading Prison unnamed person stencilling

screengrab from “The Joy Of Painting With Bob Ross…and Banksy”, Copyright Banksy

The artwork depicts old fashioned “over the wall” flit by a prisoner and the presence of the typewriter suggests the escapee is a writer.  All the coverage has inferred the art is related to Oscar Wilde’s incarceration in Reading and that seems reasonable.  Lots of references to Oscar Wilde’s last published work “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” abound though many contend that the piece was written while Wilde was in Reading while literary historians say it was written post release.

Street Art Of Banksy at Reading Prison full shot

Create Escape by Banksy, Reading Prison

Plenty of local coverage draws attention to a campaign to turn the now closed prison into an arts centre so there could be a political aspect with Banksy possibly offering support, though this would be the exact opposite of his intervention in 2010 which condemned the use of his street art as the centrepiece of a new “art-hotel”.


Banksy’s London street art career is the subject of “Banksy – The London Chronicle” – the virtual presentation by Banksy expert Dave Stuart coming up over the Easter period, more details HERE 

composite image of Banksy street art with stencil rat and stencil Westway Highwayman

Banksy Virtual Tour – If Graffiti Changed Anything and Westway Highway Man


Three elements really raise this seemingly modest artwork in the Banksy cannon.  Its placement is stunning, it is by the give way lines on a major roundabout in inner Reading so the chances of the artist being spotted were very high and indeed there are reports and photographs of work in progress last Sunday.

Street Art Of Banksy at Reading Prison "Simple Intelligence Test In Dumb Animals", reproduced from Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall, copyright Banksy 2001

Work In Progress by anonymous photographer, Reading and Berkshire News

Secondly, it has context.  There is the physical context which is why you need to see the prison in the backdrop, not for nothing does Banksy’s video includes a rising birdseye view over the wall.  If you don’t see the prison buildings well, it’s just a high wall isn’t it.  The historical context too is important, this being where Oscar Wilde did time and so the prisoner has the old school (non graff) writer’s tools of the trade, the typewriter.  The weirdly downward pointing CCTV almost directly over the spot supplements the giggles nicely.

Street Art Of Banksy at Reading Prison closer shot

Create Escape by Banksy, Reading Prison

Most importantly, while politically it is relatively mute although some are contorting themselves to see it as Banksy support for a Reading art centre, it is a brilliant cartoon.  It ranks alongside the Simple Intelligence Test In Dumb Animals cartoon from Banksy’s 2001 book “Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall”.

"Simple Intelligence Test In Dumb Animals", reproduced from Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall, copyright Banksy 2001

“Simple Intelligence Test In Dumb Animals”, reproduced from Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall, copyright Banksy 2001

"Simple Intelligence Test In Dumb Animals", reproduced from Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall, copyright Banksy 2001

“Simple Intelligence Test In Dumb Animals”, reproduced from Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall, copyright Banksy 2001

"Simple Intelligence Test In Dumb Animals", reproduced from Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall, copyright Banksy 2001

“Simple Intelligence Test In Dumb Animals”, reproduced from Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall, copyright Banksy 2001

There is a key aspect which the media hive seems to have collectively missed.  The prisoner has been almost universally described as escaping from the prison using knotted blankets, even this afternoon in its umpteenth repost on the piece the BBC is STILL adhering to the idea they are bedsheets yet that is clearly not the case.

Street Art Of Banksy at Reading Prison typewriter detail shot

Create Escape by Banksy, Reading Prison

Someone has given the wily prisoner a typewriter and under the guise of a major lengthy literary masterpiece, the prisoner has surreptitiously typed an escape rope on continuous paper.  This is about outsmarting your captors, just like the monkey in the intelligence test.  Or, as Banksy himself put it in his punchline to that cartoon “A lot of people never use their initiative, because no-one told them to”.

Street Art Of Banksy at Reading Prison typewriter detail shot

Create Escape by Banksy, Reading Prison

Awesome.

Photos: Dave Stuart except as stated

 


Photo of back of the old Seven Stars pub showing huge white flowers painted by ThisOne on back of pub, along with wall panels painted by Get Busy, Agony, Attai and Tizer

Virtual Tour Triple Truffle

Approaching half term we are bringing a trio of street art nuggets to the world of Virtual street art pleasure.

