Banksy Locations & Tours: A Collection of Graffiti Locations and Photographs in London, England

Banksy Locations & Tours: A Collection of Graffiti Locations and Photographs in London, England

by Martin Bull
     
 

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When it comes to art, London is best known for its galleries, not its graffiti. However, not if photographer Martin Bull has anything to say about it. While newspapers and magazines the world over send their critics to review the latest Damien Hirst show at the Tate Modern, Bull, in turn, is out taking photos of the latest street installations by guerilla art icon…  See more details below

Overview

When it comes to art, London is best known for its galleries, not its graffiti. However, not if photographer Martin Bull has anything to say about it. While newspapers and magazines the world over send their critics to review the latest Damien Hirst show at the Tate Modern, Bull, in turn, is out taking photos of the latest street installations by guerilla art icon Banksy. In three guided tours, Martin Bull documents sixty-five London sites where one can see some of the most important works by the legendary political artist. Boasting over 100 color photos, Banksy: Locations and Tours also includes graffiti by many of Banksy's peers, including Eine, Faile, El Chivo, Arofish, Cept, Space Invader, Blek Le Rat, D*face, and Shepherd Fairey. This edition has updated locations and 25 additional photos.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604862386
Publisher:
PM Press
Publication date:
02/01/2009
Series:
PM Press
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt

Banksy

Locations & Tours


By Martin Bull

PM Press

Copyright © 2009 Martin Bull
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60486-238-6



CHAPTER 1

HOXTON & SHOREDITCH TOUR


THE BIGGEST TOUR BY FAR

At a pretty decent pace, it took us three hours. It could be far longer if you include all the local streets and all the local graffiti. It is everywhere. And it's always changing, so even though a lot of the featured graffiti is gone now, you're bound to always fid something new, or have never noticed before.

Literally stumbling across 'the maid' (see S20) early one Sunday morning in May 2006 (I suspect Banksy did it in the first hours of that same morning) was the kind of pleasure you can only really get by wandering around, keeping your eyes open, and following your destiny. You 'll be amazed at how many weird situations have led me to come across this stuff!

This tour goes around the capital of UK street graffiti – Hoxton, Old Street, Shoreditch, and Brick Lane – the creative, yet run-down, nouveau trendy East End. The streets (and railway bridges and alleys) are literally awash with graffiti of all styles, plus paste-ups, stickers, installations, art projects and all sorts of weird and wonderfully creative ramblings (picture frames on the street, nailed up art, tattooists, photographers and fashion victims, etc.)

This tour is the longest of the three, but you could easily split it up, or just wander around a bit instead. You won't need a tube or bus ticket.

It's all relatively flat, and doesn't involve any unavoidable steps for someone using a wheelchair or pushing a baby carriage.


Poison Rat

Post Code: EC 1Y 1AU Map/GPS reference: TQ 32796 82288

Location

Oliver's Yard, just off City Rd (A501). As seen in the Banksy books. It is now fading, but it is the only Poison Rat left in the area, complete with green waste spewing across the pavement, and the word 'Wanksy' added to it!.


Status

Hardly visible any more.


Next

Return to Old St station and use the subways to come out at Exit 8.


CHECK OUT TH E WALL

Post Code: EC 1V 2NR

Map/GPS reference: TQ 32706 82522


Location

By Exit 8 of Old Street tube station. It may be white, it may be black, it may have art on it, it might not. It's an ever-changing open air gallery. The 'writer' Arofish was the first to paint this wall white (using the old trick of posing as a workman) and then came back later to add some art to it. Since then, it's had a succession of art and paint-overs, including one cheeky reference by El Chivo to the re-painting. I wonder what it will look like when you visit?


Next

Walk Up City Rd (A501).


MICROPH ONE RAT

Post Code: EC 1V 9EH

Map/GPS reference: TQ 32551 82701


Location

Moorfields Eye Hospital, City Road, by Cayton Street. This is on an old disused entrance to Moorfields, and is a great example of a large microphone rat, although I like to think of it as a rat belting out 'My Way' on a karaoke machine, or maybe toasting at a sweaty sound system clash in Kingston. For half of 2006, it was covered up during renovations, but it managed to survive. Workers told me it wasn't due to be buffed, so I hope it will stay.


Status

In October 2006, the rat was visible again.


Next

Cross City Rd (A501) to Westland Place.


