Banksy Rivals Reveal Root of Graffiti Feud

Team Robbo reveal the origins of the war between legendary street artists Banksy and King Robbo

In a statement released on Street Art blog Sabotage Times, Team Robbo have spoken in depth about the origins of the high-profile clash between their leader King Robbo and the internationally acclaimed Banksy.

Back in the 1980s, King Robbo was ‘a legend of the London graffiti scene’, and a key proponent of ‘The London Style’. He was also a member of several crews including the infamous crew – WRH (We Rock Hard). But, but the early 2000s, Robbo had gone into retirement until Banksy ‘gave him ‘the kick up the arse’ to make a come-back into the writing scene when he created a piece of street art over Robbo’s now quintessential ‘Robbo Inc’ piece, next to the Camden Canal in December 2009’.

‘Given the etiquette of the graffiti world, that is well known to most writers and street artists, there is considerable speculation about Banksy’s motives for engaging with Robbo’s original piece and he probably did not anticipate the explosive effect that his artistic intervention would have’, Team Robbo explain.

‘An international graffiti art movement is never going to be entirely cohesive’, they add, and so conflict is inevitable. ButThe artistic battle that has waged for over two years between Team Robbo and Team Banksy (now a popular way of describing his crew) on both the street and in the media is of course a tongue in cheek ‘war’; in some ways a pointless and absurd struggle’. But, they say, it has ‘a serious sub-text’: ‘The ‘war’ has served the useful purpose of flushing out several pre-conceived ideas that surrounded street art and graffiti and has also provided a fresh public perspective, as well as fuelling a vociferous debate.’

Banksy’s work typically includes satirical social and political commentary, and ranges from murals to sculpture and installation, often playing with the contextual aspects of the work. The artist’s first solo show was held in 2002 at Los Angeles’ 33 1/3 Gallery, and in 2003 he was commissioned to design to cover of Blur’s ThinkTank. Today, Banksy’s work appears internationally; most notably, he painted nine sardonic images on the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier. In Summer 2009, Banksy took over the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery with an exhibition attracting over 300,000 visitors and hour-long queues all the way down the road. Most recently the artist has experimented with film, achieving an Oscar nomination for his documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop.

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