Monday, 25 January 2010

And The Beef Goes On....

all photos: NoLionsInEngland

In the beginning there were four targets. Following a Christmas Day Robbo-mission and a little memo-to-Banksy early in the New Year, there were only two left. Now in the gap between yesterday afternoon (Sunday) and this afternoon, Team Robbo has collected the set.

Slicing the knife into another chink in the armour, Banksy gets mauled for churning out stencil artwork derived from the rat theme pioneered by Blek Le Rat 30 odd years ago.

Banksy La Rat

You eagle-eyed linguists won't miss the feminised definite article there.

Now can you guess who said "Some people want to make the world a better place. I just wanna make the world a better-looking place. If you don't like it, you can paint over it!" ?

Team Robbo accept Banksy's invitation, changing probably the most original and perceptive of Banksy's Regents Canal quartet from this

Don't believe...Global Warming, Banksy

to this

Don't War, Robbo.

Every graff writer and indeed street artist has those moments of frustration when their execution flops and they pray for the buff to take the piece out as soon as possible (or, more commonly, just paint it out temselves). It's worth a chuckle at Robbo having re-worked and painted over three of the canal bank Banksys chose to merely add a slogan to the toff rat, so preserving to Banksy's enduring embarrassment one of the worst public pieces by Banksy standards seen for a long time (until that dire utilitybox monkey turned up in Utah last week).

Props to both teams for dedication in reaching those spots. Robbo's witty manipulations land a solid one-two. Banksy, scourge of big institutions has had the tables turned on him but with a film premiering in Utah and an international glamour streetart anti-profile to be assidiously maintained, Banksy probably has bigger fish to fry than those landed from the banks of the canal at Camden. It's quality beef but it gets a bit dull when one side pretends not to notice.

Historical note - The full Banksy vs Robbo timeline:

Banksy hits Camden

Banksy vs Robbo...Did You Think It Was Over?

And The Beef Goes On

Banksy v Robbo: War Continues

Banksy Reparations

2014, sadly..  Robbo RIP

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Burning Candy - Getting High, Battering Clouds in 2010

all photos: NoLionsInEngland except Romanywg where stated

One of the joys of cycling to work is chancing across fresh graff and street art. This morning, even with only half an eye for walls, rooftops and side alleyways I found two unexpected specimens of Burning Candy rooftop freshness.

Firstly, thanks to a minor deviation down a route I don't take often, there was this pair of freezing monkeys.

Mighty Mo

Then in the 3 lane mayhem at Kings Cross, a glance skywards revealed this beautiful collection.

Mighty Mo, Gold Peg, Tek33

These high spots Burning Candy are hitting aren't your so-remote-its-as-safe-as-legal zones, we are talking high in the clouds and high eyeball count, that’s Kings Cross above and the one below is London's Oxford Street.

Mighty Mo, Gold Peg

Prominent in all this rooftop activity have been Gold Peg and Mighty Mo. Gold Peg is setting new standards for girls on rooftop illegals, matching the boys cojones for cojones.

Burning Candy in force

Graffoto believes most of the rooftop jobs featured in this post have been done in the past couple of months, Kings Cross is part of my daily bicycle rat run and I didn’t spot that Kings Cross nest-feathering yesterday. [edit: found someone's flick dated yesterday]

Mighty Mo, Gold Peg

To us who gawp in admiration from ground level, it is fascinating to ponder the logistics of access and the elevating (literally) joy of painting with panoramic views of the surrounding rooftops and the streets below. That thought brings Will Robson-Scott’s rooftop photography to mind for capturing some of that buzz but we’ll leave that until we finish the Graffoto Crack and Shine review, if and when we can be arsed (if you can’t wait, check out Art Of The State’s review, we are coming from exactly the same angle and wild appreciation) [update: Crack and Shine Review].

Gold Peg, Sweet Toof

Its getting hard to recall a time when various members of the crew weren’t getting up on walls around London but this current burst of graff creativity seems to go back to this epic legal wall painted by all BC bar Cept who was flat out on his solo show (LLB’s contribution was un-finished due to man-flu and painted over). Photo by epic art and urbex photography legend Romanywg.

Burning Candy - photo Romanywg

Big up Burning Candy, keeping it real and getting high in 2010.

click here for other flicks of Burning Candy on manouevres high off ground

Update Wednesday 20th: Looked over my shoulder as I cycled through Kings X this morning to see if there was a fixed ladder for Peg to get up to that balcony on the spire (there wasn't one). I then remembered the golden rule of graff spotting, bit like life: wherever you are going, always look over your shoulder!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Robbo vs Banksy - Did You Think It Was Over?

This post is written by nolionsinengland and is not necessarily reflective of the thoughts of co-bloggers Howaboutno and Shellshock, in fact they may not even be my friends any more!

About 4 days after you read it here on Graffoto, The Times proclaimed ”Not since the rivalry of Picasso and Matisse.... has there been such a clash between artistic camps". But this isn’t about The Times dissing us when it backed the only facts in its belated article as “The Graffoto website claimed that..”, this is about the ineptness of their headline “Banksy rival King Robbo has the final word in street art feud”.

