Banksy has been big news in the UK for some time with him regularly making headlines in the national newspapers, however his exploits are now picking up international attention as one of the world’s most respected titles, The Wall Street Journal, has published an article on his highly publicised spat with grafitti artist Robbo.
As the person who jump started the whole street art thing and spawned a host of lamer than lame imitators Banksy comes in for a lot of criticism (and rightly so on some occasions) but you cant argue against the attention he has brought to the scene, elevating it above pure novelty factor and giving numerous artists the chance to exhibit in galleries they wouldn’t even been allowed to take a look round before. This article is a testament to that.
I still think this whole Banksy vs. Robbo affair is yet another Banksy hoax though….
Check out the full article below.
A GAME OF TAG BREAKS OUT BETWEEN LONDON’S GRAFFITI ELITE
Slight Brings Robbo Out of Retirement; Cobbler Won’t Let Rival Tread on Him
By Gabrielle Steinhauser | Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2010
LONDON—In the predawn hours of Christmas morning, a 40-year-old shoe repairman who goes by the name Robbo squeezed his 6-foot-8-inch frame into a wet suit, tossed some spray cans into a plastic bag, and crossed Regent’s Canal on a red-and-blue air mattress.
Robbo, one of the lost pioneers of London’s 1980s graffiti scene, was emerging from a long retirement. He had a mission: to settle a score with the world-famous street artist Banksy, who, Robbo believes, had attacked his legacy.
The battle centers on a wall under a bridge on the canal in London’s Camden district. In the fall of 1985—just 15 years old but already a major player in London’s graffiti scene—Robbo announced his presence on that wall with eight tall block letters: ROBBO INC.
The work, written in orange, red and black on a yellow background, had been in good shape for nearly 25 years and was considered a local icon, surviving long after Robbo himself vanished from the scene 16 years ago.
But recently, Robbo’s work was dramatically altered by an unlikely rival: Banksy, the stealthy Bristol-born artist who has made a lucrative art of graffiti. The work of Banksy—who, like Robbo, doesn’t disclose his name—sells for big money and is widely merchandised. His first film, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January and is due out in U.K. theaters this month.
In early December, Banksy did a series of four pieces along the Regent’s Canal’s walls. Inexplicably, one of them incorporated Robbo’s piece into Banksy’s own work, painting over half the Robbo original in the process. The resulting work, in Banksy’s typical stencil technique, shows a black-and-white workman applying colorful wallpaper that is, in essence, the remnants of Robbo’s piece.