Over the past few years a fair bit of Banksy work has been lifted from the streets for personal enjoyment or resale via Ebay. I have no idea what Banksy thinks of this but personally I’m not best impressed by this practice. I like to see stuff in situ. Recent examples include the ‘No More Ball Games’ piece in Paddington. This was literally cut out of the wall and carted off. I received several emails on this subject from a distressed local resident whose two small children had become very attached to their rat bouncing a ball. In place of the rat is now a wooden board ( the local resident even suggested putting on a new stencil ‘No Board Games’)! Other examples include all the Think Tank artwork from Deptford, the No Swimming sign from St James’s Park, the Liverpool rats and this crude attempt at extraction of rats from Whitechapel.
It now seems to be getting more organised. I’ve been a little wary of giving out too precise details for locations ever since a certain London Council tried to find out who was behind a spate of stencil graffiti in their area. They emailed artofthestate pretending to be interested in the artist but a quick check on their IP address proved the source to be from environmental services arm of the council! It would now seem that there is a market for original Banksy street art and I guess that these people are using the Banksy location maps and pictures at times published by this site and others to work out what can be lifted from the streets. It’s a no win situation. Graffiti is meant to be seen and the maps etc. help in this respect but are they now making things too easy for the scalpers? By its very nature is graffiti expected to be buffed, destroyed or gone over but soon there won’t be too much to look at if this trend continues….