CUTTING RATS

Post Code: N1 7LP

Map/GPS reference: TQ 32551 82807


Location

Outside Fifteen Restaurant, Westland Place. Being an advocate for tree hugging, pinko liberals, Banksy did this stencil next to Jamie Oliver's 'social restaurant' Fifteen in oh-so-trendy Hoxton (he also did the same stencil on the gates to the Greenpeace office in London) as if some rats were breaking into it. Is there no end to this man's humor? There used to be a gangsta rat just around the corner (see inset photo).


Status

Gone, circa March 2007. The rats were originally on panes of blackened glass, which have since been removed and replaced, presumably, by the owners of the building.


Next

Walk up Vestry St, until it joins East Rd.


'SMILEY' COPPER

Post Code: N1 7LP

Map/GPS reference: TQ 32551 82807


Location

Slightly tucked away, on the corner of Vestry Street and East Road, Banksy's 'Smiley' Copper sits on a peeling wall, after having been amended by an unknown artist to make it a rather unique 'blank faced' copper instead. Also rather uniquely, a big Banksy tag covers the stomach area. This exact graffiti is mentioned in Banksy's book Wall & Piece.


Status

Badly Buffed (February 2007). The wall looks a mess! Shepard Fairey added a paste-up to the wall during his visit to London in November 2007.


Next

If you fancy a bit of a walk, continue up the New North Rd to S6 and S7. Otherwise go straight to S8.


GIRL WITH BALLOON

Post Code: N1 6TA

Map/GPS reference: TQ 32696 83342


Location

On the side of some flats on the New North Road (A1200), close to Wimbourne Street.During the Spring of 2006, the balloon was repainted by an unidentified person.


Status

Painted over (March 2007). It can still be vaguely seen through the new grey paint. I suspected this might happen as the local housing estate was being renovated. When that happens, they generally give everything that doesn't move a coat of paint as well.


Next

Continue up the new North Rd, and down Eagle Wharf Rd.


CANAL HOODIE

Post Code: N1 7QR

Map/GPS reference: TQ 32278 83371


Location

Under the footbridge over the Grand Union Canal.

Shepherdess Walk/Eagle Wharf Road. Best viewed from the bridge or the canal tow path. A good example of how (I assume) Banksy re-uses stencils, as it seems the same as the one used for 'Tourist Information' just off Hackney Road, in Ion Square – now sadly faded into obscurity.


Status

Still there.


Next

Retrace your steps, back towards East Rd.


UMBRELLA RAT

Post Code – N1 6JB

Map/GPS reference – TQ 32877 83049


Location

On a lovely house, next to the newsagents on the corner of East and New North roads. A great little Umbrella Rat used to live in the corner of a large white section of this house. I think there was other graffiti there as well, before the wall was whitewashed, but the Banksy was saved. Six months later though, the whole wall was painted over.


Status

Painted over.


Next

Continue down New North Rd, to Pitfield St.


UMBRELLA RAT

Post Code: N1 6BU

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33014 82852


Location

On the metal newsagents box of City Supermarket, 57 Pitfield Street, near Haberdasher. A pretty awful specimen, with loads of runs, but it's a good example of how these metal newsagent boxes are a great target for graffiti writers as they are left out all night for milk and newspaper deliveries.


Status

Buffed (circa December 2006).


Next

Continue down Pitfield St.


LOOK ACROSS TO HAVE A NICE DAY

Post Code: EC 2A 3JD

Map/GPS reference: TQ 32978 82519


Location

Above 'Wa Do Chinese Fast Food' shop on the corner of Old Street & Tabernacle St. This is now rather ironically obscured by the massive advertising hoardings above, and the shop sign below. However, you could climb up on the roof. There is a great photo of this in the snow in Banksy's books, when it used to be Franco's Fish & Chips shop.


Status

Still there, but very obscured.


Next

Cross over half of Old Street by the Foundry.


THE FOUNDRY

Post Code: EC 2A 3JL

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33057 82557


Location

Inside this eclectic Hoxton bar/venue/exhibition area (situated where Old St and Great Eastern Street collide), there is a mess of graffiti on the downstairs walls, surrounding the toilets (and inside the toilets a bit. Any writer who has had work displayed in the venue, or is generally good enough, is 'allowed' to add to the wall. Banksy has contributed a grin reaper, a happy chopper, and a tag. Notable others on the wall include Faile, and Arofish, who had an exhibition there a few years ago. The Foundry seems to operate whatever opening hours it feels. Generally, it's a night time place, of course .www.foundry.tv might help. Or it might not.


