Banksy Robbo

Banksy vs Robbo WRH, WD – checkmate

Christmas day is traditionally, in London at least, an occasion for graffiti writers to brush the turkey off their chops and head to the tunnels and lay-ups for some seasonal decorative activities. Banksy got his Christmas celebrations in early by hitting Regents Canal in Camden last weekend. In doing so, this spectacular piece caused uproar among London’s old school graffiti writers and if you want to get a sense of the outrage, check the comments on this flickr picture here.

The issue at stake is going over an ancient 1985 piece by Robbo WD, WRH, (World Domination, We Rock Hard etc etc) truly one of the pioneers of graff in London in the mid 80s. I am indebted to Citrus Topnote Jr who put up this historic picture. This piece gone over by Banksy was 25 years old (check the date in Citrus’ picture)!

photo: Citrus Topnote Jr

There is more to the beef than appears at first glance. In the 2009 book “London Handstyles”, there is a story from Robbo: ‘I was out one night with a load of old writers and got introduced to Banksy. He asked what I wrote and I told him, he cockily replied ”never heard of you” so I slapped him and said, ”you may not of heard of me but you will never forget me”. The truth in the story is evident in Banky’s very pointed taking out of Robbo’s piece, there is no mere accident in the placing of Banksy’s decorator.

The riposte from Robbo has been swift and classy, in effect saying you use my piece in your shit, I’ll use your shit in mine.

Banksy’s decorator now pays homage to Robbo. Talk about attention to detail, even Banksy’s roll of wallpaper under the decorator’s arm has been removed. Beef doesn’t get much more heavyweight than this and Robbo has more than matched Banksy’s wit. Robbo’s piece deserves wide recognition and it’s quite unlikely that Banksy’s intended effect was to give Robbo the massive elevation, appreciation and profile that is coming from this spat.

The only way to this ledge is by water, in Robbo’s words on his flickr this morning “down the canal ina wet suit on Christmas morning ho ho ho”, the property over this ledge is occupied by BTP – a delicious irony. The bit that puzzles me is I believe (but risk being corrected quite sharply) that one of Banksy’s key crew also writes WD. Curious.

Update – check Robbo’s flick, in particular go down to Keen-one’s comments, here.

Old news: Banksy hits Camden

The Saga continues:

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

0 replies on “Banksy vs Robbo WRH, WD – checkmate”

Who gives a shit. Immature kiddies fighting over who drew over their pics, boohoo, scream for you mummy. Grow up idiots.

First of all Robbo grafitti had many tags over it and otehr grafittis also over it, if you look at Banksy art you see the parst that still left from the original has lots of tags so fuck Robbo old art… it was alreadyy fucked up… and who gives a shit who did the last etc….

You don't find me writing my name in massive letters on walls to prove I was 'there'. That's ego : the reason more people gravitate to Banksy's work rather than King Robbie is because most people – and art is in the eye of the beholder – relate more to an image that comments on society than someone's name written in several-foot high letters.

Hi, I’m a journalist working for El Mundo, here in Spain. We would like to use your pictures of Banksy and Robbo graffiti in a story for our website about the issue.
Is it possible, please?
Thanks in advance! (My e-mail is isabel.espino at

Doesn't seem very smart by Robbo, now he's completely obliterated his 'precious' original work. Cut off your nose to spite your face there.

I think it's ridiculous for any graffiti to be considered permanent. Might head down to the Canal myself.

Nobody like Banksy. Robbo can be put l' spirit in peace because it will not never have l' authority and the world-wide respect of an absolute genius like Banksy. No style, no respect.

Just to be clear and to avoid causing offence, fair comment includes anything that corrects something we've written, anything which tells Graffoto it is wrong or even tells Graffoto it is stupid. The only stuff that gets deleted is the pure crap like the blizzard of comments in Chinese characters, the bot comments from other blog providers saying our blog would be even more brilliant if they hosted it and spurious and irrelevant links that go to wierd webpages that have nothing to with graff or street art.

I like the piece of Banksy.
I like the old Robbo too.

Sounds like a tribute but an unauthorized one. Robbo had a good reaction : answering by painting is more interesting than by violence.

What a pitty Banksy did'nt asked first. Cause it could have been a old/new piece to remember.

The BANKSY piece was innovative and did a fine job of promoting an ancient piece, that no-one ever saw. Now it is splashed all over the web. This was intentional, I'm sure. If it was meant to me a slap, the man would have been putting wallpaper OVER the piece, not using the piece AS the wallpaper. Plus, the "reply" doesn't look to be done by ROBBO. The style and technique is WEAK, and fonts don't even match. This was most likely done by a BANKSY hater, NOT ROBBO himself.
Props to BANKSY. And to all you haters, keep hatin.

