April 17, 2024

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Banksy: Artist confirms that new London tree mural is his own work

Banksy: Artist confirms that new London tree mural is his own work

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

Banksy confirmed that he is behind a new artwork that appeared in north London on Sunday.

It shows green paint splattered on a wall behind a tree cut to look like leaves, with a stencil of a person holding a pressure hose next to him.

Crowds gathered to view the mural, with one local resident saying they were “proud” to have their street chosen.

“It's a personal message to us residents. We feel very proud,” said Wanga Sellers, who lives along the street near the mural.

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The wall murals were painted to give the impression of foliage

Former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn told the PA news agency he was “delighted” to see the artwork in his Islington North constituency.

“Banksy has come to Finsbury Park with little green space in a place that needs more green space. We are the most densely populated constituency in the country and I am very pleased,” the MP said.

The mural shows a “large arterial spray of green paint” across a white wall, accompanied by “classic Banksy-style stenciling”, according to James Beck, who created the 'The Banksy Story' series on BBC Radio 4.

He says it was likely created using a pressure hose or fire extinguisher.

The green paint color used matchsticks used by Islington Council for signs in the local area, which Mr Beck said showed off Banksy's famous 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.”

Before the artist confirmed that this piece was his work, Flora Williamson, a member of Islington city council, said that it would be “incredible” to have a Banksy artwork “in the middle of social housing and in one of the poorest parts of the town.”

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

Islington Council said the graffiti removal team was aware of the artwork and would not remove it.

The council believes the cherry tree in the foreground of the artwork is approximately 40 to 50 years old and in declining health, with damage due to rot and fungi.

She says she has been maintaining and pruning the tree for some time, both for safety and to help extend its life, and will continue to work to keep the tree alive.

The elusive artist usually confirms his work on his website and social media, and on Monday he posted photos of the artwork on Instagram without comment.

In his post, the tree can also be seen completely bare with a plain white wall behind it – before the mural was created.

Alex Georgiou, whose company owns the building that houses the mural, said he found out late Sunday night and went down to see it for the first time the next morning.

The building is currently vacant and on the rental market, he said.

“The question is, what do I do with it now? What am I supposed to do with it now? I definitely plan to keep it there and let people enjoy it. Everyone loves it and it's great. I can't really believe me, but to be honest,” he said.

Banksy is one of the most famous artists in the world, but his identity remains unknown, at least officially.

The artist's most recently known piece, a stop sign with three military drones on it, was stolen just hours after it was confirmed to be authentic in December last year.

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

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

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