The backstory in brief is, Banksy had a confrontation with London graff pioneer and legend Robbo resulting in a slap to the face for Banksy. Banksy painted over an ancient 25 year old Robbo throwie, days later Robbo struck back with a reworking of Banksy’s effort.

Full back story here.

Graffoto had a tip that there was more to come and so it proved, Team Robbo returned to Camden canal and modified another of Banksy’s masterpieces.



This latest Robbo intervention lacks the killing finesse of “KING ROBBO” but carries the fight back to Banksy, who without doing anything is looking like a wounded animal.

The personal aspect of the Robbo/Banksy handbagging and the merits of the work produced in the feud have really become a sub-plot to the Grafitti vs the whole of creation posture-fest, so lets concentrate just on this second phase of Robbo’s riposte to Banksy. The original Banksy artwork employed street art stylisms to proclaim a message in general about the ubiquity of graffiti tagging and specifically about a society that equates the tag to rubbish fouling the canal. Banksy stencilled a boy fishing a Banksy tag out of the canal. Robbo has turned it around completely and now the fisherman is Banksy, neatly labelled in case there was any doubt and nattily attired in country garms befitting the “bumpkin” slur flung by the capital’s graffiti community (Bumpkin is a term of endearment used by London writers for any writer from the provinces).

Banksy’s catch represents the charge made by the graffiti community that Banksy is exploiting the culture of graffiti to boost his personal profile, by linking himself to the world of graffiti he is latching onto the maverick outlaw kudos, the artworld bonnie and clyde. Although Banksy’s haul is drenched in blue water, Robbo shows a clump of canal slime dredged up with the placard so neatly incorporating Banksy’s green drips as a consistent part of his composition, avoiding the need to go over Banksy’s green drips with blue.

Robbo is fully aware that his 25 year old piece and this episode with Banksy has become a major cause célèbre, press coverage and (at time of writing) over 300 comments on his flickr pic would see to that. He has neatly brought the direct personal nature of his action sharply back into focus by addressing a written message to Banksy alongside the modified artwork.

Memo - from: Team Robbo; To: Banksy

Did Banksy expect to provoke such a vicious reaction? Probably. He is and for years has been a seriously skilful publicity magnet and knew this slur would not go un-noticed. Despite what some say he knows the graff mentality well enough to guess that this would go beyond the single handed scrap to a battle between two related cultures, a battle to which only one side has turned up.

Should he have expected a response from Robbo? You betcha. He knows graff well enough to appreciate how grudges can fester and dissing is rarely allowed to go un-mentioned.
Was a prolonged backlash expected? Perhaps not, although quality beef generally assumes significance way beyond the original slight and graff never forgives and it never forgets (check London’s ATG/GSD rumble).

Is that the end of Robbo’s vendetta? Well apart from the two already taken apart by Robbo, Banksy laid down two other pieces of street art that December night. The stencil rat [ ] is so poor it might best be left as testament to an embarrassing lapse of quality on Banksy’s part but the best piece of the four fresh Camden Banksy’s , the pure letter “Global Warming” slogan looks like its message is begging to be modified

Banksy, Regents Canal, London, Dec 2009

And of course, there is Robbo’s public memo to Banksy to be taken into account.

We also shouldn’t rule out Banksy returning to the fray, he isn’t exactly shy about expressing himself on walls and he has some previous in harbouring grudges. Famously (to a small niche audience) he didn’t invite another Bristol stencil master Nick Walker to his Cans Festival and spitefully painted a flat cap wearing monkey painting flock wallpaper, generally regarded as a pointed slur at Walker and his art.

Banksy, Can Festival, London, May 2008

It seems more than just coincidence that Banksy’s canal-side art was produced within days of his former mentor and PR guru, now Worlds-Leading-High-End-Street-Art-Gallerist-Bar-None Steve Lazarides arranging for some of his stable to paint canal-side pieces just a few miles away near Westbourne Grove.

David Choe, Lucy McLauchlan

As an aside, those canal spots were popular with West London taggers and writers, the world of graff didn’t make a song and dance about street art intruding on its territory, it just set about its business of reclaiming the walls in its own brutal style.

“Health and prosperity to street artists everywhere, lots of love, 10FOOT”

Banksy knows the graff culture well enough not to be surprised that painting over Robbo produced a response. He would have expected it, he may not have expected the nuclear scale of the reaction online and in the press though and as it stands, he is eating Robbo’s dust in everyone’s minds.

Photos of the Banksy original canal pieces and the Robbo riposte here

You might find it interesting to read the Graffoto original coverage of Robbo’s Christmas day riposte.

Historical note - The full Banksy vs Robbo timeline:

Banksy hits Camden

Banksy vs Robbo...Did You Think It Was Over?

And The Beef Goes On

Banksy v Robbo: War Continues

Banksy Reparations

2014, sadly..  Robbo RIP