Banksy vs. King Robbo
Street Art vs. Graffiti
Almost thirty years ago, in 1985, a London graffiti artist by the name of “King Robbo” threw this piece up in the Regent’s Canal tunnel in Camden. Little did he know that he would still be working on it decades later…
This is a picture of the exact same piece in 2006. It had been scribbled on, tagged, and painted over to the point that the original was almost completely cover up and barely visible.
Out of nowhere came infamous London street artist “Banksy” in 2009. In his signature stencil style, he painted a city worker covering the now grey walls with “graffiti wallpaper.” Banksy’s style is so unique and well-known that he oftentimes doesn’t even include a tag with his work. People started buzzing all over town; this had just sparked a battle between legends.
Upon seeing Banksy’s alteration to his original piece, King Robbo was not happy. His work had not been seen in public for over a decade, yet he came out of retirement to strike back against Banksy. According to King Robbo, in an exclusive interview, “He broke a graff code of conduct and for a lawless community we have a lot of laws, so I had to come back. What people don’t realise is that he’d already gone over loads of my stuff before and I hadn’t bothered retaliating but this time it was just so deliberate, so cowardly. If you’ve got the hump about something, you send a message and discuss it like gentlemen, you don’t wipe out a piece of graffiti history. But that’s what he does, never expresses his own opinion, he puts something out and lets people fool themselves, he’s smart in that respect.”
This rebuttal piece was painted on Christmas day in 2009. King Robbo said of his piece, “it was actually pretty sloppy, I’d gone out Christmas morning, done it quickly and just thought ‘fuck it’. I didn’t even know how to post it on the Internet afterwards let alone think it would cause the fuss it did.” The media immediately jumped on this and all of London was talking about it. The street art vs. graffiti war had begun, and was now in full force. According to legend, there was an encounter in the late 90s between King Robbo and Banksy. King Robbo claims that he ran into Banksy at a party, and Banksy ”decided to get cocky and say ‘I’ve never heard of you,’ so I gave him a swift backhand and said ‘you may never have heard of me but you’ll never forget me’ and that was that.” King Robbo is convinced that Banksy’s attack on him was a deliberate retaliation for his disrespectful actions.
For MORE CLICK HERE= Banksy vs. King Robbo Street Art vs. Graffiti | Modern Hieroglyphics.
Last Wednesday, we invited Jon Swartz of Black Ink down to Richmond, Virginia to paint a mural at the RVA Street Art Festival. We had a wild weekend and found just enough time to squeeze in an interview.
Where are you originally from?
Rochester, New York. Moved to Philly when I was nine? Or eight? Something like that. Let’s just say I’m from Philly.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be? When did you know you’d end up being a professional artist?
When I was five years old, my dad gave me some watercolors and he let me do my thing. He said he saw something in it, so he immediately started pushing it, you know. I was with it… I really wanted to do it for some reason. I don’t even know what drove me to do it in the first place.
But after realizing I had something, I wanted to be a comic book artist. So I would just copy comic books, for hours and hours and hours. My mom saw me doing it, so she gave me an anatomy book. She saw me drawing muscles that looked ridiculous, so the book showed me the real way that they should look. I would study those, I would study comic books, and that’s kinda when I learned how to draw.
I’ve always been a huge fan of traditional aerosol street art and graffiti, but I recently came across an artist who has been switching it up: instead of painting on walls, Paul Curtis (Moose) uses a powerwasher to remove dirt and grime off of walls, resulting in the creation of stunning images and patterns. The new art form is known as “reverse graffiti” or “clean tagging,” and is growing in popularity all over the world. This is the story of Moose.
How and when did the name Moose come about?
It was never meant to be an artist name, I never actually meant to be an artist… It was a nickname given to me one day after I’d spent a day walking around my art school. I was telling everybody that I was a warehouse, or a moose, or a Waldorf salad. I would say, “I’m a warehouse” and spread my arms wide as if to make a box. Luckily that one didn’t stick, and the next day my friend Damien remembered that I’d told him that I was a moose. So he said, “You’re a moose aren’t you?” with a group of friends around, and they all agreed. I was grateful to lose my real name, Paul, and I would have settled for almost anything in its place. I was nineteen at the time, so for nearly thirty years I’ve been Moose.
Where are you originally from and how has that brought you to where you are now?
Born in Manchester and grew up in Cheshire until I was 8, then moved South until I was 12, then up North to Leeds… So everytime I moved I had an accent from the wrong part of the country. I learned quickly how to change and fit in, and that was the start of a great ability that I have for being able to deal with most people on level terms. From the age of 14, when I started watching bands play live, I was fascinated by the people who came on stage and moved the equipment around. Almost as much as the bands themselves. That’s what lead me into working in music and events. After becoming one of those people… even though I still love that job… I started looking for something new.
- The elusive British street artist Banksy – Pioneer or hack? (crueldazeofsummer.wordpress.com)
- Banksy Graffiti Offered At US Auction (loupdargent.info)
- New Banksy street art uses flowers in an… unusual way. (treehugger.com)