Banksy caught on camera?

Portobello Banksy

If you’re like me and don’t want to know who the man (or woman, for that matter) is behind the infamous works of Banksy then you might want to stay away from social media for the next few days/ weeks/ months. It looks like there’s pretty strong claims out there that the illusive Bristolian street artist has been uncovered… 

#Banksy was trending when I logged into Facebook this evening, and to my disappointment it wasn’t because a new piece had been discovered in London or somewhere close to me, it was because someone claimed they captured him on film while doing his thing in the Herzliya Mall, Israel.

Plenty of news outlets are covering this at the moment and that’s because he is unveiling an interactive exhibition at a hotel in Bethlehem.

You can see the footage here

However, if you don’t care about all that nonsense and just want to find out where you can find his best kept work in Bristol and London then just read my blogs below:

Banksy Hunting in LDN (London)

The one and only Banksy (Bristol) 

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

Leave Banksy alone.

Peace X

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

 

New Street Art

 

IMG_8839As a street art blogger, other than finding graffiti and writing about it, it doesn’t get much better than reading a decent book on the subject too. This week I received a press release copy of a must-have new book called New Street Art, and it’s the bible for any graffiti enthusiast. 

The book, set for release in May this year, is Written by Claude Crommelin (aka Claudelondon) and it’s pretty much an A-Z of London street art by artists old and new (150 in total, including some stunning photography).

Claude has been dubbed the ‘David Attenborough of street art’ and he’s been documenting the London street art scene since 2008, after moving to the UK from The Netherlands. As a professional photographer, he’s seen his contemporary artworks in the likes of Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Centraal Museum Utrecht and Boymans van Beuiningen in Rotterdam.

This book showcases some of the best street art in London, by the world’s top artists. It shows us the incredible passion Claude has for street art. He’s made a name for himself along the way and is recognised by many as been ‘the first on the scene when anything new arrives’.

New Street Art provides a great insight into the world of graffiti and includes the work of 150 street artists on the scene today, making it an essential book for your street art collection.

Artists included in the book in no particular order are Banksy, Invader, ROA, Stik, Dscreet, Otto Schade, VHILS, C215, Jimmy C, Dan Kitchener, Mr Fahrenheit and more.

‘Claude Crommelin is the David Attenborough of Brick Lane street art’ -Stik

Check out some of the pages from the book below, and don’t forget to pre-order it!

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Brighton: sun, sea and street art

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Brighton & Hove, on England’s South Coast, is not just a popular place for families to go on their summer jollies; it’s a city that offers a lot for any urban art enthusiast. So much so, I decided to write a blog post dedicated to it. 

Brighton is a city that reminds me a lot of Bristol and East London, in a laid-back, independent coffee, vintage market, smells of weed, anti-establishment kind of way. Don’t get me wrong, there’s the standard Starbucks, Boots, Tesco Local-themed high street that we’re all used to, but mix that with coffee roasters like Small Batch and the quirky shops on North Laine and you’ll feel something quite unique about this town on the South Coast.

For me, Brighton cements itself as one of the best cities in the UK for street art and the sheer scale of the graffiti makes it comparable to Paris and Berlin. The likes of Banksy, Blek le Rat, RONE and Gary Stranger, to name a few, have all plied their trade in this seaside town.

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The narrow and winding streets down North Laine are well worth a look

North Laine is a pretty good place to start graffiti hunting in Brighton as the surrounding streets are plastered with colourful tagging, stencils and huge murals.

In typically British fashion it was pissing it down throughout my trip to the South Coast, but it didn’t spoil the urban art on offer:

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While strolling around the streets of Brighton I came across this old school camper van, which I feel says it all about the city and its culture:

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Up the top end of town and about a 10-15 minute walk from the seafront is Trafalgar Lane – a street not too dis-similar to the Rue Dénoyez in Paris, aka the graffiti street – where street art in any form is legal.

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Many backstreets in this part of Brighton strike a familiar theme, and from here, right down to the city centre each road and every road is worth walking down.

Brighton and Banksy

I couldn’t really post about street art in Brighton without mentioning Banksy…

Back in 2004, the Bristolian street artist, sprayed the ‘Kissing Coppers’ piece on the side of the Prince Albert boozer in Brighton city centre, only for it to be sold-on for an astonishing amount. Ten years later, after same-sex marriage was legalised in the UK, the piece returned on the old and abandoned Astoria, though representatives of the graffiti-legend stated it was not his work this time round.

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Kissing Coppers on the Brighton Astoria

Whether Banksy returned to do this himself or not, I guess we’ll never know. However, I did find this a rather romantic aspect to the urban art scene (no pun intended).

And to make it even more interesting, when wondering through the city centre I stumbled upon a piece by Blek le Rat – a French street artist and pioneer of stencil graffiti (who claims ‘Banksy stole his style’). I found it quite compelling that the  Frenchman’s work was particularly unnoticed; it wasn’t covered in plexiglass, nor was it tagged over by someone else, in fact, there wasn’t even hoards of tourists frantically trying to get a picture of it. Yet, if this had been done by Banksy it would have been covered up by the building’s owners and sold to Brad Pitt or some other Hollywood celebrity by now.

