Banksy does NYC

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Little did I know that when I travelled out to New York in August this year that I would find one of the last-standing Banksy’s from the infamous street artist’s 2013 residency entitled “Better Out Than In”.

As a lover of the urban art scene I knew going to NYC (the birthplace of graffiti) would be pretty special, but I didn’t think I’d get chance to hunt down one of very few Banksy pieces left in the busiest city in the world. I’d been reading blogs and checking Instagram before my trip to see if any his work was still there. I noticed one piece on a lot of Instagram posts which was “Hammer Boy”, so I knew I had one good opportunity to find something.

Looking at a lot of the images I also noticed ‘Help save Zabar’s Banksy’ written above the work. This meant it could potentially go at any point and I would be pretty lucky to see it.

This goes to show, it doesn’t matter who you are in the street art world, one day your graff could be a thing of the past. It’s ever-changing scene which keeps it exciting and gives off a certain buzz in a city. While I was in the Lower East Side I managed to stumble upon work by two of my other favourite street artists; Stik and Os Gêmeos (who also featured in Banksy’s New York residency).

IMG_2738Funnily enough, when travelling on the Piccadilly Line to London’s Heathrow Airport (on my way out to New York) when passing through Acton Town it was nice to see that Stik’s piece on the side Charles Hocking House – the tallest piece of street art in the world – was still standing strong. It was kind of romantic to accidentally find his piece on a water tower in Lower Manhattan.

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As you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult doing everything you want in New York as the place is insanely massive. As it was my first time there I had to do the tourist stuff like Top of the Rock (best view of NYC by the way), Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero, Times Square, Yankees v The Mets, as well working a few days in between. On my last day I decided it was time to try finding one of the last Banksy pieces in New York.

I looked at a through Instagram posts and had seen a few people had tagged the location (79th and Broadway) and I also read a few blog posts which stated the piece was still there, which is what I really needed to know.

It was boiling that day and it’s safe to say I was sweating from all areas of my body by the time I made it to 79th St. I got the wrong Subway too so I had to get off at 72nd St and walk a few blocks. Though I highly recommend walking as much as possible as the Subway is rather hot (actually it’s fucking boiling) and not as easy to navigate as the London Underground.

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The area itself wasn’t really what you’d usually associate with a place you’d find street art (which I guess is typical of the Bristolian artist), and to be honest, I thought I was on a wild goose chase at first. But then as I started walking down 79th Street I looked across the road and could make out the protective glass… I had found what is one of the last few Banksy’s in NYC.

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It was a peaceful day and I was the only person taking photos of the piece. Which was pretty nice as in the documentary there is utter pandemonium on the streets every time Banksy sprays a wall. I had time to take it in without any bother and probably took more pictures than I needed to.

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It felt like quite a symbolic moment as I’ve been lucky enough to find some amazing Banksy’s in Bristol and London so it was a good feeling to find one of his last remaining pieces in the world’s greatest city.

So if you’re going in search of this Banksy this is the location:

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For more Banksy guides read my Bristol and London blog posts:

Banksy Hunting in LDN (London)

Dismaland Opens for Business (Banksy’s 2015 dystopian theme park)

The one and only Banksy (Bristol) 

Back in Bristol (Post on Bristol street art, including Banksy’s ‘Girl with the Pierced Eardrum’)

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite Banksy’s.

Peace X

 

Banksy’s ‘The Drinker’ is back

Over ten years ago, Banksy hit the streets of central London with his statue entitled ‘The Drinker’. This piece was then stolen by the artist under the name of AK47 back in 2004 (said to be valued at around £300,000) during an ongoing dispute with the Bristolian street artist.

Fast forward to 2015 and the highly talked about statue returns home, to a familiar spot just off Shaftesbury Avenue.

This is Banksy’s latest work (though in fact it’s almost 12 years old) to grace the streets of England’s capital, which is no stranger to some seminal art work by the infamous artist. The romance behind this piece makes it even more exciting to find.

Getting there: Head on the central line to Tottenham Court Road or Holborn and take a short walk to Shaftesbury Theatre.

