Banksy hero

banksy_hullA new Banksy artwork appeared recently in Hull – which is appropriate given that it’s currently UK City of Culture. It was stencilled on a bridge in the river which is kept permanently raised, and included a small boy wielding a giant pencil and the message ‘drawing the raised bridge’. Typical Banksy mischief, and a wonderful play on words which really made me smile.

Sadly, not everyone appreciated it. One local councillor demanded that it was ‘destroyed’ (he obviously has no idea how valuable Banksy art can be…), and shortly after that, it was completely painted over with a coat of thick white paint.

Whether those two facts are connected or not I have no idea. But one local chap saw not white but red, and rushed out to help restore the artwork to its former glory. Even better, he’s a window cleaner, so could throw in all the ladders, buckets, cloths and whatever else might be needed to scrub paint off yet more paint. In the end, plain water didn’t work and he had to resort to chemicals, and the underlying mural suffered slightly as a result. Still, as he himself said, better a faded Banksy than no Banksy at all – and now the local council have offered to protect the whole thing with a sheet of Perspex, which is good news all round.

You can read more about the story – and the Banksy hero – in the Guardian’s report here.

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Early Christmas pressie

small14-window-loversWell, that was a nice bit of news right before Christmas.  Brand new crime magazine Crime Syndicate has accepted one of my stories to appear in their very first issue.

‘Tuning the Old Joanna’ is a tongue-in-cheek tale of a man, his piano, his wife and her lover and was inspired by the famous Banksy mural of a naked man hanging out of a window (which has always been one of my favourites).

Further details to come soon so keep watching for news of when the magazine (and the story) will be available.

Arse or elbow?

I hesitate to suggest that the good people of New York don’t know one from t’other, but they do seem to have let an incredible opportunity slip.

The other day, as part of street artist Banksy’s month-long residency in the city, prints of his artwork were being sold from a stall in Central Park – for only $60 each. This is amazing value. Not only are Banksy artworks as rare as hen’s teeth, but when they do appear they’re worth several thousand pounds each, and have been known to sell at auction for up to £20,000. So to own one at all, let alone for such a low price, is… well, unheard of.

And clearly the New Yorkers didn’t hear, because only eight prints sold all day, before the stall-holder shut up shop and went home.

All I can say is, some of the folks who missed out must be kicking themselves long and hard. And please Mr Banksy, sir, can you sell your work for the equivalent of $60 in the far north of England, please? Soon? I bet you sell more than eight. And I’ll be the first in line.

My kind of art

I just love the sheer affrontery and tongue-in-cheek wickedness of this, the latest street art from Banksy, who’s currently completing a short ‘residency’ in New York:

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It’s the sort of thing you either get or you don’t, you either love or hate. Me, I love it. Love the grit, love the feeling of ‘cocking a snook’ at authority, love the simple cleverness of it all.

Apparently the artwork has already been painted over, which is a crime in itself. Perhaps the authorities in New York need a sense-of-humour transplant… Or a short sharp lesson in how valuable Banksy’s work can be.