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The stencil pioneer: Blek le Rat

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Blek le Rat meets the fish eye lens

Back in the city centre there’s some amazing existing artwork by RONE (an Australian-based street artist) and Gary Stranger (famous for his typographic pieces) that are well worth checking out:

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Classic, clean typography by Gary Stranger

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Stunning work by RONE

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I highly recommend a trip to Brighton, and even if you don’t like street art; who doesn’t like fish and chips, cheesy arcade games on the seafront, donuts and skinny dipping?!

Just don’t go in February…

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Check out my other blog posts for more pictures and guides to street art in the UK, including how to find the best Banksy’s in London.

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

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

 

Urban Art: East LDN

Brick-Lane

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you’re ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ prosper and you don’t end up giving up on dry January by the second week – like I probably will.

Anyhow…

It’s been a while since my last street art post, and a while since I’ve had the pleasure of strolling around the graffiti hub that is East London. After spending a couple of weeks back in the motherland of Leeds over Christmas – where the closest thing to street art is normally a something like ‘jon waz ere’ tagged on a wall in the city centre – it was good to be finally back in London Town.

Brick Lane, E1

The vibrant Brick Lane is a place that gets under your skin, and once it does, you’ll never want to leave. There’s always something going on; be it the famous Market on a Sunday, eating cereal in the hipster cafe, or simply just getting harassed to go for ‘London’s best curry’ in one of the many restaurants on the curry mile.

The street is also well-known for street art, and the likes of Banksy, OBEY and Invader all have work (past and present) on Brick Lane and the surrounding area.

As it’s about a month since my last visit not much had changed –  it was almost as if the street artists had taken a break for the festivities of December too – though there was some pretty good new pieces too:

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Work by Sakia and Bitches 

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Nerone LeCocktail 

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Chilean street artist, Otto Schade, knows how to create truly thought-provoking work. This is one of his latest in the East End.

C125

c125 has plenty of work around London, look out for his unique style. 

And finally, here’s a new piece by Trust Icon, up near Broadway Market in Hackney.

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‘Nothing to see here…’

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!

Dismaland-entrance

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 nine

Underneath the London Transport Police Headquarters on Regent’s Canal in Camden is the place the street art war between Banksy and King Robbo started.

The feud resulted in them destroying each others work, most notably, Banksy ruining a 25 year old Robbo tag, and London’s oldest piece of graffiti. The street art war between Banksy and King Robbo was documented by Channel 4 in a programme called ‘Graffiti Wars’.

During the filming of the documentary, Robbo had a life-threatening head injury leaving him in hospital in a critical condition.

After spending three years in a coma Robbo sadly passed away, and although his original piece is long gone, a tag still stands in his honour under the police HQ.

RIP KING ROBBO

King-Robbo

Watch Channel 4’s Graffiti Wars here.

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite King Robbo street art.

Peace x

From Jack the Ripper to street art central

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It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post so I thought I’d write something short and sweet about some of my favourite urban art pieces to have graced east London’s Hanbury Street.

Hanbury Street, just off the one and only Brick Lane, is currently home to some incredible street art. Many of the world’s greatest artists ply their trade around the streets of Shoreditch, including the likes of Invader, OBEY, ROA and Banksy, to name but a few.

Back in the day

Over 100 years ago, Jack the Ripper murdered his second victim, Annie Chapman, behind 29 Hanbury Street. He brutally slashed her throat, ripped open her abdomen and removed her uterus. Pretty gruesome, right?

The only thing that remains from the horrific days of 1888 is the stunning architecture around Spitalfields like Christ Church, which opened in the 1730s, and the beautiful old houses.

That’s enough history for one blog post. I’m here to talk about some of my favourite street art to appear on the infamous graffiti wall on Hanbury Street. This wall can be found just before Blitz Vintage and it’s on the same side of the street as the huge ‘crane’ piece by Belgian street artist ROA.

Two staple pieces of street art on Hanbury St. The left is a stunning piece by Argentinian, Martin Ron, and on the right is ROA's 'crane'.

Two staple pieces of street art on Hanbury St. The left is a stunning piece by Argentinian, Martin Ron, and on the right is ROA’s ‘crane’.

Here are some the best pieces of urban art to appear on the vibrant and colourful Hanbury Street. Enjoy.

This is probably my favourite all time street art in London. It's such an incredible piece by Alexis Diaz.

This is probably my all time favourite piece of street art in London. It’s such an incredible piece combining an elephant with an octopus. Work by Alexis Diaz.

Another fantastic spectacle to appear on Hanbury St, was this piece by Aussie artist, RONE.

Another fantastic spectacle to appear on Hanbury St, was this piece by Aussie artist, RONE.