Status

Looks great, as long as you don't mind the walls being a complete and deliberate mess of tags/stencils/paint.


Next

Look down to the Pulp Fiction site (S12), or go up closer to it.


LOOK DOWN TO THE PULP FICTION SITE

Post Code: EC 1V 9PB

Map/GPS reference: TQ 32834 82543


Location

Above a row of shops on Old Street, near Vine. One of the most famous sites in London, but also very hard to photograph and view. Staying further away often gives you a better view of it.For several years it had Banksy's famous Pulp Fiction piece on it. In May 2006 Shepard Fairey put a massive Obey poster up, and Faile flanked it on both sides with their snarling dog wheat pastes. 'Banksy was ere' was also crudely added on top in a pink paint that looked suspiciously the same shade that both Faile and Banksy had recently used around town. Then in July, a new version of Pulp Fiction went up, followed in September with a complete paste-over, and a crudely drawn message stating 'Nothing Last's Forever.' As they say, great art is all in the composition. Throughout the rest of 2006 and most of 2007 the wall was pretty crappy. Every time I went to the area, I always checked it out, and every time was disappointed.

Fast forward. It's 5:30pm on September 9th, 2007. I'm on the top deck as my bus goes past the site. I half-heartedly turn to look at the wall. OMG! I jump up, ring the buzzer, and stop the bus. I'm excited not just because it's new, but because it has Banksy metaphorically written all over it (although many amazingly doubted it at first!) and most importantly because it was the first piece of graffiti for months to actualyl stop me in my tracks, to move me, to make me fall in love again. The quality is amazing, and the subject poignant. For me, Banksy was back on top. The quality said 'I'm the daddy' (see the film Scum.)

Interestingly it was spotted that at 3pm that day the site was still shrouded in blue tarpaulin (some of which was left on the roof). This now seems to be a favorite Banksy trick, to actually cover a site in tarpaulin/scaffolding to gain the time and privacy to do a good job.

Soon it was on Banksy's website, with an explanation. It was called 'Old St. Cherub' and was done shortly after several children had been affected by gun crime. Banksy wrote "Last time I hit this spot I painted a crap picture of two men in banana costumes waving handguns. A few weeks later, a writer called Ozone completely dogged it and then wrote 'If it's better next time I'll leave it' in the bottom corner. When we lost Ozone [Ozone – 21-year-old Bradley Chapman – was killed by a train in January 2007] we lost a fearless graffiti writer, and, as it turns out, a pretty perceptive art critic. Ozone – rest in peace."


Status

It's likely to change by the time I've even finished this sentence....


Next

Turn into Rivington St.


TV OUT OF THE WINDOW & GIANT RAT

Post Code: EC 2A 3DT Map/GPS reference: TQ 33059 82549


Location

In a private car park called Ridgeway Place, on the corner of Rivington Street and Old/Great Eastern Streets. Another great site, which includes Banksy's TV Out of the Window, and an enormous rat with a knife and a fork similar in size and shape to the rat Banksy created in Liverpool for the 2004 Art Biennial. The private car park seems to keep irregular opening hours, but it's best to see the art when the gates are open.


Status

The graffiti is getting closer. December 2007, wooden hoardings covered them up, apparently in preparations for the graffiti to be removed and sold.


Next

Cross Great Eastern St.


GRIN REAPER

Post Code: EC 2A 4NY

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33003 82467


Location

On the side of a bar called 'Yard' on the corner of Paul and Tabernacle streets, there's a very faded Grin Reaper. It's hardly worth mentioning, but a good example of something that fades away, or is buffed to within an inch of its life.


Status

Very faded.


Next

Continue down Paul Street, past the large metal sculpture on Leonard St that used to be a favorite spot for graffiti artists, stickerists and bill posters, until it was completely stripped, cleaned and painted in some anti-graffiti coating in Sept 2006. In October, Blek Le Rat was the first to get anything to stick on it, but it only lasted a few days ...


GRIN REAPER

Post Code: EC 2A 4RT

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33030 82209


Location

On Scrutton, near Clifton Street. A stunning yellow Grin Reaper on a blue wall where the old Pictures On Walls office used to be.


