Banksy fans disappointed as new mural defaced

Banksy fans disappointed as new mural defaced
New art work unveiled, © PA Wire/PA Images

Banksy fans have branded the defacing of the artist’s new tree mural in north London “wanton vandalism”, but said they did not believe it had ruined the piece.

Two streaks of white paint appeared on the green artwork on Hornsey Road in Finsbury Park on Wednesday morning.

Patrick Volcker, 47, flew from Germany to see the mural in person but was disappointed that the artwork had already been defaced.

New art work unveiled
A person ties green cans to the tree in front of the Banksy artwork in Finsbury Park, London after it was defaced with white paint (Victoria Jones/PA)

He said: “I was too late because it was ruined last night. It’s sad it happened so fast, but it’s okay because Banksy’s art pieces are always in a temporary style.”

“It’s not really ruined, let’s just say ‘covered’,” he added.

Gil Ben-ari, 80, travelled from Coulsdon, south London, to see the artwork and was also saddened that it had been defaced so soon.


When asked about the addition of the white paint, Mr Ben-ari said: “There’s only one way to describe it: wanton vandalism.”

Islington Council said it had arranged “temporary measures” including installing fencing and regular visits from Park Patrol officers to manage crowds and help protect the artwork.

Despite the new white paint, visitors have continued to flock to see the mural, with viewers crowding the pavement and climbing on nearby walls to take photographs and selfies with the piece.

New art work unveiled
Islington Council said they had arranged ‘temporary measures’ including fencing around the artwork and visits from officers (Victoria Jones/PA)

Claire Carruthers, 31, Edinburgh, seized the opportunity to see artwork in person while on holiday in London and described the white paint as “definitely unnecessary” but that it did not detract from the message behind the piece.

Ms Carruthers said: “It’s a piece of artwork symbolising that we need greenery in our life, we need nature and we need to do more to save our planet.”

Will Swann, 72, travelled more than 50 miles from Buckinghamshire to see the mural and agreed that while the white paint was “regrettable”, it did not ruin the artwork.

Mr Swann said: “I don’t think it ruins it at all. You can have exactly the same conversations about it and it hasn’t deterred all these people from coming along.

“It’s no more ruined it than the fence around it. It’s the equivalent of the plate glass in front of the Mona Lisa.”

The anonymous street artist Banksy claimed the mural as his own in an Instagram post on Monday.

New art work unveiled
People looking at Banksy artwork which has been defaced with white paint (Victoria Jones/PA)

It features bright green paint sprayed on to a building behind a cut-back tree, creating the impression of being its foliage.

A stencil of a person holding a pressure hose was also sketched on to the building.

The vivid paint colour matched that used by Islington Council for street signs in the area.

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “It’s sad to see the piece has been defaced.

“We are discussing future solutions with the homeowner, to enable everyone to enjoy the artwork while protecting it, the tree, and the surrounding area.

“We’re also in the process of installing a CCTV camera.”

“This is a really powerful piece, which highlights the vital role that trees play in our communities and in tackling the climate emergency,” the spokesperson added.

“Culture is a powerful way to tell meaningful stories, and we very much hope that the piece, which is still fantastic, will now be left alone for people to enjoy.”

Two men were arrested on suspicion of theft and criminal damage in December after a Banksy artwork on a traffic stop sign was removed from a pole in south-east London.