Banksy Meets The Olympic Games – Our New Mash Up Designs!

You might remember Banksy leaving his mark around London back in 2012, showing some of the reality of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. His works included the ‘Javelin Thrower‘ depicting an athlete throwing a missile; he also left the ‘Pole Vault‘ showing an athlete clearing a barbed-wire fence onto an old discarded mattress.

Javelin Thrower premium hoodiePole Vaulter men's t-shirt

With this year’s Rio 2016 Olympics looming, we’re left wondering if the man himself is going to be leaving any of his satirical, thought-provoking pieces around – maybe even venturing to Brazil for the occasion?

Well, in wait of some possible new art from Banksy, we’ve taken two of our favourite pieces and given them an Olympic twist! First up we have the famous ‘Riot Coppers, which normally has the police skipping through a field and holding hands. Instead, we’ve got them running a race and bursting through a finish line.

Olympic Riot Coppers t-shirtOlympic Riot Coppers kids t-shirt

And our personal favourite, the Olympic Donuts design which uses Banksy’s popular ‘Donut Police Escort‘ artwork but shows five vans, all with different coloured donuts on top, representing the Olympics.

Olympic Donuts womens t-shirtOlympic Donuts sweatshirt

So, you can get your Banksy fill before this year’s Olympics start and we’ll be sure to let you know if we spot any of the real thing this summer!

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Have An Unconventional Valentine’s Day

To us, Banksy is all about telling it like it is; exposing the cracks in modern society, laying bare the harsh truths of the world we live in, and mocking traditions we just mindlessly accept to be the norm. As much as you agree with his views, it still might not wangle you out of buying a present for your significant other – so you might as well make it a good one!

Two designs fresh to the site are Banksy’s Rose Trap, and Every Time I Make Love To You I Think Of Someone Else.

Every Time I Make Love mens t-shirtBanksy Rose Trap women's t-shirt

We’ve also hand-picked some of the classics which feature some not-so-romantic artwork, like the brilliant Well Hung Lover for the promiscuous…

Men's Well Hung Lover premium hoodie

 

 

 

 

 

Or Boy Meets Girl for the feisty girls…

Boy Meets Girl women's Banksy t-shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or maybe the Love Rat – a little reminder for your ex…

Banksy Love Rat mug

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever you buy for them, it’s sure to go down better than the reduced flowers and out of date chocolates you scraped together last year.

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Unknown German Street Artist Bricks Up Train Door In Hamburg

Wall on Hamburg S-Bahn

German news sites and street art social media channels are today reporting (and guffawing at, respectively) the story of a Hamburg S-Bahn train that was visited by a mischievous artist yesterday.

Wall on Hamburg S-BahnThe unknown artist has bricked up one of the doorways on the train with YTONG bricks, a porous industrial building brick that uses only natural ingredients and is reportedly environmentally-friendly, which were joined together with an adhesive and glued firmly into the door panel.

Wall on Hamburg S-BahnA spokesperson for the S-Bahn has claimed that the damage amounts to tens of thousands of Euros, which the train owners are intending to claim from the offender should one ever be found, and that the train will be out of action for in excess of 12 hours while they remove the wall.

Wall on Hamburg S-BahnAt present it is unclear for how long the train had been driven with the wall in place.