Status

Still very impressive, but it is slowly getting dogged.


Next

Continue down Scrutton St.


HAPPY CHOPPERS

Post Code: EC 2A 4XB

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33113 82180


Location

On Holywell Row, tucked away behind a blind corner. There are usually some Faile paste-ups on the building opposite. See the inset photo. This is an unofficial Faile history site that they post on every time they come to London.


Status

Mainly painted over. The top of one helicopter was still visible for a while but, when I visited again in September 2007, the whole alley was completely blocked off. The Faile paste-ups have gone.


Next

Go back to Scrutton Street, and continue along.


RED CARPET RATS

Post Code: EC 2A 3PT

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33259 82286


Location

On the corner of Curtain Road & Christina Street, by Pizza Express. I first photographed this in January 2006.By the time I went back a week or so later, it had pretty much gone. (I often revisit sites. I had also stupidly lost all my digital photos from the January visit!)


Status

The rats are barely noticeable, but the red 'carpet' is still quite visible on the pavement. See inset photo.


Next

Head up Curtain Rd.


BLT TIP

Watch out in this area for the newer 'neon style' Eine alphabet letters (C & F – although one was then buffed). A large Space Invader also used to exist in the distance, on the old rail bridge, until it was demolished during the summer of 2007. It's always worth wandering around the New Yard Inn area, and checking out the blind spots around the side and back of The Old Blue Last pub, as they are often covered with art.

Over the years, a Girl With Balloon and a soldier painting an anarchy sign have been there, but they disappeared quite a while ago. The photo shows us in the New Yard Inn area, while on a tour of Shoreditch.


DESIGNATED PICNIC AREAS

Post Code: EC 2A 3AH

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33294 82478


Location

On the small steps of a derelict building on Curtain Rd (near Curtain Place), and on the Curtain Road end of a skanky alley, Dereham Place, are two faded but enigmatic 'Designated Picnic Areas.' The one on the steps is one of my favorites anywhere. The entrance it's on is usually plastered with old posters and litter, and has looked liked that for ages.


Status

(1) faded, but visible (2) Buffed circa December 2006.


Next

Cross the road towards 'The Elbow Room'..


SNORTING COPPER & WHITE LINE

Post Code: EC 2A 3BS

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33249 82500


Location

The Snorting Copper was just off Curtain Road (by 'The Elbow Room' Pool Lounge & Bar). The white line goes along the alley (Mills Court) and into a drain on Charlotte Rd. One day in May 2006, the Council came along and badly jetwashed it (see inset photo). Ironically, it then looked far worse! At least this art was making an attempt to brighten up the streets and get our brains thinking.

A version still exists at Waterloo Station (see R6).


Status

Buffed in May 2006, but with a touch of mimicry of the Waterloo one, there is now a Space Invader above it.


Next

Walk up Charlotte Road.


THE MAID

Post Code: EC 2A 3PT

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33259 82286


Location

On the side of Jay Joplin's White Cube gallery (Rufus Street side) in Hoxton Square for about 6 weeks in mid-2006, before they probably decided it was too much competition for their own exhibits, and painted over it. Literally being the first to 'discover' this by stumbling across it early one Sunday morning in May 2006 (I suspect Banksy did it in the early hours of that same morning) was a real pleasure – the kind you can only experience by wandering around and accidentally discovering something. One annoyingly sentimental and highbrow comment about this book was that it made it too easy to find graffiti and therefore made it a common and accessible experience. Apparently finding things by wandering is called serendipity. I had to look that up in the dictionary.


Status

Painted over, but still vaguely traceable if you look hard.


Next

Walk along Hoxton Square, back to Old St.


ABANDON HOPE, OLD ST BRIDGE

Post Code: EC 1V 9LP

Map/GPS reference: TQ 33371 82674


Location

Another Banksy icon. A train bridge across Old St, near Shoreditch High Street. And one of the few times Banksy used pasted-up posters. Over several years, Banksy regularly added images and messages to this bridge. The final message was 'Abandon Hope' in Spring 2006. It only lasted a week or so.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Banksy by Martin Bull. Copyright © 2009 Martin Bull. Excerpted by permission of PM Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Martin Bull is a London-based photographer, fan, curator and promoter of street art.

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