My whole take on the style of the piece was that Robbo showed it as much respect/estimated input as he thought Banksy had given his older piece in the first place?

For a silver dub, which is all it is, it's fairly decent.

I would have liked Banksy's piece more if he'd bothered to pay attention when he'd got the decorators in at his mansion – you hang wallpaper from the TOP of the wall, not the bottom (hence the term "hang")

it's that one little essential detail which ruins this piece for me

and the whole Banksy v Robbo thing. Robbo has just become another pawn in the Banksy pr machine. He doesn't give a shit if he gets painted over, but blogs like this who DO care give him more of the attention he needs to keep him on his throne and keep the prices up. And it's free pr, unlike when he pays to put up scaffolding to paint a wall, then sends a faked photo of him painting to the papers.


Hi Dave

Thats an interesting take on the Banksy PR machine. To paraphrase Warhol, everyone will get their 15 minutes of being mistaken for Banksy, I'm sure you must have been asked if that's your name.

Graffoto got there ahead of you with the awareness that it was willingly being manipulated:
"From Banky it seems almost everything is surrounded by some PR, though with the street stuff he doesn't need to arrange the PR, there are lots of mugs (like us) that do it for him; Robbo – PR? nah, just doing graff the way it always has been meant to be done;"


Peace man, hope you visit London soon and brighten a wall somewhere, though don't bother looking for that Wellington Row spot, it has been demolished.

banksy tries to fight against consumer culture when he sells his shit for loads of money. fucking hypocrite. robbo's a true legend, fighting against pricks.

I can see where you are coming from, but lets face it, not really similar, Cap just got up over everyone! – this is far more personal and gone ove a historic early piece of UK graff history.

Graffiti is not supposed to last. Most graffiti gets removed. Graffiti artists are showing their true colours by calling Banksy a "toy" etc. It's mindless macho "back in the day" bullshit.

It's common practice to go over other's work. Just because Banksy got famous & wealthy, the anonymous "hardcore writers" whinge like rappers. So he was influenced by Blek…what graffiti artist wasn't influenced by another? At least Banksy's work says something ( or at least did until the mainstream media latched onto him ).

It's laughable to read the comments…as if Banksy had desecrated this piece…do these people go on pilgrimages to see it? It's spray paint on a wall in the middle of nowhere. If the person who sprayed it all those years ago is so small minded & bitter to be bothered about this…I suggest he & all the "writers" who are "declaring war" on Banksy look beyond their own miniscule contributions to the world & grow up a little.

Get mad over something that matters…instead of arguing like children because someone tread on your £200 Nike trainers.

As for the "Banksy is a sell out" argument. His stencils were around for years until the mainstream picked up on them. He's refused to work for corporations ( unlike many traditional graffiti artists & other high profile stencil artists…& "faux" stencil artist Shepard Fairey, save your bile for him & his corporate art ) & you have no idea what he does with the money he makes from the sale of his work.

If someone is stupid enough to pay £300,000 for something that took 1 hour & a few quid to make, how is that Banksy's "fault"? The joke's not on him.

No doubt the people who slag banksy off for making money would kiss the arse of any millionaire rapper who trades off demeaning women, demonising homosexuals & promoting greed & materialism as the highest concerns.

The real problem is the inability of many "proper" graffiti artists to recognise stencil work as a separate form distinct from aerosol work. Their idiotic & snobbish attitude ( "stencils are for toys", etc. ) betrays a real lack of intelligence & understanding. There has of course always been a snobbery running right the way through modern graffiti…the snobbery that says "I can spray my paint where I want". It's not rebellion, it's not art…it's the whimper of the person on the street with no voice.

There's only one place left for graffiti to go once it's left the street…that place is "elsewhere", meaning galleries, coffee shops, bars, lounge walls & ebay. If people can make money from selling their art…good luck to them. If you're not interested in making money from it, why should it bother you if others are?

It would have been a stronger response to repaint the original style in shape and colour than any "re-arrangement". It stays for 25 years, it will last for ever.

I can only tell you about the graff scene in New york back in the day. We revered older writers and the idea of going over a piece five years old ( let alone 25 years )
done by a respected writer would be viewed as the ultimate toy move. The rest of the argument is moot.

Chris Pape / FREEDOM

Banksy has before and after photo's of the piece in question on his site that clearly shows it was a conservation effort… using his extablished fame to draw attention to, and hence preserve, graffiti history.

…or what would have been preserved… but I can't think of a more fitting way for it all to have gone down. It is merely paint on a public wall, it's all fair game if you ask me (so don't)

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