In October 2013, Banksy performed a month-long outdoor extravaganza in New York City. He called it “Better Out Than In.” (Har har har). Each day of the month, he erected a new piece somewhere in Gotham. That’s a lot of pieces and a lot of work. I figured I’d see what remained a year and a half later. To my surprise, I actually found three pieces that remained. In street art circles, lotsa people really hate Banksy. With a passion. He’s reviled by most. I thought his work woulda been paint bombed or destroyed by now. I found three! I was delighted.
The first was this piece at 79th and Broadway on the Upper West Side. The owners of the wall put the piece behind plexiglass to stop people from destroying it, but that hasn’t stopped people from dropping their business cards down there. If you look closely, someone’s house key is stuck in there too.
Now I walked by this wall on Delancey near Bowery many many times as I was hunting street art and didn’t think much of it, until I gave it a good look. What struck me as odd about it was that the rest of the wall had been painted except for this perfect little square of what looked like random tags.
Ahhh, but look closer. Do you see the words “The Musical” embedded in there? Banksy did this thing where he added the tag “The Musical!” to random tags. For example, one tag had said “Dirty Underwear” and he added “The Musical!” This is New York after all.
For reference, this is what the wall looked like before it was heavily tagged:
Playground Mob, The Musical!
And I found this piece by accident 🙂
Finding this piece was a rare treat! It’s Banksy’s Geisha Girls and tree. I was searching for it in Bed-Stuy and couldn’t find it, until I came across one of those rolldown grate thingies on this wall. I figured the piece had to be behind it, so I went inside the business that owns the wall, an optometrist, and asked them politely if I could see the Banksy behind the rolldown grate.
They said sure, came out with the keys, rolled it up, let me take my photographs, and chatted pleasantly with me. And that was it!
Ask and you shall receive, people.
Check out my Banksy category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around the world!
Kunsthaus Tacheles was a centre for artists, vandals, graffitists and other culture-jammers to gather in an old 1907 arcade that was partially demolished by the DDR, located near Oranienburger Strasse. It was officially closed down a couple years ago, and now it is completely blocked off and surrounded by fences, walls, hedges, and wire. There’s no way in. But on some of the walls that are still exposed, artists continue to tag.
Anyway, the other night I’m watching the object of my affection Benedict Cumberbitch … er.. batch.. Cumberbatch in the film The Fifth Estate, and I notice they filmed an entire section at Kunsthaus Tacheles before it closed down. They filmed inside and out. During the scene where they’re leaving, I noticed something that nearly made me spit out my tea.
And here’s the scene here:
HOW DID I MISS THIS WHEN I WAS WALKING BY?!
So I went back to try and find a way in, or maybe a ledge to perch from, or maybe just a gap in the wall so I could photograph it.
I went to every business surrounding the Kunsthaus and asked everyone if they had access to the fenced-off area, just so I could take a photo. No one could help.
Finally, I found a crack in the tarped-over fence big enough to shove my hand through. Camera firmly gripped in hand, I tried to snap as many pics as I could at such an awkward angle.
BUT I STILL NOW I HAVE SEEN WITH MY OWN EYES THE FLOWER CHUCKER!
Check out my Banksy category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around the world!
I didn’t include this photo in my Berlin Wall post because it deserves its own dedicated post. I found this Banksy on the East Side Gallery, and it’s an old piece of his: a monkey wearing a sandwich board that reads, “Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge.”
Someone has added a stencil mocking him that says “Shut the fuck up.”
I didn’t have the time to post this when I was still in Copenhagen. I was walking along and I came across this Banksy piece from his parachuting-rat series. If you know Banksy like I do, you know that he hasn’t done one of these for YEARS, so this piece is extremely old and a rare find.
But how did I know it was a real Banksy and not some imitation?
Because it’s behind plexiglass.
If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t posted many street art photos lately (which usually is what this blog is all about), it’s because I’ve been fiendishly working on this street art short film! I started filming this way back in September and actually had more footage than I could use, so editing this has taken some time! In addition to having a lot of technical problems trying to edit this thinger, I’ve also been busy living! So many projects on the go, it’s hard to sit still!
