Banksy Locations and Tours – Volume One – An Unofficial History of Graffiti Locations in London – 4th Edition
£9.50, Shellshock Publishing, 180 pages, ISBN 978-0-9554712-4-7 (published 30th September 2010)
It’s been a while since I reviewed the first incarnation of Martin Bull’s “Banksy Locations and Tours’. It’s now in its fourth edition and has gained a subtitle of ‘volume one’ hinting that there is a volume 2 on the way (Banksy Locations (and a Tour) Vol.2: More Graffiti Locations from the UK). When it first came out it could be used as a kind of a tour guide to Banksy’s art in London but looking through this new edition there really is very little left to see these days. So its now become a kind of historical reference to a fair amount of Banksy’s work in the capital and this is where its strengths now lie. Each piece described has its own picture with the accompanying text detailing the history of the art. It’s a catalogue of tales typically ending in the work being lost from the street. Sometimes they’re destroyed by other graffiti artists, other times they are carefully removed only to turn up later on Ebay with a five figure price attached. With the perceived rise in the value of his street work a few are now sweating behind perspex for protection while others have been painted over by owners who didn’t know what they’ve got.
Street art should live and die on the street but without documentation like this book it’s very existence and the stories behind its evolution would often be lost. It’s unashamedly anorak like in its detail but whether this floats your boat or not you can always look at mass of pretty pictures.