10 Banksy Street Art Pieces in London
Satirical street art of Banksy, a mysterious guerrilla painter, stencil graffiti artist, filmmaker and political activist of unknown identity, can be found all around the world, from West Bank to Los Angeles. With the following list, Widewalls will take you on a short tour through the city of London in search of the still visible Banksy’s art covering the walls of this metropolis. Due to the ever-changing and subversive nature of graffiti art, some featured pieces have been partially removed, painted over, or vandalized (oh, the irony) by other graffiti writers, persons with different political views and city authorities. Thankfully, some of the pieces have been saved from removal by the owners of the property on which Banksy stenciled his amazing artworks of political and social commentary.
Yellow Lines Flower Painter
One of the Banksy’s most famous pieces, Yellow Lines Flower Painter, created in 2007, is located in Benthal Green. This street art piece, painted on the side of a working man’s club at the corner of Pollard Row and Pollard Street, shows a painter in overalls whose job is to paint yellow lines on the pavement, taking a break after painting double yellow lines that turn into a large yellow flower on a wall. Not long after, authorities removed the double yellow lines running across the pavement, but left the painter and the flower on the wall as they were painted on private property. Over the years, Banksy’s Yellow Lines Flower Painter has been heavily damaged, stenciled and tagged over, with painter being barely visible today due to smashed perspex and part of the wall removed. But the Flower still stands tall.
Very Little Helps
Banksy’s mural Very Little Helps, dated 2008, is located in Essex Road, North London. Stenciled on the side of a pharmacy, this funny and political piece depicts a group of children pledging their allegiance to Tesco, a British supermarket chain. Two young children are saluting, while another child is raising a Tesco carrier bag on an electricity cable cleverly transformed into a flag pole. Very Little Helps, even though covered in Perspex, has been “vandalized” several times and is partially damaged by added text, heads of children and the flag have been painted over, but the flag has been replaced by a real one by an “unknown artist”.
Graffiti Wallpaper Hanging
This piece of concrete wall, situated under the London Transport Police Headquarters and beside Regent’s Canal in Camden, is the battleground of an infamous and ongoing graffiti war between the recently deceased London underground graffiti legend King Robbo and Banksy. It all started in 2009 when Banksy covered Robbo’s full color graffiti piece called Robbo Incorporated with his Graffiti Wallpaper Hanging stencil of a workman pasting wallpaper. Suffice to say and to put it mildly, Robbo was not happy with this. Not long after, he destroyed Banksy’s stencil piece by covering it in such a manner that the workman appeared to be painting King Robbo in silver letters. Few days later “Fuc” appeared before the King. Tit-for-tat overpainting battle continued and it most certainly will go on in the future, despite the fact that Robbo is no longer with us.
Located near the corner of Portobello and Acklam Road in Notting Hill, Banksy’s Graffiti Painter, aka Velasquez, is a wonderful stencil piece of a classical painter using his brush writing a graffiti that reads Bansky in red color paint. Graffiti Painter, which marked the entrance to the MuTate gallery on Acklam Road, has reportedly been sold for 200,000 pounds, but it is still there, framed and remaining visible behind perspex with some added tags present. As the winning bidder is yet to organize the removal of this stencil piece, there is still some time left to see it, so hurry up!
If Graffiti Changed Anything
If Graffiti Changed Anything is Banksy’s piece which pays homage to anarchist and women rights activist Emma Goldman who said “If voting changed anything it would be illegal”. Banksy created this graffiti piece in 2011. It is located by the garage at the BT Tower end of Clipstone Street in Fitzrovia, central London. The piece is painted in bright red color with the letters dripping paint. Below the text, standing on a ledge, is Banksy’s signature rat stenciled in black and white, with his left paw covered in red color as he left his paw print on the wall. If Graffiti Changed Anything is still there, covered in Perspex, but the paint is reportedly starting to flake off the wall.
Choose Your Weapon
Banksy’s homage to Keith Haring, Choose Your Weapon stencil art piece, representing the disaffected British youth of today, is located in The Grange, Camberwell Southwark district of South London. It shows the stenciled hooded man of menacing appearance, with the cowl covering his head and bandanna hiding his face, and his dramatically contrasted weapon, a Keith Haring dog, representing art as a weapon of choice, making it the most striking contradiction of this art piece. Shortly after it appeared, Banksy’s Choose Your Weapon was boarded over and then reappeared framed and covered in perspex.
Falling Shopper is a stencil art piece Banksy painted some seven meters above street level on the side of a large, disused office building, back in 2011. It is located on the Bruton Street side of Bruton Lane. Showing a well-off woman clutching her shopping trolley filled with groceries while plummeting from a great height, Falling Shopper was purposely placed in upmarket, high-end shopping district of Mayfair, part of London with a high density of upscale shops. Toting Banksy’s usual subliminal overtones, Falling Shopper provokes ample political and social discussion about consumerism. Being painted so high, it is one of the best preserved Banksy’s stencil works, even though it is not covered in perspex.
Banksy’s Phone Tap, aka My Tap’s Been Phoned, is located in Chrisp Street in east London. For this stunt, Banksy tagged a wall with a playful and light-hearted take on Rupert Murdoch’s phone-hacking scandal, wading into the debate embroiling News International. It depicts a water tap (a real tap found on the wall and incorporated in the artwork) with a simulated phone ringing and a confused stick figure person with a bubble which reads “Oh no… my tap’s been phoned”. Phone Tap can still be found at its original location, quite intact but with some multi-colored paint splatters around it.
Unusual Banksy’s art used for Blur’s Crazy Beat single, taken from their 2003 Think Tank album (which also credited artwork and direction by Banksy), features a colorful satirical portrait of the British Royal Family waving from a balcony. It is located on a side of a privately owned building in Stoke Newington Church Street, the same wall that previously was the site of one of Banksy’s Coldstream guards. In 2009, mistakenly and despite the building owner’s wishes, workers sent by Hackney London Borough Council painted over most of the mural with black paint, but the spoof version of the Royal Family is still visible. Thankfully, gathered crowd managed to stop the workers before they completely destroyed the piece.
Guard Dog and His Master's Voice
Located in the beer garden of the Cargo nightclub in Rivington Street, Banksy’s fabulous Guard Dog and His Master’s Voice is a satirical revision of the HMV (His Master’s Voice) music company brand logo which featured a dog called Nipper looking curiously into the wind-up gramophone. Bansky’s twisted this picture in a way that his stenciled dog, instead of looking into, holds a rocket launcher aimed at the record player, turning it into his commentary of the music industry. Even though many other graffiti have been painted around the piece, Banksy’s Guard Dog and His Master’s Voice, which is covered in perspex, still remains quite intact and in good shape.