Anyway, this short film features the works of Banksy, Roa, Invader, Phlegm, Stik, Mobstr, C215, Paul Don Smith, Curtis Kulig, JR and the Inside Out Project, James Cochrane (Jimmy C), Alo, Fred Le Chevalier, Shok 1, and many more! Enjoy!
Speaking of things I’ve been busy with, I was invited to climb atop the huge O2 arena with the Up at the O2 experience. Basically, they harness you up, and you spend about an hour climbing atop this huge concert and sporting venue which overlooks all of central London! But this was special, they invited me to a particular Christmas-y climb where there were ukulele carol-singers atop the O2, singing Christmas standards and serving mulled wine, mince pies, Christmas crackers, and fake snow!
Here’s me in my gear, looking fucking endearing.
They wouldn’t let us take photos as we were climbing for safety reasons. But once at the top, I got snap-happy. Check out the Uke-carol-ers!
We were pretty high up.
La ville des lumieres anglais.
There were many reporters there because what we were doing was pretty newsworthy.
And this was the climb back down. AHHHH. Heights.
It was on this day, the day of the climb, that my short story was published AND I received some wonderful news that I’m not at liberty to speak about now, but perhaps in the New Year I will. I’ve gone into a few meetings for this project, and I hope good things will come to fruition. When I know more, so will you!
In the meantime, enjoy this gorgeous Harvey Milk quote I typed up on my gorgeous typewriter.
“Go after her. Fuck, don’t sit there and wait for her to call, go after her because that’s what you should do if you love someone, don’t wait for them to give you a sign cause it might never come, don’t let people happen to you, don’t let me happen to you, or her, she’s not a fucking television show or tornado.
“There are people I might have loved had they gotten on the airplane or run down the street after me or called me up drunk at four in the morning because they need to tell me right now and because they cannot regret this and I always thought I’d be the only one doing crazy things for people who would never give enough of a fuck to do it back or to act like idiots or be entirely vulnerable and honest and making someone fall in love with you is easy and flying 3000 miles on four days notice because you can’t just sit there and do nothing and breathe into telephones is not everyone’s idea of love but it is the way I can recognize it because that is what I do.
“Go scream it and be with her in meaningful ways because that is beautiful and that is generous and that is what loving someone is, that is raw and that is unguarded, and that is all that is worth anything, really.”
I’m not a real Banksy but I play one on TV.
A dog with a rocket launcher aimed at a Victrola player …. not sure I get it Banksy, but it’s provocative!
Found this in Shoreditch behind Plexiglass, of course.
Check out my Banksy category.
This was off of Rivington Street in Shoreditch. Okay, I understand the need to put Banksy’s behind plexiglass, because they’re worth a lot of money and people hate Banksy so they try to destroy his stuff …. but I fucking hate this.
People like street art because it’s raw, savage, wild, and ephemeral. Putting it behind some authoritarian glass just canonizes it, and removes all the joy.
I mean, if street art was meant to last forever, Banksy wouldn’t have put this up in a fricken alley. Expiry dates are what make urban art special.
Just a side thought – Rivington Street in London is fulla street art …. and so is Rivington Street in New York city. COINKYDINK?
It’s actually rather uncanny.
Check out my Banksy category for more of his work that I’ve photographed 🙂
Found this old Banksy piece behind plexiglass in Portobello Market, Notting Hill.
I heard they sold this wall for like £250,000 or something.
Banksy’s name is the red calligraphy in the background.
Check out my Banksy category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around the world 🙂
Someone in Innsbruck thinks they are Banksy. This is one of Banksy’s old stencils, but I highly doubt this is a Banksy original. I am pretty sure this is a forgery, but whatever, we love Banksy round hurrr.
Ghetto rat with MAH-JAH bling.
Austrians love to love. ICH LIEBE DICH! (that’s what she said)
Another Bansky rat. This is why I question the authenticity of this stencil. Banksy would never put two of the same stencil in the same place.
Fight Nazis Rats. I guess Nazism is still a problem in Austria? Hitler WAS an Austrian after all … I dunno. But I found this stencil several times.
