We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Fuck Banksy

It is graffiti for goodness sake, and here we have assorted people arguing about whose graffiti it is. Oh what a strange world we live in.

It is an amusing work I grant you, and if someone can find a mug who wants to lift it off and buy it for real money, I can see why the lawyers get called in… but please spare me the “Banksy is a National Treasure” crap. He is a talented criminal who does not think ‘crimes against property’ are really crimes (and the reason they are is because the crimes are actually not against ‘property’, they are against the owner of the property).

I wonder if he expects anyone to respect anything he owns, such as his legs for example? Fortunately for him not everyone thinks the way he seem to.

That said, where he to find himself in a prison cell for said ‘crimes against property’, he should probably be given a brush and some paint to pass the time.

18 comments to Fuck Banksy

  • CaptDMO

    SO, if someone were to hold a vandal up to a wall a beat them with a cricket bat, who actually gets credit, and “special protections” for the resulting “artwork” splattered all over the wall?
    Property, 9/10s, and all that.

  • Mr Ed

    In English law, anything done to a property such as painting on it becomes part of the property, and if it is something added, it becomes a fixture and part of the property, barring some express reservation of title. There seems to be no rational argument to say that painting on someone’s property in any way is either lawful or somehow creates any right in that property.

    To paint etc. on someone’s property is likely to be criminal damage and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years jail.

    Is it a symptom of decline in civilisation that a vandal is lauded in some circles?

  • Who owns the property in question?

  • Paul Marks

    Not the council who is ordering folk about Alisa.

    If only Mr Ed was a judge – indeed all of the judges (can you be cloned Sir?).

    Good post Perry.

  • Tedd

    Is it a symptom of decline in civilisation that a vandal is lauded in some circles?


    But that’s not to say that a thing can’t fit in two categories at once. In this case, the thing is both vandalism and art. And, let’s face it, it’s better art than a lot of stuff in galleries. To the extent that the artist is being lauded for his or her art, that’s great. But if the person doing the lauding isn’t also criticizing the vandalism then we have to take their lauding of the art with a grain of salt. They may be inwardly praising the vandalism, too — perhaps even not inwardly.

  • In this case, the thing is both vandalism and art.

    Oh for sure, I was not criticising him as an artist at all, I think much of his stuff is great. It is just a pity he is openly disdainful of the rights of private property owners. Well at least said property owners can now actually make money out of the vandalism. Funny old world, eh?

  • Mr Ed


    I would be delighted were Michelangelo come back to life and paint frescoes on my house unbidden, I would be delighted, but that would be my house and that artist. Here, it seems that someone has purchased the work, which is purely a matter between the property owner and the buyer, and the campaigners appear to be attempting to violate the property rights of parties involved. It does not seem that they have attempting to outbid the buyer with their own money, instead, they want something with someone else’s money, the root of all evil.

  • Rob

    ‘Banksy’ and his supporters are the perfect illustration of the bourgeois middle-class’s war on the bourgeois middle class.

  • Richard Thomas

    Could this whole thing be a performance piece in and of itself?

  • Richard Thomas

    Interestingly, the Wall Street Bull is actually a piece of guerilla (or street) art.


  • Laird

    I’m not convinced by Paul’s terse answer to Alisa’s question. The linked article says that the art is “on a wall which was formerly part of a house purchased by the county council.” Apparently it’s on the side of the party wall which belonged to the demolished property which (we are told) belonged to the council. So it seems to me that it belongs to the council. If so, they can do with it whatever they choose.

  • Paul Marks

    I apologise for my error Laird – and I apologise to Alisa also.

  • Thanks for checking, Laird, I was too busy to. So here’s my dilemma: is council property, or any other public property for that matter, really a property, in the sense which makes this Banksy character a criminal? Not legally (I’m sure legally it does), but morally?

  • Mr Ed

    Laird, the associated article indicates that the ‘campaigners’ are talking bull, as the Council disavows any claim to ownership of the wall, the building that they owned having been demolished. The apparent owner may well claim the land through prescription, 12 years open use of the ‘land’.

    There is also a suggestion that the wall is ‘listed’ as ‘heritage’, i.e. you need permission to alter it and risk jail if you don’t comply even if you ‘own’ the building.

  • Snag

    It’s obviously vandalism, but it’s a strange form of vandalism that increases the value of property.

    It’s a bit like someone breaking into my house to leave a pot of gold in the kitchen.

  • It’s a bit like someone breaking into my house to leave a pot of gold in the kitchen.

    Indeed, I mean how weird is that!

  • William O. B'Livion

    He’s not that talented.

  • Mr Ed

    Update: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-28136765

    The Council have put a ‘stop’ notice on the removal of the work, because it is a listed building. Annoyingly, it is not clear if it was listed because it was vandalised by the painting, if that were the case, it would be a truly horrifying example of how the State tramples property rights.