When you name a building after Banksy, he responds the only way he knows how.
The British graffiti artist got his start in the Bristol underground arts scene and has gone on to become a controversial, conversation-provoking figure in the street art movement, his work now worth millions.
Banksy’s signature move involves quietly popping up in the night and leaving his mark with often dark, politically-charged artwork that has attracted the attention of art-lovers worldwide.
He’s so influential, in fact, that a group of students at Bridge Farm Primary School in England decided to name their buildings after the artist.
The students, aged 5 to 11, were asked to rename a handful of the school’s houses – a common practice in England – with notable people associated with the city of Bristol. They suggested names and voted for their favourites.
Among other winners were “Cabot,” after the explorer John Cabot, and “Blackbeard,” after the pirate.
But it was Banksy’s selection that has brought the school international attention.
That’s because the artist decided to turn up after the school bell rang for the holidays and create a brand-new Banksy piece on the wall of the building.
The painting is a reference to a Victorian-era game whereby children roll a single hoop. In Banksy fashion, he has given it an edgier spin, replacing the hoop with a burning tire.
In addition the art work, Banksy left the children with a note, thanking them for naming the building after him and encouraging them to add to it if they didn’t like it.
“Dear Bridge Farm School,” Banksy’s letter reads. “Thanks for your letter and naming a house after me. Please have a picture, and if you don’t like it, feel free to add stuff. I’m sure the teachers won’t mind. Remember, it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission. Much love, Banksy.”
While his encouragement of artistic freedom is important, his art remains illegal. I’m going to guess that the teachers didn’t suggest “adding stuff.”