Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bankable Banksy

Either you love graffiti or you hate it. Personally, I'm a big fan of it - not the no-brainer tagging and sweary drivel, but the considered artwork that's taken some thought and effort.

One of my current favourites is Banksy's audacious One Nation Under CCTV on the wall of the Royal Mail Sorting Office in Newman Street (off the North Side of Oxford Street at the Charing Cross Road end). He erected three tiers of scaffolding behind a security fence and, despite scrutiny from CCTV, managed to create this - his largest guerilla artwork to date. I had the chance to look at it a bit more closely today. I knew about the red-coated painter figure but I'd never seen the policeman/security guard with his dog and camera before. Very clever.

It's a poignant and telling piece. As I understand it, it could be under threat of being cleaned off the wall by Camden Council or the Royal Mail. Their quandary is ... it may be criminal damage but it's undoubtedly worth a bloody fortune. I hope it stays as I love it.


Anonymous said...

I love it!
Graffiti as public art is the modern equivalent of cave paintings. Perhaps, but if it's clever, fun and thought provoking then I'm all for it.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Rob - Hell yes. There is a huge difference between public art and simple tagging. But, sadly, because wall scrawling and glass etching are generally so ugly, it polarises public opinion. That's why Banksy is so damned great. It forces the 'Not in my back yard' brigade to re-assess their attitude because it's worth so much money. Fantastic!

Lisa said...

I'm all for Banksy and his kind and I love this piece but I do have to ask the stupid question - doesn't erecting scaffolding and a safety barrier somehow detract from the notion of guerilla art? Did he do it overnight? Did no one ask? lol - I'm confused (let's face it, not hard!)


Stevyn Colgan said...

Lisa - I was told by one of the Royal Mail guys on site that it was all done overnight while no one was looking. They found marks on wall and floor to show that scaffolding had been hastily put up and taken down again. The depot was shut for the night and has steel fences. It really was a guerilla operation and must have involved loads of people. And I've just realised that I should have called this post Laughing all the way to the Banksy!

SweetPeaSurry said...

Hah ... I was just talking to my mother about this very issue. We have a lot of cargo trains that happen to sit in obscure locations for a little while. Needless to say, they cars come out looking more and more colorful. The artwork is really phenomenal!! (sp?)

Anyway ... terrific blog, I hope you don't mind if I follow along with it :)

Bright blessings,


Stevyn Colgan said...

Surry - You're very welcome! You have, unfortunately, joine dthe blog at a very busy period so I'm not posting as often as I'd like. Things will pick up in the new year. And, meanwhile, there's two years' worth of back reading! Happy Holidays however you celebrate it! x