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A Visit From Banksy

A Very Banksy Christmas

If you’re on our mailing list you will have already received this, but for everyone else, here is our Banksy version of the famous festive poem A Visit From Saint Nick, otherwise known as ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the ‘hood
Not a creature was stirring, and all for the good;
The spraycans were placed in a holdall with care,
In hopes that a wall would no longer be bare;
The aerosols were nestled all snug in their beds,
The greens and the blues, the yellows and reds;
And Banksy in a hoodie, adds spraypainting caps,
And a couple of stencils, then does up the straps,
When out in the street there arose such a clatter;
Banksy sprang to the window to see what was the matter,
Outside the house, flashing blue and red lights,
Sirens a-wailing, and off into the night;
The moon shining down on the new fallen snow,
Gave vigour to Banksy, whose eyes now aglow,
Went out into the streets, and did pick up the pace,
Still seeking a wall in a suitable place,
In a van with a driver so lively and quick,
With scaffolds and tarps, like a street art St. Nick;
More rapid than eagles his helpers they came,
And he whistled and whispered, and called them by name,
“Now, Dasher!  Now Dancer!  Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet!  On, Cupid!  On, Donner and Blitzen!
Raise up the scaffold, in front of the wall!
Now dash away!  Dash away!  Dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
The scaffold all wrapped up with tarps to the sky;
And up on the ladders, the helpers they flew,
With bags full of aerosols, and Banksy too,
And then, in a moment I heard at the wall,
The hissing of spraycans, no tags being scrawled,
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Out from the scaffold, Banksy came, with a bound;
Dressed like a monkey, from head down to toe,
Clothes now all tarnished, from paint that had flowed;
All the used stencils concealed in a sack,
And still keeping watch lest the coppers attack,
Eyes, how they twinkled!  And chimp mask, how merry!
Cheeks made of rubber, lips the colour of cherries!
A droll little mouth, drawn up like a bow,
And bulging round eyes, as white as the snow;
The stub of a cigarette, held between teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled the artist like a wreath;
The mask it was wide, and it wobbled like jelly,
Not at all like the artists you see on the telly;
It was chubby and plump, a right jolly old imp,
And I laughed when I saw it, this face of a chimp;
A wink of the eye and a twist of the head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
Banksy spoke not a word, but went back to the work
Of refilling the van, then turned with a jerk,
And laying a finger aside of the nose,
And giving a nod, the van doors they did close;
Banksy sprang to a seat; to the team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;
But I heard them exclaim, ere they drove out of sight –
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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A Very Banksy Christmas

Banksy Christmas Let It Snow Chimp t-shirtThis year as a special treat to all you Banksy fans out there for Christmas, we’ve taken a number of famous Banksy pieces and adapted them in a festive manner for a range of Banksy Christmas clothing!

We’ve done our best to adapt them in a way that we think Banksy himself (or herself) would approve of, with a sprig of anticonsumerism, a sprinkling of humour, and lashings and lashings of deliciously dark satire.

Check out our Banksy Christmas apparel range NOW!

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Banksy Spy Booth May Yet Be Saved?

Possible Slinkachu - Save Our Banksy

Possible Slinkachu piece at the site? “Save Our Banksy”.

Last week we reported that Banksy’s Spy Booth piece in Cheltenham had been sold and was in the process of being removed, wall and all, from the side of the house on which it had been created.

Now it seems that local residents are working together in an attempt to save the Banksy mural, by raising the money to buy it themselves, on condition that it stays where it is, or so claims an art dealer whose gallery specialises in Banksy’s art.

Robin Barton of London gallery Bankrobber initially said that he had been appoached by the owner of the house regarding a possible sale, but was then “shocked at the level of vitriol” following the reports that the piece may be removed.

Barton has now revealed that the owner has been back in touch with him, claiming to have received death threats in opposition to the sale, and that a “six-figure” deal to keep the Banksy mural in Cheltenham is nearing completion.

He said, “A deal is close to being concluded that will see this much-loved local landmark remain in situ and protected into the future,” and that “pending no disasters, as far as I’m concerned the deal will go through and the piece will remain where it is.”

It is not yet clear whether the cash is coming from a new group of benefactors, or from Cheltenham businessperson Angela De Souza, who last week started up a fund to try to save the Banksy piece.

She was this morning quoted as saying “We haven’t yet raised what we need, but we have managed to buy some time,” and  added cryptically, “I can’t say anything about what is going on behind the scenes.”

This would seem to indicate that she is at least a part of the mystery group attempting to rescue Spy Booth from removal.

She continued, “But I appeal to the public not to do any damage to the Banksy.  If any damage is done, that will undo whatever progress we’ve managed to make.”

Spy Booth with scaffolding around it

Meanwhile another argument has arisen over the actual ownership of the piece, since the now-external wall was once a party wall that belonged to both 159 Fairview Road and the now-absent 64 Hewlett Road, which was bought and demolished by Gloucestershire County Council in the early 1960’s so that they could make road improvements.

