When does street art become vandalism?

By Balthazar Malevolent


Banksy had recently disguised himself as a cleaner of London Underground to put up his new artwork, If You Don't Mask, You Don't Get, which scurries a public service announcement to wear a face mask and play one's part in fighting COVID-19. As people have tried to locate this artwork captured on his Instagram by the enigmatic British artist, it is now believed that it was accidentally removed by the actual London Underground cleaners, as stated by the Evening Standard.

Banksy's latest artwork.

"We love the feeling of inspiring people to wear face masks that our transport network's vast majority of customers are doing," commented a spokesperson for Transport for London. "In this particular case, due to our strict anti-graffiti policy, the work was removed a few days ago. We want to offer Banksy the opportunity to do a new version of his message at a suitable location for our customers."

It is also apparent that the cleaner who removed the work of art had no inclination to its meaning, with a source claiming that "When we saw the video, we began to look into it and talked to the cleaners. It started to emerge that a couple of days ago they had noticed some kind of 'rat thing' and cleaned it off as they should." Nonetheless, their erasure was receiving polarizing comments on social media, some being outraged, others saying Banksy should have known better.

Banksy is generally believed to be Robin Gunningham, born at Yate, 12 miles away from Bristol on 28 July 1973. Some of Gunningham's friends and former schoolmates at Bristol Cathedral School corroborated this rumor, and a report of 2016 found that the frequency of Banksy's works was associated with Gunningham's known movements. Gunningham started to employ the name Robin Banks, which gradually became Banksy, according to The Sunday Times. There are two cassette sleeves showcasing his 1993 work for the Bristol band 'Mother Samosa' with his signature.

Rumors say that the American designer Rick Owens owns at least one artwork created by Banksy.

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