Banksy Vs. King Robbo: Battle In The U.K.

When you hear the name Banksy its hard to pretend you haven't at least heard it mentioned before. And for most, its hard to not know who he is as well..

HINT: He's does stuff with paint, a mask and walls.

Often combining physical elements of the surface he creates on with politically/socially-charged graphics of his own design--Banksy is a universal name these days with his work, and many imitators, Banksy has been garnering the attention of movie-makers, galleries that steal his controversial works, and even the acting community by almost beating out 'Inside Job' for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards.

 Often, utilizing a 'stand-out' color, preferably red--the spray bottle-wielding masked mastermind creates some vivid and thought-provoking wall art.  Here we see the depiction of both the sometimes futile and often frustrating elements of life:
& Hopelessness 

The guerrilla-'gorilla' is among the most controversial street artists not just for his work on walls, but also for the fact that he has remained within the realm of anonymity for as long as his name has been uttered. No one knows what he looks like due to the gorilla mask or silhouette shadows that have taken up permanent residence on his face.

This mural illustrates the innocence and privacy that often is removed by societal forces.
In this case, and as in most cases the military has their hand in removing Dorothy's rights.

Not everyone is such a huge fan, however. One particular graffiti artist, King Robbo has been long feuding with Banksy and it has surfaced not just in their work, but also generated many a question about the foundation of street art, its roots and the true meaning behind it.

 King Robbo [2009]. Sabotage Times.

At the very core of this 'war of walls' is the the disagreement over the meaningfulness of the art. On one side, you have artists like Banksy who utilize similar guerrilla methods of painting, but choose to step outside the medium of pure graffiti in order to create a more accessible form of art--often viewed as less detrimental and more credible. On the other side, you have graffiti artists such as King Robbo who believe that street art should be a form of rebellion and expression that doesn't need to rely on the physical attributes of the environments to be meaningful.

The feud between then re-erupted when Banksy allegedly painted over one of the oldest Robbo works on the Regents stretch of canal in Camden, UK.

Here is the original King Robbo graffiti as it were 25 yrs ago...

..And here is the same mural, painted over by Banksy in 2009.

So was Banksy justified? Who knows. The rules of graffiti and the ethics that surround its creation have long been up for interpretation. But luckily for us, UK Channel 4 is set to air a documentary highlighting this spray-bottle battle. If you live in England chances are you've already seen it [if this your cup of tea]. But for those of us across the pond, you can check out the full documentary below:

The documentary provides an in-depth look at a dichotomy that's frequently oversimplified in order to show how an entire movement has come to mature and reflect on its purpose through a changing visual language. It shows that while the public have come to embrace street art as legitimate movement, there are still issues of politics and tradition that are overlooked in the general discourse.

1 comment:

  1. that sure held up well for 25 years, clearly you are a fucking idiot.