Ever try and find the location of Banksy’s work in London? It’s a minefield. Well someone clever has come up with the solution. It is in the form of a virtual walking tour of Britain’s most famous graffiti artist’s work, with GPS to get you there. ArtLyst rates this highly. We find it easy to use and definitely the most comprehensive app on the market dealing with the artist’s work. It does however take you to works that have been painted over by the council, so map out a route and check other sources first.
Banksy is an urban guerilla artist who has successfully concealed his identity for many years, although he was outed by a tabloid news paper last year. He has built up a strong following with his often political stencils. Banksy’s fans include Brad Pitt and Kate Moss. The official Banksy website confirms which works are his, as their are so many imitators. This App seems to have got the attributions correct as well. Although there are many books and monographs on the artist this is the first App to be launched which locates the works. It also contains a gallery and videos of the artist. The App is available as a download for the iPhone.
Creator Simon Hassett says; “Now you can see Banksy’s priceless pieces up close and personal” The app costs £1.49 app and has risen to the number two spot in Apple’s lifestyle category in Britain a week after it was released. It also includes a library of the artist’s work and updates from blogs around the world. Like millions around the world, I’m a massive Banksy fan and I grew frustrated that when I was in different cities where I knew Banksy’s works existed and I had no idea where they were! Hours of my life were wasted whilst I would scour the streets to source an original work. Creating this app was a logical decision. One that I hope others will benefit from too”.
A new organization on Facebook has appeared in the last few months to monotor and protect valuable street art Internationally. Here is the link: SOSA Save Our Street
SOSA is the start of a lobbying group which plans to list and put pressure on Local Councils to be responsible for the protection of these works. It is time to start treating them as they would any piece of public art under their control. Camden Council removed one of Banksy’s best known works (French Maid ) stating that it encouraged anti social behavior.These works are in desperate need of preservation some are flaking and must be put under protective care. A worldwide preservation society needs to be actioned immediately, if we are to protect these important 21st century frescoes.
Recently Google launched “Google Street Art View”. The Street Map site can be utilized to showcase works of graffiti art from around the globe. This project has been realized through a collaboration between the Brazilian ad agency Loducca and Red Bull. It has created an innovative source for discovering new works, the project is user driven. Artwork is searchable by location or author, and while locations are restricted to those places where Google’s cameras have recorded the area, Street Art View’s goal was to be “the biggest art collection in the world”. After just a few days live, the platform had over 200 walls tagged in various countries, including big names such as Keith Haring, Os Gêmeos and Banksy. The drawback is that the photos were already a few years old and many of the works were gone. Another downside was that It pinpointed the works to thieves and over zealous councils who have than removed the works.
This type of technology is proof that we have the know-how and viewing platform but now need to protect our heritage. These 21st century cultural icons are valid works of contemporary art and need strict guidelines and preservation orders. They are not taken seriously by local councils and private owners who don’t differentiate the works from the thousands of Tags and sub grade quality Graffiti Art that appears and disappears every day in most cities across the world.
Many of the earlier works can be viewed on Google Street Art View