Saturday, 2 January 2010

Style Wars - Hit or Diss?

Has Banksy gone too far this time? That seems to be the opinion in the world of street art if the UK media are to believed in their reports on one of Banksy's latest japes.

After a relatively quiet spell away from the public eye, following the huge summer success of his suprise Bristol show, which attracted 300,000 visitors from all over the world during its run, Banksy has been out and about with a new bunch of stencils and seems to have caused some upset. But this time it's not just the authorities he's managed to wind up.

Usually Banksy's work mocks or utilises public artefacts or space and tends to make social references or comments that the general public can relate to. One of the four of the latest London street art pieces attributed to Banksy, appears to have disrespected a fellow old school graffiti writer, Robbo and got a few backs up along the way, by painting over a long standing iconic piece of graffiti from the 1985 and incorporating it into a fresh Banksy piece, covering up much of the original in the process. The mural reflects the theme of obliterating graffiti whilst actually doing it. It also reminds us of the transient lifespan of street art, that being something which Banksy has a lot of first hand experience of, having had many of his pieces removed by town councils and a fair few also attacked by other writers, perhaps not too impressed by him becoming the golden boy of the British urban art world.

(Robbo's piece after the Banksy treatment.)

From what I can tell, the generally accepted code of conduct in the graffiti world regarding going over another writers' piece, seems to be that it's acceptable only if it's been ok'd by the writers involved or if the new piece is obviously superior to the piece that it's replacing. Old pieces, especially those that have existed since the 80's tend to be particularly revered. Robbo's work had been blighted by a few tags over the years but apparently remained relatively unscathed.

(Robbo's piece sometime prior to the Banksy makeover.)

Word soon got back to Robbo who came out of writing retirement to strike back and reclaim his piece.

(The end of the story?)

I wish Robbo had maybe taken a few more cans of colour with him and really pepped things up, but I like the way he has reverted the scene back into a kind of homage, that is now being paid by the Banksy character, to himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment