Tuesday 18 September 2012

Kids Get Arty - Exploring Banksy

Hooray, it's time again for my favourite blog link - up 'Kids Get Arty' with Red Ted Art.  You may remember last time we learnt about William Morris.  Well, we thought we'd bring it bang up to date and look at one of our best loved current artists, the street artist known as Banksy.

Ruby has a very strong - and cute - sense of right and wrong.  Even from the time I was pushing her in her buggy, if she saw graffiti on the walls she'd tut tut and shake her head. 'Naughty!' she'd exclaim.

It is of course an old debate - can some graffiti be 'art'?  Well, I believe it can.  I don't mean the mindless tagging or phallic images, but the intricate, thought-provoking; skillful and often political spray paintings are truly (to me) works of great art.

Of course, by it's very nature, much of this art will be temporary. Covered over by advertising, re-building work, council officials or rival street artists.  But this is what I love about it, the fact that you have to keep your eyes out for something new all the time.

Myself and Maggy took our girls to London for the day on a Banksy Hunt.  Armed with an app on the phone, we sought out as many Banksy pieces as we could.

Of course, his work now commands high prices, and they are often seen as a tourist attraction and boost to the local economy, so nowadays most are protected.

One of his earliest works in London is still just about visible.  The faded Gas Mask Girl mask is located on Brick Lane and it was a great way demonstrate to the girls the transience of the work.

Ruby loved looking out for street art as we mooched around east London.  There were so many locations that we need to plan a return visit.  Here are some that we spotted.

Prison Guard Poodle (2003) located at Cargo Nightclub garden, Rivington Street, EC2A

HMV Dog - same location

Skeleton Car (2004) - Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, E1.  The skeleton image on the window has long since gone, but the car remains, protected by a perspex box.

Cash Machine Girl - Rosebury Avenue, EC1R.  Also behind perspex, this image has been defaced.  It's alleged that Banksy did this himself to stop the owners of the building from making money from it.

Child Labour (2012) - Whymark Avenue, N22.  This was our favourite of the day.  It's one of the newer pieces that's appeared over the summer of jubilee and Olympic celebrations.  We were lucky enough to speak to the owner of the building who explained that he'd seen someone return to the image the day after it first appeared and attach the bunting.  He presumes it was Banksy himself.  I think the girls identified with the young child - almost lifelike size to them and they could get right up close to see the detail.

We has such a great day exploring London and uncovering it's street art treasures.  Even with the aid of the app some of them took considerable hunting, but that only made it feel even more worthwhile when we found them.

On the way home we talked about how Banksy had created the images.  Why there was so much secrecy about him.  Does he only paint at night?  How come nobody knows who he is?

We talked about how we might recreate a piece when we got home, and where we'd put it...

A week or so later, a very exciting parcel arrived.  I'd ordered a stencil and some non-toxic spray paint so Ruby could have a go herself.

I TOTALLY reckon Banksy wears a Thomas the Tank apron when he works.  And I TOTALLY think he should try some pink paint.

Despite my good intentions, the non-toxic paint as pretty useless on a vertical surface, so I moved Ruby inside and brought out the big guns.

I don't know who's worse - me for hoarding it or the old man for organising it. I go out and move them around sometimes, just to mess with his head...

To be honest, it really needs another coat, but she was too impatient and wanted to take the stencil off to look straight away.

As the ivy grows and covers the wall, the balloon girl will gradually disappear from sight.  I think Banksy would approve.


  1. Oooh that is a lovely choice of stencil!!! I love it!! Didn't we have a lovely day! Thanks for suggesting to go on a Banksy Hunt and thanks for taking part in Kids Get Arty!


  2. I love that stencil so pretty and a perfect size. This a great link up thanks for sharing x

  3. I love Banksy - we have a copy of a little booklet of his which originally cost a fiver and is now going for silly money on Amazon. I also love that you have a library of spray paint!

  4. Very cultured youngsters and a great activity too!

  5. Oh I love this, and what a cool stencil.
    I love child labour, great image!
    I can not believe the array of spray paint you own, that's madness! (Sorry don't show this to OH)

  6. Banksy prints Large selection of Canvas art, giclee and canvas prints for a cheap price. Our Art is Better than GOOD.

  7. This is fantastic! I love how you have your kids appreciate art, and then have them create their own. I especially like how you have the balloon girl set up so that she will eventually disappear from the ivy. Brilliant.

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