“Just enjoyed a fantastic virtual street art tour with Dave. …. He did a wonderful job, and though we physically did not see the works in place, we were able to see many more, because of the format. …. Dave was extremely knowledgeable and had an engaging format. Highly recommend. “ Tripadvisor, Jan 2021

Shoreditch Street Art Virtual Tour

First up, Wednesday 3rd February we debut a new presentation highlighting current street art in Shoreditch, most of it created within the past month.  Think of it as something like the closest to what we’d look at if we did a real street art right now (hold that thought – ahhhhhhhh).  There has been some amazing art created in Shoreditch since we had to suspend real world tours at the beginning of December but Shoreditch Street Art Tours has been using its daily exercise period to record the latest art updates

Photo montage of street art created in Shoreditch in past 3 months featuring David Speed, Daeh, Pablo Fiasco, Get Busy, Tom Blackford and Attai

Shoreditch Street Art featuring David Speed, Daeh, Pablo Fiasco, Get Busy, Tom Blackford and Attai

Book the “Shoreditch Street Art Today (Feb 2021)” here


Banksy – The London Chronicle

Next up on Wednesday 10th February the ever popular Banksy – The London Chronicle is back again.  Looking at Banksy’s rise to fame through the prism of his London street art career, featuring nearly 100 Banksy artworks and 150 photos.

Book “Banksy – The London Chronicle” here

Photo montage, larger image is a stencilled rat with a paw dripping red paint and graffiti which says “If Graffiti changed anything it would be illegal”, second image is a Banksy stencil of a horse riding highwayman rearing back on its hind legs

Banksy – The London Chronicle


Political Street Art

Finally, yet another new presentation makes its debut, “Political Street Art”, a photographic review of political street art in London over the past 15 years.   I say “new” but the nucleus of “Political Street Art” has its origins as a segment included in some private virtual tours for schools and higher academic institutions.

Photo montage, larger image is a two painted portraits of children with very colourful clothing, the faces were sprayed by  street artist Zabou, the colourful striped clothing was made from fabric and wool by Mexican street artist Victoria Villasanna.  The smaller image is a stencil by the street artist Bambi which has the image of Emma Stone joyfully dancing with Ryan Gosling in the film La La Land but their heads have been replaced by Theresa May and Donald Trump and the caption changed to Lie Lie Land

Child Free Labour by Zabou and Victoria Villasanna, 2016; Lie Lie Land by Bambi, 2017

Book “Political Street Art” here


Go LARGE!

Discounted “combination” tickets for more than one presentation can be acquired by email info@shoreditchstreetarttours.co.uk direct.  Each individual “tour” costs £10; any 2 tours £18, all three tours £24.  Combination tickets will be issued manually, just tell us in an email which combination you would like and you will be sent a paypal invoice to pay by paypal or credit/debit card.


SUPPORT THE NHS – THANKS TO NHS HEROES

In gratitude for the huge effort our NHS heroes are putting in for our welfare and safety, a limited number of free tickets for each presentation are available to NHS staff on request by email.

Image by Banksy done in either charcoal or pencil of a boy in dungarees playing with a small doll which is a nurse in uniform rather than a caped superhero

Banksy Supports the NHS (canvas donated to Southampton General Hospital, June 2020), image courtesy Banksy.co.uk


Please remember the email address you signed up to this virtual tour with, use that to sign into Zoom. If you or anyone else using your device has previously signed into zoom and the “Remember User” box was checked it might be a good idea to sign out of Zoom first before clicking the Eventbrite “Join Now” button.

all photos: Dave Stuart


London, Graffiti, Robbo, Banksy, wallpaperer, Regents Canal, feud,art,street art

New Information On Banksy Robbo Feud

One of the biggest feuds in art-world history, street artist Banksy v graffiti writer Robbo is revealed to have rumbled on much longer than fans and art historians previously thought.

In December 2009 street artist Banksy created 4 illegal pieces of stencil art on the sides of a canal in Camden, London.  One of the pieces, the Banksy Wallpaperer revived an ancient feud between the street artist Banksy and the then retired but still famous London graffiti writer known as Robbo.

By re-imagining a very old relic of Robbo graffiti dating from 1985 into a stencilled worker applying that graffiti as wallpaper, Banksy appeared to be suggesting that graffiti piece was perhaps just forgettable mass produced background rubbish.

