Banksy graffiti draws crowds to see his 'brush' with bureaucrats
PUBLISHED: 18:30 06 November 2007 | UPDATED: 11:07 13 July 2010
BANKSY s maverick street art has become the latest tourist attraction to London s East End, writes Isabel Gompertz. His painting of a 30ft yellow flower with a stencilled image of himself on the wall of a working men s club has been draw
BANKSY's maverick 'street art' has become the latest 'tourist attraction' to London's East End, writes Isabel Gompertz.
His painting of a 30ft yellow flower with a stencilled image of himself on the wall of a working men's club has been drawing swarms of visitors today (Nov-2), five days after its mysterious appearance.
College students, office staff, building site workers, mums and dads out shopping with toddlers, overseas tourists just arrived in London and even kids from a nearby primary school out with their teacher have been coming and going all day.
Half the world seems to be making a bee-line for the wall on the corner of Pollard-street, off Bethnal Green-road, many snapping the painting on mobile phones and some having their pictures taken alongside the guerrilla graffiti.
It's almost rivalling the Tower of London, probably because of the controversy it's causing with Banksy's 'brushed' against Town Hall red tape.
Tower Hamlets council has threatened to 'wipe away' any Banksy graffiti that appears. It hasn't done so yet.
Youngsters from nearby Lawdale Junior school took time off lessons with their teacher for an "educational visit" to see what all the fuss is about.
"It's exciting, something that was on the news happening just around the corner," said class teacher Rachel Brown.
"This seemed a perfect chance to take the kids to see something that has been in the papers and on TV."
Her eight-year-olds gave their verdict of Banksy's handywork when they shouted: "It's great... it's funny."
Even other artists have been turning up to admire their new 'street' hero, like 33-year-old Anthony Doherty, who has been along every day since it appeared on Sunday.
"It's exciting to think Banksy was right here," he beams.
"Banksy's stuff is fascinating. He always has something to say.
"I saw it when all the scaffolding was up and thought I might just catch him, but didn't."
Banksy remains frustratingly anonymous to his growing public.
Fellow artist Martin Andrew, 31, takes a philosophical view of the Banksy phenomenon.
"Graffiti art is at one with its environment," he tells you.
"It fits in with what is around and that is what Banksy does.
"The yellow flower belongs on the wall now. It is part of the wall."
College students have been skipping lectures to take in the East End's new 'street culture,' like Martin Hart, 22, annoyed about Town Hall bureaucracy after Banksy cheekily extended double yellow parking lines from the road across the pavement and onto his flowering wall art.
"It's typical of Tower Hamlets council to want to get rid of his art," fumed Martin.
"Banksy paints art for the people, not for all those pretentious lot who go to art galleries."
Banksy fan Myriam Brown, 43, who makes a living selling on eBay, Worries that her hero may have 'sold out' and gone soft on issues he is tackling.
"This picture is obviously having a go at the council and that seems petty to me," she observes.
"I prefer it when Banksy is making a statement about global issues."
Not all agree. Nurse Jamie Logan, 26, responded: "It's ironic that Banksy has turned something people feel aggressive about into something peaceful."
That's another thing Banksy has now given East Enders, apart from his graffiti to gaze at on the wall of Bethnal Green working men's club... something new to debate and argue about.