Sunday, 13 July 2008

Banksy Exposed

Excellent news! With the Daily Mail performing some piece of public service we now know the name of this criminal we can finally arrest and charge him, I have no doubt the government has instructed the police to do just this under the “zero tolerance” policing rules.

Or will he manage to escape jail by pleading the old excuse “art”. My main problem with street artists is not their holier than thou attitude (as a blogger I cannot in good faith object to this) or the aura of smug intellectual superiority (again as a blogger I cannot object, but as an engineer I can wonder where they get it from). The sense of achievement from artist is annoying, but as art it must arouse emotions and so artist like Tracey Emin fulfil their role.

The main problem with Banksy and his ilk is their legitimising of real graffiti. This urban blight is sickening and the simple appearance of a tag makes me nervous wherever I go. It adds to a sense of deprivation and lowers civic pride it makes people not care and allows low level crime a foothold which quickly turns decent areas into no-go zones.

When New Yorkers started to turn their city around they started with graffiti and turned one of the most dangerous cities in the USA into one of the safest. We must have the same resolve to tackle crime.

Arrest Banksy!

Banksy’s “Art” – Obtained from his website and Flickr


T said...


You're a small-minded fool. Look at the urban landscape. Look at the pitiful ugliness of the decaying concrete around you... and then try and argue that Banksy makes it worse?

Some graffiti is mindless; artists such as Banksy, however, truly bring something positive to our cities, with thought-provoking, satirical, artistic work.

Chris said...

t - My point is that the "art" grafitti legitimises the "mindless" grafitti. Allowing the two types to exist encourages the "mindless" vandalism. To combat this blight we should not condemn with one group and promote another.

To respond to your point about "decaying concrete" I honestly think any graffiti makes the view worse as the very fact it is present shows to me a lack of effort by the council and the fact an area has been forsaken by the rest of us.

I admit Banksy can be amusing, but the next time I see I feel dispair thet no one cares enough to clean it up.

I hope this better explains my opinions and please feel free to expand upon yours.

T said...


First let me apologise for being offensive in my previous post - and thanks for not replying in kind. I must learn to think first, before ranting.


I see the point you are making, but I'm not sure whether there is a relationship between 'art' graffiti (such as Banksy and many others) and 'bad' graffiti. You say that allowing the one risks legitimising the other... but how, and to whom is it being legitimised?

People who paint artistic graffiti are unlikely to indulge in other less attractive forms, and by their very actions, they clearly feel no need for their activities to be legitimised. So not them.

People, like myself, who draw a distinction between the two forms already feel that one form is legitimate, and the other not - so not me, either.

People like yourself, who may or may not also draw that distinction, but feel that both forms are illegitimate, aren't being influenced, either.

Which leaves us with the people who paint the less attractive forms. Well, perhaps, if 'artistic' graffiti was legal and deemed acceptable, they might feel legitimised, but as they paint their tags despite the illegality, such a move would move no real difference.

My argument for said 'artistic' graffiti is much simpler: I think it's (on the whole) attractive, and brings something positive (both visual, and sometimes intellectual) to the urban squalor in which it's usually found. It's also remarkably democratic, when used as a form of social comment or protest.

Chris said...

t - I have lived in Bristol for 4 years and saw some of Banksy paintings. I also noticed that near them were significant amounts of graffiti. While in similar areas without the Banksy there was no other graffiti. I do not know which came first Banksy or the other daubings, but there always seemed to be a correlation between them.

Some urban art is very interesting, but I have worked with disadvantaged young people and they sometimes complain at what they see as double standards. Admittedly not just in the case with graffiti, but with police treating them differently and the trouble they have with shops and I initially took my lead from a comment one of them made a few months ago that how his “friend” got in trouble with the police for tagging, but Banksy got away with as he is middle class.

My intention was with this post to try to be funny and make a point about some double standards clearly I have failed. I realise I must be more careful now when I make my comments and will try to be less obtuse and more clear in what I say.

I also did not realise anyone actually read the blog, but hope you will continue to. I enjoy venting here, so please try not to take me too seriously.