The identity of the Street artist John Robertson AKA King Robbo has been revealed for the first time, by a coroner’s court. It was kept a highly guarded secret from the public for nearly three decades. The artist had been in a vegetative state suffering from head injuries since he was found at the bottom of stairs, at his flat in Kings Cross in April 2011. An inquest by St Pancras Coroners’ Court is now scheduled.
Robbo made international headlines in 2009 when Banksy defaced one of his works on a wall in Camden on Regent’s Canal. This started a graffiti war between the two rivals. Tit-for-tat retaliation involving the two artists occurred over the following year.
His crew member the artist Doze, 48, recently said: “He’s probably the most prolific and respected British graffiti artist ever. “The feud will go down as one of the most important times in modern art. Graffiti is now recognised and talked about in the art world whereas previously it was criminalised.” The Banksy feud put King Robbo into the limelight which led to a Channel 4 documentary filmed shortly before his accident.
Robbo was involved for over 30 years in the art of graffiti and became a part of Street Art legend. In 1985 Robbo painted his first train in London, a landmark in London’s graffiti history. Other trains followed, but the ‘Merry Christmas’ train of 1988, a joint piece created with Drax WD entered the national consciousness, when it appeared on ITV news and in the Independent.
In the end Robbo was busy creating indoor works which were commercially available. Prior to the opening of the Team Robbo show at the Signal Gallery in London in 2011, he had a few days off and had the perfect opportunity to paint over another piece by his famous rival Banksy , but was certain that it would just be perceived as a PR exercise rather than the pure pleasure that it gave him. “Perhaps the war is finally over, or maybe Robbo is moving on? We don’t know, but this time around you can have your very own ‘Robbo’ above your living room sofa,” the Robbo website states.