It was great to finally find this piece, though it’s a shame that AK47 has made some slight amendments to it – renaming it to ‘The Stinker’ and adding a toilet seat. That said, this is street art, and this is what happens. Come back to London soon Banksy…

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What do you make of the new/ old Drinker statue by Banksy? Feel free to share your favourite Banksy pieces in the comments section!

Peace x

 

Street art daily: East London vibes

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It’s been a while since my last blog post so here’s a quick one highlighting some of my favourite pieces in the east end of London Town. 

No matter how many times you take a wonder around the streets of Hackney and beyond, you’re always safe in the knowledge you’ll see work by the world’s best urban artists. There’s never a dull day in London, that’s for sure.

There’s some amazing new work in the east end at the minute, but here’s a ‘Thursday throwback’ to some of my faves. Apologies if I haven’t mentioned the artist (I do try credit artists when possible!).

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One of many pieces by the Belgian, ROA. This piece can be found just off Brick Lane.

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Another piece just off Brick Lane that’s been there for a year or so now. Not sure who it’s by but I love it.

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One of my favourite street artists, Stik, can be spotted all over East London and beyond.

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Stik adding value to this property at the top of the world famous Brick Lane.

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Sadly this UP street art has now disappeared from this wall on Old Street. Definitely up there with my favourite pieces of street art. Who Doesn’t love a Disney movie?

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Work by the incredibly talented VHILS. This skilled street artist carves his art into the building, leaving behind a stunning, life-like image. Not seen anything like this before. His work isn’t as common so when you find one, it’s worth admiring.

Do you have any favourite pieces of urban art in East London or any other cities? Share the street art love here. 

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments, share your favourite street art, and any info I’ve missed.

Peace x

Dismaland opens for business!

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“The fairytale is over, the world is sleepwalking towards climate catastrophe, maybe all that escapism will have to wait.” – Banksy

The wait for Banksy’s latest exhibition is finally over as Dismaland opened to the public on Saturday 23rd August. If you’re a Banksy obsessive like me this event is a must!

The Bristolian street artist (and his PR crew) built up so much hype over the event that six million crazed fans crashed the Dismaland website on Friday trying to get hold of a £3 ticket. I was one of those fans attempting to get a ticket as soon as Friday dawned at midnight.

After trying my luck for an hour or so I realised that nothing was actually happening on the website and gave in. I was checking Twitter simultaneously at this point and it seemed it wasn’t just me staring at a JPEG of a calendar.

I thought to myself, would Banksy really allow for such organisation with one of his events, or is this all just part of his genius plan? I believe in the latter.

The website has since apologised to people who tried to get tickets and states they will go on sale on Tuesday 25th August – we shall see…

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I was already in Bristol on the opening weekend on Dismaland as I was visiting some of my old work mates for a bit of a piss up. So as news broke through the week that Banksy was in town I knew I had to make it. After trying, and failing to buy tickets online (and becoming part of the dismal experience) I decided on Dismaland’s opening day I would head over to Weston-Super-Mare anyway and have a look, and maybe have an ice cream and build a sandcastle on the beach too.

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Approaching the seafront in Weston-Super-Mare

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The view from the front

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My first glance of Dismaland!

As I walked down the seafront I could see the Cinderella Castle in the distance. Now my only hope was buying a ticket (if they even existed?!) and getting into the Bemusement Park. I joined the rather huge queue at around 11:30, it was massive. There must have been at least 1,000 people there already.

I didn’t let that put me off and took my place at the back of the queue, and was slowly joined by more and more eager Banksy fans. To be fair the queue moved down quicker than I expected which made it a little less dismal.

This is what my three hour queueing experience looked like:

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This is what the queue looked like at 11:15 on the opening day…

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An hour in and the ticket office was getting closer. As you can see it was a classic British summer day.

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13:00 and my £3 ticket was in spitting distance

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The best three notes I’ve ever spent!

At last, I had my ticket. There was just another hour and a half of queueing to go…

For those who want to buy more than one wristband, or a ticket for another day from the ticket office, you can’t. Nor can you take in pens (so no tagging over Banksy’s work). After purchasing my ticket I joined the back of another massive queue. The Weston-Super-Mare sun came out for the second part of my queuing extravaganza and I was sweating my tits off. My neck is now ridiculously sunburnt. When you’re British you just can’t win; it’s either too hot, or too cold.