Another bridge with the lovers locks on it. Found these in Ljubljana, in Paris, in New York, in Toronto, in London …. every city does it!
This is a lovely wheatpaste, it is a shame so many people were walking by without noticing the CHEEZBURGER.
This was a tile! I love this kind of ceramic art.
Perhaps Antifa is a taggers name, I dunno.
Me too! Let us throw things and then dance like children of the night.
Jokes aside, well done. Very thought-provoking.
It’s LE PETIT PRINCE! Someone made a stencil of Le Petit Prince! ZOMG you hafta message me because I wanna be your friend.
We get it already!
Superman logo backwards, with the caption Mindfuck.
Ok, I dig it.
I like stencils of CCTV cameras. Dunno why, it makes me feel like an anarchist making fun of authority or something.
COOL! Someone put up a stencil of Barack Hussein Obama. I don’t know how old this stencil is, but I was in Cambodia when he was reelected as the POTUS. So I feel a bit out of the loop on things. But speaking of politics, I just found out that Toronto’s stupid monkey Mayor Rob Ford has been removed from office by the courts for conflict of interest. I CAN JUST IMAGINE ALL THE WONDERFUL GRAFFITI BIDDING HIM ADIEU GOING UP IN PARKDALE RIGHT NOW! If you check out my Fordzilla category, you will find a whole bunch of graffiti and street art from around Toronto poking fun at his shitstormanity. I just made up a word. Go me.
Oh-Bama, you are Ba-racking my world.
Yesterday I gave you part 1 of my Banksy hunting through London, now I give you part deux.
This is his Falling Shopper piece in Mayfair. BUY MORE STUFF. HURRY! EVERYTHING IS ALL RIGHT. PLEASE CONTINUE SHOPPING.
A dude saw me staring upwards, looked up and saw the Banksy, then proceeded to tell me how he works on that street, walks by everyday, and never noticed it. I hear that same line a lot. People, when walking down the street, are so zoned, in their own world, they never notice their own surroundings! People are always amazed how much street art I find, and that’s because I’m keeping my eyes open. Pay attention to your cities, people, there is so much on offer!
Since he was yapping with me, I made him take my photo.
This is a play on the famous graffiti originally found in New York shitty that read, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”
Seeing as how graffiti is illegal, you know the kind of change it can precipitate.
Banksy Le Rat
Whatever, taking photos of yourself is stupid anyway.
This is an old Banksy on the Essex road. Even though its behind plexiglass, it has still been vandalized.
it depicts school children, hands on hearts, raising a tesco bag up a flagpole. In Tesco we trust. For those of you outside the UK, Tesco is a huge grocery store chain here that has been criticized for monitoring the shopping habits of its customers, selling that information without your consent, etc. When I lived in London last time, I bought a freeview cable box at Tesco to get extra tv channels, and used my Tesco club points card. A few weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from the tv licence office (you’re not allowed to watch tv without paying for a licence here) saying that there was no licence in my name so what was I doing with a freeview box. SNEAKY FUCKERS.
As you can see, the original Tesco bag has been painted over with a team Robbo tag. Robbo and Banksy have been having turf wars for years now, which was documented in this documentary which you can watch here. I will go into more about Robbo in a bit.
This is another old Banksy I found in Bermondsey which has been left untagged behind the plexiglass.
When I was photographing this though, I was in a particularly bad mood because I had just come from Turnpike Lane where a Banksy was located on the side of a Poundland. I arrived perhaps only ONE HOUR after it had been painted over! The paint was still fucking wet! I tried wiping it off with my hands, then with some scrap paper and plastic bags, but then gave up. So I stormed into the Poundland and demanded to know why they painted over the Banksy. I was in a huge huff. “You know it’s worth millions of pounds, right!?” I barked at them. They insisted they hadn’t painted over it, that it must have been someone else. But the paint was the EXACT SAME COLOUR as their wall! What a manufactured lie. I stormed out of there in a massive huff like a moody cow. But other people in the community, who saw me trying to wipe off the paint, said they thought it was a shame it was painted over. Think of the community Poundland! I literally had half a mind to buy paint remover and a brush from Poundland and go do the community’s bidding…. But really I only thought of that when I was already back on the tube speeding back into central London to get to this next piece….so there you go.
