About ten days ago, there was a buzz within neighbourhood social media as images started popping up on Facebook groups and whispers passed back and forth, suggesting that something of interest had occurred…
The word on the web noted it definitely hadn’t happened on the Tuesday evening but quite possibly wasn’t noticed until later on the Wednesday, giving a fairly small time frame of when an unassuming area of Hull suddenly became THE place to be.
Before we knew it, news outlets, both local and national, were turning their attention to a rundown, industrial area on the banks of the River Hull, that housed a disused bridge stuck in a permanent ‘up’ position.
Hardly the kind of locale that the council was used to showcasing during the City of Culture year. And yet, the crowds began to gather, parking violations were committed without a thought and rife speculation seasoned everything in a thicker coating than our beloved chip spice.
Why? Because someone had scribbled on a wall.
Not just anyone. And not just any scribble. No. This fine piece of wanton vandalism was claimed on Friday, by the man (woman? group?) known as BANKSY.
If you don’t know who Banksy is, ‘he’ is a graffiti artist known for his political satire images that randomly pop up around the world. The pieces sell for crazy amounts of money and much of the desirability comes from nobody knowing Banksy’s identity.
Is he a lone artist? Female? A group of like-minded individuals, scouring the land for appropriate corners of concrete for their canvas? Who knows. But what I do know is…wow, this has really caused some controversy!
Personally, I’m a Banksy fan and have been for a long time – we have some (replica) prints adorning our own walls. However, I don’t rate him (I believe it’s just one bloke) as the best street artist. Although the stencil style is good and the placing and design of the pieces are very clever (our Banksy is thought to be a reference to Hull being one of the largest areas of the UK to vote in favour of Brexit), they don’t compare with those I’ve seen in cities such as Manchester or Reykjavik. Or indeed, some on our own doorstep.
Hype goes a long way to promote fame, I guess!
For the most part, people in Hull have been positive about the installation. Visitors have been flocking from far and wide to see this little piece of art and most are proud that our part of the UK was chosen for his next project.
Unfortunately, others have moaned about;
- It being blatant vandalism (“Graffiti will NEVER be art. Scrub it off!“)
- The council not protecting it (“Erm, it’s the weekend, we’re shut, sorry!“)
- The council protecting it (“What they put a bloody big fence in the way for?“)
- The loss of business for traders as visitors’ cars block the streets.
- The pedantic nature of parking attendants doing their job as cars block streets…
The saga continued as some senseless idiot decided to daub paint all over it and obliterate the design. Then, leaping and washing his way to its rescue was a local window cleaner (lovely chap, used to know him, great photographer and a bit of an urban explorer). He was hailed a hero, got numerous interviews, prompting the council to finally cover the art in a perspex case and is now using his new fame to help charities.
Next, trying to cash in on the fame bandwagon, came the fan who claims he found a piece of the stencil used by Banksy – when he had a sudden urge to rummage around in the bushes near the piece (?!). Now displayed on his wall in a frame of its own.
Whatever floats your boat…
Then the chap who reckons – a week later – that his CCTV caught Banksy sat in his van. Because this elusive character looks sooo much like a man snapped some years earlier, reportedly also the artist, doesn’t he?
Oh, and there are the ‘other’ Banksys that have been discovered in the same area – fans say this is a known thing, “…they’ll start popping up all over now“.
Like on our Guildhall. Then swiftly washed off again. Or maybe it was just a Photoshop jobby anyway. Reckon the sale of Banksy-style stencils has tripled in the area recently…
All-in-all, I think it’s a fantastic addition to the city – but I’m over it now and think we need to find a new talking point.
See, this is what happens after a year of constant, cultural events – we have to milk every last drop out of an interesting occurrence to get our fix.
Be warned Coventry…
Still, na-na na-na na *sticks tongue out petulantly*. We have an original Banksy – do you? 😉
What do you think? Are you a fan of Banksy and street art in general, or should it all be cleanly whitewashed over and accompanied with a custodial sentence? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
IMAGE CREDITS: Hull Daily Mail, Daily Mail, Hull and Hereabouts.