February 28, 2010  |  Uncategorized


By Elanor Mills | SUNDAY TIMES, February 28, 2010
He’s the most successful graffitist ever, the elusive outsider who has become our unlikeliest national treasure. Now we are about to glimpse him in ‘the world’s first street-art disaster movie’

Whether it is snogging policemen, a House of Commons full of chimpanzees, Princess Diana on a £10 note, or I Don’t Believe in Global Warming half-submerged in a canal, a Banksy makes you smile, but it also forces you to take a second look, to think a little deeper.
It’s funny how this anonymous graffiti artist evokes such strong affection in people, particularly those who don’t usually reckon that art has much to say to them.

“Banksy, love ’im,” says a mate who wouldn’t be seen dead at Tate Modern. Another friend, who met him at a crusty travellers’ party in Bristol, says: “He’s very quiet, sweet though, very Bristol, scruffy and funny, but you’d never know if you didn’t know, if you know what I mean.”

So why does everyone have a favourite Banksy? Perhaps because he catches us unawares, shows us a clever take on our culture from a topsy-turvy angle on a scruffy bit of wall, or bridge, or hoarding we’ve looked at a million times but never noticed before.

My commute takes me through Shoreditch and Hoxton in east London, and I’ve learnt where to look for them. Recently he has been painting in Camden Town, north London, where he has had a running spat with a fellow graffiti artist called Robbo. On a freezing day I went down to have a peek. Past the lock, along a grotty towpath in the snow, under a most insalubrious bridge, and there on a bit of concrete on the far side of the muddy canal is a stencil of a workman painting a wall. The workman was added by Banksy to the original Robbo tag. Since then, a vengeful Robbo has revisited the work to daub “King Robbo” in giant silver letters over it.

Back towards Regent’s Park there is a charming stencil of a little boy fishing in the canal, which now bears the aggressive slogan “Did you think it was over? Team Robbo”, and the words “street cred” where the fish should be, implying that Banksy has lost his. Click HERE to continue reading at the SUNDAY TIMES…

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