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Just after one o’clock and almost two hours into my Dismaland experience I was almost there…

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14:00 and I found myself in the next group to go into Dimsaland!

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After three hours queuing and standing around in the sweltering sun, the time had come for me to enter Dismaland.

The experience wasn’t just about the creations of Banksy and the 50 other artists (including Damien Hirst), the staff also added to the truly dismal atmosphere. Walking through security the staff mocked everyone and did their best to make it as uncomfortable as possible.

The guy on the entrance mocked my moustache and appearance in general. I was pretty hungover that day so I was expecting something. Before entering Dismaland you have to go through Banksy’s security checkpoint where the ‘guards’ ask you a series of questions and set the scene for what’s to come.

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After surviving the security interrogation I was free to enter the Bemusement Park! When you enter the park you’re greeted by someone handing out brochures, which you have to really pull to get out of their hands! The staff are all about being dismal, from the expressions on their faces to their attitudes, and it’s all part of the Dismaland experience.

Dismaland is fucking amazing! And I’m going to give it a very dismal 10 out of 10. 

It was like walking into Banksy’s mind and at points I didn’t know whether it was real or if I was still dreaming.

Dismaland is worth the hype, it’s worth the wait and I feel privileged I got to experience it on the day it opened to the public.

Here’s some of my favourite bits from Dismaland:

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Cinderella’s Castle: Here’s one for you Disney fans!

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Exit-through-the-giftshop Punch-and-Judy Selfie-hole Puppets Police-van2 Sand-castle-1 Horse Ferris-wheel Being-British Boat David-Cameron Lorry-sculpture- Stencil Migrant-boat Topple-the-anvil Cinderalla's-cart Winning Sandpit Whale Terrorists Exit-sign

Dismaland was as dark as it was inspiring, and as bleak as it was beautiful. Banksy, we salute you.

Did you make it to Dismaland this weekend or are you planning to go soon? Share your thoughts and dismal experience with me!

Follow me on Instagram:  @rickmacmacca | @loveeastlondon | @black_and_white_ldn

Peace x

Street art daily: day seven

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STREET ART SUNDAY

If you’re looking for a cheap street art retreat look no further than Berlin. Not only is the German capital the home to some of the most incredible urban art I’ve ever seen, it’s easily the best place I’ve ever been, too. I went for a week back in May 2013 and I still can’t get over how good it was. I need to live there.

The history on its own is enough to make anyone want to visit. There’s the Olympic Stadium, built by the Nazis in the 1930s, which is now home to the Bundesliga side, Hertha Berlin (it also held the 2013/14 Champions League Final). There’s Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag, Berlin Zoo, The Holocaust Memorial, Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum (a concentration camp just north of the city, in Oranienburg), The Berlin Wall and as much currywurst and bratwurst as you can shake a few euros at.

Kreuzberg is the home of the hipster and Berliner’s just ooze ‘coolness’. The street art scene in Berlin is second to none, and just when you think you’ve seen the most incredible mural, you go down another street and see something even bigger and more amazing.

Here’s a few of my favourite pieces of street art in Berlin:

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Work by the Brazilian twins ‘Os Gemeos’. This was one of the first pieces of Street art I saw in Berlin, from then on I knew how good it was going to be. Look out for their collaboration with Banksy in ‘Banksy does NYC’.

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I love this – street art of street art. Recognise the Os Gemeos piece?

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This stunning mural can be found on the side of the East-Side Hotel, just opposite the Berlin Wall.

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‘The Pink Man’ by Italian street artist, Blu.

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This huge Russian doll-inspired is another fantastic example of the street art scene in Berlin. Not sure who the artist is, if you know please add in comments.

Sadly these last two pieces by the Italian artist, Blu, are no more (so I hear), but they’re definitely without a shadow of doubt the best pieces of urban art that I’ve seen.

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What do you think of the Berlin street art scene? Are there any better places to go in the world that match the German capital? 

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments, share your favourite Berlin street art, and any info I’ve missed.

Peace x