Unless Gloucestershire County Council at some point conveyed the wall entirely to the owners of 159 Fairview Road, then it remains at least partially owned by the council, which would cast doubts on any plans for the wall or the artwork to be removed.

As of last night, two security guards have been on duty in front of the piece, apparently contracted by the council, to ensure that nobody vandalises or otherwise damages the mural.

The council’s involvement in hiring the guards may indicate that there is some weight to this argument, and that the tale might yet have an additional twist.

On Friday, the owner of the scaffolding company revealed that he himself had bought the Banksy piece and intended to display it in his own home.  It is not clear whether he also had intentions to buy the actual phone booth from British Telecom, buy a new one from them, have a replica constructed, or display a photograph of the original booth in its place.

In the third conflicting story from the scaffolding company in less than a week, an employee revealed that his boss was “a collector” and “he is not selling it on, although if someone walked into the gallery and offered him a piece of paper with a certain number on it, he might consider it.”

Also on Friday, a steel joist and metal props were visible above the heads of one of the”spies” in the mural, but by Saturday afternoon the hole had been repaired.

All that can be said for sure at the moment is that the situation has divided opinion, and that the future of the mural is still uncertain.

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Banksy’s Spy Booth has been sold

Banksy Spy Booth

Brian Robert Marshall [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Banksy’s Spy Booth is in the process of being removed from the house on which it was created, having been sold for an undisclosed amount, with the new owner intending to resell it at auction in London.

The stencil piece depicts three men, clearly government spooks in matching raincoats and trilby hats, eavesdropping on the public telephone box that resides on the pavement outside the house, with crude vintage listening, recording and transmitting equipment.

The piece appeared overnight in April on the outer wall of a privately-owned house on Hewlett Road, Cheltenham, three miles away from the government listening post, GCHQ, and since its authentication from Pest Control Office, has attracted hordes of visitors from around the world.

Banksy Spy Booth scaffoldingOn Wednesday however, a company began erecting scaffolding around the piece, prompting fears that it would be removed from the grade 2 listed building.

An unnamed builder working for the scaffolding company insisted on Wednesday that the scaffolding was being erected in order to allow the owner to fix the rendering on the wall, and that “People don’t need to worry” because the piece would remain.  This position was echoed by Cheltenham City Council, who said they believed this story to be true.

Now it seems that this original statement was a misdirection, as an employee of the scaffolding company has now revealed that the piece has been sold by the owner of the house on which it was created for an undisclosed sum.

“We are not doing anything illegal,” said John Joyce of Q Scaffolding, “We are preserving Banksy’s legacy.”

He continued to say that by removing the piece, it would be protected against vandalism.

Banksy Spy Booth vandalisedThe piece was actually vandalised within a week of its creation, when someone daubed white paint over the faces of the three characters, but a passer-by noticed before the paint had dried, prompting residents and drinkers from the local pub to rush to the rescue, managing to successfully clean off the wet paint without damaging the Banksy piece.

The removal will come as bad news to Cheltenham’s Liberal Democrat MP Martin Horwood, who earlier said that he would be “disappointed” if the owner of the house decided to sell the work.

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire Police said that increased social tension among residents that didn’t want to see the piece removed had led to the posting of greater numbers of police officers to the area.

Banksy Spy Booth scaffolding completeLocal residents have been protective of Spy Booth ever since its arrival, and some have staged a 24-hours per day vigil around the piece since the scaffolding first appeared.

Local business owners are also disappointed to see the piece go, with many of them stating that the increased numbers of people visiting the area to see the piece first hand had helped generate extra income.

 

 

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Why Are So Many Street Artists Against The Idea Of Merchandise?

Phlegm piece in Kentucky Here at Banksytshirts.org, we’re big fans of street art in general, not just of Banksy’s work. One need only take a cursory glance at our Facebook feed to see all the street art photographs that we share of other graffiti artists worldwide.  We love it.

There are so many talented artists out there, whose work is often seen only in photographs on the internet, by residents of the locale in which the artwork is created, or by wealthy hardcore art tourists financially able to travel the world to see these pieces in person.