Robbo and Banksy then engaged in a prolonged  tit-for-tat exchange of insults by re-working those four art pieces in Camden, starting with Robbo turning the wallpaper into “King Robbo” on Christmas Day 2010 as first reported on Graffoto.

Street Art, review, 2010, Graffoto.co.uk, street art tours, tour guide

Banksy v Robbo, 25th December 2009, photo Dave Stuart

Many articles record that Banksy insulted Robbo at a party in the late 90s, Robbo assaulted Banksy and Banksy had nurtured the grudge ever since until his attack on the Robbo relic at the turn of the decade.

In a virtual presentation last week on Banksy’s London street art, street art tour guide and long term writer, photographer and Banksy fan Dave Stuart played a re-discovered and never before reported snippet of an exclusive interview with Robbo in which he says that Banksy had been attacking Robbo graffiti years before the Camden 2009 takeover.

In the interview, asked if he had been attacking Banksy art before 2009 Robbo laughingly replies

“………. before the King Robbo? No, he’s dogged [gone over] me before that has happened, I can show you a picture, it’s in one of his books. “

Banksy stencil of a Smiley Copper in Shoreditch over Robbo, amended

Smiley Copper, Banksy, Shoreditch photo Dave Stuart

The picture Robbo refers to is the Smiley Copper in Wall and Piece (2005).  Robbo then confirms that the feud started in the Dragon Bar in Shoreditch in the 90s before going on to say

“And after that happened, there was a full name throw up [graffiti] of mine, “Robbo” and he decided to put the grim reaper or the smiley face over the top of it and at the time, I thought if that’s the best he can do … “

Examination of the Smiley Copper indeed shows the capital R of a piece of graffiti Robbo says was his has been squarely hit by the Smiley Copper which unusually has a huge Banksy tag across the centre of the artwork, leaving the intended recipient of the message in now doubt as to who has gone over him.  In the world of graffiti there is no point in making a timid little mark over someone else, if you intend to insult someone you go big and bold.

Banksy stencil of a Smiley Copper in Shoreditch over Robbo, amended

Banksy Smiley Copper (amended), photo Dave Stuart

The Smiley Copper is believe to date from 2003 which indicates Banksy was picking the scab on that wound long before 2009 as previously thought.

Sadly Robbo had a terrible accident in 2011 which left him in a coma until his passing in 2014, rest in peace King Robbo.

The virtual online presentation “Banksy – The London Chronicle” is to be repeated this coming weekend at 10pm GMT on Saturday 9th January and 12 noon GMT on Sunday 10th January, times deliberately selected for convenience of Banksy fans in Latin America and North America and those in Asia and the Far East.

All photos: Dave Stuart

Dave Stuart will appear as an Expert Judge on TV art show Next Big Thing coming on London Live in the Spring, details to follow


Covid 19 Shoreditch Street Art

You didn’t think a killer virus was going to stop street artists did you?  Shoreditch witnessed an outpouring of street art addressing the Covid 19 pandemic and its surrounding issues from a number of angles.   It’s amazing what a street artist could achieve with that one hour outdoor exercise license non-shielding people had during lockdown.

One of the most prolific artists was Nathan Bowen whose suitably masked characters appeared all over from West to East.

“Stay Positive/The NHS Warrior” – Nathan Bowen

“Thanks NHS” – Nathan Bowen, Harry Blackmore; Oxford St

Nathan Bowen, Harry Blackmore, Ernest Obi – Shaftesbury Avenue

Almost as active as Nathan were Deanio X and Seen K26, often in the company of Tasnim Mahdy

Stay Strong – Deanio X, Seen K26, Tasnim Mahdy

“Stay Strong” – Deanio X, Seen K26, Tasnim Mahdy; Picadilly Circus

“Stay Strong Key Workers” Deanio X, Soho

Our weekly clap for carers, which was a beautiful collective thank you, has stopped but it is clear that many street artists remain grateful on our behalf to the NHS, to the carers and other key workers.

“A quiet prayer holds over London…” We Love Our NHS – Robert Montgomery

Thank You NHS – Jimmy C

Is it just me sees concentric stained glass hearts in shades of NHS blue in this homage by DRT?