Another great piece that was on Hanbury Street for brief period.  Artist unknown.

Another great piece that was on Hanbury Street for brief period. Artist unknown.

This awesome piece was added to the infamous wall on Hanbury St this year and it's absolutely incredible.

This awesome piece was added to the infamous wall on Hanbury St this year and it’s absolutely incredible. Work by PIXEL PANCHO & EVOCA1.

This piece was added by Alexis Diaz and Elian Chali as recent as June 2015. It's another great example of the incredible talent on offer in East London's street art scene.

This piece was added by Alexis Diaz and Elian Chali as recent as June 2015. It’s another great example of the incredible talent on offer in East London’s street art scene.

And that’s a round up of a few of my favourite murals on Hanbury Street. It’s a unique street in the heart of hipster Shoreditch. The scenery is always changing and you’re guaranteed to find some London’s best street art in this area.

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

Back in Bristol

STIK Nelson Street

Following on from my last blog post about Banksy hunting in London I thought I’d do another quick post on the Bristolian artist.

I’ve just returned from a weekend retreat in the west country and I’m pleased to say I was able to hunt down one of Banksy’s newest pieces,  ‘The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum’.

It’s over a year since I was last in Bristol and it was good to be back. It’s a city I hold close to my heart and I love spending time there. If I didn’t like east London so much then I’d consider moving over that way.

There’s only one or two Banksy’s still left for me to find in the west country and last weekend it was my intention to find the piece he did at the back end of 2014. Most of the Banksy work I’ve found has been a few years old so it feels pretty good to find something more recent.

I’ll get onto the Banksy piece shortly, but first I’m going to talk about some of my other favourite Bristol sights from the weekend.

One of the coolest areas in Bristol is a place called Stokes Croft. It’s not far from the city centre and up there you’ll find some incredible street art. It’s a really laid back area full of some really friendly folk, vintage shops, independent shops, lots of graffiti and a Banksy or two.

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Iconic street art in Stokes Croft by Columbian artist Stinkfish.

The Prince of Wales pub in Stokes Croft was one place that caught my eye, so much so that I had to go in for a pint.

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One place in Bristol city centre that’s home to some massive murals is Nelson Street. I’ve spoke about this street in a previous blog post but it’s worth mentioning again. On my return to Nelson Street I was gutted to see that one of my favourite building’s in Bristol has now been torn down.

RIP colourful building

Nelson street street art

Superhero mural by SatOne

Nelson Street was used as part of the city’s See No Evil street art festival in 2011 and 2012 where Germany’s SatOne painted this colourful mural (above), and a whole host of other artists from around the world got involved; including Stik, ROA, Otto Schade, My Ayrz and Pixel Pancho, to name a few.

This area was one of the reasons I fell in love with street art and if it wasn’t for the graffiti on Nelson Street I wouldn’t be sat here writing about urban art. Luckily some of my favourite Nelson Street work was still there:

Work by Mr Ayrz and Stik

Work by Mr Ayrz and Stik

Another great piece I was pleased to see still standing:

Work by Italian artist Pixel Pancho

Work by Italian artist Pixel Pancho

Bristol’s newest Banksy 

Banksy’s ‘Girl with the Pierced Eardrum’ can be found on the side of a building on Hanover Place (BS1 6XT) in the Albion Dockyard.

It’s about a 30 minute venture from the bottom of Park Street (where you can still find Banksy’s ‘Well Hung Lover’) and it’s not far from where his famous Grim Reaper used to be, on the side of the Thekla boat and nightclub.

The walk to find Banksy’s latest hometown piece is pretty scenic and you get some really stunning views of the harbour. If you’re into photography and architecture then I recommend having a good wonder around this area.

Bristol harbour

After a stroll down the harbour taking in plenty of sea air and scenery you’ll be getting closer to an outstanding piece of street art.

Banksy’s ‘Girl with the Pierced Eardrum’ can be found on the rear of the white building on Hanover Place and it’s a truly remarkable piece. He might have taken inspiration from the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, but he does it in his own style. Banksy has added his own unique spin on this piece using the alarm on the wall as the girl’s earring.

This is probably my favourite Banksy to date; one because it’s the most recent piece I’ve found meaning I’ve stood on pretty fresh ground (which makes me happy). And two, because of the condition of the piece, and although some idiot tried to ruin it by throwing paint on it, it actually added more character to the painting.

The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum by Banksy 

Banksy New 1 Banksy New

When I was taking a few (hundred) snaps of this piece there was some old dears sat having an ice cream a few hundred yards behind me on a picnic bench. Whilst I was trying to find the right angle to capture this beauty I heard them saying ‘oooh I wonder what he’s taking pictures of’. If only they knew that the work in their presence was worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The fact that I was the only person there appreciating the Banksy made the moment even more special. No crowds, graffiti tours or tourists, just me.

So that’s it from my short break in Bristol, if you haven’t been there yet, you should.

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments, share your favourite Banksy’s, and any info I’ve missed. Peace x