Banksy Umbrella Girl Nola Attempted Theft

Attempted Theft of Banksy’s Umbrella Girl Nola

Obviously in the case of Banksy and a select few other notable artists, original canvas pieces and even entire walls containing their original artwork can be bought for enormous sums of money, with or without the consent of the artist, and even in some cases without the consent of the people that own the wall in question.

With such a restricted audience, one would expect that street artists would be eager to pursue other means of showing off their art to a wider crowd, especially if it would mean that they could earn money in the process. Merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies, and even prints of their work would seem an obvious way to show their artwork to a greater number of people.

After all, t-shirts are essentially walking canvases – art galleries on legs – that can put an artist’s work directly in plain view of everyone the wearer comes into contact with.

We managed to obtain email addresses for a number of graffiti artists, some well-known, others possibly only known to hardcore fans of street art, who we have contacted with regard to the possibility of selling their artwork on merchandise.  Those that returned our emails have (actually very politely) each said the same thing, “Sorry, I’m not into merchandise”.

TDestroy Capitalism - unknown artisthere are a number of reasons why this might be the case.

First of all, many street artists have created work on someone else’s private property, without the permission of the owner. This could lead the artist to believe that by admitting that they are Street Artist X to a company like ours and allowing us to advertise their artwork on merchandise, that they are more likely to be found out by the authorities and be charged with vandalism.

Saul Williams - The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust

Saul Williams – The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust – released as a free download “or voluntary donation”

Another possibility is the fashion of anti-consumerism.  With so many evils of the capitalist world being perpetuated by large corporations, it is no surprise that so many artists perform their own protests using their own art forms.

Street artists aren’t alone in this.  A number of high profile bands and musicians have in recent years created waves in the music industry by giving away their music for free on the internet rather than using record labels to sell their work, though many of these are already making a living wage from previous releases or other projects, and few and far between are the bands and musicians that flat-out refuse to sell t-shirts on principle.

A cynic might come to the conclusion that giving away the music for free is nothing but a publicity stunt that would lead to higher sales of the artist’s albums and merchandise in the long run.

KLF burn a million quid

KLF burn a million quid

But money isn’t everything, especially to an artist.  Indeed, in 1994 music group and performance artists KLF burned a million pounds in cash – their last million pounds of the money they had made from their music success.

A number of street artists do make a living wage from selling their original canvas-based works, though; Charlie Uzzell Edwards aka Pure Evil for one, who not only sells his original works, he also runs a successful art gallery in London.

ROA Rattlesnake and rats, Mexico 2012

ROA’s Rattlesnake And Rats, Mexico 2012

Perhaps many of the well-known street artists also lead respectable other-lives by day. After all, some of them seem to be able to afford to travel all over the world to create their art in new places.

This costs money.  The sort of money that one wouldn’t expect to be available to the average street thug with a can of spray paint.

Could it be the case that many of the world’s greatest anonymous street artists are in fact highly successful career-driven people, that slink away from high society dinner-parties at night to don balaclavae and become more exciting alter-ego graffitiist super-villains?

Banksy v Team Robbo Fishing For Street CredAnother possibility is the artist’s image. By allowing their artwork to appear on merchandise, they are perhaps worried about being seen as bowing to “the man”, thereby reducing their credibility in return for increasing their visibility.

This would seem to indicate, however, that the artist may be more concerned with how they are perceived by their peers than they are about their artwork giving pleasure to a wider audience.

unknown artistIf peer respect is genuinely the sole reason for them creating art, then it is hard to argue against this, but presumably at least some street artists became artists through a love of creating art, and not because it made them look cool to their friends?

Of those that make art for art’s sake, perhaps their distaste for merchandise is related to the purity of their chosen art form; like the musical purist who feels that the frequencies of sound that are lost during conversion to mp3 format spoils the overall feel of their music, the artists may feel that reduction of their wall-sized analogue masterpiece to a ten-inch-wide digitally-reproduced 600dpi t-shirt print takes away the nuances of their work in a similar manner?

Banksy Stop And Search Destroyed

Formerly Banksy’s Stop And Search

Many street artists talk about their love of their chosen medium – that the transient nature of street art allows them to create something fresh and then gradually watch it decay as taggers take turns defacing it until another artist decides to use the space to create a whole new piece.