DRT (with Nathan Bowen & Co. in background)

Graffiti Life

On the flipside from the love for the NHS comes blame flinging and conspiracy theory. The UK’s elected political masters and their un-elected advisers repeatedly preached one thing but practiced another to the point that anyone else would have felt embarrassed by. Street artists can be quite merciless when political hypocrisy becomes apparent and they proved yet again how swiftly street art can respond to current affairs.

In some countries the political response was based on denial or even deceit, Subdude latches on to those moments quite brilliantly.

Corona Credit Score = 0, Subdude

On the revelation that the NHS workers Boris thanked for his care in St Thomas’ Hospital were immigrants who now under the conservative government’s mooted minimum wage threshold would not qualify to come and lend their skills to the UK’s underfunded understaffed health service:

So How DO You Like Us Now Boris, Subdude

If you need to know what “Dominic Does Durham” is pastiching, ask your Dad

Dominic Does Durham, Subdude

The early days of the UK response to the Covid crisis were characterised by simple clear messages and this apparent clarity was reflected in the referencing of the messages in the art. K-Guy found the graphic design and linguistic shorthand of those official three stanza instructions we saw on the podiums at the daily Coronavirus press conference in England lent itself to highlighting political neglect as an amplifier of the spread and impact of the disease through hospitals and care homes.

It’s A Testing Time, K-Guy

“Infected frontline policies”, K-Guy

“Intensive Don’t Care”, K-Guy

The surprising move to abandon testing and tracing and the awful situation regarding inadequate PPE provision featured in several pieces. Frankie Riot references the famous press conference where World Health Organisation head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus offered the simple “Test, test, test” which many developed countries decided to ignore with pretty devastating consequences.

Protect NHS Workers – Frank Riot

China again:

Covid Eau de Virus – ‘Orrible

Stay Safe, Remain Free – Artist Not Known

As Shoreditch Street Art Tours has emerged from lockdown doing very small private street art tours for the same price as the public tours, just so you know, the single piece of pandemic art everyone appears to be aware of is, not surprisingly, Banksy‘s nurse superhero painting on canvas “Game Changer”, donated to Southampton General Hospital.

“Game Changer” – Banksy, Photo: Banksy website

Banksy has done three pandemic related artworks: the aforementioned “Game Changer”; his earlier skit on the idea of the elusive rat stencilist working from home and most recently his brilliant makeover of a London tube with rascal rats parachuting with PPE face masks, rats tagging with sanitiser gel and rats sneezing all over the carriage in a lurid echo of the animation played frequently on the UK TV of the dispersal of vapourised snot from a sneeze in a train carriage.

Snot rat, Banksy

You don’t mask you don’t get – Banksy

You don’t mask you don’t get – Banksy

Among all the inspired pandemic related art and the positivity towards those who placed themselves in way of potential harm for our care, one artist was creating pro NHS art years before it became fashionable. Ben Wakeling recovered from his own mental health issues to channel his efforts into art as a therapy for people with mental health issues and his therapeutic work and his Outsider Gallery have proved so effective that his art therapy can now be prescribed by GPs.

To end this lockdown lookback on a positive note, could any message be more appropriate than Mark Titchner’s “Please believe these days will pass” plea.  Let’s hope the optimism is well founded.

“Please believe these days will pass” – Mark Titchner

Artist Links (additional):

Harry Blackmore

Ernst Obi

Robert Montgomery

Jimmy C

Graffiti Life

Frank Riot

Orrible

All photos: Dave Stuart except courtesy Banksy where noted


Diggin In The Archives 1

Two weeks ago today I received a text message from the NHS telling me I had to isolate, though I had actually gone into a self imposed lockdown a week earlier when I returned from my Father’s funeral in Ireland.  On a daily basis I have been digging through the photo archives and posting some older gems with a few thoughts on why I had picked them.  This is a compendium of the first two weeks worth.

