photos: NoLionsInEngland except where noted
It has been a while since Graffoto’s last penetrating insight into walls damaged by Banksy. Those Banksy posts were easily mistaken as springing from passion for street art when in fact the intention was to publicize Shellshock’s brilliant gift sized tome “Banksy Locations and A Tour” which is currently available at the crazy smackdown price of £7.50 inc P&P (UK only) if you go to Shellshock’s online shop here and type in the sneaky hidden code “shoptilyoudrop”. The main reason we haven’t written much about Banksy is there is generally little to say that isn’t bleedin’ obvious from the image but his recent stuff raises a few thoughts.
Close by Bond Street in the heart of the UK’s most extravagant perpetual consumer fest, Banksy took advantage of a very tall wall on an empty building to create this beautifully executed falling women and shopping trolley. Its height and scale give a real sense of peril and plunge to the piece.
The drop shadow Banksy has painted on the wall give the piece an attachment to the wall, shadow is a clue telling us she is meant to be falling down the wall rather than it being a picture of her falling through mid space.
Up in Liverpool we came across this vapour trail love heart. Using stencils, spray can and fire extinguisher as the medium, this wasn’t a quick stencil reach.
The plane is beautifully stencilled, the black layer over the white layer has the feel of a Banksy and to clinch it*, the identical composition has been found this week in East London. Only Banksy has operations with the scale to pull off such stunts.
We tend to think of Banksy as a flat stencilist, painting the stencilled areas with solid fill but Looking closely at the plane Banksy has applied a fade along the fuselage nicely blending where light falls on the upper surface and gradually turns to darker shadow underneath. A similar fade and graduation was evident in Tesco sand castles in St Leonards.
The curious thing about the love plane image is the application of a drop shadow on the wall, it has a radical impact on the picture. Without a shadow, this would be an image of a plane in the sky creating a love heart. However, with the drop shadow added the plane is now pulling off some kind of acrobatic stunt along the wall, it becomes a picture of a plane flying down the side of the wall painting it as it goes. With Banksy, nothing is accidental so what did he intend by flying his bi-plane down the side of the wall?
Another curious feature is a stunning similarity between the heart in the Banksy piece and the logo of a sinister Liverpudlian mind manipulation cult called City Centre, a sort of tourist board for shops and “attractions” in the centre of Liverpool.
The similarity seems too striking to be coincidental and the image is located in the heart of the zone promoted by “City Centre”. If Banksy meant the heart to allude to something specifically Liverpudlian, then what? It may be that it is actually pure chance, I mean why would he put up the identical image in East London if it was intended to have a specific Liverpool resonance? Scousers – calm down and explain here.
I like the way the plane is beginning its climb to the heavens just yards from a street sign obligingly directing the plane upwards. This interaction with its environment is a far better take away than the idea of its location in an area hyped by an organisation using the same heart motif.
One for obsessives to anorak over is the rare use of a device such as an extinguisher or bicycle pump or something for the heart in this Banksy piece. A fire extinguisher can be opened, filled with paint, re-pressurised and then used for artistic purposes as demonstrated here by Banksy. Filling a fire extinguisher with paint isn’t for the faint-hearted but haven’t we all at some time or another filled a bicycle pump with paint? Graffoto put its collective brain cells together and finks the last time Banksy used a fire extinguisher was probably when he painted BORING on the side of the National Theatre in London.
Personally, I think this has been a strong year for Banksy during which he has created many new pieces in the UK and they haven’t been so blatantly related to product promotion like the Exit The Gift Shop stunts last year. Many of the pieces have been “annointed” as genuine Banksy’s by their recent addition to the photo section of his website.
There never was much doubt that the Love Plane and “shop Til You Drop” were by Banksy. One around which there was much debate was the latest instalment of the Banksy v. Robbo Camden Canal saga which is now part of a photo story segment on his website.
Another supposed possible Banksy which did very little for so many hasn’t been blessed by an appearance on the Banksy website, though thats probably not enough to have its attribution updated to “unknown” which goes to show how little he needs to do to be perceived as having running street pieces.
I have to acknowledge the help of Banksy experts Shellshock (have you noticed how cheap his book is at the moment?) and Art Of The State for help in aspects of this post and I apologise if they had preferred that had remained a secret.