April 22, 2024

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Speculation Banksy is behind the new tree mural on a London street

Speculation Banksy is behind the new tree mural on a London street
  • Written by Doug Faulkner and Alex Smith
  • BBC News

Image source, James Beck/The Banksy Story

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The mural was painted to make it look like tree leaves

Crowds have gathered at the site of an artwork in north London believed to be the work of street artist Banksy.

The mural, a blob of green paint sprayed on a wall behind a tree cut to look like leaves, with a stencil of a person holding a pressure hose next to it, appeared on Sunday.

The artist has not yet confirmed that it is one of his works.

One local resident, who lives in Finsbury Park, said they were “proud and happy” that their street had been chosen.

“It's a personal message to us residents, we feel very proud,” said Wanga Sellers, who lives a few doors down from the mural.

It appeared on Hornsey Road in Finsbury Park, north London, on Sunday morning.

Image source, Ella Nunn/Wire PA

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Large numbers of people have flocked to view the artwork since its first appearance

“In my opinion it seems like a dead cert,” he said.

“But as is always the case with Banksy, you can never quite know, until he admits to posting it on his website.”

The elusive artist officially confirms his work by posting images on his website and social media – something that has yet to happen for the Finsbury Tree. The BBC has contacted Banksy's team for comment.

But documentary filmmaker Mr Peck said the artwork “certainly has all the hallmarks” of Banksy.

“I used the right techniques, and it definitely has an easy-to-understand message, very clever positioning, and really resonates the moment you see it.”

He added: “The message is clear.” “Nature is struggling and it is up to us to help it grow again.”

Image source, James Beck/The Banksy Story

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The color used in the artwork is the same color as Islington Council's signage, as seen in the foreground

“If you go back to the beginning of his work, he was always looking for something he could do with minimal effort to make something look really cool,” Beck said.

He added that the mural — a “large arterial spray of green paint” over a white wall, accompanied by “classic Banksy-style stenciling” — was probably created using a pressure hose or fire extinguisher.

The green paint color used matchsticks that Islington Council used for signs in the local area, which Mr Beck said showed Banksy's eye for detail.

“When you step back, the tree seems to have come back to life, but in a remarkably fake and artificial way.

He said: “It's spring now and this tree should be blooming with leaves, but Banksy must have passed by on his bike and thought how miserable it looked.”

“So, on St Patrick’s Day, he took exactly the same green color that Islington Council uses on its street signs and used a pressure hose or fire extinguisher to spray the foliage back, onto the somewhat dilapidated wall behind it.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Beck said that by incorporating a tree into the artwork, the artist had “solved an emerging problem” of people trying to steal Banksy's work.

“I don't think anyone would be able to cut this down… How are you going to steal a tree?”

Image source, James Beck/The Banksy Story

The mural generated a lot of interest over the weekend, with “a lot of people walking around” Sunday afternoon, Beck said.. “Everyone is so excited.”

While viewing the art, he met Islington councilor Flora Williamson while she was canvassing.

Ms Williamson said it was “incredible” to have a Banksy artwork “in the middle of social housing and one of the poorest parts of the town”.

“I think it adds excitement and culture and brings life to the area,” she said.

Beck said there was often a “Banksy effect” seen in places such as Port Talbot and Norfolk when artworks appeared there, with people rushing to take photos of the murals.

It was still “causing a real stir” on Monday morning, according to BBC Radio London's Anna O'Neill, with at least 30 people there to view the artwork at any given time.

One of them, Finsbury Park resident Eileen, said when she walked past the mural for the first time on Sunday, she immediately thought: “This must be a Banksy painting.”

Lydia Guerra, who lives on Hornsey Road, said she felt “so honored that he chose our street.”

“It's amazing… We knew we had to come and see him as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, podcast host Sally Flatman said she came down to see the artwork after hearing about it on the radio.

“To me, this speaks to how important green spaces are, and how we need more of them in our urban areas.”

Locals also took to social media after the artwork appeared.

One said: “Banksy came overnight, and now the rent will rise dramatically.”

While another said: “Proud of the new stewards of the new Banksy piece in Finsbury Park… I woke up this morning and found it on the side of the apartment.”

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