This first photo I captioned “When dumpster diving goes wrong.” but it was about combining street art with found surreal elements, also the strong colours complemented the colour of Gianni Lee’s character outside Cargo.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Gianni Lee, Mar 2019

Sweet Toof, Rowdy and Knapple shenanigans last year, check their instas for a dose of artistic positivity . This photo reveals the scale of this collab which perhaps isn’t so apparent when you view it from street level.  Also, light as candyfloss as Knapple is, impressive piggy back stamina from da Toof geezer.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Knapple, Rowdy, Sweet Toof, January 2019

In 2009 David Choe dropped a heap of awesome stuff in London, I only found out [last week] that the guy spraypainting the underpass from the passenger seat of a moving car in the opening montage of Exit Through The Gift Shop is David Choe.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

David Choe, Nov 2009

Own that intrigue. Street art stimulates passers by in a way that adverts don’t. People notice.  Circles by L’Enfant, figure by David David, tile by Nathan Bowen, calligraphy (aka tag) YAS21.  This is the Old Truman Brewery wall that now is a canvas for Shepard Fairey’s Shadowplay mural.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

L’Enfant, David David, Nathan Bowen, Yas21, 2018

Although captioned “Give Us A bite”, I will confess that in 2011 I captioned this street photography style picture of Stik’s family group  “Who Ate All The Pies”.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

“Give Us A Bite”, Stik, 2009

Of all the weird, wonderful, beautiful, clever and funny stuff that appeared on Cargo’s walls, this by Bortusk Leer has to be the wackiest! Anyone else remember his kid’s tv series?

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Bortusk Leer, 2009

A squadron of Banksy Happy Choppers on Holywell Row, Shoreditch, there is a better photo by Steve Lazarides in his “Banksy Captured” book.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Banksy, 2006

Escif got a lot of coverage in the past week for his spectacular sculpture in Valencia which was torched as part of the Fallas celebrations, though with Spain in lockdown few got to see it actually live. In 2010 Escif had a show at Pictures On Walls in that period when it was welcoming folk in off the street, as opposed to the “by apppointment only” fortress it had been in its Scrutton St and Willow St days. These are POW’s shutters painted by Escif with Petro on window dressing detail.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Escif, also feat Petro, 2010

Elbow Toe had a stunning installation at the urban art epicentre The Leonard St Gallery. He visited London more than once in that era. He commented to me at the time that getting up in London felt so chilled compared to NY. This piece if I recall correct was a representation of his wife. 2007.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Elbow Toe, 2007

This context photo also features then Shoreditch based artist Jawa, and Mudwig is a small puce apparently but the many faults of Mudwig were regularly discussed on walls in those days.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Elbow Toe feat Jawa and Mudwig, 2007

Burning Candy owned the East End. Sweet Toof and Cyclops went large here on the plot opposite where CitizenM stands today, before the North London line curved past that building. Back of Chariots for those familiar with that landmark. Also features SNOE TRP, EINE and REAK.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Burning Candy, Snoe, Eine, Reak et al 2007

If you are going to admire someone else’s genius, nothing says “wow” quite as much as having your art admire theirs.  Pure Evil’s Pearly Kings express what the rest of us thought of Swoon’s 2007 amazing filigree paste up on Coronet St.   Also features Jef Aerosol looking pretty hyper and The Krah. This wall used to host some great street art.  Street art photography companion Howaboutno and I always disagreed on whether you should clear shit and rubbish out of photos.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Swoon, Pure Evil, Jef Aerosol, The Krah, photo 2008

Judith Supine from NY made surreal psychedelic art which really paid attention to its surroundings, location was everything. This one is by the entrance to the long lost iconic Dragon Bar. Such a shame we don’t get visits from Judith Supine any more.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Judith Supine, 2007

Nurses and doctors are the front line, they are performing heroics without thought of their own safety and in the face of apparent shortages of safety equipment that would render their service less fraught with risk. It is saddening to hear just now (when first posted to Instagram) of two nurses in the UK who have passed away after treating patients affected by COVID-19. Both were mothers of 3. My thoughts are with the family. This piece by Stik now seems sadly prophetic.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Stik, 2009

Roa had been dropping an amazing menagerie of dishevelled creatures in Shoreditch since 2009 but this gate in 2012 kicked thing up another level in terms of making visible a degree of gore which characterised man’s relationship with his fellow creatures. If it was shocking then, you hadn’t been paying attention.  Also, this was one of his less long lived London pieces and is correspondingly less well known.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

ROA, 2012

Damn tourists getting in the group portrait, Suriani’s dramatic pasteups made great photos.

Street art, Shoreditch, Shoreditch street art tours, London, Tour Guide, Dave Stuart, street art photography

Suriani, 2009

Standby for more blasts from the past for as long the shutdown prevents my return to work.

Art credits and links are by each photo.  All photos: Dave Stuart