Seeing how long the piece lasts before this happens can be regarded as a measurement of the success of the piece and of how well-received it was by other street artists.

For some fans of art, though, the loss of a masterpiece is a tragedy, regardless of the medium.  Creating art in a more permanent manner allows it to be enjoyed by new audiences long after a street art piece might have faded, been defaced, destroyed, removed or painted over.

Mona Lisa GraffitiIf Beethoven’s symphonies had been created on walls in the streets instead of on paper, billions of people would have been deprived of the opportunity to hear them and marvel at his genius.

If the Mona Lisa had been painted on the side of a tavern in Florence, da Vinci may well have been forgotten by history.

Would this make their works “better” art?

Would either of them be less talented for having so much less of an audience?  Are longevity and popularity necessarily watermarks of illegitimacy or of “selling out”?

In a transitory medium like street art, there is effectively no scope for those that are too far “ahead of their time”, as they stand little chance of their work lasting long enough to be recognised as such.

Would music and art have evolved faster if works were completely destroyed after a few years, or would new composers and artists end up recreating clichés endlessly, never able to learn the lost lessons of their predecessors – not only those that were popular but also those that broke the moulds of the mainstream? Surely future generations of artists can only benefit from being able to witness the works of the great artists that came before them?

Let us know how you feel by posting a comment, either here or on our Facebook page.

And if you’re a talented street artist, well-known or not, that would be interested in selling merchandise with your artwork on, please get in touch.  Your global gallery awaits.

Thanks for reading.

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Possible new Banksy piece found in Bristol Frenchay Hospital

Possible Banksy Queen Mary Bristol Frenchay Hospital

News channels in Bristol today are reporting that a brand new Banksy may have appeared in the newly-closed Frenchay Hospital, near the area that is widely thought to be Banksy’s childhood home.

The piece is thought to be a depiction of Queen Mary, who visited the hospital in 1943, in mourning dress, clutching a single rose.

The piece has been found on the concrete floor of an old greenhouse on the hospital grounds, and although it has yet to be authenticated, is said to have similarities to genuine Banksy works.

The piece measures 36 inches x 24 inches, and is believed to have been painted during the recent Bank Holiday weekend.

The piece has not yet been claimed by Banksy on his official website.

Richard Cottle, media relations manager for North Bristol NHS Trust, which still owns the hospital has been quoted in local press as saying “We are seeking authenticity on whether it is or not, and if it is a Banksy we want to preserve it.  It would be a wonderful thing for Frenchay.”

Here at Banksy t-shirts, we’re obviously big fans of Banksy’s work, but also big fans of art in general, and it has to be said that the attitude shown by Mr. Cottle has left me feeling a little dismayed.

“IF it is a Banksy, we want to preserve it”.

It is a work of art.  Whether or not it was made by a specific person should be irrelevant.

We should judge a piece of artwork on its merits, not on the name of its creator.

Personally I’d feel much happier if Mr. Cottle had said “We don’t care who painted it, we like it, so we’re going to preserve it!”

What do you think of the piece?  Do you think it is a genuine Banksy?  How do you feel about Mr. Cottle’s statement?

Let us know via our Facebook page!

 

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Stockholm Banksy Exhibition Is A Fake

Banksy No Show Stockholm Gallery

Banksy’s long-time publicist, Jo Brooks has confirmed that the supposed Banksy Exhibit at Norrtullsgatan in Stockholm on March 23rd was merely a publicity stunt by the gallery, and had nothing to do with Banksy.

Despite the press release from Brooks before the show, hundreds of Stockholmers queued for a chance to meet Banksy, who was rumoured to be appearing wearing a gorilla mask.

Whether Banksy had anything to do with the gala, showed up incognito, or whether the whole thing was a sham and the “appearance” rumour was merely to attract more visitors, we’re likely to never know.

What we do know is that a number of visitors broke into a room with spray cans and left their own marks on the walls. It is unclear whether this was a deliberate interactive part of the gala or just vandalism by enraged street artists that felt conned by the Banksy rumour.

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