I like to think this is a self portrait of Banksy, and he’s walking his dog fashioned as a tribute to Keith Harring (the style employed to create that dog is awfully reminiscent of the late great Keith Harring).
Then, I was inside the Groucho club in Soho having lunch with my British husband Pete (back off bitches, he’s mine. MINE!), when he pointed out in the frame one of Banksy’s counterfeit £10 notes featuring a bored Princess Diana instead of the Queen!
If you saw Exit Through The Gift Shop, you’ll remember that scene where Banksy retells the story of printing and using these notes. Scandalous!
And now, back to Robbo. So this mural underneath Camden Lock has a lot of significance, because originally Robbo’s tag sat here unblemished for 25 years…. Until Banksy went over it. A turf war erupted back and forth. Then sadly last year Robbo suffered a massive brain injury after a all, and has been in an induced coma ever since. So this spot has been fashioned into a “memorial” of sorts to Robbo…which was instigated by Banksy after he heard the news, trying to make peace.
Note the spraycan with an eternal flame, the crown to signify King Robbo, and the number 25.
I decided that since London is the land of plenty when it comes to street art, I might as well use my time here wisely and find as many Banksy’s as I could. When I lived here before, I did photograph quite a few Banksy’s which now have been painted over, and I didn’t want to leave here without documenting what I could before the awful paintbrush of doom destroyed his works again. Here is part 1 of my Banksy expedition, part 2 to follow!
Recently, I had a very fun photoshoot and interview in Toronto’s infamous Graffiti Alley with TorontoVerve. If you don’t know, TorontoVerve is one of the more popular street style photoblogs in Toronto, and presents a really great cross-section of the personalities and characters to be found whilst traversing our awesome little city. Also, the photos are absolutely stunning! Anyway, they asked me if I would like to be one of their subjects, and I was humbled and flattered by the invitation.
It turned into a really fun 101 lecture on Graffiti and Street Art from Toronto, which as you all know, I can yap my freakin’ head off about! We wandered together through the alley for a few hours, and I even made him hike up Spadina to show him the last Banksy left in Toronto!
Here are some of the photos of me in the alley, but for the full interview (We talk about Banksy, Spud, Poser, graffiti turf wars, and of course, Mayor Rob ford), click over to TorontoVerve now!
Fanks for Nigel for the invite and for being made of awesomesauce.
(All photographs copyright Nigel Hamid/TorontoVerve)
That sign outside Polka Dot Kids on queen street west keeps coming up with some funny slogans ….. last time it said, “be the sign you wish to see.”
now, again in gandhi fashion, it says, “namaste! the kale in me honours le croissant in you.”
thank you, obi wan.
wait, wuzzat say? stupid reflection!
What Would Godot Do?
FUCK YES, I DO.
says you, random sign…. i beg to differ.
oh gregory, you dirty ol’ man…. i have a soft spot for you, but i can’t shake a spray can without dribbling on 20 of your stencils.
i photographed this before in liberty village, and here it is across the street from the ROM.
…..does what? finish your sentence!
you only love me for my money.
i sure as shit don’t!
my love isn’t free! i require a love-deposit in return!
the inside cover of Banksy‘s book Wall & Piece.
when it comes to graffiti and street art, the very fact that it’s FREE, democratic art, available for everyone, means that it would be rather hard to assert a copyright for it. In fact, most art that i photograph doesn’t even have a tagger or artist name attached to it.
so yeah, if you’re gonna do graff, trust da man. copyright is for losers.
Check out my Banksy category to see more of his work that i’ve photographed. (Yes, I HAVE photographed Banksy’s original street art many many times before. I LIVED IN ENGLAND FOR FUCKS SAKE).
Banksy on Advertising
“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are “The Advertisers” and they are laughing at you.
