Scott Street Bridge, Hull – In Yorkshire a new piece appeared in January featuring a child sitting atop of some other street art. The small adventurer holds a shield in one hand, what appears to be a colander on his head, and thrusts a small sword skyward. The words ‘Draw the raised bridge’ sit next to it, which make sense as this piece is stenciled on a retracted bridge. Allegedly this is a reference to Brexit, the UK’s latest political controversy, a move that was published as patriotic independence but remains covered in the stink of xenophobia.
The Bridge mural was actually painted over by an unappreciative hull resident. There was a public outcry when the one of a kind piece was found whitewashed. Luckily another Hull native was at hand, a window cleaner by the name of Jason Fanthorpe used water and white spirit to restore the picture. Now back in sight, the Banksy original is being cared for by the city council that now aims to preserve it.
14th Street and 6th Avenue, Manhattan – Here above the busy streets of New York Banksy painted his signature rat. This time the rodent was seemingly trapped in the face of a clock much like a hamster in a wheel. The significance of the piece remains to be clarified but many believe it was meant as a gesture towards the monotonous rat race of Wall Street.
An occupational hazard of street art is that your canvas is not your own. This backfired on this piece as the building, which was already marked to be demolished, was deconstructed by workmen only days later. As a result the clock that featured the art was removed. The owner apparently sent the item to auction much to the displeasure of art appreciators and the hundreds of onlookers who watched it’s dismantling.
Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn – Another piece that cleverly depicts the evils of corporate America. Here a suited businessman wearing a hard hat is seen waving what appears to be an ascending graph line at American citizens. Children, a mother, an elderly man, and a dog all run from the antagonist who is using the devilish line in a whip-like fashion, forcing them all to retreat from the small island on which they all stand. This piece efficiently hits several topics at once, dealing with the super rich, the housing crisis, and immigration, as always Banksy continues to say a great deal in a single image.
Beyond the Streets Festival, LA – A two-month long exhibit begun on May 6th 2018, hailed as a “Definitive showcase of graffiti and street art”. Banksy revealed his contribution to be a piece that pays tribute to deceased American Artist Jean-Michel Basquait. The featured artwork depicts a black figure and a dog in the heavy and energetic style of Basquait, while stenciled on top are two police officers. The man’s hands are raised as they search him and take his details in a sad but true reflection of modern America. Luckily for us and in aide of freedom of speech, street artists like Banksy refuse to remain silent.