Saturday, November 3, 2007

Yellow Handed

Over drinks tonight, a friend (check out his work here: and here: mentioned that Banksy had been caught. Not caught and cuffed, caught on film/digital in the act of wheatpasting.

According to, “Reader Chloe sends us these images of what is surely a new Banksy piece in Bethnal Green. And she seems to have captured the face of the artist, hitherto unseen. (However, we've seen that flower shape before, around Shoreditch—perhaps Banksy is here teaming up with someone else).
The work seems to be some kind of riposte to Tower Hamlets council, which recently declared it would erase all of Banksy's graffiti in the borough.”

In an interesting sidebar, because this isn’t a city-sanctioned sign: “It is a requirement of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 that yellow lines must be correctly terminated with a T-Bar. If the T-Bar is missing or incorrectly marked then it is not legal. This double yellow in Bethnal Green is not correctly terminated.

So, if you have received a ticket at this location will handle your defence and prepare your case for you free of charge,” reports”

But, back to Banksy caught in the act, after looking at the artist’s set-up-- visible in the images--its entirely possible that this was an event structured by the artist himself. The genius here is that Banksy has established such a mystery around himself and his identity, that it could be a case of “we are Banksy, or I am Banksy.” Either way it’s a moot point. Which further lends itself to the artist’s or artists’ success. And ultimately it doesn’t matter.

Though personally, I prefer my Banksy masked. I really don’t want to find out that he’s just another (hugely talented) sneaker nerd or worse, a prick.

It's also interesting to note that the photographed image is very similar to the wheatpasted one. Coincidence?


In response to Tonya Lee’s comment, I was forced to think about my role as a blogger and therefore disseminator of media. Initially my response was that of a journalist: as a successful artist with a personae that plays with the media, he brought this on himself…its all a part of the game, and it makes for an interesting and timely discussion.

But then, in a later conversation Tonya made the point that she likes what Banksy does and thinks it’s important but, it’s still illegal. I thought about that point and agreed…so in the spirit of not contributing to his possible apprehension by the authorities (and because I am the boss-lady of this tiny sub-corner of the interweb), I’ve fuzzed out his face. The interesting thing for me is not, in fact, unmasking him, it’s in considering that he stage-managed this whole thing.


Tonya said...

A graffiti site posted the following statement about not showing these images. I think it is worth reading.

"We have only one motivation for doing this website. And that's to share with you those things that inspire us.

In the five years of updating this site each day, we have never disclosed the identity of an artist without their permission and understanding.

We know that many of you have sent us emails and links with good intentions, but please know that featuring photos that allegedly show the identity of an artist who wants to be anonymous is just not something that we are interested in doing. We have no idea if any of the numerous photos we receive each week are real, and in truth we couldn't care less one way or the other.

Plain and simple. It's not what we're all about."

Nat said...

Everything that is old is new again. I remember roaming the streets of New York when you could still see Haring and Samo stuff in the 80s. I was always kind of captivated by the guy who did the figures like atomic shadows, but I don't recall ever knowing his name. Banksy certainly has marketed it well.

Anonymous said...

When you saw the Haring, Samo stuff did you ever imagine that people would be ripping it down to sell to galleries?