You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”
i first found out about Hanksy back in the spring when i visited NYC and found this small sticker amongst many on wall. right after i found that, he blew up in popularity. his theme is pretty simple: he spoofs and satirizes major works by Banksy by refashioning them with Tom Hanks’ face. so when i found that out Hanksy had just recently put up a new piece in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, i ran out in the morning to find it!
this piece is a lampoon of this recent Banksy piece from Liverpool. instead of airplane exhaust, the spray is doggie wee, and the dog has Tom Hanks’ head.
but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that Tom Hanks is wearing the Rockford Peaches baseball cap that he wore for his role in A League Of Their Own.
and Tom Hanks’ most memorable scene in that movie was where he drunkenly goes for a wee in front of the ladies, and they time him.
HANKSY IS LOADED WITH DOUBLE ENTENDRE HERE!
so many new york bozos don’t even notice genius when it’s right next to them.
i wandered to several locations in the LES where Hanksy had previously put up work, but as is the way with street art, almost all of it had already been removed or painted over. that is, until at my very last hunch, i found this Hanksy!
so naturally, it lampoons this previous piece by Banksy but it removes the monkey head and places mr Hanks’ head there instead.
some tagger sprayed a heart on Tom Hanks’ head, but whatever, such is the world of graff. seeing as how it’s a heart and not something derogatory, Hanksy should take that as a compliment:)
You shoulda seen me when i found these pieces! I was jumping up and down on the sidewalk, and snapped maybe a bajillion photos from the same angles (obsessive compulsive much?). I get so excited when I find exciting work. Lots of people came up to me as I was snapping photos and asking me about the work. They mostly wanted to know if the artists were famous. I said, not really, but the work is thrilling to me.
That didn’t seem to satisfy most people.
anyway, only my second day in NYC and I’ve already taken 244 photos! I must blog more of this! Keep checking back often, will try to update as much as possible!
DEADBoY messaged me yesterday the locations of some of his new stencils in and around the Ossington strip, and the first one I found was a return to his raccoon series and a nod to one of his graff idols, Banksy
it’s Banksy’s rat next to DEADBoY’s ghetto ‘coon! as you probably already know, Banksy has had a long history of stencilling his rat series around London, which he admittedly ripped off of Blek Le Rat. The original ghetto Banksy rat that DB is referencing in this stencil looks like this below:
so DB returned to his raccoon series, and took the bling offa Banksy’s rat and gave it to Ghetto Coon!
hahahha, he looks gutted.
this is the second DB piece that I found yesterday. it’s a lampoon of the NIKE adverts. it now says LIKE, and instead of the slogan “just do it,” it says “just forget it.” there’s a picture of a young child holding a gun.
DB has previously created pieces of children with fire arms before, but i feel this takes on a greater significance because NIKE is well known for using sweatshops in south east asia, employing child labourers, paying them pennies a day, mistreating them, forbiding unions/job security/benefits/proper rest facilities or safety conditions …. so when you buy a NIKE product, you are basically telling the children NIKE exploits that you “like, just forget it” ever happens.
it’s kind of scary, especially since it looks like it’s dripping blood or saliva or something. which is ironic, ’cause the whole time i’ve known DB, he’s been such a lamb.
check out my DEADBoY category for more of his work that i’ve photographed.
Banksy has been hitting up various UK spots lately, and now he’s officially back with this hit on poplar, london and with a new website as well.
“sorry! the lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock.“
if you take a peek at the “questions” section of Banksy’s new website, you’ll see that he tips his hat to the great London graffiti artist Robbo, who recently suffered a fall and has been in an induced coma since April. if you don’t know who Robbo is, you can watch below, in its entirety, this Channel 4 documentary on Robbo and his long-standing feud with Banksy. it really is a fascinating documentary, and the art depicted is breathtaking.
i took this photograph in early 2007 just outside of Camden Town market in London. it is a Banksy original. I took the photo with my crappy Motorola krazr phone (which at the time, was pretty high tech). this piece is rather popular because it shows the maid sweeping the yellow lane divided under the rug. at the time, the piece was so weathered and crumbling, that the yellow lane divider (which banksy had painted from the road, over the sidewalk, to the wall) had chipped off and was fading. and because i was so dumb, i didn’t bother to get more than shots from different angles.
i don’t know if it’s still there or if it’s being restored. it was a great time to be living in the big smoke.